Still No Transparency auDA

Domaining is not a crime

I can’t think of many reasons why so many people would want to band together to make life difficult for a non-profit organisation? Isn’t that what all these pesky so-called “Domainers” are doing? “Organising” themselves into groups to attack a non-profit organisation who’s only trying to do the right thing?

“Domainers are moaners”.

“They’re troublemakers.”

“They’re only thinking about themselves! They don’t care about everyday small businesses trying to buy a domain name!”

“They’re extortionists and cybersquatters!”

This seems to be the mentality driving the powers that be at auDA and The PRP over the past few years.

Not only is this train of thought not fair, it’s not based on reality.

Remember the skateboarders of the 80’s who used to walk around sporting “Skateboarding is not a crime!” t-shirts? Many of the powers-that-be deemed teenagers skating anywhere in public to be a bad thing.

Nowadays, every local council in the country is demolishing old-fashioned playgrounds and building skateboard parks by default. They’re working “with” the skateboarders, instead of against them. Because… if people want to skateboard, they should be allowed to skateboard!

Wouldn’t it have been a whole lot easier for the authorities to have worked “with” the skateboarders, instead of vilifying them for so many years?

20 years later, skateboarding is seen as normal. It’s even promoted by many authorities as a very healthy activity, instead of teenagers lying around playing video games or getting into trouble due to sheer boredom. It’s an international sport and skateboarders are looked up to.

I can relate this analogy to Domainers.

At present, they’re seen as doing something “not right” by the “powers that be”.

But, the fact is, Domainers are the “filter system” of the Australian domain name system. An extremely important part of the online ecosystem. In terms of domain names existing in the first place, without Domainers, there would be a whole other level of online digital address problems.

Domainers spend countless hours and often more money than they actually make on domain names. And this time-intensive “filter system” is what gives domain names value as an online address… as a digital asset. It’s what makes them valuable and authoritative.

auDA are currently taking more complaints against domain name owners than ever before. They’re literally taking every complaint as legitimate. They’re seeing every person holding a domain name as “guilty” until proven innocent, when it should be the other way around.

I’m led to believe the data actually says this at the moment.

I’m going to write an article about this exact subject detailing a recent example, next week.

Add to this, auDA are trying to ram Direct .AU Registrations down everyone’s throats. And although they managed to hip-and-shoulder the introduction of Direct .AU into existence (see: auDA to introduce direct registrations in .au April 2016), there is still no implementation method, rules, or date of inception. But still, this week we all found out auDA have gone ahead and self-registered WHOIS.au and REGISTRY.au for themselves.

They pointed WHOIS.au to whois.ausregistry.com.au and a Vice President of Neustar Inc. (Formally AusRegistry Group) publicly come out and stated: “I was not aware, nor did I request www.whois.au to be forwarded to whois.ausregistry.com.au“.

Doesn’t this arrogantly suggest that they don’t really care what people say or do? As far as auDA are concerned, Direct .AU Registrations are coming in NO MATTER WHAT and they’re going to keep a few good generic names for themselves until they’re released. And they’re going to do it all behind closed doors. And they’re not going to go through the proper processes and have input from the board or members…

It’d be funny, except it’s seriously affecting our entire Australian internet system. And it has been for over two years now. And most people still don’t even know this is all happening.

But the Government recently stepped in for the first time in 18 years. And I’m quite certain you can thank Domainers and members for having something to do with that. Otherwise, who knows how far down the wrong track we could have ended up?

And the Government have made it pretty clear-cut (Review of the .au Domain Administration)

Page 1

“On 19th October 2017, the Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield announced a review of Australia’s management of the .au domain.”

The Findings

“The central finding of the Review is the current management and governance framework for auDA is no longer fit-for-purpose and that reform is necessary if the company is to perform effectively and meet the needs of Australia’s internet community”

Page 40

“… the Department of Communications and the Arts adopts a more formal oversight role of auDA, including that:”

Page 41

“a senior executive officer from the Department continue as a non-voting observer at auDA
Board meetings and is present for all decisions taken by the Board.”

