Please explain this complaint: auDA & Synergy?!

I wouldn’t be surprised if the complaints team at auDA and the tech support team over at Synergy Wholesale are literally just pushing the “forward” button on complaints whilst munching on pizza and listening to Nickelback on fancy bluetooth headphones.

As mentioned in my article a few days ago, anonymous complaints are OUT OF HAND and auDA and Synergy Wholesale can clearly be seen as both downright lazy and un-empathetic to domain name owners in this latest example.

Today, JW Brick & Stone received a SEVEN DAY DELETION NOTICE (WARRANTY CHECK) from Synergy Wholesale, stating:

We have received an eligibility complaint relating to the Registrant that is currently associated to is not eligible to hold the domain name. auDA are unable to determine the registrant’s eligibility from the information in the .au database or via any information on the registrant’s website.

Here is the full complaint:

auda registrant warranty check

The copy-and-paste robotic standard text clearly states:

Under auDA policy a close and substantial connection is established where, for example, the domain name refers to a product or service that the registrant provides.

Please provide the response to auDA (via Synergy Wholesale Pty Ltd) by no later than 5pm 7 days after this email.

Please note that if we do not receive a response before the deadline, we will instruct Synergy Wholesale Pty Ltd to delete the domain name for breach of policy.

This clearly shows auDA are responsible for verifying the complaint IS LEGITIMATE, and then requesting Synergy Wholesale to deal with it.


The only problem is…

The complaint is NOT LEGITIMATE!

Here is proof that can be established by literally spending ten seconds performing basic entry-level research, that this is a vexatious waste-of-time complaint:

The WHOIS for states the following:

auda complaint

And the ABN Lookup (below) clearly shows that the ABN and Business Name are PERFECTLY WITHIN RIGHTS to claim a CLOSE AND SUBSTANTIAL CONNECTION to owning the domain name.

defend auda complaint

The ABN of the Registrant clearly states: J & W Brick & Stone in the Trading Names section.

I am lost for words.

If this isn’t a perfect example of CLOSE & SUBSTANTIAL CONNECTION – then WHAT IS?!

This is one of auDA’s most basic roles.

Who exactly at auDA received this vexatious complaint, that is clearly a waste of time – due to the domain name CLEARLY meeting close and substantial connection, and decided for their own personal reasons that it DIDN’T meet the policy rules?

And then, who exactly at auDA forwarded this wrongful complaint to Synergy Wholesale, stating their client was against policy (when they weren’t!!!!)

And then, who exactly at Synergy Wholesale just took auDA’s word for it, and passed on the complaint to the customer of one of their resellers, without caring or performing their own due diligence on the legitimacy of the complaint?

auDA didn’t care about Synergy Wholesale or the Reseller or the Domain Name Owner.

Synergy Wholesale didn’t care about their Reseller’s reputation or the Domain Name Owner.

Shame on you auDA and Synergy Wholesale.

Shame for wasting your reseller’s time and the domain name owner’s time!

Please act quickly auDA, to put this right. Then make sure this stops happening.

And here’s a free heads-up to Synergy Wholesale: you might want to double-check emails you get from auDA from now on, as this example clearly proves auDA MAKE MISTAKES. And this is a big one. Please protect your resellers and domain name owners by defending them as your first port of call.

The biggest thing that has to happen, is what I and others have been saying for a while now.

We need to CHANGE auDA POLICY so that anonymous cowards can’t make nasty vexatious complaints against legitimate domain name holders and waste everyone’s time.


Dear Robert

It is appropriate that I reply on behalf of auDA regarding this post as it would be beneficial to provide some clarity around the complaints management process.

auDA does perform research on each and every domain name before a complaint is processed. It is our role to investigate the issues by requesting further information from the relevant parties before assessing these issues against our published policies.

In regards to this specific matter, there is a reason why we have proceeded with a complaint against the domain name, but at this point in time we are not at liberty to provide additional detail. We have an obligation to the privacy of ALL parties.

Needless to say, this is not the first time that this domain name has been brought to auDA’s attention.

Breaches of policy can take many forms from a variety of actors. auDA is not obliged to communicate with the general public what investigations we undertake and the techniques used in the detecting of these domain names for good reason, as we also regularly liaise with Government departments and law enforcement in the processing of complaints. This is standard practice.

With regards to the matters raised in your post, the registrant contact simply needs to respond to the complaint appropriately as requested. It is the registrant who is required to respond consistent with our policies.

As for the complaint being processed via Synergy Wholesale, auDA has always conducted warranty check complaints through the registrar of record unless otherwise noted in policy (e.g. the Prohibition on Misspellings Policy).

