Some Good Advice Here auDA

One of the most respected Intellectual Property Lawyers in Australia is John Swinson of King and Wood Mallesons. When he speaks, he does so with authority.

This is from his LinkedIn profile:

“John Swinson is partner-in-charge of the Brisbane office of King & Wood Mallesons where he specialises in intellectual property and technology law.

John is a domain name arbitrator under the UDRP and auDRP on the WIPO panel, and is a Member of Panel of Arbitrators for the South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission.”

In fact, I read overnight on Domain Name Wire that he made a ruling of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking in the latest case that he adjudicated. It was an excellent decision in my opinion.

What’s This Got To Do With auDA?

Two of the most popular articles on Domainer (in terms of traffic) were this one from yesterday – “A Spanner In The Works” ; and from earlier in the week – “Under The Spotlight – Backflip By auDA”.

These concerned auDA’s decision to renege on a previous Board decision to put the registry contract out for tender in 2017. Instead, they have entered into “exclusive negotiations” with the current Registry operator (AusRegistry – which is ultimately owned by Neustar). It should be noted that Neustar is now under takeover by a foreign private investment syndicate.

So back in 2012, auDA put together a working group to decide whether to go out to tender or renegotiate.

One of the public submissions received back then was from John Swinson writing on behalf of his client CoCCA Registry Services. I have included this below – and I have highlighted some interesting passages.

Given John Swinson’s stature and reputation, how can auDA yet again (in 2016 / 2017) ignore the calls for transparency and competition?

Here is one snippet from his submission:

“From a public policy and corporate and internet governance viewpoint, it is extremely important that the market be tested at regular intervals, through a public tender process, to ensure that the fees charged for the services provided by the third party for-profit registry operator are fair and reasonable”.


As I’ve often said, I think AusRegistry have done a great job with the registry.

But the simple fact is that there has been no tender since 2005, and so it is incumbent on the current CEO and auDA Board to ensure this now happens. Particularly given the uncertainty regarding the prospective owners of Neustar.

AusRegistry should be confident in their abilities and past performance to submit a competitive tender.

As John Swinson concludes:

“ln these times, it is difficult to believe that a registry operator selected many years ago is providing leading edge services today at competitive prices, lf that is in fact the case, the current operator should welcome a competitive tender to demonstrate its value propositions.”

What do you think?

Ned O’Meara – 17 December 2016

Swinson submission




8 thoughts on “Some Good Advice Here auDA

  • Avatar
    December 17, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Registry services provider CoCCA has pulled out of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association after APTLD gave support to AusRegistry in its campaign to continue to run .au.

    The company claims that APTLD — the Hong Kong-based association of ccTLD operators from the region — backed AusRegistry because AusRegistry is one of its largest donors.”

    Interesting reading…

    • Ned O'Meara
      December 17, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      That’s an excellent find Andrew. Some interesting comments at bottom of article.

  • Ned O'Meara
    December 17, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    @John P – I’m not going to publish your comments.

  • Avatar
    December 18, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Again, it calls into question the actions of the current auDA directors not extracting any sort of gain for doing an exclusive deal with foreign owned neustar/aUSregistry.

  • Avatar
    December 18, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    As long as AusRegistry has an effective seat on the auDA Board, expect this to continue.

  • Avatar
    December 19, 2016 at 1:35 am

    Cameron Boardman the new auDA CEO needs to the face reality he has taken over the role of an organisation with many years of conflicts of interest including on the auDA board, questionable transparency or accountability.

    auDA itself is only on a contract to the Australian Federal Government. They probably need to have this contract terminated in their current state.

    It seems strange to have Ausregistry ( Neustar Inc USA)  and other auDA suppliers ( Melbourne it?) on the auDA board plus auDA risk committee if this is correct?

    How can all of the people at auDA and on the board ignore letters such as this from 4 years ago. There are many more they received.. do they even get read and get responded to or will nothing change until auDA is investigated fully by someone in a position of power to change things?

    People may want to ponder the fate of Eddie Obeid,  once an ” untouchable” powerful politically connected person whose “conflicts of interest” have been exposed and proven in a court of law….
    jailed for at least three years over misconduct in public office

    • Avatar
      December 19, 2016 at 8:20 am

      “How can all of the people at auDA and on the board ignore letters such as this from 4 years ago. There are many more they received.. do they even get read and get responded to or will nothing change until auDA is investigated fully by someone in a position of power to change things?”


      They can do it because they have always gotten away with it. In the last year directors have ridden rough shod over AUDA in terms of conflicts of interest. At the end of the day, nobody within AUDA is willing to do a thing.

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