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.
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.
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.
As I’ve written previously, the Australian Government has given auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names – three months to develop new processes to redress historical weaknesses in its governance. The organisation has been mired in controversy in recent years. For quite some time, though, it had been seen as a tightly held fiefdom under the control of a board of directors elected from within the industry and fraught with conflicts of interest.