I can’t think of many reasons why so many people would want to band together to make life difficult for a non-profit organisation? Isn’t that what all these pesky so-called “Domainers” are doing? “Organising” themselves into groups to attack a non-profit organisation who’s only trying to do the right thing?
“Domainers are moaners”.
“They’re only thinking about themselves! They don’t care about everyday small businesses trying to buy a domain name!”
“They’re extortionists and cybersquatters!”
This seems to be the mentality driving the powers that be at auDA and The PRP over the past few years.
Not only is this train of thought not fair, it’s not based on reality.
Remember the skateboarders of the 80’s who used to walk around sporting “Skateboarding is not a crime!” t-shirts? Many of the powers-that-be deemed teenagers skating anywhere in public to be a bad thing.
Nowadays, every local council in the country is demolishing old-fashioned playgrounds and building skateboard parks by default. They’re working “with” the skateboarders, instead of against them. Because… if people want to skateboard, they should be allowed to skateboard!
Wouldn’t it have been a whole lot easier for the authorities to have worked “with” the skateboarders, instead of vilifying them for so many years?
20 years later, skateboarding is seen as normal. It’s even promoted by many authorities as a very healthy activity, instead of teenagers lying around playing video games or getting into trouble due to sheer boredom. It’s an international sport and skateboarders are looked up to.
I can relate this analogy to Domainers.
At present, they’re seen as doing something “not right” by the “powers that be”.
But, the fact is, Domainers are the “filter system” of the Australian domain name system. An extremely important part of the online ecosystem. In terms of domain names existing in the first place, without Domainers, there would be a whole other level of online digital address problems.
Domainers spend countless hours and often more money than they actually make on domain names. And this time-intensive “filter system” is what gives domain names value as an online address… as a digital asset. It’s what makes them valuable and authoritative.
auDA are currently taking more complaints against domain name owners than ever before. They’re literally taking every complaint as legitimate. They’re seeing every person holding a domain name as “guilty” until proven innocent, when it should be the other way around.
I’m led to believe the data actually says this at the moment.
I’m going to write an article about this exact subject detailing a recent example, next week.
Add to this, auDA are trying to ram Direct .AU Registrations down everyone’s throats. And although they managed to hip-and-shoulder the introduction of Direct .AU into existence (see: auDA to introduce direct registrations in .au April 2016), there is still no implementation method, rules, or date of inception. But still, this week we all found out auDA have gone ahead and self-registered WHOIS.au and REGISTRY.au for themselves.
They pointed WHOIS.au to whois.ausregistry.com.au and a Vice President of Neustar Inc. (Formally AusRegistry Group) publicly come out and stated: “I was not aware, nor did I request www.whois.au to be forwarded to whois.ausregistry.com.au“.
Doesn’t this arrogantly suggest that they don’t really care what people say or do? As far as auDA are concerned, Direct .AU Registrations are coming in NO MATTER WHAT and they’re going to keep a few good generic names for themselves until they’re released. And they’re going to do it all behind closed doors. And they’re not going to go through the proper processes and have input from the board or members…
It’d be funny, except it’s seriously affecting our entire Australian internet system. And it has been for over two years now. And most people still don’t even know this is all happening.
But the Government recently stepped in for the first time in 18 years. And I’m quite certain you can thank Domainers and members for having something to do with that. Otherwise, who knows how far down the wrong track we could have ended up?
And the Government have made it pretty clear-cut (Review of the .au Domain Administration)
“On 19th October 2017, the Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield announced a review of Australia’s management of the .au domain.”
“The central finding of the Review is the current management and governance framework for auDA is no longer fit-for-purpose and that reform is necessary if the company is to perform effectively and meet the needs of Australia’s internet community”
“… the Department of Communications and the Arts adopts a more formal oversight role of auDA, including that:”
“a senior executive officer from the Department continue as a non-voting observer at auDA
Board meetings and is present for all decisions taken by the Board.”
“In managing a public asset, the .au domain administrator will be accountable to its stakeholders,
including the Australian Government. Improved transparency and accountability is necessary to provide the assurance that the .au namespace is being managed consistent with Government and community expectations.”
Yet. If you take a look at this entire year’s auDA Board Minutes, since auDA read the above statements and agreed to change (auDA Welcomes Federal Government Review), there isn’t a single mention of anyone discussing pre-registering the two Direct .AU domain names WHOIS.au and REGISTRY.au
Now, that’s not very “transparent” or “accountable” is it?
And they certainly don’t need these names as “necessary to ensure operational stability” of the domain name system (as proven here: https://www.domainer.com.au/is-auda-abusing-its-power/)
You would think, if anyone had raised pre-emptively locking-out a couple of premium generic domain names for auDA to have for themselves at a Board Meeting this year, surely at least one of the board members would have said, “wait a minute! I don’t think we’re allowed to do that?!”
Worse yet. There’s also no mention of “a senior executive officer from the Department” (A Government senior executive officer) being “present for all decisions taken by the board”.
Didn’t the Minister specifically state that on Page 41 of the Review?
Yet, auDA are looking at Domainers and members as being the bad guys?
The reason Domainers and members aren’t letting auDA get away with all these hidden (as opposed to transparent!) zany decisions, is that auDA can’t be trusted to “say what they mean and do what they say”. This was proven at the last SGM (Special General Meeting called by Members unhappy with auDA), 12 months ago. Going by various publications over the past few months, it doesn’t look they can be trusted to do what’s right for the general business community either.
I think we know it’s all too late now.
auDA have had chance, after chance, after chance, to listen to members and to change. The Government has given them six months notice to change. But auDA have again said one thing and done whatever they’ve liked instead.
They created a magical PRP (Policy Review Panel) that is pretty-much by all accounts just run by one guy called Brett Fenton. And his involvement as a leader of the PRP was negatively documented here (https://namebid.com.au/articles/19/auda-policy-review-panel-2018-doomed), after he called Domainers, domain name investors and basically any business holding more than a few domain names “extortionists” and “cybersquatters”.
Yet still, he’s allowed to run the show? And he still runs the PRP to this day?! And John Swinson (PRP Chair) and auDA are fine with it all?
We’re living in topsy-turvy land.
auDA won’t derail their train or self-guided mission for anyone.
Well. Domainers and members AREN’T fine with it all.
So, Domainers and members are fighting for what’s right.
Yet, Domainers are the ones being demonised as the bad guys through all this?
Kind of makes you want to start wearing a “Domaining is not a crime” t-shirt on the streets of Melbourne, don’t you think?