Most people that invest in domain names in Australia (for whatever legitimate reason) have been subject to an auDA “warranty check” or complaint over time. Par for the course unfortunately.

As growth in domain name registrations and aftermarket purchases surge due to the effects of Covid-19, unfortunately the number of complaints to auDA seem to be rising as well. Some of these could be described as vexatious (denoting an action that is brought without sufficient grounds for winning, purely to cause annoyance to the defendant).

A lot of these complaints are:

  • Generally anonymous (fake name and throwaway email address for the online complaints form);
  • Generated by a spiteful party or parties who want our domain and don’t particularly want to pay market value for it. Therefore their first step is to try and get auDA to “policy delete” it.

What Can We do?

Firstly, try to make sure that your “eligibility” is up to date if auDA comes a knocking. For most of us, that is currently “domain monetisation”. Some of us opt to incur the extra expense of registering a Business Name for some of our domains. Whilst “the current rules” are hard to fathom at best of times (even auDA’s own Compliance Manager admitted to me that they can be confusing), we have to make the effort.

Secondly, utilise the services of a good local registrar. Whilst I think Synergy Wholesale is a great registrar across the board, in my opinion there is no match for Drop.com.au when it comes to assisting domain investors with the bureaucracy (auDA). Quite simply, they have your back. The last thing Drop want is to see their customers lose domains that were purchased from them on the expired auctions.

Finally, be proactive. If you get threatened with a complaint by someone, fire off an email to auDA Compliance, and forewarn them that they may receive a vexatious complaint. Under auDA policy, (3.2) “auDA reserves the right not to acknowledge or investigate a complaint that is clearly frivolous, vexatious or abusive, or in auDA’s opinion has been brought in bad faith”.


This is an email I sent to auDA Compliance yesterday:


“Dear auDA Compliance,

I wish to report a possible vexatious complainant with regards the domain sandybayrealestate.com.au. (The domain is monetised as per policy).

Yesterday I received an email enquiry from somebody calling themselves “Andrew ———— ” – and using the Hotmail address s——_a—– @ hotmail . com . He said he was a consultant working for a real estate company in Tasmania.

I replied with the following:

“If you want a serious reply, please email me from a non Hotmail address, and give your contact number. I found your current email in my spam folder”.

He refused; and then made this statement:

“I was hoping that you might make a reasonable offer to sell the site but I will just go through the appropriate channels without paying you anything because it appears that you are squatting on the domain name”.

If that doesn’t fit the description of vexatious intent, then I don’t know what would!

I would be grateful if you could please confirm receipt of my email.”


Moral to the story

Protect your cyber property!

5 thoughts on “Vexatious Complaints to auDA

  • Avatar
    August 22, 2020 at 6:04 am
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    Andrew screwed that up for his client. What a dropkick.

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    • Avatar
      August 22, 2020 at 5:13 pm
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      Agreed. Now they’ll never get it.

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  • Avatar
    August 22, 2020 at 7:03 am
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    auDA have allowed and encouraged people to make complaints, so it’s just bullshit to have to play Russian roulette with them. Business needs certainty.

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  • Avatar
    August 22, 2020 at 5:13 pm
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    Good idea, Ned,

    I have also forewarned auDA about possible attempted domain name hijacking attempts in the past, after ensuring my own, or my client’s domain name, meets policy.

    Speaking of policy, lots of potential changes being bandied about in the new version…

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  • Avatar
    September 1, 2020 at 10:27 am
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    We are dealing with far too many of these complaints.

    We get a lot of cases where the domain corresponds to the business name of the client, is in use and is not generic or descriptive, but a competitor wishes to annoy the client.

    Making false complaints like this is misleading and deceptive and causes damage. Traders who are put out by this should have a recourse but identifying the complainant can be difficult.

    It is all too easy for auDA to hide behind the cloak of the Privacy Act to withhold the name of the person making the complaint. It should go without saying that when you list your name on the complaint form, that name should be told to the person. The Privacy Act pivots on consent, so all it takes is a click a box on the form.

    Not that it would matter, given that there are no checks on the identity of the person making the complaint.

    It is high time there was a fee for filing the complaints. Even a small fee would at least slow down the majority of the tyre kickers. Also, charging a fee (through normal means) allows some tracing on the true identity of the complainant.

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