1. Welcome to DNTrade. If you want to find out about the latest domain name industry news or talk, share, learn, buy, sell, trade or develop domain names - then you've come to the right place. It's a diverse and active community, with domain investors, web developers and online marketers - and it's free! Click here to join now.
    Dismiss Notice

auDA newsletter concerns! www.Grumpier.com.au SGM

Discussion in 'Domain News' started by DomainNames, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. DomainNames

    DomainNames Membership: Community

    Oct 5, 2010
    Likes Received:

    "A message from auDA Chair, Chris Leptos AM

    11 April 2018

    Dear auDA Members and Stakeholders,

    I’m writing to provide you with my 150 day report.

    Since being appointed the Independent Chair of auDA five months ago, your Board and management have had a hectic work schedule, and I would like to personally thank each of them for their commitment to delivering a stable and reliable operating environment for the .au domain.

    The auDA board recognises that .au domains are being challenged on one flank by global domains such as .com, and on the other flank by commercial platforms such as mobile apps, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and whatever comes next. To maintain and promote the operational stability and utility of the .au namespace in this environment we will need to provide a state‑of-the-art service offering, and a twenty‑first-century governance structure.

    Here are some of the decisions that have been implemented in the past 150 days to deliver on those ambitious objectives:

    1. a new registry operator (Afilias Australia) has commenced transition preparations to take over the registry operations, along with significant infrastructure upgrades to improve reliability and speed;
    2. a commitment to a $12 million multi-year investment in cooperative marketing to promote the benefits of the .au namespace;
    3. a reduction of at least 10% in the wholesale fee for domain registrations and renewals;
    4. introduction of variable licence periods of 1 year to 5 years, to give Australian businesses and consumers flexibility with managing their domain names;
    5. coordination with Federal agencies to secure the .au namespace from external threats;
    6. introduction of a streamlined membership application process to make it easier for members to join auDA, combined with some improvements in member communications;
    7. formal monthly briefings with registrars on registry transition and industry issues;
    8. continuing consultations by the Policy Review Panel (chaired by Mr John Swinson) including a national public awareness campaign of possible models for ‘direct registration’ domain names with public forums in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane;
    9. a formal and widely advertised recruitment process for two new Demand Class directors;
    10. improved board governance with current and proposed directors being evaluated against a skills matrix, and subject to probity checks, with several directors also undertaking Australian Institute of Company Directors training;
    11. updated Terms of Reference and membership for the Board committees; and
    12. new company policies to provide best practice financial control and accountability.
    All of these matters are important and positive developments for auDA, but I know there is much more to be done.

    At the same time, I am disappointed to advise you that in my first week as Independent Chair I was briefed on a number of practices of several former auDA directors. Your Board concluded that those practices warranted referral to the Victoria Police. As you would appreciate, it is not appropriate at this stage to provide further details regarding this matter.

    You should also know that Demand Class members have written to auDA to call for another Special General Meeting (SGM) – the second SGM to be called in 9 months. I will be writing to you further in relation to this development once the logistics for the meeting have been confirmed.

    We shortly expect to receive the Government review into the .au domain space, which is being conducted by the Department of Communications and the Arts.

    Finally, you should feel free to write to me at engagement@auda.org.au to let me know what we should be doing better. Please keep it concise and constructive, and be prepared to meet to discuss it more fully.

    I look forward to providing further updates in the weeks and months ahead.

    Chris Leptos AM
    Independent Chair
    .au Domain Administration Limited
    .au Domain Administration Ltd ABN 57 462 140 688

    | Design by Creative Order "


    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  2. DomainNames

    DomainNames Membership: Community

    Oct 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    An auDA member response:

    Member Feedback Response to auDA Re: From the auDA Chair: 150 Day Report

    These are my personal views and opinions and feedback based on years international domain name industry Supply and Demand experience, experience in SME's, Not for Profits, Associations, Charity and Multinationals. I know these views and opinions would be shared by many.

    auDA Management of the .au namespace has created turmoil, caused massive loss of stability, massive loss of investment and a huge loss of trust in the existing .au namespace. This is in direct conflict to the Government own letters of endorsement and what Australia and those wanting to choose a domain name extension to register and use need from managers of the .au namespace.

