The Good, Bad & Ugly Of auDA Complaints

There is nothing more distressing to a responsible domain investor or legitimate registrant when they get an auDA complaint about one or more of their domain names via email.

The important thing to note is that they emanate somewhere – e.g. a 3rd party making a complaint via auDA’s website or directly to a Registrar.

Drilling down, I highlight some aspects of these complaints and how they are handled.

The Good

If you follow the rules – or are genuinely trying to comply – then you should have nothing to worry about. And remember, prevention beats cure!

Recently, I can attest both personally and anecdotally (via a few different sources) that Steph and her team at auDA Compliance will go out of their way to try and assist genuine registrants. They have no desire or agenda to strip domain names from those trying to do the right thing.

That said, as some of us have learnt over the years, what we think is the right thing is not actually the right thing according to auDA! So it is also refreshing and comforting when the regulator educates firstly rather than punishes.

The Bad & The Ugly

Unfortunately, there are times when some make a complaint simply to try and get a benefit for themselves (they mistakenly think they will get a cheap domain) – or just to cause distress and nuisance. These I classify as “Bad Complaints”.

But the “Ugliest Complaints” in my opinion are those from within our own industry (or close to it) that “work the system” to try and get a benefit for themselves – or have some other malicious agenda. Sometimes these people use their own names when making a complaint – but more often than not, they use a fictitious name or a “front” so there is no chance they could ever be properly identified.

Confidential sources have revealed to me that there have been several such complaints in recent times. If true, I hope these people or parties get called out – and get their “just desserts”.

Always remember

If you don’t understand why your domain is not compliant, talk to your Registrar or get in touch with auDA Compliance. I genuinely believe they are there to help.

If you get a complaint, you have a number of appeal rights (as per these handy tips).

Let’s all work towards this image below!

7 thoughts on “The Good, Bad & Ugly Of auDA Complaints

  • January 28, 2021 at 7:14 am

    We have had the same experience both with auDA and with unjustified complaints.

    Steph from auDA has been a great help in interpreting some of the auDA policies. We also have had great discussions over the coming changes and it is good to see she is directly across all the issues that are about to be raised. Now we just need to get the word out about the changes.

    It is one thing to have a legitimate complaint but to use the auDA complaints system merely to cause irritation is low.

    3 people like this.
    • January 28, 2021 at 9:48 am

      There must always be the ability to lodge a genuine complaint with auDA.

      But if a complaint or complainant is genuine, then why not put their name to the complaint? And what about a small fee to lodge the complaint (which can be refundable if the complaint is upheld)?

      If a complainant goes the auDRP route, their details are publicly available, and they have to pay at least $2k.

      By contrast, under current rules, if a registrant decides to appeal an auDA Internal Review decision, not only do they put their name to it which ultimately gets published, they have to pay a fee. If they win, they get it refunded.

      There just needs to be a transparent level playing field in my opinion.

      2 people like this.
  • January 28, 2021 at 8:05 am

    Complaining doesn’t work. The domain name just gets deleted and the owner gets it back again.

    Anonymous likes this.
  • January 28, 2021 at 8:14 am

    I must admit, the auDA Complaints department seems to have improved of late, as I noted in my recent article where someone trying to steal my domain name.

    We’re all noticing a LOT of great domain names are being complained against recently. was on the PD list today, but seems to have been recovered. and were on the PD drops this week. It seems many premium domain names are having complaints made against them in the hope they will drop to the public auctions.

    Here’s another example.

    Last week, I received a query to buy my generic domain name that I won on the drops; The offer was low and I plan on developing this one out, so I ignored the complaint, thinking a higher offer may come through for my consideration, or the potential buyer may just choose another domain for their cleaning brand.


    A few days ago, a compliance COMPLAINT came through and now I’ve had to tell my Registrar to please explain my relationship with the domain to auDA, and to please cancel the vexatious complaint.

    The worst thing we can all agree on is surely this… Complainants should NOT be allowed to be anonymous! Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to make a complaint, but there should NEVER be a reason for a complainant to be anonymous!

    3 people like this.
    • January 30, 2021 at 3:51 pm
      Permalink was also recovered. WTF? Who would benefit from that complaint? Join the dots.

  • January 28, 2021 at 8:27 am

    Good article again Ned.

    As you know in the bad old days of auDa in 2008 I had over 100 names stripped from me with very little consultation, I never received a follow up email regarding my questions, they just deleted the domains.

    After a recent conversation with yourself about two complaints that had been made against me, I contacted Steph with some trepidation. I was surprised that Steph and auDA actually wanted to help me comply with the confusing set of rules that we have. Steph has also indicated that they will work with us domain owners to help us with the new rules when introduced. It looks like we may be moving the right way. Thank you auDA and Steph

    3 people like this.
  • January 28, 2021 at 10:36 am

    If the registration is compliant there is nothing to fear in a complaint but I see it all the time where the company supporting the registration was deregistered donkey’s years ago and people are just taking the Mickey and continuing to renew the name year after year. Perhaps people just don’t know what to do if their details have changed at the time of renewal. You can’t put up barriers to make it difficult or costly for people to make a simple complaint just because you don’t want people to complain. The problem is what some people may do with the information if the complainant’s details were published. I think the bigger problem here is not so much in the complaints but that AuDA needs an easy way to check registrant’s company/business details are up to date on renewal because generally people are eligible initially but it’s down the track when business details change that problems arise. Better still just get rid of these eligibility rules altogether.

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