So many Australian businesses have NO IDEA what sort of MASSIVE BUSINESS-BRANDING CHANGE could be about to hit their companies and businesses. We're talking, hundreds of thousands of Australian businesses are in THE DARK right now regarding all this.
The Policy Review Panel (PRP) was set up to give auDA on option on how to implement Direct .AU Registrations and also how to reform existing policy rules.
For those who still don't know what I'm talking about, we are being told SOON, there will be Direct .AU available to register, along with the current .com.au version of your domain name.
This means, NameBid.com.au could also be allowed to become NameBid.au(.)
However, in this particular case, we would NOT be allowed to have the NameBid.au version of our own domain name. Perhaps, you would not be allowed to either?
As crazy as it sounds, I will explain in more detail below.
Yesterday, Perth was the first stop on the live roadshow event, whereby 3 members of the PRP were available to discuss their new policy and Direct .AU Registration recommendations, in-person. I attended the Four Points, Sheraton function in Perth and after a couple of hours of healthy domain name chatter, I was simply dumbfounded by what the PRP are putting forward. Especially in regards to Direct .AU Registration implementation.
There's no doubt the PRP members have put a lot of time and effort into coming up with this end-result, but I'm sure when you hear the conclusions for yourself, you won't be able to believe it.
I was one of the first to hear about their implementation ideas for Direct .AU Registration yesterday. And now I feel it's my duty to inform as many people as possible to attend the rest of the meetings for themselves. It is an absolute necessity you make yourself seen and heard at the rest of these meetings across Australia.
This is TOO BIG an issue to let them sneak these new policy rules and Direct .AU Registration implementation procedures through, without a fight!
A positive side to implementing Direct Registration, is they have decided we should keep the period of time you can "put your hand up" for a Direct .AU version of your domain name, to a short period of time. As in, 6 months.
Great. That's way better than the 5 years they had to endure for .UK contested domains. As we all know, that 5-year period is still going, and must be very annoying for all the .UK TLD fans. That's way too long.
But other than this, the other ideas the PRP are putting forward, are nothing shorter than "crazy" in my mind. And I'm sure in the mind of most other Australian businesses once they fully understand the magnitude of what this all means.
Out of the roughly 3.1 million Australian domain names, around 90% of these are .com.au TLDs. Brett Fenton made mention that only around 90,000 domain names are going to be "contested". That is, for the equivalent .com.au domain name, there are around 90,000 domain name owners who possess a .net.au or .id.au that are also going to want the Direct .AU version of their name.
For starters, the fact that 90% of Australian domain names are owned by .com.au holders, would simply suggest that the Direct .AU just be given to the most popular ccTLD format, which is .com.au(.) One would think this would be the most sensible approach.
If somone hasn't had their hands on their own dream .com.au domain name over the past 25 years, they have had plenty of time to negotiate to buy the name. In my mind, it's bad luck if they haven't seen the value in saving up and investing in buying it. If you can afford to pay $500 a month or $1000 a month to buy a car, you can damn well afford to pay the same amount off a domain name for a few years.
And if things were as simple as they are supposed to be, and the .com.au holder was just grandfathered their own Direct .AU domain name, there would be no reason for a "cut-off-date" to exist.
But, no. For some reason, it looks as though Brett Fenton (TPP Wholesale) and Narelle Clark (Consumer Protection) believe they are "protecting the Australian business community from domainers GAMING Direct .AU domain names for themselves (it did come across like this to me in the live forum, and Narelle did mention something along these lines at the forum) by allowing ANY Australian domain name TLD to have equal rights for the Direct .AU version of their name.
It's gets pretty crazy though.
The PRP are suggesting that when all the different Australian domain name variation holders put their hand up for the Direct .AU - that is, when the .com.au and the .net.au and the .id.au individual holders ask for the Direct .AU version of their domain to be their own, if they can't "work it out amongst themselves", then the Direct .AU goes INTO A LOTTERY SYSTEM and sheer luck will decide who ends up with the .AU(.)
I'll just pause here for a moment.
