Let me paint you a potential scenario that sends a shiver down my spine as an .au domain name investor and registrant. And if it worries me, it should worry everyone!
♦ You see a valuable com.au domain name on the expired auctions, and you bid big for it (let’s say mid to high 4 figures), and you win it. Very exciting.
♦ Even though the domain name may have been around for over a decade, because it is an “expired domain”, “the create date” starts from scratch i.e. if you bought it on the drops on 26th July 2017; that’s the effective “create date” at the registry. If you don’t believe me, take any domain you have bought on the drops recently, and then do a password recovery here. This will show you the “create date”.
♦ Behind the scenes, auDA and its “Direct Registration Advisory Panel” is working feverishly on how best to implement direct registrations i.e. who gets the .au? Should it be the com.au holder (the premium domain name extension in Australia); or should it perhaps go to whoever has held the domain name in any extension for the longest period? Say an .org.au or a .net.au or an id.au.
♦ auDA decides to adopt the recommendation contained on Page 41 of the “Phase Two (Quantitative and Qualitative II) report”.
♦ The guy that bought the .net.au of the same domain name nearly 3 years ago for a princely $25 is now potentially going to be awarded first rights to the .au. Why? Because his official “create date” at the registry is January 1, 2015.
Is that fair? Does that create market confidence?
The Other Side Of The Coin
If you have bought or sold an aftermarket domain (one that hasn’t expired and had its “create date” reset), then you get to keep the original “create date” at the registry.
For instance, I recently purchased Eagle.com.au on the aftermarket. Have a look at the “create date” – I haven’t been “reset”.
That to my mind gives a USP (unique selling proposition) for aftermarket domains!
Don’t Despair Though!
This “Longest License Holders Likely To Have First Rights” is exactly the same bulldust that Nominet started off with in the UK. Honestly, when I read auDA’s Quantitative and Qualitative Report, it was déjà vu.
Have a read of this post I wrote on Domainer back in September 2015 – Trials And Tribulations Of .UK
Nominet’s initial proposal for direct registrations was met with howls of outrage; and they quickly had to abandon it. In essence, they wanted to give trademark holders “first dibs” on .uk; followed by everyone else on an equal footing. Given that approx 93% of the UK domain space was registered to .co.uk, the unhappiness was understandable.
Nominet were ultimately forced to do another two rounds of public submissions / proposals. Why? Because “people power” forced them to do so. Submissions; complaints; threats of legal action etc.
To their credit, Nominet listened and acted. The final outcome was a victory for common sense. In essence, the holders of the .co.uk domain were granted first rights to the .uk domain. The outcome was again succinctly summarised by Ron Jackson of DNJournal:
“As anyone would expect, .co.uk owners immediately took up arms (with one of England’s most senior industry veterans, Edwin Hayward, among those at the forefront of the protest). Nominet backed off and began revising their strategy. After moving to a second set of proposed rules, then a third, Nominet finally announced on Wednesday (Nov. 20, 2013) that .uk domains are coming next year but with a substantially different set of rules than were first proposed. Current .co.uk owners will retain rights to their names in .uk for five years and the price for a .uk will be the same as it has been for .co.uk.”
Not only is there no true demand for direct registrations (and they shouldn’t be brought in at all), but if they are introduced without proper safeguards being put in place for .com.au holders, then the scenario I have highlighted at the top of the page will potentially come into play.
That’s one of the main reasons Shane Moore and I are running for the auDA Board.
Ned O’Meara – 10th August 2017