Page 43

“In managing a public asset, the .au domain administrator will be accountable to its stakeholders,
including the Australian Government. Improved transparency and accountability is necessary to provide the assurance that the .au namespace is being managed consistent with Government and community expectations.”

Yet. If you take a look at this entire year’s auDA Board Minutes, since auDA read the above statements and agreed to change (auDA Welcomes Federal Government Review), there isn’t a single mention of anyone discussing pre-registering the two Direct .AU domain names WHOIS.au and REGISTRY.au

Now, that’s not very “transparent” or “accountable” is it?

And they certainly don’t need these names as “necessary to ensure operational stability” of the domain name system (as proven here: https://domainer.com.au/is-auda-abusing-its-power/)

You would think, if anyone had raised pre-emptively locking-out a couple of premium generic domain names for auDA to have for themselves at a Board Meeting this year, surely at least one of the board members would have said, “wait a minute! I don’t think we’re allowed to do that?!”

Worse yet. There’s also no mention of “a senior executive officer from the Department” (A Government senior executive officer) being “present for all decisions taken by the board”.

But?!

Didn’t the Minister specifically state that on Page 41 of the Review?

Yet, auDA are looking at Domainers and members as being the bad guys?

The reason Domainers and members aren’t letting auDA get away with all these hidden (as opposed to transparent!) zany decisions, is that auDA can’t be trusted to “say what they mean and do what they say”. This was proven at the last SGM (Special General Meeting called by Members unhappy with auDA), 12 months ago. Going by various publications over the past few months, it doesn’t look they can be trusted to do what’s right for the general business community either.

https://namebid.com.au/articles/17/prp_trap_direct_au_registrations/

https://www.smartcompany.com.au/technology/seo/smes-demand-answers-auda-introduction-au-domain/

I think we know it’s all too late now.

auDA have had chance, after chance, after chance, to listen to members and to change. The Government has given them six months notice to change. But auDA have again said one thing and done whatever they’ve liked instead.

They created a magical PRP (Policy Review Panel) that is pretty-much by all accounts just run by one guy called Brett Fenton. And his involvement as a leader of the PRP was negatively documented here (https://namebid.com.au/articles/19/auda-policy-review-panel-2018-doomed), after he called Domainers, domain name investors and basically any business holding more than a few domain names “extortionists” and “cybersquatters”.

Yet still, he’s allowed to run the show? And he still runs the PRP to this day?! And John Swinson (PRP Chair) and auDA are fine with it all?

We’re living in topsy-turvy land.

auDA won’t derail their train or self-guided mission for anyone.

Well. Domainers and members AREN’T fine with it all.

So, Domainers and members are fighting for what’s right.

Yet, Domainers are the ones being demonised as the bad guys through all this?

Kind of makes you want to start wearing a “Domaining is not a crime” t-shirt on the streets of Melbourne, don’t you think?

32 thoughts on “Still No Transparency auDA

  • Avatar
    June 1, 2018 at 3:54 pm
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    “Facts and fiction: More on the auDA situation”… http://theluckygeneral.biz/2018/06/01/facts-and-fiction-more-on-the-auda-situation/

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  • Avatar
    June 1, 2018 at 4:47 pm
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    Did you write those questions yourself General?

     

     

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    • Avatar
      June 1, 2018 at 5:10 pm
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      Yep. Sure did. Would you like to see my MEAA membership card?

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  • Avatar
    June 1, 2018 at 4:52 pm
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    General, did you have to pay for the auDA member email list like others were required to?

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  • Avatar
    June 1, 2018 at 5:11 pm
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    Yep. Sure did. Would you like to see the receipt?

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  • Avatar
    June 1, 2018 at 5:41 pm
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    Laurie Patton is on the auDA Subcontractor Afilias payroll.  Is he also now on the auDA payroll.. will we read this on the auDA minutes or not?