    Member feedback has been ignored. It appears the last SGM was also not taken seriously as comments and promises by auDA and Board things would improve have not occurred.

    I know of many people and companies now who have lost a fortune due to the extremely poor decisions over recent years. I have lost major investors for some projects due to the instability auDA has created. This has led to lost jobs opportunities and loss of innovation for Australia. I instead for some projects went overseas for the .com because of that stable platform and to avoid the chaos auDA Management is creating. This is the fact.

    People will start choosing other extensions ( Not .au and not the new proposed competing .au) so they do not have to deal with auDA Management decisions or potential damage to investment.

    There are now over 1700 domain name extensions and APPS options. auDA needs to make what we have stronger not get off track.

    The reputation of our existing .au namespace had been incredible well accepted worldwide until the last few years of poor auDA management announcements and poor process plus the ongoing problems auDA seems to have internally and on it's revolving door of Board Directors or auDA Panel members.

    auDA is directly damaging the existing .au name extensions.

    auDA is damaging the global good reputation of the .com.au

    auDA is creating confusion

    A few Supply party people are also.... Perhaps due to rumours they may be "out of the domain name businesses within the next 2 years" so they want to do a quick cash grab now, "push in" another .au extension then sell out. They are not in it for the long term and they already sell many competing extensions against the interests of auDA and the .au namespace... so why are some at auDA and the auDA PRP listening to them still?

    The answer is not more competing new .au extensions, it is not more revenue for auDA and auDA wasting $ millions of .au domain name consumer money on advertising.. The answer is in fact in better management of the .au namespace and better promotion of what we have now!

    How many existing .au registered names now could do with help and support, incubators to get built into growing businesses? auDA has stopped this investment in the existing and possible new .au registrations by creating massive market uncertainty. Hundreds of thousands of .au existing domain names and their domain name owners are affected badly already.

    Damage has been done. People have suffered substantial losses already.

    What has auDA done to support existing .au domain name owners 'build out' their domain name into websites and businesses? Nothing. This must be the key focus. Make what we have stable, stronger.

    People trust and know these and they make sense to people globally when they deal with Australian based operations:

    Do Not continue to hurt the existing .au namespace or those who have invested in it!
    Do not take off the round wheels to put on a square one!


    The newer .uk and .nz have failed. This is fact and this is undeniable. They ended up having to pump the numbers and give then .uk away FREE to save it from disaster and even that did not work.
    • .uk registrations are 9% of their .co.uk option. The majority are just 'defensive' registrations and pointed to the .co.uk
    • .nz registrations are 6% of their .co.nz option. The majority are just 'defensive' registrations and pointed to the .co.nz
    • Find the first .uk or .nz in google searches in those countries! Fail
    Any claims the “shorter” version is in high demand and better is not only misinformed it is often a deliberately false and misleading claim. The actual registration data is FACT.


    NZ fact the .nz has failed and is not “remarkably successful” as claimed in materials put out by some Supply parties.

    The fact is in NZ the DNC states:

    It appears that some registrants, having exercised their preferential registration rights, have subsequently let the shorter version of their name drop." DNC

    People know the auDA Demand Class Directors positions being vacant leave the Demand class detrimentally affected. auDA has continued making decisions without properly waiting until they have been filled and filled by actual real demand class candidates.

    Pass on the 60% lower .au wholesale price Afilias apparently won the contract with. If it was 50% Pass it on!

    It is a continued rip off on Registrars, Resellers and Consumers if auDA does not pass it on in full.There is no excuse. Consumers can make up their own minds about buying domain names auDA wasted advertising has never worked history has proven.