I trust this clarifies the matter and I agree that there can be further reform of auDA’s policies.  This is the task of the Policy Review Panel and I would encourage all of your readers to make submissions outlining where auDA’s policies can be improved. It is only with this level of constructive feedback can we achieve a result in the best interest of all parts of the .au domain industry.


Cameron Boardman

CEO – auDA

23 thoughts on “Please explain this complaint: auDA & Synergy?!

  • Avatar
    June 26, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    I agree. The complainant is clearly not going to provide those details to auDA, hence it’s definitely up to auDA in the first instance to at least do a basic attempt to verify the eligibility criteria are being met before simply forwarding the complaint onto the registrar.

    I’m surprised by Synergy’s actions as well in this instance.They could equally have done the same thing auDA failed to do.

    7 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 26, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Complaints are out of control at the moment Robert. And there is no common sense being used whatsoever. I received a complaint recently about a 3-letter domain which was monetised but flagged for not having enough relevant ads – keep in mind these are 3 random letters, how could you have relevant ads for monetisation that contain those letters?

    These sorts of things just show a huge divide between auDA and domain owners. A complete lack of communication and engagement, even tips and resources for education purposes. No, it’s all cloak and daggers.

    6 people like this.
    • Avatar
      June 26, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      Thanks for your experience Luke. I am hearing more and more of this.

      The PRP are currently targeting “monetisation” and trying to retroactively remove it from current policy altogether. There will be lots more talk on this soon. Domain Monetisation has been approved since 2007, now they are trying to recommend to “turn back the clock”, back to the stone-age.

      It is only the NEW auDA complaints team that is gunning for monetisation pages to have a “majority” of matching keyword links that directly relate to the domain name. The old complaints team never did this. I haven’t heard of any examples. What this says to me is; the current auDA complaints team are “thinking for themselves” and “enforcing rules they personally believe in”, as opposed to what makes SENSE according to policy.


      6 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 26, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    This is disappointing indeed and extremely disturbing.

    What’s the point in having policies like this in place if auDA or the registrars are not going to oversee them properly?

    They could surely automate their cross reference checks to see when a domain exactly matches a trading name that is under the registrants ABN. Then all this could have been avoided.

    What is seriously going on at auDA for this to happen?

    This makes one worry that anyone who is targeted and overlooks their email one day could be next in line and without their domain.

    7 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 26, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    As someone has privately pointed out to me, there are a number of “dodgy” links on the mentioned website… however, this still doesn’t go against auDA Policy.

    Surely all it means is that their website may have been hacked?

    So… first their website gets hacked?

    Then auDA pulls it out from under them? And this company loses their emails and everything?

    And Synergy Wholesale don’t care and let it all happen?

    Story developing…

    4 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 26, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Yes, Wayback Machine proves it is merely a recent website hack.

    One year ago, the website was exactly the same, without the hacked links.

    Another ten seconds of research shows this to be a legitimate business who’s recently been hacked.

    auDA & Synergy need to publicly explain their reasoning behind this.

    3 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 at 6:40 am


    This is frustrating. I get a large number of emails daily and although I usually keep on top of them sometimes some of them get missed. To think that the registrant could have easily missed such an important email which inevitably would (or could) make a huge impact on their business is scary.

    Meanwhile at auDA… 

    auDA Complaints Team

    Is this an isolated case or a common occurrence? Either way, as you said Robert, a simple 10 second search (in this case) would have sufficed.

    And what’s up with Synergy, they should be going to bat for their client!



    4 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Wouldn’t have happened with pre-CB staff.

    *twangs suspender straps*

    3 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 at 10:24 am

    This type of thing makes me nervous. We need rules that are fair and we can depend on.

    3 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Any conjecture about the complainants motivation? It doesn’t seem to make sense.

    3 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Very poor form from Auda and Synergy. Especially disappointed at Synergy for allowing this to slip through the cracks. They are better than that.

    3 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    As shown at the bottom of the article, auDA have now officially responded.

    2 people like this.
  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    On looking into this further this afternoon I felt I had to phone the actual owner of

    The Registrant of this domain name, Wayne, made things clear.

    He is feeling very frustrated and lost and left out in the cold regarding Australian domain names and his business website.

    He admits he’s just a hard-working local builder, who originally had the website working, but he seems to have had a “falling out” with the previous web designers, and somehow lost the domain name for a little while.

    In the meantime he got a new domain: and set up a new website over there.

    Anyway, now he has the domain name back, and he’s really happy with the service Domain Rescue provided him, getting him his name back. But it appears the DNS is still pointing to a “hacked” alternative version of his website, which he says must have been made that way by the previous web designers.

