PRP Final Report – Section 3.3 – Resale and Warehousing

If you haven’t had a chance to read the Final Report from auDA’s PRP, don’t fret, Domainer is picking it apart over the next few days, one article at a time.

I believe Section 3.3 – the Resale and Warehousing part of the PRP’s Reform of Existing Policies Final Report should be ignored and denied by the auDA Board. 

Here’s why…

Although the crazy idea of giving the Direct .AU domain name to a registrant of a matching .com.au and .net.au via a random “lottery system” didn’t get any traction, it seems the same two individual PRP Members are having another crack at turning the Australian domain name system upside down!

This time it seems the same dynamic-duo in The PRP are trying to give birth to a new policy rule called the “Resale and Warehousing” Policy.

This potential Policy inclusion promises to throw all 2 million Australia domain name Registrants back to the stone ages if passed by the auDA Board.

You can read it for yourself starting on Page 8, Section 3.3, but in short…

“The Panel Recommends:”

No Registrant should own more than 100 Australian domain names.

A domain name must not resolve to a website that is PRIMARILY COMPUTER GENERATED.

A domain name must not be offered for sale in excess of “out-of-pocket” costs directly related to the domain name.

No one be allowed to sell more than six domain name within six months.

Can you believe it?!

I hope no one was paid for their time coming up with this garbage? If so, I’m sure the people want their money back.

Do I really have to explain, literally how STUPID it is to state in a policy paper, that is going to be read by an entire technology industry and various government bodies, that if you say a website can’t be “computer generated“…..

EVERY SINGLE WEBSITE in existence on the internet is “COMPUTER GENERATED”!

Even the Policy that was created to state this oxymoron was COMPUTER GENERATED!

It just goes to show, doesn’t it.

As mentioned in this NameBid article in March 2018, I singled-out who I believed was a bias PRP member at that time.

In that article, Brett Fenton, who had a strong influence over coming up with and “inventing” various recommended auDA Policy changes in the first versions of The PRP Reports, publicly stated on LinkedIn that he believed anyone who purchased a number of domain names was an “extortionist” who resold them to other interested parties, and Australian domain names only had a “face value of less than $50”.

Yep. He actually wrote that online.

Well, I’ve got some brand-new news for Mr Fenton, that not only opposes his viewpoint, but also comes from way up high.

Four months ago, (nine month’s after Mr Fenton stated domain names only have a “face value of $50”) the Australia Government’s Australian Institute of Criminology stated:

“It costs money to Register and maintain these cyberspace territories (domain names) created under the DNS. They have an added value beyond the cost of registration, arising from exclusive usage rights to the use of that particular domain name”.

After you read all the comments Brett Fenton publicly made on Linked In, it’s clear to see why I, and countless others, believe he was and is a driving bias force against any Australian business being able to own more than one domain name.

It’s also now very clear to see that not only didn’t he want ANYONE buying or selling a domain name for over $50 one year ago, he is now trying to implement it as Australian domain name POLICY [Page 10].

Let us also not forget that it was around this time, one year ago, that a well-respected PRP Member, Luke Summers, resigned from The PRP stating: 

I no longer have confidence that the Panel can proceed in a manner that is in the best interests of the Australian internet community.”

“I am greatly concerned that the Panel lacks objectivity, and that stakeholder feedback is being overwhelmingly overlooked in favour of personal views held by some Panel members.”

It now becomes clear that Luke was right and did the only thing he could to ensure he had a clear conscience moving forward.

By Brett Fenton and one or two other people creating policy changes out of thin air that state, “No Registrant can own more than 100 Australian domain names,” when NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD imposes these sorts of restrictions, it just goes to show why Section 3.3 – Resale and Warehousing can only be seen as a bias and jealous attempt to retroactively remove domain names from existing domain name holders which would only serve to cause them unwarranted financial and business damage.

In 2012, auDA updated their Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules which stated:

There is no restriction on the number of domain names that may be licensed by a registrant

But even further back than this, in July 2002, auDA’s Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules stated:

There is no restriction on the number of domain names that may be licensed by a registrant.