I hope this is sinking in right now.
This means that, by means of a SIMPLE COIN-TOSS, the person who owns RealEstate.net.au could WIN BY LOTTERY the rights to RealEstate.au OVER AND ABOVE RealEstate.com.au(.)
And if that isn't enough to make you shake your head wildly (like the man in the photo above!), then wait until you hear this...
To stop people going out and registering hundreds of .net.au and .id.au TLDs over the coming days, the PRP have implemented a CUT OFF DATE - that they say will stop people trying to "game the system" and manipulate self-ownership of a DIRECT .AU domain name for themselves.
This means, that anyone who has purchased and performed a COR (Change Of Registrant) on an Australian domain name AFTER THIS PROPOSED CUT OFF DATE, and anyone who has purchased a domain name from the DROP LIST of thousands of domain names every day.. this means that any name bought in any way after the CUT OFF DATE is NOT ALLOWED to own their equivalent Direct .AU domain name when it is made available.
That was the sound of my mind melting, when they explained that this is their Direct .AU Registration implementation model.
And I believe it has surely just done the same to your mind too.
They were recording the live forum meeting, where a whole 7 people in Perth turned up to hear their plan.
This in itself also proves, NO ONE KNOWS THIS IS EVEN HAPPENING?!
And if they ever play that recording live, you will hear my mind grinding gears as I tried to come to grips on how they not only thought this would be a good implementation process on paper, but were actively flying around Australia to tell people about it, in-person, with smiles on their faces.
Let's look at some examples of this.
Let's say a business registered a domain name two weeks ago?
They have NO RIGHTS to own their Direct .AU domain name.
Let's say you paid $5000 for a premium domain name one year ago for your business?
You have NO RIGHTS to own your Direct .AU domain name.
Let's say you paid $888 15 months ago on the drop platforms for a premium domain name?
You don't have any rights to own your Direct .AU domain name.
And now let's use the best example I can think of, to display just how ludicrous this potential Direct .AU Registration could potentially be...
I sold the domain name Fetch.com.au on behalf of a professional domain name invester to the Fetch TV Streaming service in March 2017 for $132,000(.)
According to the CUT OFF DATE being implemented by the current PRP, they are saying that NOPE - the Fetch.com.au owners have NO RIGHTS to their Direct .AU version of their name Fetch.au(.) Instead, either Fetch.net.au or Fetch.id.au will instead own Fetch.au(.)
If that just didn't blow your mind...
So, the big question you're asking yourself right now is, WHAT IS THE CUT-OFF DATE the PRP are suggesting?
18th April 2016.
That is the date auDA announced it was planning on introducing Direct .AU Registration - https://www.auda.org.au/news/auda-to-introduce-direct-registrations-in-au/
There are so many arguments against this being the date, but a simple one that comes to mind is.... auDA have been trying to implement Direct .AU Registrations for over a decade. On the 18th April, 2016, most people believed this would take another 10 years to implement, as year after year, the implementation date is pushed back.
And WE STILL DON'T KNOW WHEN THIS WILL BE IMPLEMENTED - IF AT ALL?!
So if Direct .AU Registration takes ANOTHER TEN YEARS to be implemented... the PRP are saying the CUT OFF DATE for owning a domain name and being able to own the Direct .AU version of your name, is still BACKDATED to 18th April, 2016?!?!
How can everyone and anyone who registered a domain name after this date, without any sort of warning at all, have NO CLAIM to a Direct .AU version of their name at ANY POINT IN THE FUTURE?!
I will leave you guys to add your own opinions about this subject below.
BUT - the most important thing you can do now is, attend your local live-PRP-forum discussion in-person on one of the following dates:
Sydney - This Friday 9th February at Rydges Sydney Central.
Melbourne - Wednesday 14th February at Novotel on Collins.
Brisbane - Friday 16th February at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
And after you've attended, be sure to write your written submission opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 2nd March, 2018.
Don't let them get away with this!
Please share this article as far and as wide as you can.
Every friend and business colleague you know needs to hear about this before it's too late.