    Strange he has come out of the woodwork at this time to protect his own interests and paychecks.

    Laurie don’t worry your paycheck from Afilias will probably keep coming in after your auDA mates have been sacked.

    Laurie Patton …..currently advising Afilias Australia, the company appointed to provide registry services for auDA from 1 July 2018. “

     

    auDA management has been told they are “not fit for purpose” by the Commonwealth Government. That says it all.  They need to be removed. They have created a chaotic expensive mess for the entire .au namespace and it is obvious they now are using their smear campaign and PR spin to keep their own money coming in.

    The government, media, stakeholders and members are watching you auDA and your PR cronies.

    https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/review-australias-au-domain-management

    Over 100 media stories globally have stated current auDA management is “not fit for purpose”.  They have brought it upon themselves.

     

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    • Avatar
      June 2, 2018 at 12:13 am
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      Simple issue here. You know who I am. If you expect anyone to take you seriously then don’t hide behind a pseudonym. #GutlessWonder

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        June 7, 2018 at 9:28 pm
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        Ah you don’t speak for anyone, you speak for yourself.

        Secondly, if an anonymous person makes a good argument then they will be taken seriously by most regardless of whether they use a pseudonym or not.

        Thirdly, as all three main petitioners for the SGM (Josh, Jim and Paul) have had their reputations or livelihoods seriously attacked by various means, wanting to remain anonymous is a smart idea.

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  • Scott.L
    June 1, 2018 at 5:46 pm
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    In Boardman’s own words:
    “ …These registrations were made to assist with the testing environment associated with the registry transition. This has nothing to do with the direct registration issue. It is a critical part of the transition and needs to be viewed this way.”
    If this is true – You [Mr. Boardman] could have used auDA.au or whois.auDA.au or Registry.auDA.au to test transition. Instead, you used ‘domain names’ associated with real commercial entities, and worse you didn’t even advise them that you will be Hijacking their addresses for such a purpose. Hmmmmmmm…..

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    • Avatar
      June 6, 2018 at 3:46 pm
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      That is just utter BS. Even if he needed to “test” it then he can test it and take it down. And he didn’t need to redirect it to that location to do the test.

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  • Avatar
    June 2, 2018 at 8:33 am
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    the idea of .au might have been floated by previous management but it was current that pushed and implemented it.

     

    also – Cameron joined and cleaned house without considering any merits of the existing staff. We were all seen as problematic even though we all wanted auDA to be the best it could be. Many tears were shed when we were all cleared out.

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  • Avatar
    June 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm
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    FACTS PLEASE Ex-Staff @ auDA. Direct registration has not been implemented. In fact a decision on the matter has been deferred until next year at the earliest. See Q4 here… http://theluckygeneral.biz/2018/06/01/facts-and-fiction-more-on-the-auda-situation/

  • Avatar
    June 2, 2018 at 3:05 pm
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    With all due respect as a fellow Publisher, Laurie, you just admitted Direct Registration has not been implemented, yet the auDA CEO gave the green light (at the beginning of May 2018) to lock-out two generic premium Direct .AU domain names! BEFORE DIRECT .AU EXISTS.

    If auDA didn’t “already know Direct Reg is going to happen no matter what anyone says”, they wouldn’t have registered these names at this very early point. This action shows they “know” it’s going to happen no matter what. Which is wrong. Which has Members fuming… again.

    As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

    I’m going to be writing another updated article next week, but for now, the entire point of all of this is that the current CEO of auDA is clearly showing he has an unwavering agenda to “force” his own plan into existence.

    THAT is the core of what members and the Australian business community have been fighting against for the past two years. Members have demanded transparency time after time after time. auDA have said “oh, okay, we get it now, you want transparency, we will change,” and then they continue to perform their own secret agenda.

    The October 2017 Government Review demanded auDA to be more “transparent”.

    auDA publicly wrote they would.

    This current action proves once again… they haven’t been.