This means that for 17 years, auDA has not restricted Australian businesses from owning as many domain names as they like.

Just like every other country in the world.

And over the course of those 17 years, a few million Australian domain names were registered, and all those registrants completely understood those rules and took them in good faith as they invested tens and hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising their online brands.

And now, Brett Fenton and Co want to wind back the clock?

No chance, Mr Fenton.

I, on behalf of at least 64,000 Australian domain name Registrants (who each own more than 10 domain names and collectively own 1 million) ask the auDA Board to IGNORE and DENY Section 3.3 – Resale and Warehousing from the PRP’s Final Report for 2018.

I feel that I MUST represent them, as I’m quite sure nearly the entire lot of them have NO IDEA any of this is happening?!

Don’t forget to Have Your Say!

The PRP strongly encourages the Australian Internet community to read the PRP’s recommendations and submit their feedback.

Submissions can be emailed to policy.review@auda.org.au

Submissions must be received no later than 5pm AEST, 10 April 2019.

7 thoughts on “PRP Final Report – Section 3.3 – Resale and Warehousing

  • Avatar
    March 27, 2019 at 12:23 am
    Permalink

    auDA themselves warehoused, speculated and resold .au domain names at Massive profit in breach of ICANN Policy which all Registries and Registrars must abide by. https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/ra-agreement-2009-05-21-en

    “4.2.5 prohibitions on warehousing of or speculation in domain names by registries or registrars”

    https://www.smh.com.au/technology/generic-name-auction-a-blooming-success-20021001-gdfofh.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name_warehousing
    https://www.domainregistration.com.au/news/domain-name-warehousing.php

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  • Avatar
    March 27, 2019 at 5:52 am
    Permalink

    Is this the same Brett Fenton that is Chief Technology Officer at ARQ Group (formerly known as MelbourneIT)? A listed ASX company.

    Does ARQ / MelbIT still own 50% of the dropcatching service Netfleet? Do they stand to profit handsomely once auDA tries to strip domains from the same people and businesses that they have taken money from over many years? I ask this question because expired or deleted domains are sold by auction every single day of the year on Netfleet and the other dropcatching platform Drop. Can anyone see that changing?

    The question needs to be asked – is Mr Fenton driving new policy direction via the PRP so that his company can ultimately benefit? If so, is this not conflict of interest 101? Or is he just driven by a pure heart and a sense of altruism?

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  • Avatar
    March 27, 2019 at 10:05 am
    Permalink

    Thanks for person above for pointing out this 13-year-old submission to auDA from Brett Fenton.

    He also states in that submission:

    “I do favor a model in which an entity can only be listed as the Registrant of a fixed number of domain names (say 1000-2000). Calls for 1-2 domains per entity by other submissions are disingenuous as it completely invalidates the existing model where businesses have been encouraged to register products, services, etc.”

    Wow. Yet now he wants to place handcuffs on registrants so they can only own 100?

    One has to wonder why and for what purpose he has now changed his mind?

    He also says:

    “As a final note I would suggest that if auDA was to implement a policy disallowing a
    specific (business) use of a domain name that auDA will then have moved out of domain
    based policy and into web content based policy. I believe that this sets a dangerous
    precedent and has the potential to provide a less than desired outcome for all Australian
    Internet users. ”

    Well said, 13-year-ago-Brett.

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  • Avatar
    March 27, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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    If the CTO of ARQ Group has this opinion on domain names and is pushing for a shake up of the amount of domains held by ARQ owned registrars, I hope the shareholders have been told about the amount of domains ARQ may lose from management and a drop in revenue. I don’t think I’d have much trust in someone like this having any sort of management in a company I had shares in.

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  • Avatar
    March 27, 2019 at 8:40 pm
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    Maybe Brett Fenton of the auDA Policy Review Panel, https://www.linkedin.com/in/brettfenton Arq.Group / TPP Wholesale / Netregistry / Netfleet etc needs to read the material his employer puts out to sell domain names via their associated company Netfleet.com.au!

