Has auDA Helped Ensure Competition Is Dead?

There seems to be something seriously wrong at auDA.

When seasoned industry veterans with tons of experience can’t get an application to become a new registrar approved in a period of 18 months, then one has to question whether the powers that be at auDA are observing their “Terms of Endorsement” from the Australian Government (Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts).

In particular, I refer to this one:

Promote principles of competition, fair trading and consumer protection

auDA’s policies will improve the utility of the .au domain for all Australians and continue to promote competition, fair trading and consumer protection to facilitate equitable access to the market.

Last night, I received a very disturbing email from DropCatcher.

Currently there is only one group in Australia (Trellian) that provides the ability to “catch” expired auctions every day. They do this through their platform Drop.com.au. They have bought out all their competition along the way, so they have a monopoly. That is a “dirty word” in Australian business. Most fair-minded people think that competition and disruption is good.

I must state that in doing so, they have done nothing wrong. They have simply captured an opportunity that garners them on average many thousands of dollars per day.

Drop is the best registrar out there for domain investors in my opinion. I am a client and have been for many years through various owners. I even owned it myself for one brief moment. When I sold it to Trellian, there were two other “drop catchers” in existence. Trellian subsequently bought them. So that is what I now bemoan – the total absence of competition in the “drop catching” space.

Roadblocks

I believe there have been some at auDA putting roadblocks in the way for Dropcatcher Pty Ltd becoming an accredited registrar. I can think of no other reason why Cameron Bell and his highly experienced team have been treated as they have. It just doesn’t make sense.

But there’s the thing – every time someone complains or writes about the issue, someone at auDA makes noises that they are on to it, but effectively, they then just ignore the situation. I repeat – this has been ongoing for around 18 months.

But who polices auDA? Themselves. Imagine if there was an Independent Ombudsman (which there should be for such an important public resource)!

 

Competition is Good!

This is an opinion piece by Ned O’Meara – 30th August 2022