Under The Spotlight – Backflip By auDA

Following yesterday’s announcement regarding the auDA Board agreeing to enter “exclusive negotiations” with AusRegistry for the renewal / extension of their Registry agreement, I thought it would be good to look back at some comments made by certain parties in response to 2012 Industry Advisory Panel which was established by auDA. In the interests of full disclosure, I was a member of this Panel.

For those not aware, this Panel was established to:

  • Review the structure and regulation of the Australian domain name industry; and
  • Provide recommendations to the auDA Board about what changes (if any) should be made to the competition model.

The Panel commenced work in March 2012, and provided its final report in December 2012. They recommended (in part) that:

“1A (e) the auDA Board should publicly commit to undertaking a formal RFT process once the renegotiated registry agreement expires.”

This was ratified by the auDA Board in February 2013. See Board Minutes (Item 6) here.

Here’s a link to the whole “box and dice” i.e. Panel Members; Reports, Recommendations, Minutes etc.

The Song Sheet Has Obviously Changed

This is what two current Directors had to say in their submissions back in 2012. One of them is now also Deputy Chairman.

Firstly, Simon Johnson said this (his full submission is here):

Secondly, Erhan Karabardak on behalf of Cooper Mills Lawyers said this in part (full submission is here):

“If new registry operators were not given an opportunity to commence operations and planning for an RFT at the end of the 4 year extension, Ausregistry would have an unfair advantage, which would compromise auDA’s negotiating power, and would not provide the best outcome for the Australian Internet Community.”

“Fair Suck Of The Sav”

So come on Mr Boardman (CEO); Mr Benjamin (Chairman); Mr Karabardak (Deputy Chairman); and Mr Johnson (Demand Class Director and Chair of the Strategic Risk Committee) – tell us what has changed.

After all, many of us are Members, and we have a right to know what is happening in our organisation.

Ned O’Meara – 14th December 2016


7 thoughts on “Under The Spotlight – Backflip By auDA

  • December 14, 2016 at 10:24 am

    If you look at what has happened in the past it is just a repeat of that, avoiding a competitive tender at all costs. Doesn’t matter much what this years excuse is.

    I think AUDA has no ability to run a tender process, they have failed at every hurdle. AUDA has been crying wolf saying it will go to tender in 4 years, or 5 years or the latest one that it will go to tender if they can’t come to a suitable agreement with Ausregistry.

    AUDA have no genuine backup plan despite their claims otherwise, when it comes to crunch time they’ll sign a contract with Ausregistry. Ausregistry know this and that is why the terms will be barely any better than previously.



    • December 14, 2016 at 11:13 am

      @Snoopy – your observations once again seem spot on.

      One of the members of the 2012 Advisory Panel was from ACMA. He felt back then that auDA should have gone out to tender. As did a couple of other members. Perhaps that sort of Governmental pressure may still come home to roost.

  • December 14, 2016 at 11:32 am

    I’d like to know from the directors, what extra value has or could be extracted from not going to an open tender?

    I’m not sure how they can claim it’s in the best interests of the company if they don’t offer any legitimate financial reason for this unusual step.


  • December 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    What a disgrace. How can this be allowed to occur? Is auDA, its CEO and board answerable to no one? Also, now that both Mr Johnson and Mr Karabardak are in positions at auDA to shake things up in accordance with their above posted statements, why aren’t they? And why isn’t auDA interested in a competitive tender? Isn’t a competitive tender in the best interest of the organisation? Can auDA’s CEO, Mr Johnson and/or Mr Karabardak please explain?

  • December 14, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Ned, Who can do anything to fix the ongoing auDA problems?

    Despite false promises things will be more transparent, the Registry will go to tender  etc it appears nothing has changed at all.

    I had hoped to see improvements and I can see nothing. I am very disappointed from what I was told by auDA staff and auDA board members and what is transpiring which is completely different.

    Is this for the ACCC, Department of Communications, ASIC or Media to start investigating? Who exactly is overseeing auDA at all these days? That does not seem to have done anything over the last 15 years.

    Obviously with the apparent political connections of board and management to the Liberal party and the Liberal party being in Federal government that is of little use.

    Can members hold their own special meeting? How is this done? It is needed.

    Keep up the stories it is probably the one of the new informed spotlights on these questionable acts.

    Just like the Yes Only survey voting for the direct au extension this seems to be equally “rigged”.

    Not going to tender is anti competitive behaviour in light of previous commitments.

    For a $100 million ( ?)  registry tender ( Australian domain name registrations, renewals over 5 years)  this is a very serious matter.

    No government Department of accountable business would act in this matter and I think the auDA directors need to wake up that they are on risk notice for the actions they are taking. It certainly is not helping their reputations to be acting in this manner in some cases against their previous statements and on / off the record commitments.

    It appears we have been sold a dummy with the promises of positive change….

    Australian companies should be able to submit a proposal for registry. It is wrong to let an offshore USA owned company Neustar Inc. get this given to them again.

    Forget the name “Ausregistry” of the current registrar. Ausregistry is  100% owned by a USA company Neustar. How about auDA says that in their press releases to be fully transparent?

    How about foreign ownership laws of Australia Critical Infrastructure?

    If Neustar goes belly up on the USA stock exchange or faces some major legal issue in their foreign operations, or they are hacked and breached what is the back up plan for Australia and the .AU domain name space?

    How about Privacy and security? Do Australians know a USA company has all of their details and is running this database?

    It needs to go to tender. The ASIC database registry  tender is worth looking at.
    ASIC Registry tender




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  • December 15, 2016 at 2:18 am

    What I said in 2009 about AUDA remains true today and probably is more true by the looks of it.

    The politics of auDA : A prehistoric and communistic approach to doing business

  • December 17, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Fail to see any benefit of engaging in “exclusive” negotiations. Good governance would be open to new possibilities.

    From afar it only seems to weaken auDA’s position.

Comments are closed.