    It seems Brett may have a desire and Conflict Of Interest somehow? Isnt Arq.Group getting out of domain names Brett you have been telling people so why opush in direct reg and F up millions of existing people and the once stable and growing .au namespace?

    You may not be around in domain names for long Brett but others will be so pull your head in and stop damaging our great namespace and global reputation!

    BrettFenton.com is available register it and promote your rubbish there.

    http://www.netfleet.com.au/domain-investors/

    https://www.netfleet.com.au/blog/domaining/can-domain-name-investing-help-you-retire-early/

    Can Domain Name Investing Help You Retire Early?

    16/09/2016 // Domaining // Rene Anthony

    Our emphasis across the last few weeks has focused on domain name investing. While we’ve presented readers a picture of the considerations and attributes that often help domainers succeed, it’s also been necessary to point out that striking it big is no certainty. However, what happens when a domainer does execute an incredible investment? To help us understand, let’s have a look at some of the highest selling Australian domain names.

    Domain Name
    Final Price

    cars.com.au
    $1,600,000

    carinsurance.com.au
    $250,000

    carloan.com.au
    $200,000

    Flowers.com.au
    $153,000

    investmentproperty.com.au
    $137,500

    Cruises.com.au
    $110,000

    deals.com.au
    $100,000

    toys.com.au
    $90,585

    hobart.com.au
    $65,000

    As one can identify from the list above, some of the nation’s highest selling domains haven’t necessarily been short names. None of the nine names listed are two or three-letter domains. The shortest (two) are four-letter names. In fact, two of the domains are longer than ten letters. This shouldn’t come as a surprise however, as many domainers often consider generic names and tangible keywords to provide value through their memorable nature and significant search engine volume.

    Take investmentproperty.com.au, which would have been registered for as little as $20 once upon a time. However, in 2011, its then owner did not renew the domain’s registration. What followed was a bidding war between two businesses whom clearly identified value in the domain. Eventually, Mad Cat Pty Ltd (on behalf of Vision Homes) picked up the domain through our auction for the staggering sum of $125,000 (plus commission).

    In the process, the name became the highest selling Australian domain at the time. While all the spoils went to the new owner, what became apparent was that the previous owner had let an opportunity slip. While there is no certainty the domain owner would have been able to sell the domain for the same amount, they could have well made a life-changing profit.

    And then there is the story of Hobart.com.au. In 2005, the domain was acquired for the modest sum of $875. Sure, accounting for inflation and general appreciation in its value, one might have expected the domain to sell for a higher sum later down the track. However, when it was sold in 2012 to a web hosting business for $65,000, an unimaginable profit had just been realised.

    Further abroad, and similar success stories have gone down in folklore. In 1997, business.com was snapped up for $150,000. Not to be deterred by the significant cost, the owner was able to sell the domain for $7.5m some two years later – that’s a pretty healthy return on investment if you ask me!

    Domain name investing doesn’t guarantee the same degree of success as outlined above – and as always, one should seek advice from a registered professional with regards to their own circumstances. However, through passive income generation, and turning over affordable domains on a regular basis, some domainers have been able to generate healthy profits. If you do strike it lucky and find the next equivalent of cars.com.au or flowers.com.au, make sure you don’t let it expire!

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    6 people like this.
  • Avatar
    April 4, 2019 at 1:42 pm
    Permalink

    Talk about increasing cost to businesses.

    Current .au holders are being advised by law firms they may need to spend more money when new policy comes in, not just on new .au domains to protect their brands.

    https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=87e89ce7-24bb-4cea-8320-07685c7c35e8

    audit their existing domain name registrations to understand what domain registrations are currently registered by the organisation;

    consider whether it may be necessary to apply for additional trademark registrations and whether an ‘Australian presence’ can be established for an .au domain; and

    appoint a key stakeholder within the organisation who is responsible for managing the process of applying for any new additional direct registrations.

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