We Hereby Give You Notice

Notify DFCMy number one bug bear with the current Names Panel draft recommendations is that all potentially affected parties have not been individually notified of the proposed changes

These are changes that if ultimately implemented could have financial consequences for many tens of thousands of people and small businesses. There are probably a number of bigger corporates that also have no clue of what could be in the offing.

Sure there have been various blog articles published on a number of “trade” sites. Some registrars have done newsletters. A couple of radio interviews were done discussing the subject. A few forums are debating it.

But that doesn’t “cut the mustard” in my humble opinion. And I’ve told my fellow Names Panel members that – as well as Jo Lim from auDA. I suggested that every single registrant should be emailed by the auDA. They have the database – it is easy enough for them to do.

The response was that they don’t want to be accused of spamming. I couldn’t believe this – and still can’t.

How’s This For An Analogy?

I live in Townsville, and our prestige suburb is North Ward / Castle Hill. There are some beautiful homes there – many with great views across Queens Gardens (a 4 hectare Botanic Garden).

What would happen if the Townsville City Council and a cartel of property developers got together and decided it would be a “great idea” to double the number of inner city dwellings. And the best way to do this would be to create a high-rise precinct of apartments on the site currently occupied by Queens Gardens. (Obviously they had convinced themselves there would be great demand; and money to be made). 😉

For a start, they would have to publicly notify such a major proposal. Newspaper ads etc. Probably a big PR campaign on television and radio.

Most importantly though, they would be required to write to every affected owner or resident telling them what was planned; and setting out how people could comment or object.

What would probably follow would be screams of protest by many people; demands for the Council to be sacked by the State Local Government Minister; town planning appeals; Supreme Court appeals; class actions for compensation.

I know I’m sounding a bit dramatic, but I’m sure you get my drift.

What Should Happen Now

Not Junk Mail 2

I believe it is incumbent on the auDA to send an email to every single registrant of a domain name in Australia. They are a potentially affected party; and deserve to know what is being proposed; and to have a say.

This way the “supposed vested interest opinions” of domainers; domain investors; the Registry; Registrars and Re-Sellers could then be deemed to be balanced by the opinions from the public.

This way a fair, proper and reasoned decision could be arrived at. That’s called “due process”.

What do others think?


Important Disclaimer

  • I am a member of the auDA 2015 Names Policy Panel.
  • I am also a domainer / domain investor with a substantial portfolio of com.au domain names.
  • I therefore have a “vested interest”.

26 thoughts on “We Hereby Give You Notice

  • September 11, 2015 at 10:15 am

    An incredibly important point.

    Why is auDA afraid of the majority of their clients opinion?

    2 people like this.
    • September 12, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Quite to the contrary, auDA is not afraid of the majority or any registrants opinions, that is why auDA:
      (a) has a panel process where different stakeholders get to participate; and
      (b) we are now up to public consultation number 2 with respect to the draft recommendations of the Names Policy Panel.

      It also important to note that the Names Policy Panel is not auDA, but a committee formed by auDA. The auDA Board will ultimately decide on whether to adopt or reject the recommendations of the Names Policy Panel, that decision will no doubt be influenced by public feedback.

      • September 13, 2015 at 12:19 pm

        “Influenced by public feedback”. Indeed. Does this mean the registrants that have no idea that this process is under away? If so, how do you plan to get their feedback?

        Anonymous likes this.
      • September 14, 2015 at 11:27 am

        of course auda is not afraid as it has TOLD next to NOBODY about it, this is like having a chess game in the middle of the MCG

        Anonymous likes this.
  • September 11, 2015 at 10:52 am

    i agree and lets stop this BS about its only domainers complaining, it’s because we are the only ones who know ! and as ned says people should be notified, that should have been first on the list IMO

    Anonymous likes this.
  • September 11, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Makes sense to get as much input as possible but by emailing existing registrants you only hear from those who already have domains so any results may be skewed. There will be a bias towards maintaining the status quo as the majority of these people will be perfectly happy with their current domain (although many of them shouldn’t!).