    Members had had enough one year ago at the last SGM. This next SGM, I am certain Members will not be believing any more “talk”.

    This fight isn’t with you Laurie, it’s with auDA, and most notably, the actions of the current CEO.

    Also…

    For the record.

    Before I wrote the very first article about any of this, I phoned Cameron to gather the full story. At first I believed it was Afilias who had pre-registered these names for themselves. Cameron cleared up that it was him who had given the green light. I informed him I believed it was wrong and I’d be going public with the information.

    Then I wrote the first article on this site.

    Mid-last-week I emailed Cameron and members of the board, suggesting what they did was wrong and that they should reverse their decision.

    I’ve never heard back from them.

    The only time I have heard anything regarding Cameron’s current opinion on this matter was late yesterday, when you directly quoted what he believes on LinkedIn.

    My next article will be responding to that, seeing as though Cameron doesn’t want to talk to me directly, or address the issue publicly on the auDA website or newsletter.

    More damage to auDA’s reputation and management ability of the .AU space has obviously been done, but it’s not too late for Cameron to make this right.

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    • Avatar
      June 2, 2018 at 3:39 pm
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      Perfection Robert.

      Perfection.

       

      @Laurie – here’s your facts. Enjoy.

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      • Avatar
        June 2, 2018 at 5:20 pm
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        So, Ex-Staff, why are you hiding behind anonymity? Transparency is surely a two-way street?

        • Avatar
          June 2, 2018 at 10:35 pm
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          Because I have neither the time, money or desire to sit in court after auDA takes me to the cleaners ( that’s speculation of events not facts )

           

          Paul summarises nicely.

           

          You appear to have rose tinted glasses on and are unable to see what’s right in front of you.

          auDA since the management change has gone horribly down hill and blame it on previous management when reality is auDA survives for years with SGM’s. Yet as of next month there will have been 2 in current management.

           

          transparency is at an all time low. Previous management weren’t perfect, they were however leaps and bounds ahead of current.

           

          New management has an agenda. Money. They want it and are treating auDA like a business not an organisation.

           

          I assume you’re on the payroll somewhere along the line but the people that built auDA see through you.

          [ EDIT: Last two sentences have been removed. POSTER: feel free to rephrase and repost ]

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  • Avatar
    June 2, 2018 at 5:17 pm
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    I think you should re-read this article, which explains the direct registration situation, among other things…http://theluckygeneral.biz/2018/06/01/facts-and-fiction-more-on-the-auda-situation/

    I also suggest you ponder on the motives of some of those who are attacking auDA right now. The issues highlighted in the report from the Department of Communications and the Arts are not new. They have not suddenly arisen, but in fact have been endemic for many years.

    Currently there is a very comprehensive review being undertaken at the behest of the Government. Surely it is reasonable to await the outcome of this process rather than create more unnecessary division and disunity? Unless, of cours, there is some other agenda at play!

     

     

     

    • Avatar
      June 2, 2018 at 7:26 pm
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      Nice try, Laurie.

      They can’t pre-register those two names like that and this isn’t going away, as many people are now discussing.

      As you wrote two hours ago on LinkedIn: “Clearly auDA is in need of reform.”

      With Cameron Boardman knowing this, he still wrongly and secretly gave the green light to pre-emptively register WhoIs.au and Registry.au(.)

      No one made him do it. No one wanted him to do it. It didn’t need to be done. But he did it anyway.

      And this is where we stand today.

      I didn’t want to go here, but you keep pushing, Laurie.

      As many are now asking, please answer the following questions:

      Were you paid any money from auDA / Afilias for writing your above linked article?

      Were you paid any money this year from auDA / Afilias for any kind of work at all?

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  • Avatar
    June 2, 2018 at 8:46 pm
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    Laurie, I’ve got it!

    I know how to fix all this.

    It’s easy.

    As former CEO of Internet Australia, seeing as though you must still have connections there, with the guys who own the internet.org.au domain name, perhaps you can ask them, and also contact the internet.com.au and internet.net.au owners and say to them that you’d like to give permission for auDA to permanently lock-out and donate Internet.AU FOR FREE over to Afilias.

