Premonition Was Right

Just two days ago, I wrote a very anguished piece about the auDA that I have known and loved for 10 years. I suggested that it was “only a matter of time” before people on high took some action.

“Unless something changes soon, there will be a formal accounting for this. There has to be, because the pressure is mounting. The train crashes need to end.”

Little did I know that this was already in the works. The very next day came the announcement that the Federal Government intends to hold a review into auDA.

“A review of auDA’s governance arrangements and an assessment of the terms of endorsement will examine whether Australia’s top-level domain, .au, is being managed consistent with Government and community expectations. It is anticipated that the review would be finalised in early 2018.”

Media Coverage

Many mainstream media publications have again picked up the story and run with it. As usual, Myriam Robin of the AFR is right on top of it with her “Rear Window” article entitled “Government wades into Australian Domain Authority dispute”.

The one piece that puzzles me slightly is on the SkyNews website. The opening sentence reads:

“A battle over two letters that led to several directors leaving the .au authority has blown up into a government review.”

I’d love to have that better explained.

What Still Worries Me

There are around 320 auDA members at the moment, and under the long standing Constitution, they have rights. The unrest this year has come about simply because some of those in control at auDA forgot this. It’s Politics 101 – if you upset the voters, then get ready for the backlash. The people at the helm of auDA are Victorian Liberal Party warriors (Karabardak and Boardman), so I’m surprised they ignored this basic tenet.

More importantly, there are approximately 1.7 million individual registrants of domain names in Australia. It is the latter that I believe are being disenfranchised by auDA’s “growth strategies”. Many of these people wouldn’t have a clue that auDA intends to try and introduce direct registrations i.e. the ability to register yourname.au in addition to yourname.com.au. This effectively doubles the pool of domain names – but there are potentially some catches. Like having a competitor register the new .au domain name ahead of them; or to avoid this, they will effectively be forced to defensively register the new .au themselves.

Either which way, if this goes ahead, it will be a double tax on registrants. Most good politicians should know by now that tax is never a popular subject! It has seen the downfall of many a political party.

The big question is why? Our market is so tiny with approximately 3.1 million domains registered (compared to dot com with +/- 130 million).

As I have said for over 2 years, if auDA intends on introducing the biggest change in the .au namespace, then make sure every single one of those 1.7 million registrants knows about it first – and has the chance to have a say. Particularly if as an organisation you are financially going to benefit from it.

Hopefully this Government review takes a similar stance, and it won’t be just a “window dressing whitewash”.

Ned O’Meara – 20th October 2017


Disclaimer

9 thoughts on “Premonition Was Right

  • Avatar
    October 20, 2017 at 8:04 am
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    The direct registration proposal is destroying the organisation. Will be interesting to see if AUDA is still going to try and push what even some supply people are now saying is a money grab by AUDA.

    Registrants can see through it, the media can see through it. A double tax on small businesses, another AUDA rip off.

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  • Avatar
    October 20, 2017 at 10:27 am
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    Hopefully this Government review takes a similar stance, and it won’t be just a “window dressing whitewash”.

     

    Spot on, Ned.

    This announcement presents both an opportunity and a risk.

    Therefore, it is incumbent upon members, the stakeholder community, all registrants, Government and journalists such as Myriam to follow the process closely, make their voices heard and demand the best possible outcome for the future of .au.

    We need to learn the lessons of history and ensure that this process is held to the highest possible standard:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-19550952

    http://domainincite.com/10414-whistleblower-accuses-nominet-of-trying-to-dodge-freedom-of-information-law

     

    *Please note, I am in no way inferring that similar alleged collusion has or will occur between comparable parties in Australia. Rather, I am highlighting the need for us all to be active, vocal and engaged to ensure we achieve a “win” for all stakeholders*

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  • Avatar
    October 20, 2017 at 11:13 am
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    As a auDA member and keen follower of the Australian domain space I am deeply upset that auDA has let this all come so far as to the Government needing to intervene..

    I too want every single Australian .au domain name owner to be notified of the implications that direct registrations will have, which to date, has not happened, with only a selected few being notified & asked to participate in a short questionnaire on direct registration eg: having http://www.yourname.au

     

    I hope we all get clarification, and see our .au body gain our confidence & trust again!

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    • Avatar
      October 20, 2017 at 11:20 am
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      I too want every single Australian .au domain name owner to be notified of the implications that direct registrations will have, which to date, has not happened, with only a selected few being notified & asked to participate in a short questionnaire on direct registration eg: having http://www.yourname.au

      Agree, they should be notified, and in a non skewed way. i.e. they should be informed of the cost implications  and pro/cons.

      At the moment all we have are some very dubious surveys and AUDA is withholding vital business case research from members and the public.

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  • Ned O'Meara
    October 20, 2017 at 11:48 am
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    Good to see Josh Rowe and Jim Stewart being quoted in the latest SmartCompany article by Dominic Powell.

    However, this snippet below is NOT correct. Either a misinterpretation by Dominic – or a Freudian slip by Erhan Karabardak?

    “We have also got a member’s constitutional reform committee which is a 100% member group which is reviewing our governance structure from the member’s perspective. We want to give members a real opportunity to be part of the organisation and the reform process.”

    “This is a two-way conversation with members all the time, and we want this to be a member-driven process”.

    If you haven’t been misquoted Erhan, this is simply BULLDUST. This committee hasn’t even been formed.

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    • Avatar
      October 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm
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      Erhan did you say this and is it actually true? If not perhap’s a media release to state it was not true.

      Certainly it is misleading for people to read if not accurate.

      “We have also got a member’s constitutional reform committee which is a 100% member group which is reviewing our governance structure from the member’s perspective. We want to give members a real opportunity to be part of the organisation and the reform process.”

      “This is a two-way conversation with members all the time, and we want this to be a member-driven process”.

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    • Avatar
      October 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm
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      He’s not listening.

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    • Avatar
      October 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm
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