    The main argument for the proposal is that it will give more choice to future registrants. For balance you’d need to hear this viewpoint too and that’s not easy.

  • September 11, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    The quieter they are, the more likely the outcome suits them

  • September 11, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    When I first purchased a domain through a registrar I got an email from CEO of auda welcoming me and giving me general info. So I don’t see how it could be spam if they are telling me something important is about to happen?

    If worried about spam, then send “snail mail”. They’ve got plenty of money in kitty.

    Anonymous likes this.
  • September 11, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Absolutely agree. Like most things in a democratic system, let the majority decide. Good article Ned. Who do we complain to about the lack of public involvement in this decision at AuDa. I know they sent out some complicated document for review a few months ago but that’s not the same as a simple yes no question to people who will be most affected.

    Anonymous likes this.
    • September 11, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Rudy, this is from auDA website.

      “There are two ways in which you can submit comments to the Panel:

      1. Send a written submission to:

      Jo Lim, Chief Operations and Policy Officer, auDA
      email: [email protected]
      fax: 03 8341 4112″

      (Not sure who still uses faxes these days!).

  • September 11, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I agree – auDA should send an email to every single registrant of a domain name in Australia.

    As Morgan said, auDA sent me a message when I first started buying domain names, letting me know who they were and that they were the current government-endorsed authority of the industry. I’m sure they can now let hundreds of thousands of businesses have their say about the new ccTLD possibility. No way is this spam.

    Anonymous likes this.
  • September 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Ned,

    It’s a complex issue which isn’t certainly not binary as some of the previous comments have suggested. @David touches an important part and that is if you leave it to auDA then all you effectively do is contact existing registrants which is realistically only a subset of people who could/should have a voice.

    In business one of the things that really eats at me is people who sit around waiting for other people to solve their problems. Or who want to defer ownership of a key business metric to ‘someone else’. I’d rather ask what can I do today that is part of the solution.

    Both auDA and the panels they facilitate are both run using a multi-stakeholder model. In that type of model it’s far more effective for the panel members to lobby their stakeholders both for opinion, to give them a voice and very importantly so that they have an opportunity to participate.

    As an example you’re a shining example of someone who is very effectively engaging their stakeholders, you bring that commentary back to the panel, you run this site and ask domainers (who are arguably your constituents) to participate in the model. Is that better than auDA simply sending those people an email? I’d say it’s about 1000x better.

    I’ll get the stats from our marketing people on how many we wrote to. But the first round I wrote commentary and we emailed a large segment of our customer base and asked them to complete the auDA survey. We’ve done the same again in the second round, with an initial email which we’ll follow up later in the month. My instruction to marketing was to contact our entire user base which is 400,000 plus (less unsubscribes) and is about 99% small business.

    I know Gavin at Crazy Domains is running the same type of thing.

    Where the model falls over a bit is on the consumer side/user side, which though they have representation on the panel, I don’t think are being engaged. This is where I still don’t think auDA should be trying to outreach directly, but they should be engaging peak bodies and getting them to filter the message down through their organisations. Which all sounds very easy, but I’m sure in practice is hard to do.

    Is it perfect the way it’s currently done? No. Is there a magic bullet where auDA can solve? I don’t think so. Sending a single or multiple emails to registrants I personally don’t think is the answer. I do feel that we can all do a better job of engaging our constituents/stakeholders though.

    • September 11, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Brett, we’ve already agreed that registrars and domainers have vested interests. 😉

      And we’re able to fight our corner.

      (To be fair though, I am the only “token domainer” on the Names Panel. By my count there are at least six members who are on the “supply side”).

      I also agree with this comment of yours:

      “Where the model falls over a bit is on the consumer side/user side, which though they have representation on the panel, I don’t think are being engaged”.

      That’s my point in a nutshell; and why I wrote this article. They (Ma and Pa / small businesses) need to be engaged – and auDA can do that simply and easily.