    What a kind donation, Laurie!

    I hope the internet.com.au and internet.net.au owners can understand why you want to do this.

    I’m sure they won’t mind?

    Let us know how it works out!

    Actually… maybe this is already secretly next on Boardman’s list…

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  • Avatar
    June 2, 2018 at 9:43 pm
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    Hi Laurie,

    I am a real person.

    Not a random anon. (and not “Ex-staff”)

    I am a real person that was affected greatly by the coup d’état at auDA. One of 90% of staff members that were ousted soon after the “regime change”. Not one of us had any chance of surviving. Please don’t question others’ desire to remain anonymous: almost all staff were required to sign NDAs upon departure, even if they happened to be dying of terminal cancer.

    I am “fortunate” enough to have exited via a successful 6-figure WorkCover claim (contrary to assertions by a former auDA acting-Chair) and am not bound by any requirement for anonymity.

     

    This is a saga that has gone on for nearly two years.

     

    Laurie: Why have you chosen to enter the fray now? You haven’t expressed a strong view previously. Why do you express a steadfast desire for maintenance of the status quo? What is your motivation?

    Quid pro quo: I should be the last person to advocate dragging auDA further down via an SGM. 8 years supporting the organisation while working for government. 8 years working my a** off as an auDA staffer.

    Regardless of the government review, I have NO faith in the the current regime managing the ongoing operations of .au and would definitely not support them having an ongoing role post-review.

    So no, I do not believe further instability is contrary to the best interests of .au.

    “Disunity is death” – you have been reading too much George Orwell.

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    • Avatar
      June 8, 2018 at 10:02 am
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      FYI, even back when I was CEO of Internet Australia I publicly stated my opposition to direct registration. I’m not passionate about it, as some are, and I’m willing to consider the matter rationally and dispassonately at the appropriate time. Howewever, given the annoucnent from auDA chair, Chris Leptos, that any decision has been deferred until the second half of next year at the earliest I reckon we should all concentrate on the more urgent issue of reformng auDa’s Constitution. Now, on that subject I have long had a view. Reform is way overdue.

      • Avatar
        June 8, 2018 at 10:21 am
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        I’m sorry Laurie, but I can’t agree with this logic. Just because the Chair has pushed the “Pause” button on Direct Registration, doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it until 18 months time. The right decision would have been to take it off the table altogether. The current PRP is a shambles. The entire concept of Direct Reg has now well and truly fallen over. Yet auDA still allow the current PRP to exist?!

        I too was publicly PRO Direct-Reg in the beginning. Much to the dismay of a lot of my domain name industry colleagues. But seeing how badly the PRP attempted to implement it, led me to feeling mislead about the whole situation, which I wrote about on NameBid at the time.

        But other than all that, after auDA pushed “pause” on Direct Reg, it soon became VERY CLEAR that pre-registering (hijacking) Registry.au and WHOIS.au for themselves, 18 months before they push the “unpause” button, which could then see another 18 months of deliberations, has shown the true colours of what’s really going on. Direct Registration is and was coming in, NO MATTER WHAT. All these PRPs and CRCs etc are smoke and mirrors to make it look publicly viable that an “independent body” is making all these things happen. When, in fact, the reality is something far different.

        As far as I’m concerned, the upcoming SGM on July 27th is a direct result of all these crazy decisions made by auDA and The PRP, since the last SGM.

        Exactly how people feel about the past 12 months decisions, and the current advanced hijacking of generic, premium Direct .AU domain names, will be clearly on display on July 27th.

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        • Avatar
          June 8, 2018 at 10:37 am
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          Thanks Robert, but I’m not suggesting we stop talking about direct registration. Quite the contrary. The more discussion the better. So long as it is constructive and courteous. What I’m concerned about is a potential “own goal”. By all means let’s have a spirited debate about the future of auDA. But let’s not be distracted by something that isn’t going to happen any time soon. The ‘grumpies’, as they’ve become known, would IMO opinion do more for the cause by becoming involved in the reform process rather than creating more disunity and perhaps prompting the Government to take control of domain names registration. Is that what they want?

