Has auDA been running a sham consultation process for Direct .AU Registrations?

On Sept 2017 – auDA approved Direct .AU Registrations “in principle” according to the September 2017 auDA Board minutes.

Seven months later, in Feb 2018, NameBid stated The PRP (Policy Review Panel created by auDA) went on an Australian “roadshow” in an attempt to gain public opinion in regards to implementing Direct .AU Registration.

Only 85 people attended the roadshow across the country, with many attendees stating they were still against implementing Direct .AU registrations at all.

Merely two months after this failed roadshow, we have new evidence that suggests auDA engaged a “full-service marketing and advertising agency” who claim to be “experts in the art of persuasion” called Campaign Edge in APRIL 2018.

Domainer has acquired evidence that suggests in April 2018 (ONE YEAR AGO – as the SiteMap clearly shows), that auDA engaged Campaign Edge to create a FAQ about Direct .AU Registrations.

The website address of this FAQ from April 2018 is: https://campaignedge.com.au/joinauda/faqs/

If, for some reason, the above URL gets taken down, you can view a screenshot of this website, created in April 2018, here, with proof of date of creation here.

Most notably, in the April 2018 FAQ, auDA state: “You won’t have to spend money making new signs or ads for your website – or even pay to get another domain – because if your domain features .com.au you can keep it.”

auDA also state, in relation to Direct .AU implementation that, “businesses can continue to use their existing domains and also choose to adopt a .au domain.

auDA also state: “Perhaps you’re exploring a great business idea, and you’re yet to get an ABN. In this case, direct registration might mean you could still be online with the .au signifier for a similar cost to gaining a .com.au”

This is startling, because auDA have NOT YET VOTED on how to implement Direct .AU Registrations, based on The PRP’s recommendations. Yet, here we see that one year ago, auDA already seemed to know that no one would need an ABN to register a Direct .AU(?)

How could auDA assume this was going to be the rule implemented, one year ago, before The PRP had consulted with the public and performed their consultation process to create their recommendations?

On auDA’s own website, less than a month ago, they stated the “auDA Board meeting has been scheduled for 15 April 2019 at which the Board will approve for consultation and feedback auDA’s formal response to the PRP’s recommendations.”

That’s tomorrow, on Monday morning!

Have we just been shown that auDA already knew the public wouldn’t need an ABN to register a Direct .AU one year ago?! How and why else would Campaign Edge write such a thing at the time?

But even more concerning than that, the biggest question out of all of this must be: Why is there NO mention of protecting EXISTING REGISTRANTS in this FAQ?

Existing registrants were not worth a single mention.

There are so many questions to come out of this.

Does this FAQ show that the entire Policy Review process has been a sham since the beginning?

Have auDA always had preconceived ideas about how Direct .AU Registrations are going to be implemented?

You be the judge:

(April 2018) – https://campaignedge.com.au/joinauda/faqs/

(April 2018) – https://domainer.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/sprung_early_au_website.jpg

https://domainer.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/sprung_auda_freedom.jpg

https://domainer.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/sprung_auda_who.jpg

5 thoughts on “Has auDA been running a sham consultation process for Direct .AU Registrations?

  • Avatar
    April 14, 2019 at 6:24 pm
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    How embarrassing for auDA. This is a tremendous exposé. Which makes your image for this article very appropriate.

    I’m reminded of the infamous “auDA HQ”. When auDA got found out on that, the CEO went into damage control. The dark arts of “spin” went into overdrive, and there were denials, excuses and indignation a plenty.

    No doubt we will see plenty of the same tactics tomorrow and in the days ahead. Consultants accountants and bank managers will be overjoyed.

    Most importantly for past members and existing registrants, where is the transparency that was promised?

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  • Avatar
    April 15, 2019 at 7:01 am
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    Cameron Boardman’s veracity seems to have been questioned many times during his tenure at auDA.

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  • Avatar
    April 15, 2019 at 8:56 am
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    UPDATE: As of first-thing Monday morning, Campaign Edge have taken down the website and FAQ from April 2018: https://campaignedge.com.au/joinauda/faqs/ – page now shows “Oops, that page can’t be found.”

    You can still see the FAQ and other pages auDA engaged Campaign Edge to create at the screenshot links above.

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    • Avatar
      April 15, 2019 at 10:49 am
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      At least you know they are reading Domainer. Thank goodness for screenshots.

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  • Avatar
    April 15, 2019 at 10:44 pm
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    Has auDA been running a sham consultation process for Direct .AU Registrations?

    Well, the answer appears to be YES!

    According to the last page of THIS DOCUMENT (https://www.auda.org.au/assets/Uploads/auDA-Licencing-Rules-consultation-final.pdf) released today…

    Which states “The rules governing the issuing of licences for the use of domain names in the
    .au ccTLD and complaints handling”

    The CREATION DATE on the last page is listed as 19th September, 2018.

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