auDA – the company managing our Internet domain name registration system – is engaged in a reform program. This follows a review by the communications department which called for major governance changes.
As I have previously written, auDA had been mired in controversy for many years, with the impression being it was subject to too much influence from vested interests, including an inner circle of what are called ‘domainers’ – people who buy and sell domain names, often extracting large windfall profits by warehousing unique names that subsequently command a premium.
auDA has released a discussion paper and has called for public submissions on a range of proposed policy and operational changes. This is being accompanied by a consultation process that sees auDA presenting to MP’s and senators at Parliament House next week.
Australia is a country in transition. Although we don’t hear as much about the ‘innovation nation’ these days as we did a few years back, the reality is our future prosperity still lies in embracing a digitally enabled world. As the problems plaguing the National Broadband Network remain unresolved, another critical debate is now reaching a climax. At stake is the management of Internet domain names. These days, nearly every business has a website, so a meeting later this week is shaping up as a watershed moment.
Here are ten things you need to know about what’s happening to the management of our domain names.
Afilias Australia – the company that recently took over the management of our domain names register – has received a Guinness World Records title. The award, presented in New York, was made for the successful and seamless transition of the 3.1 million .au domain names from the previous operator. It was the single largest migration of an Internet top level domain registry in the world and took place from 1 July this year.
auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names – will hold a special general meeting later this month in order to secure approval for a new constitution and other changes to governance arrangements. This follows a demand for reform after a review by the Department of Communications and the Arts found the organisation no longer fit-for-purpose.
auDA has today released the details of a new governance model. This follows a review by the Department of Communications and the Arts that saw communications minister Mitch Fifield give the organisation three months to deal with a range of matters DoCA said meant it was no longer fit for purpose.
For those of you following the review of auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names. auDA’s Chair, Chris Leptos, has released the following statement.
“Dear Members and Stakeholders
It is now 130 days since the Minister for Communications and the Arts (Senator Mitch Fifield) wrote to auDA outlining the 29 recommendations of the review into the .au namespace (the Review). In this time we have published auDA’s Implementation Plan, which details the steps we are taking to meet the new ‘Terms of Endorsement’, in addition to conducting an extensive consultative process through the Consultation Model Working Group (CMWG) on the proposed governance framework and membership model.
One of the many issues discussed last night at auDA‘s Membership Considerations Workshop was the appropriateness of people “hoarding” Internet domain names. For anyone unfamiliar with this practice, there are investors who buy what they believe are noteworthy domain names in the hope they can re-sell them later at a profit. They call themselves “domainers”.
I recently published a Q&A with Cameron Boardman, the CEO of auDA, and subsequently a list of questions for the Grumpies – the small group of auDA members that called for the meeting. They have so far refused to answer their questions.
The additional information below has been supplied by auDA for its members and anyone else interested in the future of our domain names service.