    • Avatar
      June 6, 2018 at 6:19 pm
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      Hi Laurie,

      When you say “I have invited “dissident members” against auDA to reply to your questions… and now you say these “dissident members” have “declined” to respond to you…

      Exactly where and when did you do this?

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    • Avatar
      June 6, 2018 at 6:27 pm
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      Hi Robert

      I wrote to both Jim Stewart and Josh Rowe on Sunday. Josh replied at 17.41 declining my offer…
      On 3 Jun 2018, at 12:19 pm, Laurie Patton wrote:
      Dear Josh / Jim
      As you know, my blog site The Lucky General hosts a number of articles regarding auDA. The most recent of these contains answers to questions put to Cameron Boardman. In the interest of fairness, I’d like to do the same exercise with one of you. Your choice. I’m keen to provide my readers with your view of things.
      Regarding the last 24 hours’ exchanges, after my time at Internet Australia I am pretty immune to the online slagging that seems to be endemic in the Internet industry. But, for the record, I have long believed auDA needs reform. Along with ICANN and the Internet Society, auDA has for too long provided people with vested interests a venue to promote themselves and push their personal agendas – not always in the best interests of the industry or the people who rely on it IMO.
      What’s more, I am on the record and have been for some years as not supporting direct registration. I remain open-minded and prepared to be convinced by reason and logic, but at this stage I do not see any great benefits in it for the general public. 

      So, here are the questions. Please keep answers as concise as possible for the benefit of readers. In addition to The Lucky General, they will be posted on my LinkedIn site, giving you a potential audience of 15,000+ 

      Cheers
      /LP

      • Avatar
        June 6, 2018 at 7:21 pm
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        Hi Laurie,

        I don’t want to speak for anyone, but perhaps they won’t answer your questions, because, a day before you asked them your questions, you refused to answer this question yourself (which was asked by Jim and Scott on LinkedIn, and also from myself on this blog):

        “Were you paid any money this year from auDA / Afilias for any kind of work at all?”

        Is your answer “yes” to this?

        If it is, one would think it would not be in anyone’s best interests to answer questions from someone who is being “paid” by a corporation for a particular outcome…

        I’m sure people will be checking back here regularly over the next few days to see your answer…

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        • Avatar
          June 6, 2018 at 7:36 pm
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          Hi Robert

          Each of my articles has contained this statements: Laurie Patton is a member of auDA. He is currently advising Afilias Australia, the company appointed to provide registry services for auDA from 1 July 2018. However, the views expressed here are his own and have not been endorsed by Afilias.

          It appears that Josh and Jim would like to make this about personalities not facts. The questions I’ve posed are fair and balanced. They are questions being asked by people trying to work out what the dissidents are really all about.

          Perhaps they will answer the questions if you pose them on Domainer?

          You could also ask why they keep focusing on direct registration when auDA has deferred any decision on this matter until the second half of next year at the earliest.

          Perhaps ask them who is funding their campaign, and why!

          Cheers

          /LP

           

           

          • Avatar
            June 6, 2018 at 10:33 pm
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            And, BTW, Jim Stewart deliberately baits people on LinkedIn and then deletes their responses. He also obsesses about direct registration, which is now off the agenda at auDA until late next year at the earliest. So I’m totally confused as to what he and Josh Rowe are on about. We all agree auDA needs reform. That’s happening. What more do they want? An Internet knighthood?

      • Avatar
        June 7, 2018 at 12:13 am
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        I actually said “No thank you. You’re a paid lobbyist, not an independent journalist.”

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        • Avatar
          June 7, 2018 at 7:16 am
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          The questions still stand. I’m sure auDA members considering the future of the organisation would value understanding your point of view.

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