What A Shock!

What a ShockerLike these dogs, I was absolutely amazed at a recent auDRP decision handed down on the domain name HRA.com.au.

The acronym auDRP means .au Dispute Resolution Policy. It’s purpose of the auDRP is to provide a cheap and speedy resolution to disputes between the registrant of an .au domain name, & a party with competing rights in the same domain.

I wrote about this dispute back on the 7th May when it was a pending decision.

HRA.com.au – the complainant in this case is Harness Racing Australia. Respondent is a friend and fellow domain investor. In fact, I actually sold him this domain about 18 months ago! In my opinion, there is absolutely no way that he should lose this domain, however, he perhaps hasn’t done himself any favours with the landing page he currently has. I wish him well.

The reason I am shocked is that the sole panelist decided in his wisdom to rule in favour of the complainant. And I’m even more distressed at some of the reasoning given:

the Panel draws the inference that, for the purpose of paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy, the disputed domain name was most likely registered by the Respondent primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the disputed domain name registration to another person for valuable consideration in excess of out-of-pocket costs directly related to the disputed domain name or to otherwise profit at the expense of the Complainant and others who have name and trademark rights in respect of HRA.

What Lessons Can Be Learned?

  • If you have acronym domains that are simply parked pages, make sure that the links are always relevant. Yes, you will have to use your imagination – but it’s not hard!
  • If you get a threatening letter about handing over the domain, you must respond. However, make sure you get some professional advice before doing so. This could save you a whole lot of heartache, grief and money.
  • If you get hit with an auDRP proceeding, do not ignore it! You must get a response in. Ditto the advice above.

Some Success Stories

Many auDRP’s have been successfully defended by domain investors. So do not be intimidated.

As an example, here a couple of acronym domain disputes that were successfully defended in the past 12 months by Erhan Karabardak of Cooper Mills:

HW.com.au

ETG.com.au

As always, I’m interested in your thoughts.


Disclaimer by Ned O’Meara – Webmaster

Disclaimer 2

11 thoughts on “What A Shock!

  • tim
    May 27, 2016 at 10:25 am
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    thanks for detailing that and following it, all good advice

    i think the reason for the decision is absolute rubbish HRA can mean a mountain of things,
    just google it!
    historic rally association
    humane research australia
    hotel representation australia
    holy royal arch
    health respite authority

    with an “a” in the domain association and australia covers an heap of options not just ones that exist but ones that may exist in the future

    hungarian rheumatoid arthritis, which can you believe it is a specific type to the people from that country !

    so the decision is BS to me.

    the parking page is the concern, the computers inability to correctly display ads relative to the domain name unless its an EMD i have noticed on fabulous.
    i personally am in the process of creating my own landing pages that best represent what the domain visitor expects to see and i know others have greatly increased their income by moving away from parked pages, especially for their realy popular “type in” domains.

    thanks, i’ll push hard to clean up my parked pages
    tim

    • Ned O'Meara
      May 28, 2016 at 7:23 am
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      Some good points Tim. As I said in my reply to Joseph, Fabulous does give you the ability to select keywords on a 2 click lander.

      Ultimately, the responsibility for correct links lies with the registrant. Blaming the parking provider doesn’t work in the eyes of auDRP / UDRP panelists.

  • Avatar
    May 27, 2016 at 10:50 am
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    There’s so much inconsistency among these decisions.  I know little about the auDRP.  Maybe showing relevant ads can help protect a .COM.AU acronym.  When it comes to the UDRP, however, many panelists will actually conclude that the presence of a PPC ad for the complainant’s brand somehow proves bad faith on the part of the domain owner – even though the domain owner doesn’t select the ads that are being shown whereas the complainant is voluntarily paying to put their own ad there!  Acronym .COM domains have been confiscated for that reason.

    • Ned O'Meara
      May 28, 2016 at 7:21 am
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      @Joseph – auDRP is very similar to UDRP. Same 3 legs have to be established by complainant – miss out on just one, and they lose argument.

      I agree with you that links are so important. The beauty of the Fabulous platform (that I use) is that you can actually select your own keywords for a 2-click lander. This generally solves all problems.

      What really peed me off about this decision is how could the panelist really establish that the respondent registered this domain in “bad faith”? It’s an acronym – could mean anything! e.g. Hotel Reservations Australia

  • Avatar
    May 27, 2016 at 2:39 pm
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    I’m not suprised.

    Based on previous auDRP’s I wouldn’t be expecting a favourable outcome when the respondent fails to submit a response. Not saying it’s right though..

    • Ned O'Meara
      May 28, 2016 at 7:25 am
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      @Richard – though there have been some instances in the USA where respondents haven’t replied, and they have still won. Few and far between though!

  • Avatar
    May 27, 2016 at 6:57 pm
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    Crazy!  The same panelist came down on my side in Bespoke dot com.

    Have for sale pages only.  Always respond to legal challenges.  Be the lion not the lamb.

    • Ned O'Meara
      May 28, 2016 at 7:31 am
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      @Garth – you are a great example of being a lion! You have got yourself one fantastic lawyer in the UK. He is on top of his game.

      In Australia, as a domain investor, we have to comply with the “domain monetisation” policy of auDA. Which means ads. But as I’ve said above, those links on the initial parking are registrants responsibilty. If however someone clicks on one of those links, and it then takes them to a series of ads which may include a reference to complainant’s brand, then this has been deemed not to be responsibility of registrant.

      It’s the first stage that is so important to get right.

      • Avatar
        May 28, 2016 at 12:55 pm
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        Thanks Ned.  So what does one do if you only want to use your .com.au for email or haven’t got your website ready yet?  Forced monetisation sounds quirky.  Non use should be acceptable, like most other extensions out there.

        • Ned O'Meara
          May 29, 2016 at 9:42 am
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          @Garth

          Under the unique rules of the .au space, all registrants must have some form of “close and substantial” connection to the domain name. There are indeed other eligibility options other than “domain monetisation” (see below). So it is possible to use a domain solely for email, but you have to make sure you are eligible to hold the domain under other options.

          2. Domain names in the com.au 2LD must be:

          a) an exact match, abbreviation or acronym of the registrant’s name or trademark; or

          b) otherwise closely and substantially connected to the registrant, in accordance with the categories of “close and substantial connection” set out in the Guidelines on the Interpretation of Policy Rules for the Open 2LDs.

          3. A domain name may also be registered in the com.au 2LD under paragraph 2(b) for the purpose of domain monetisation, in accordance with the explanation of “domain monetisation” set out in the Guidelines on the Interpretation of Policy Rules for the Open 2LDs, provided that the following conditions are met:

          This is the actual policy.

          Luke Summers also wrote a great article on Domainer about domain monetisation:

          • Avatar
            May 29, 2016 at 1:02 pm
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            Thanks for info.  With .au a lot of that will have to go, if auDA wants it to be universal and to get good uptake.

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