    His Domain Name Reseller has now spoken with him, regarding the complaint and they are now working with him to “point” directly to

    I guess the moral of this story is, I’ve just spent hours of time, and so has the Reseller, making sure the Registrant of this domain name knows what’s going on. That, in effect, he is being served a UBU (Unauthorised Business Use) Deletion Notice because his domain name is pointing to a “hacked” website.

    The auDA complaint, through Synergy, literally states the following:

    Please contact the current registrant of and ask them to explain their close and substantial connection to the domain name.

    Please also have them supply a copy of their company/business/ charity ABN/ registration certificate; which includes the current list of director(s)/office holder(s)/owner(s); along with Photo ID’s of the persons named on the above document as directors/owners/officeholders.

    Please use all reasonable commercial endeavours to contact the registrant (for example, if an email bounces, you should attempt to contact the registrant by phone or fax).

    Do you think Wayne has time to send in a copy of his Photo ID and prove he really has a close & substantial connection to this domain name?

    I still don’t understand how auDA and/or Synergy Wholesale couldn’t care enough to get this guy on the phone (it was very easy for me!) and let him know what was happening.

    That was left up to the Reseller and myself to do.

    He’s a real person and he legitimately has a close and substantial connection to owning the domain name.

    There is a core problem here, and I have been stating it for over 5 years now (Note: this was before the latest CEO’s time), back when Vanessa Stanford was the Complaints Manager at auDA.

    Particularly when I wrote this on September 8th, 2016:

    Complaints made against a domain name to auDA should be made public. Otherwise, how do we know all the complaints are legitimate?

    It’s called transparency, and it’s time auDA was more transparent, across the board. Otherwise, perhaps they shouldn’t be the sole company in charge of our much-respected domain space!

    That was nearly two years ago.

    In that article, I also called Vanessa out for what I believe was a personal attack by her on my domain names, without any real “complainant” in existence.

    Less than 8 weeks later, she no longer worked at auDA.

    The core problem, that still remains to this day, is this:

    Domain Name complaints need to be made TRANSPARENT. Perhaps Policy needs to change so everyone can go to a certain section of auDA to see who is making a complaint against what name, and for what reason?

    Instead of auDA simply copying and pasting robotic “scary” Policy Delete letters to legitimate domain name owners with “Fix this in 7 days OR ELSE” type bouncer-language, why don’t they spend a few minutes on the phone giving people the benefit of the doubt?

    In this case, I still don’t believe this REGISTRANT WARRANTY CHECK – DOMAIN DELETION letter should have been sent.

    I’m not saying it should have been ignored, because there ARE plenty of scammers out there who SHOULD have their domain names taken off them for UBU reasons…

    In this exact case, the fact remains this domain name is NOT a UBU. A ten-second phone call would have proven that.


    8 people like this.
    • Scott.L
      June 27, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      Yeah that’s insane –  both ABN’s are valid and belong to the same party, maybe a CoR would fix it up.

      Anonymous likes this.
  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    So, the Executive Chairman from Synergy Wholesale just emailed me this:

    I’m sure Cheyne won’t mind me commenting publicly, as this subject is currently a public discussion and I don’t think he’s said anything he’ll regret 😉

    Hi Robert,
    It is not the policy of Synergy Wholesale, or any accredited registrar that I am aware of, to conduct independent investigations on behalf of registrants regarding enforcement of policies and decisions made by auDA or any other regulatory body or registry operator.

    Well, perhaps you might want to look at changing your policy.

    I do know of at least three accredited registrars that would have defended this at the moment of existence. They would have seen it at vexatious. The domain name clearly meets “close substantial” and doesn’t meet UBU because the ABN is not hijacked.

    The Registrant’s main website is using YOUR hosting.

    All that’s happened in this case is his other domain name’s DNS has been hacked. That’s not a UBU. Couldn’t Synergy have seen this right away and said to auDA, “This isn’t right, we’re not sending this forward.”

    I am about to launch and retail services and my policy is going to be to protect my registrants from time-wasters. I could easily have a policy where they protect themselves, but I can’t help myself, and I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

    Since we are not privy to the details of the complaint, or any investigation that has taken place, our duty in this instance is to be the messenger and pass on the relevant information to the registrant, who is then able to provide the necessary response(s) which we in turn provide to the originating authority for their determination.

    You could be privy to the details if you wanted.

    As a Domain Broker, I represent many auDA complaints for my clients. I do it for free (if they’re an existing customer).