      I’m glad you are engaging your customers. May I ask if you are being “pro the draft recommendations” to the extent that you are providing a template response for them to send in to auDA? I know that has happened previously. 🙂

      • September 11, 2015 at 5:23 pm

        As I say, 99% of our customers are micro and small business. I want happy customers. Happy customers are good for the long term health of my business. Short term gain at the expense of long term customer sentiment is a bad business model. I talk to a lot of them on a weekly basis – the service we offer, the problem they have and more widely challenges they have in their business that we solve or get in the way of.

        I’ve engaged both ways to answer your question. I’ve told people to have a say even if they disagree with me. I’ve also said I’m voting X and I encourage you to vote the same way, including sending a formatted template response.


        Even when we’ve strongly advocated a position I know that people have been drawn to complete the survey who disagree with me partially I’m sure as a protest. Which I’m 100% happy about because at least they participated!

        I advocate a lot to try and get a wider body of people involved.

        I’m also generally happy to constructively debate ideas. I would say to that end Ned you are really facilitating a good discussion here. 90% of posts while emotive are playing the ball not the man and that’s really helpful in progressing a conversation.

      • September 11, 2015 at 5:29 pm

        FWIW I think your comment about being a token domainer on the panel is a bit of a poke.


        Peter Mead
        Erhan Karabardak
        Anthony Peake

        While they may not be pure domainers. Have skin in the game.

        I’m supply side but most of the revenue / profit from mine and Gavin’s and the resellers on the panel doesn’t come from domains it comes from hosting and other VAP’s.

        The last reckoning I saw was domainers have about 5% of the total .au namespace.

        On a panel of 23 people, have up to 4 advocates – which from a straight percentage to percentage basis is high, not low.

        • September 11, 2015 at 5:44 pm

          I was hoping you’d respond to this bit Brett. I like a bit of a poke.

          Peter Mead is part owner of DNTrade, but without being disparaging, I wouldn’t call him a domainer or domain investor (I don’t think he has many in his portfolio, but I might be wrong). He also hasn’t attended that many panel meetings due to other commitments.

          Erhan obviously has some domains, but my understanding is that he is on the panel in the capacity of an auDA Director. Obviously he has to be a bit circumspect in what he says at this point. He is predominantly an IP lawyer.

          Anthony is a registrar and a dropcatcher – I think he only has a handful of domains.

          So without being purposely argumentative or demeaning of the above people, I believe I am the only “domainer” on the NP. And I am definitely outnumbered by supply members.


          Anonymous likes this.
          • September 11, 2015 at 7:33 pm

            I think we’ll have to disagree on this.

            I can’t have a sensible argument where we aren’t going to consider the owner of a purely domainer forum – with a portfolio as someone who is representing domainer views.

            Just out of curiosity how many domains do you need to have in your portfolio before you are a domainer? Inquiring minds would like to know 🙂

            • September 11, 2015 at 8:30 pm

              Yeah yeah Brett. 😉 I’ve always acknowledged my roots and motivations.

              But I’m also genuinely interested in the welfare of others – and in due and proper process.

              I really appreciate your participation in this discourse – rest assured that I will have a few curly questions for you next week.

              Anonymous likes this.
  • September 11, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Great idea Ned. Auda should do this to get a fair idea of what the general public think.


    Anonymous likes this.
  • September 11, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    There is no excuse for not informing and inviting comments from all au registrants about this potential policy change.

    Auda don’t want to be accused of spamming yet they email the following to all new registrants?

    “Subject: Welcome to the .au domain space

    You are receiving this email because you are listed as the registrant contact for a new .au domain name: (domainname).com.au
    My name is Chris Disspain and I am the CEO of auDA, the manager of the Domain Name System in Australia. I am writing to share some of the key elements of the .au domain space that you, as a new domain name registrant, should be aware of.

