People That Throw Stones

Disclaimer: I am now an auDA Demand Class Director. The article below is my personal opinion, and does not purport to be the views of auDA.

There are two very small groups of people in the internet community in Australia. Domain investors or “Domainers” – and those people that dislike them with an unbridled and irrational passion. For purposes of this article, let’s call them the “detractors”.

In the interests of full disclosure – and as you can probably tell from my website – I am a proud member of the former group. That said, I haven’t purchased a domain on the expired auctions for a long time.

The “detractors” are usually very quick to describe us as “cybersquatters”. That’s probably the polite term – I’ve read descriptions such as “parasites” and “scumbags”.

Legal Interpretations

Unfortunately, even some lawyers don’t seem to understand what cybersquatting truly is. Take this Legalvision article from December 2015. The first sentence is wrong and misleading in my opinion:

Cybersquatting refers to the registration of internet domain names with the purpose of profiting from its purchase.

Thank goodness we have some lawyers like Cooper Mills who define the term properly:

Cybersquatting is the practice of bad faith use and or registration of a domain name.”

There’s a big difference between those two definitions.

Some Facts

  • In Australia, domain investment or domain monetisation is a permitted activity. Just like it is in most places around the world. However, there are a lot of extra rules and policies on our home turf that registrants have to comply with if they claim this as their “close and substantial connection”. If they don’t comply, then they are at risk of enforcement action by auDA (and possibly losing their domains).
  • Domain names have been around for a long time. The best ones have long ago been registered, and there is an aftermarket where buyers and sellers can transact. Just like the real estate market, there are owner/occupiers, and there are investors. People that invested in property 10 or 20 years ago are not called parasites or scumbags. Free market principles of supply and demand apply to both “real property” as they do to “cyber property”.
  • Every day at 2pm, there are “expired auctions”. These are domain names that haven’t been renewed for one reason or the other, and anybody can bid on them. Go to Drop.com.au; DomainShield.com.au or Netfleet.com.au.
  • Domainers don’t have magical powers that enables them to register domains ahead of anyone else. In Australia, we operate on a first come; first served basis.

Finally

As I wrote back in April 2015 in my article entitled “What is a Domainer?”, responsible domainers also don’t blatantly infringe on trademarks or brands.

Like any industry though, there can be some “bad eggs” that can spoil it for others – but they are an absolute minority. And they deserve regulatory and public condemnation. But please don’t tar us all with the same brush! If you see someone doing something illegal or against policy, then complain to auDA.

By the same token, if no rules are being broken, then please don’t throw stones.

Domain investment is legitimate, and it’s here to stay.

Ned O’Meara – 11th December 2017


Disclaimer

5 thoughts on “People That Throw Stones

  • December 11, 2017 at 11:58 am
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    Hi Ned,

    Perhaps your next story could be on  “What is RDNH Reverse Domain Name Hijacking”.
     www.rdnh.com
    https://www.coopermills.com.au/reverse-domain-name-hijacking/

    auDA over many years has “urged” Australians to invest in  .com.au names and so based on this many consumers have invested in .com.au instead of choosing other extensions. ( Every  com.au registrant owner is in fact a “consumer” with relevance to Australian laws)
    http://www.zdnet.com/article/auda-urges-australian-businesses-to-back-au/
    For people in supply to “slag off” those who have invested in .com.au domain names based on the fact auDA themselves urged people invest in .com.au seems strange from the supply side who profits from every .com.au domain name Registered, Renewed and Change Of Registrant fee.

    Without the support of domain name investors, domainers, businesses, etc the .com.au would not have had the global market credibility it has or the amount of registrations, COR’s or renewals.

    The best promoters of the .com.au for the benefit of auDA and supply is in fact domain name investors, current .com.au registrant consumers and domain name investors. These are the people who directly help finance and feed auDA, Ausregistry, Registrars and Resellers. Smarter people would understand this and not attack the very hands that feeds them.

    Numerous people in “Supply” have  directly attacked  .com.au registrant consumer customers over the years… They have even done it on public forums and in submissions to auDA etc. auDA may want to review if they should be auDA members or if they should still be in roles at any supply accredited Supply entity.  They hurt investment and support of the .au namespace.

    It appears these” detractors” want to go back in time and either get the good .com.au names themselves perhaps or that they have no real idea about domain names at all in Australia or globally. They will keep whinging with sour grapes they either didn’t get the good .com.au or .com names themselves or as part of their auDA Supply registrar agreement they where not allowed to keep them if they in fact did register some years ago themselves…

    Hopefully the new people at auDA and those on the board  with less real domain name experience seek to fully understand what RDNH, Aftermarket and Monetisation is.

    2 people like this.
  • Scott.L
    December 11, 2017 at 12:13 pm
    Permalink

    In the real world, you can buy house and land and utterly destroy it, you can leave it for 10 – 50 years before building a new house on it. No law states that you must ‘qualify’ to buy a home, No Law states you must build a house on it instantly and No law orders you to build a certain type of house on that property.

    In the online .au world, you are told you must qualify to buy your block of land (ABN) and then you must build a certain type of house (monetisation + Close and substantial rule)  and it must be done ASAP or else we will take your investment from you.

    I thought the .au DNS was an Australian Public resource, its not, its a business only club.

     

     

    4 people like this.
  • December 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm
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    You tell em Ned

    3 people like this.
  • December 11, 2017 at 2:55 pm
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    Ned, another impressive article. Good to see that your recent appointment as an auDA director has not as yet had an effect on your blogging.

    .au is one of the most heavily regulated ccTLDs in the world. The complainers do not seem to have a grip on reality. auDA policy makes it very clear that it is first come first served regardless of business names or TM’s. Remedies for brand infringement are available to all.

    Jeff

    7 people like this.
  • December 12, 2017 at 7:36 am
    Permalink

    Well pointed out

    Anonymous likes this.

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