You Have To Play By The Rules

field-positions with acknowledgment to Nicholson CartoonsIf you’re going to be a domain investor in Australia, then you have to play by the rules. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve written about this!

Who makes the rules? auDA does. And whilst we may think some of their policy provisions are either totally unnecessary; too stringent or unfair, the fact is, if you don’t observe them, then you stand a very good chance of being penalised. If you do get “pinged”, you can’t then blame auDA for being unreasonable – they are simply following policy.

I remember as a kid playing lots of backyard cricket. When you went to play at someone else’s place, they invariably had their own “house rules”. (I always hated “six and out”!). If you wanted to compete, then you had to observe their rules. Same goes with auDA.

Article image courtesy of Nicholson Cartoons.

A Wake Up Call

Last week, friends of mine got a complaint from auDA (via Netfleet).

The important thing to remember is that auDA is “complaints driven”. You will generally never hear from them unless somebody makes a complaint (and they feel that the complaint is worth investigating). Bear in mind also that the staff at auDA are on the ball when it comes to recognising vexatious complaints. They refuse a lot of complaints because they are simply without merit.

So my friends have a nice portfolio of domains, and these are mostly parked with Fabulous. They had very recently purchased a domain on the expired auctions, but due to a simple oversight, had overlooked getting this particular domain properly monetized. Instead, it was just left at Netfleet with their generic page (which does not comply with auDA policy when it comes to “domain monetization”).

The complaint only arose because the previous registrant was peed off that he let the domain expire. He didn’t bother contacting the new registrant who had purchased it fairly and squarely. Instead, he went straight to auDA. As the domain was simply parked at Netfleet, auDA quite rightly decided to investigate.

What Happened Next

Contrary to popular myth, the complaints department at auDA are fair and reasonable. They’ll let you know if there is a particular problem; and give you a chance to explain and/or rectify within a short space of time. If you can do so to their satisfaction i.e. comply with policy, then you won’t have any issues.

The initial complaint that my friends received was a “Warranty Check”. auDA could not determine their eligibility simply by looking at the “WhoIs” or the parking page.

Cutting a long story short, they immediately responded to auDA and apologised for their oversight. They also confirmed that they had rectified the parking page; and explained that their eligibility was based on “Domain Monetisation”.

auDA was satisfied, and advised accordingly.

Big hat tip to Nikki from Netfleet who assisted my friends with their response to auDA. It’s great to see a registrar being proactive and looking after their clients.


If you’re going to be a serious domain investor or domainer, then make sure you play by the rules. If you don’t, then there is no excuse. auDA has the power to audit your whole portfolio – and also to “policy delete” if they feel you haven’t complied with policy**.

** There are appeal provisions.

Ned O’Meara – 30th September 2016


Disclaimer 2

8 thoughts on “You Have To Play By The Rules

  • September 30, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Important lesson there Ned. It’s not rocket science if you follow the basic rules and take on board the advice that you have previously published on

    Totally agree with your acknowledgement of great customer service from Nikki at Netfleet.



  • September 30, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Great advice, stick to the rules and you won’t get burnt.

    I’ve worked with numerous complaints and have found auDA to be reasonable and fair with all of them. Like us, they want an industry that people can have confidence in.

  • September 30, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Perhaps the default page when registered via the auDA approved drop catch providers and should be a  monetised parking page instead of a default Netfleet or Drop advertising page?

    This means if you do “win” ( pay the most) on the auDA approved drop auctions you are immediately covered until you go about setting up your website or changing your nameservers.

    There is actually NO  required time limit to monetise, park or have a website up to prove eligibility for an Australian domain name as far as auDA policy states.

    This will solve a lot of auDA, registrant, complainant, registrar time wasted !

    • September 30, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Agreed, there is no “official” time limit, but who wants to play “Russian Roulete” on someone having an anonymous moan?

      It is a complaint driven policy – get yourself a reputation for not playing by the rules, and you will suffer.

      Whilst the current rules and policies are in place (and until they are changed), registrants would be wise to conform. Imho.

      As I discussed with a VERY knowledgable person today, there are more and more attempts to acquire good domains by “unfair or foul” means.

      • September 30, 2016 at 9:29 pm

        There is no such  red tape with .com or any other domain name extensions.

        The auDA policy needs to be updated so there is no “Russian Roulete”.

        Again I state  There is actually NO  required time limit to monetise, park or have a website up to prove eligibility for an Australian domain name as far as auDA policy states. The previous auDA CEO and several at auDA in policy etc have clearly has stated this numerous times.

        If audA wants to enforce  people not monetising or building a website in any time frame they actually need to have it in the policy for it to be even enforceable.


        • October 1, 2016 at 6:26 am

          @Sean – as I stated in my original article, many people don’t like the current situation. But it’s their “house rules”, and so we have to observe if we want to keep playing. You say:

          “If audA wants to enforce  people not monetising or building a website in any time frame they actually need to have it in the policy for it to be even enforceable”.

          Whilst there is no official “time frame” in policy, if a registrant is going to claim eligibility via “domain monetisation”, then they have to do this from the “get go”. Why? Because as I said, if someone complains and you have nothing in place, then you are in contravention of policy.

          People have to read Section 11 of the “2012-05 – Guidelines on the Interpretation of Policy Rules for Open 2LDs”

          11.2  Registrants who register domain names for the purpose of domain monetisation do not fall into any of the categories of close and substantial connection outlined in paragraph 10.5.

          11.3  The first condition is that “the content on the website to which the domain name resolves must be related specifically and predominantly to subject matter denoted by the domain name”. This is intended to ensure that the close and substantial connection between the registrant and the domain name is visible and meaningful to users. If the content of the website does not relate to the domain name in any discernible way, then the close and substantial connection rule is not satisfied.

          So if registrants who wish to claim eligibility (via “Domain Monetisation”) want to avoid “Warranty Checks”, then they shouldn’t leave their domain “unresolved” or parked without relevant monetised links.

  • September 30, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Response to a complaint needs to address policy. I gave a response once and got told off and had to start again. I found Vanessa was helpful.


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