    Contact Details
    One of the responsibilities you have as a domain name registrant is to ensure that the contact information in your domain name record is kept up to date. To check your information, you can do a WHOIS search on your domain name via http://whois.ausregistry.com.au/. If you need to make changes to the information then you should contact your registrar.

    auDA Published Policies
    auDA has developed, and regularly reviews, the policy framework that governs all elements of the domain name industry in Australia. auDA’s policies cover issues such as domain name eligibility, the obligations of .au registrars and resellers, domain name password recovery and domain name transfers. A full list of auDA’s current policies is available at http://www.auda.org.au/policies/current-policies/.

    Complaints and Disputes
    auDA also maintains a formal framework for the management of complaints in .au, including complaints about individual .au domain names and complaints regarding the conduct of a registrar or reseller. In addition, the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP) outlines the process for the resolution of disputes between a .au registrant and a party with competing rights in the domain name. More information about lodging a complaint is available at http://www.auda.org.au/about-auda/our-services/submit-a-complaint/.

    Consumer Alerts
    auDA periodically publishes Consumer Alerts and other relevant information about developments in .au. If you want to ensure that you are kept up to date, you can subscribe to our announcements list http://www.auda.org.au/about-auda/our-services/auda-announcements-list/.

    I hope this information is of use to you. To learn more about auDA you might also like to visit our blog http://www.auda.org.au/blog/ and our YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/audachannel.

    Please do not reply to this email by using the reply button. If you wish to contact auDA, please email [email protected].


    Chris Disspain
    Chief Executive Officer
    .au Domain Administration Ltd
    ACN 079 009 340

    Anonymous likes this.
    • September 11, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      Welcome Andrew. Thanks for posting this.

      Totally agree with you.

      Anonymous likes this.
    • September 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Agreed. Total hypocrisy.

      If AUDA don’t want to inform their customers, then what about individual registrars being asked or made to do so?

      If this ridiculous proposal gets up, prepare your mailboxes for no end of offers from registrars inviting us to take advantage of the new .au. Of course that wouldn’t be spam would it?

      Anonymous likes this.
  • September 17, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Ha ha – auDA don’t want to be accused of spamming? The silliest email I get each month is the one from auDA on the 1st of the month “lists.auda.org.au mailing list memberships reminder”

    I don’t think there is another email list I am on that sends me a monthly email reminding me that I am subscribed! I only don’t unsubscribe because I worry I’ll actually miss out on an important email from them…perhaps something like .au being introduced 🙂

  • April 13, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Sounds like a poor excuse.  In the spirit of empiricism, test it!

    Small businesses relying on 3LD .AU domains will be significantly affected by enabling direct 2LD registrations in .AU.  Whatever their opinion may be, that’s so.  Indeed they are the largest, most affected constituency.  Surely the auDA acknowledges that.

    As the largest constituency, these stake holders deserve to be given a realistic chance to learn about policy changes that will affect them – before new policies solidify.  Surely the auDA acknowledges that too.

    The simplest, most reliable, and most impartial way to present these proposed changes to this constituency would be a direct email from the official governing body – as opposed to, say, hearing first from a lobbying group or scaremongering gossip.  Surely the auDA acknowledges that as well.

    Unless the terms of service were very badly written indeed, the auDA has the legal right to email .AU registrants.  And why would it have secured that legal right except to exercise it?  The auDA isn’t claiming that the messages it might send ARE spam – only that they might be regarded as such by the recipients.

    If the only obstacle to emailing registrants is an hypothesis that they’d object to receiving an email notification, then test that hypothesis!  Ask them!  Let the auDA survey a small representative sample – first presenting them with the relevant notification itself, then asking them whether they regard that notification as spam.  A predetermined threshold could be established, above / below which the auDA would not / would send out an email to 100% of registrants.

    Personally I expect direct 2LD registrations in .AU are likely to happen eventually, since that’s the way so many ccTLDs already have gone.  Maybe my hunch is wrong, and Australia will be an almost solitary holdout. Regardless, it seems to me that the crucial question isn’t whether but when and how direct 2LDs will be introduced.  Even if they are blocked, there should be a contingency plan in place specifying how they’d be implemented in terms of timeline, pricing, grandfathered rights, and so forth.


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