Too Many Rules And Policies

Let me preface this article by stating that the integrity of the .au domain space is paramount to me. Just as it is to many other people and organisations.

However, in my opinion, auDA is over-regulated in several areas. Have a look at the total list of policies in existence! Whilst it’s important to have “rules” and “policies”, there has surely got to be some common-sense employed to help us move with the times.

When I try and explain the intricacies of auDA Policy to prospective domain investors, I can almost feel their eyes glazing over – or hear their incredulity at the amount of “red tape” that exists.

I tell them that we’ve come a long way in the last 10 years. Once upon a time you couldn’t even sell a domain name unless it was part of a business sale! It’s thanks to a lot of people (including current Board Directors) that we have evolved since those “dark ages”.

But it’s now time to have some more change. And I think with a new progressive Chairman, CEO and Board, sensible policy revisions will be made. So many areas have the potential to be simplified whilst still retaining the integrity required.

Let’s Just Examine One Policy

The “Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules for the Open 2LDs” is in drastic need of overhaul. Why? Let me give you some bullet points.

  • The eligibility and allocation requirements in Schedule C (2) below could so easily be simplified. The “Close and Substantial Connection” is regularly either ignored, abused or worked around. I’d be willing to bet that if you gave me a day, I could find at least 1000 domains that didn’t comply with eligibility.


  • “Domain monetisation” as required by auDA is an unnecessary charade (Clause 3 above).
  • Where else in the developed world does the namespace administrator regulate the content you have on your website? Nowhere – so why should it be so in Australia?
  • I was a panelist at one of the workshops at the auIGF in 2015, and I gave an example of this. (My fellow panelists comprised 3 lawyers and the then auDA Complaints Manager). I explained to the audience that if I purchase a 3 Letter domain, I am forced under auDA policy (3.a above) to effectively have a landing page with invented acronyms that have monetisation links! The only person in the room that was not gobsmacked by this was the auDA Complaints Manager.
  • Here is an example of this policy in action. Think how much time and effort was put into this from all sides. It is an invented and unnecessary charade in my opinion.


Keep the strict Aussie only requirements like an ABN etc, but do away with the “close and substantial connection” requirements. These are simply too restrictive, and don’t really work.

Let people have whatever they want on their site – that includes nothing at all.

If .au wants to be progressive and compete with the rest of the world – particularly with all the new gTLD’s on the market – then this is a sensible step to take. In my humble opinion.

Ned O’Meara – 22nd November 2016


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8 thoughts on “Too Many Rules And Policies

  • November 22, 2016 at 11:50 am


    Your humble opinion is spot on

    Free-trade is the hot topic right now

    We need a progressive approach to eCommerce and online marketing in Australia

    The current requirements are regressive

    About the only people out-of-step with free trade, in general, are auDA and Donald Trump

    • November 23, 2016 at 8:04 am

      @Greg – there is an auDA Director or three that also agree. Hopefully we should see some worthwhile changes in the near future.

  • November 22, 2016 at 11:52 am

    One of the reasons the .AU name space is small (in terms of registration numbers) and also a reason why so many good .AU names have yet to be allocated to strong websites is this superabundance of red tape.

    Realistically, domainers do a lot to distribute domains to end users.  For every business owner who thinks of buying a domain, there are many others who only consider doing so after they’re invited by a domainer.

    Other TLDs, without a residency requirement, have access to a planet-full of crowd-sourced marketing.  Enterprising marketers in India or the Netherlands or China or Morocco work hard to sell .UK domains to London-based companies, who would otherwise go without a domain or settle for something inferior.  And, of course, they work even harder to get .COMs and other gTLDs to the right people.  It’s a global marketing force that PAYS the registries for the privilege of promoting their TLD.  That’s a very big spoon to stir the pot, resulting in domains mixing freely and ending up with the most qualified brands and developers.  It’s a myth to suppose domainers tie up domains and squat on them.  All financial incentives motivate them to give the domains away.

    Australia really limits itself, in comparison.  There aren’t enough domainers in Australia to market .AU domains effectively to Australian businesses.  Outside Australia, there’s a world of volunteers.

  • November 22, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Ned, as you could probably guess from our discussions, I completely agree with the points that you’ve raised!

    My input to the recent auDA consultations included recommendations on regulation reduction for the .au namespace.

    I’ve previously sent you a copy of my submission, but here’s a link for readers:

    • November 23, 2016 at 8:11 am

      @Luke – I like the way you write. You have obviously put a lot of thought in to your various submissions to auDA.

      To me, it’s so important that there are people like you that are actually prepared to put (in writing) a respectful and logical argument to auDA. Too many people carp from the sidelines without stepping up to the plate. (Sorry about the mixed metaphors!).

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