    When auDA tell me to mind my own business, I have the client email auDA to say I have permission to defend the complaint. I guess we all define the term “duty” differently. Synergy’s duty seems to be as a messenger. Mine is to be a defender.

    At no point during this process do we have any right to intervene.

    Sure, you don’t initially have the “right”, but as I just said, you could if you wanted to and your client gave you permission.

    Suggesting that we should be somehow involved in these matters is outrageous, and could lead to allegations of bias towards one case over another.

    I wouldn’t say it’s outrageous. Maybe, out of scope?

    You make a good point, but I stand by mine.

    We have a long standing reputation for ensuring compliance of published policy, and our team is more than happy to provide advice on any policy matters when asked by our partners and resellers.

    Yes, that’s what the industry is clearly seeing. Unfortunately your words here speak volumes about how you’re on the gatekeepers’ side, instead of your Resellers’ and the Registrants’ side, the guys who actually pay you and allow your company to exist in the first place. And as has been shown here, the gatekeepers aren’t always in the right.

    Registrars seem to be scared of auDA instead of working with them to create “better”, more pro-active policy.

    You’ll notice I’m currently moving hundreds of domain names into Synergy Wholesale for my Registrants and there’s soon to be thousands more. I couldn’t stand TPP’s cacophony of errors and bad customer support any longer.

    Look forward to working with you all over there!

    Cheyne Jonstone
    Executive Chairman
    Synergy Wholesale


    Robert Kaay


    2 people like this.
  • Avatar
    July 3, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    The business name was cancelled on the 20/8/16 so this appears to be a legitimate complaint.

    • Avatar
      July 3, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Peter,

      You’re wrong. It’s not a legitimate complaint.

      Why would I bother to go to the trouble of writing this whole article, without fact checking first?

      The GST has been cancelled for J.J PRING & W.A PRING – but the Trading Name of J & W Bricks & Stone is live and valid.

      auDA & Synergy must continue to ensure this doesn’t happen anymore.


      • Avatar
        July 3, 2018 at 3:43 pm

        No you are wrong Robert. The business name was cancelled on the 20/8/16. They no longer have the links to ASIC for the trading names on the ABN lookup so you have to do it manually. Here’s the record from ASIC.

        Business name:
        J & W BRICKS & STONE


        Registration date:

        Renewal date:

        Cancelled date:

        Cancellation under review:

        Address for service of documents:

        Principal place of business:

        Holder(s) details:

        Debtor representative(s):

        not applicable

        Notified successor(s):

        not applicable

        Australian Securities and Investments Commission

        Former State/Territory registration details

        Former identifier:

        Former State/Territory:

        • Avatar
          July 3, 2018 at 4:37 pm

          The Trading Name of of J & W Bricks & Stone is live and valid on some platforms, but not on others, as you suggest.

          For example, on ABNLookup – at the official website, the Trading Name is live and valid…

          But on run by D&B, the Trading Name says “deregistered”.

          This still doesn’t change anything.

          The ABN IS VALID.

          They STILL have a CLOSE & SUBSTANTIAL CONNECTION with the domain name, being that their initials from their ABN appear in the domain name PLUS they run a “brick and stone” business.

          You still can’t get more “close and substantial” than that.

          In the official auDA complaint, auDA stated the complaint was based on a “possible UBU”. So they didn’t even get as far as you got, Peter 🙂

          The website was hacked. That’s all. The domain name was not using an ABN that was hijacked.

          The fact remains that anonymous cowards are making complaints against legitimate domain name owners and they shouldn’t be allowed to be anonymous.

          auDA should not have jumped to place this into “Warranty Check with 7 days until deletion” and Synergy should have also performed their due dilligence to support their reseller and end-user.

          In terms of your original comment:

          The business name was cancelled on the 20/8/16 so this appears to be a legitimate complaint.

          It is NOT a legitimate complaint.

          • Avatar
            July 3, 2018 at 4:47 pm

            It seems ABN Lookup can no longer be trusted…

            • Avatar
              July 3, 2018 at 7:33 pm

              The trading names on ABR are still valid till end of October 2018.

              “A transition period from 28 May 2012 to 31 October 2018 is in place to allow businesses who have unregistered trading names to decide whether to register them.”

              And, this person does not have to have a registered business name if he now trades as with his full name in his business name.

              Robert likes this.
          • Avatar
            July 3, 2018 at 5:04 pm

            Imagine if auDA and Synergy had put in that amount of work to get to this stage…

  • Avatar
    July 3, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    I’ve also been contacted for advice for someone that is fighting  to save 30 domains. Looks like it is rife. Without the owner doing anything auDA reversed the notice. SHoot now, ask questions later.

Comments are closed.