auDA Cashes In On “Fear of Missing Out”

When any organisation can effectively utilise FOMO (fear of missing out) as a marketing strategy to make sales or raise revenue, some may say “bravo / brilliant”.

But how about when a membership organisation like auDA does it? And effectively doubles, triples or quadruples their income on the basis of a possible future right to an .au domain name?

In many instances, registrants who have already paid auDA for their domain name are being forced to pay again if they want to even have a chance of getting

I say this is “disappointing” – and I’m not the only one.

Who or what is auDA?

For those possibly not in the know, auDA is Australia’s domain name regulator – and in case you weren’t aware, they have introduced the ability to reserve or acquire a short domain (if you qualify) – e.g. The cut-off period to qualify is only a week away.

Is .au a good thing?

Yes – for some people it is. Lots less red tape – e.g. you don’t need an ABN – just the ability to prove an Australian presence.

For others, it is not. Many businesses / organisations / people see this as no more than an unnecessary cash grab. They are being forced to protect their “brand”. In many cases, even when they pay up, they don’t get the goods!

You be the judge – this is a great example!

“STB” is a valuable 3 letter shortener or acronym.

By way of full disclosure, one of my businesses is the registrant of – and I am not applying for the possible right to the .au.

So who is going to get in the next couple of weeks? The answer is no one!

Here are simple simple facts:

  • auDA and the registry Afilias have already collected the wholesale fee of $8.67 from each of the 3 applicants below.
  • If no one else applies, come next week it will be “Church vs State” – the two Category 1 applicants have a joint first right.
  • The Cat 2 applicant has wasted their money – they get booted.
  • Unless the Cat 1 holders make a deal with each other, in 12 months time they have to pay another fee to stay in contention.
  • And in the meantime, everyone continues to pay their registration fees.

Extrapolate this situation over a number of years and possibly thousands of domains. Yikes!



Disclaimer: I have long advocated that direct registration is unnecessary in such a small marketplace like Australia. We only have approximately 3.7 million domain names – yet according to Verisign, .com worldwide registrations are 161 million as at March 2022.

However, I have also accepted that it is here now, and we have to make the best of it. Domain investors like myself will make money from this.

But like many, I question the process – particularly allocation.