auDA took a long time to arrive at the decision of implementing direct registration of Australian domains e.g. the ability to register yourname.au. There was the 2007 Names Panel which gave an emphatic “no”; then the 2010 Names Panel which responded similarly.
It took until the 2015 Names Panel for a majority recommendation to be made in favour of direct registration in principle (though the “how” of implementation was not part of their mandate). The auDA Board accepted this recommendation in 2016 subject to fair implementation procedures being able to be put in place.
The 2017 Policy Review Panel (PRP) was established by the auDA Board to make recommendations on:
- the development of an implementation policy for direct registration; and
- policy reform of existing auDA policies (as listed in the Terms of Reference)
Recent auDA Boards have accepted the premise that opening up the Australian system (direct registration) will add value to all three main categories of users – vendors, registrants and ultimate users of the system. After a number of years, this now looks like a reality – and there are many Registrars and Australian individuals looking forward to its implementation. No doubt auDA and the registry operator feel the same way.
It’s also fair to say that there are many in the community who think that this is simply an exercise to raise revenue for the supply side (which predominately includes auDA); and that there is simply no need or demand that could not be fulfilled within the current system. I put myself in that camp.
But process has been followed, and now it’s time to get on with it. Incumbent in this is the need to properly inform and educate all existing registrants – as well as encourage new business.
Cutting Red Tape
The number of policies (and policies to explain policies) that auDA has on its books are mind blowing. They confuse many people and businesses – particularly when it comes down to who is allowed to register a domain, and what are they allowed to do with them.
The auDA Board empowered the PRP to come up with recommendations to reform these – the object being to reduce and consolidate over 30 policies into just 3.
After a number of public consultations, the PRP made their recommendations to the auDA Board. After due consideration, the Board accepted some in full; some in part; and others were rejected. A detailed reasoning was sent back to the PRP, and comment and submissions were invited.
My take on the outcome arrived at by the auDA Board was very positive – and I was far from alone. There was finally an air of optimism from all sides of the supply and demand eco system.
But Then …
It appears as if the Department of Communications and Arts (DoCA) were concerned that there was not sufficient public consultation about the auDA Board’s decision making. This is evidenced by the letter below.
The auDA Chair has since responded (letter also below), and it appears that there will now be further consultation to explain their decision making, and to invite further comment. Proposed changes have been put on hold.
Hopefully auDA’s position will be ratified in the very near future. The last thing .au space needs is to have further uncertainty into the future. It affects everyone.
Ned O’Meara – 23rd August 2019
I have fought long and hard against direct registration over many years. This includes being a dissenting member of 2015 Names Panel. I was also the initial Demand Class representative of the PRP until I briefly became an auDA Director. But I also believe in proper process, and if this happens (and I’m on the losing side), then I accept that outcome.