Has auDA Planted A Minefield?

This is not a criticism of the new .au domain extension. I can see why some people would prefer this option.

As a domain investor of long standing, I will make money from it.

However, there are going to be many issues / complaints for auDA and registrars to deal with in coming months – mark my words!

Under their registrar agreements, Registrars are not allowed to publicly criticise auDA.

So let me pretend I am a Registrar.

The Priority Allocation process is a potential minefield

  • The method in which auDA decided to “priority allocate” the new domains has already come under severe criticism, and this is going to grow in weeks and months to come.
  • So many people have already commented on multiple forums (including LinkedIn) that this is nothing but a cash grab by auDA.
  • Registrars and auDA have already started to field multiple complaints as to how unfair the process is.
  • It is also very apparent that some registrants aren’t aware that the process has even happened.

Let me give one real example

I got this email from a small business operator on the weekend. I have deleted / edited identifying information, and tried to summarise his issues.

This is about the priority rights on a valuable 4 letter domain name. I have had the com.au for over 6 years.

My name is ————— and I run a network consultancy business in Adelaide called —————. I’m writing to you in regards to the —-.au priority status hold you have put in place as the owners of —-.com.au.

I have owned the domain name —-.net.au since 1998. I am seeking to register —-.au and have had the —-.org.au owners decline the priority hold, however it seems now that there is also a hold by yourselves from —-.com.au.

Given I have been using the —-.net.au domain with a direct named relationship to my business since 1998 & it seems you are holding —-.com.au as a parked/for sale domain, would you be willing to release the —-.au priority hold?

My response (edited)

I have tried to be pragmatic.

The new .au has unfortunately created these conflicted situations that you mention above – as well as opportunities for shorter domains (though com au will always be dominant in my opinion.)

We’ve had the —- com au for over 6 years, and have fielded a number of sales enquiries. So for that reason, I offer up these suggestions for your consideration.

Possible solutions

1. You purchase our priority rights for $800 and become entitled to register —- au; or
2. Vice versa – we purchase your rights for the same amount and get —- au etc; or
3. We maintain the status quo and keep paying auDA each year.
4. You purchase —- com au from us and get the lot.

Happy to discuss if you want to.

His response (edited)

Unfortunately I think this will be one of the many stalemate situations. Not intending any malice, I just don’t agree with how auDA handled the whole priority categorisation process and for the same reasons you mention below I can’t see why I would have to pay to release the .au or even why I should profit from selling the rights to it.

My response (edited)

I understand how you feel.

I’m angry as well, but I take a more pragmatic approach.

Why should auDA “win” with it’s unprincipled cash grab? We should both be winners. One of us gets —-.au (which is possibly worth $800 or more now or in the future); the other gets $800 in their hand now. And I don’t mind either selection.

The alternative is neither of us gets anything. The choice is a no brainer to me.

Think about it, and if your thoughts change, please let me know.

In my opinion

This will be the first of many such complaints.

It is not a good look that a membership organisation like auDA gets to charge registrants “application fees” for something they may never get.

They also get to charge everyone left standing after 12 months; and 24 months; and 36 months ….. at this stage it could go on for ages.

It needs to change. No more “cash grab” auDA!