    Registrars, Resellers and Consumers had trusted the new auDA Management and Board would pass it on. It appears we have been misled yet again?

    auDA is not acting as a "not for profit". You are profiteering from a compulsory fee/ tax you are imposing on every .au domain name registrant as a monopoly. It is unfair to Supply Registrars, Resellers and Consumers.

    Start thinking of cutting expenses and cutting wholesale pricing!

    This is not a Public company with unlimited money.

    Stop wasting money and live within your current ( not projected cash grab extra profit) means!

    Consumers are funding auDA and your expenses and we are not happy!

    Registrars have also complained but are muted by their auDA Registrar agreement which forces them to stay silent and just cop it again. They will be voting at the SGM.
    $12 million advertising on what and did this go to open tender? Where is the link to the tender on the auDA website and what is the exact advertising brief so members and public can read it? Crazy.

    How about instead of wasting $12 million auDA sends out an email to every .au domain name registrant and tells the registrants who auDA is, how to become an auDA Member, why auDA takes an auDA fee from every domain name registered and renewed, information about the proposed competing .au extension, how people can do surveys, how people can make PRP Submissions or attend public PRP meetings etc.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  3. DomainNames

    DomainNames Membership: Community

    Oct 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    auDA Member response part 2

    Do not waste .au paying domain name registrant consumer money auDA has made by already overcharging for wasted advertising trying to push a competing additional .au extension that will detrimentally affect them. I am very sure any existing .au domain name registrant consumer does not want to pay for auDA to sell competing .au extensions against their existing .au domain name!
    Cut the spin and start listening to feedback and complaints.

    Release the audio from the auDA PRP public meetings

    Enough is enough. Members, Registrars ( muted), Resellers and Government are sick of it.

    Grumpier.com.au apparently now has the support of over 100 members already.Why? Obviously something is wrong with the way auDA is managing and making decisions angering so many from all sides of the auDA membership and all sides of stakeholders?

    auDA Management has continued to fail by not accepting feedback from very experience industry professionals. Most with more experience than many at auDA or on the board.

    Pushing on against members, against businesses and consumers is a massive mistake hurting the once solid, stable internationally trusted .au namespace.

    Read the submissions from Accan, John Swinson, Rea Group, Carsales etc again.

    Read the attached Resignation letter of the CRC Chair Scott Long
    Read the Resignation letter from auDA PRP member Luke Summers

    auDA poor management and process has hurt further investment in existing .au name space businesses and thus detrimentally affected the Australian economy and jobs.

    The existing .au domain name aftermarket has been severely damaged. This may be funny to some people ( including apparently an auDA PRP member who has made comments such as this on forums) but it is extremely serious.

    The drop platform companies netfleet.com.au domainshield.com.au sedo.com namebid.com.au have been severely affected.


    Unsuitable people with official complaints lodged against them remain on the auDA PRP. Why is auDA allowing this to continue? Is it because their comments and actions to date align with an auDA money making agenda?

    I am sure the 90,000 conflicted..au domain name registrants will take legal action against auDA and Directors when informed of the situation auDA PRP suggestions which where promoted at the public meetings. The audio will shock people. Some comments made at the PRP meetings where completely false and misleading.

    auDA threatening legal action against members has backfired for the reputation of auDA and the .au namespace management reputation.

    What is the exact status of the auDA Foundation and their money? Where is the report of the review? www.audafoundation.org.au What is it doing with the paying .au domain name registrant consumer money exactly?
    "The auDA Foundation is currently being reviewed as part of a reassessment of our community programs. We will let you know our plans, soon."

    The list goes on.

    Enough is Enough. auDA management of the .au namespace is hurting businesses and people's lives.

    How many existing .au domain names are not now going to be properly developed into businesses due to the confusion auDA and the PRP has created over the last 2 years? How much is this costing businesses and domain name owners? It is costing the Australian economy a lot. auDA is failing in this area miserably and causing massive damage and lose in business values.

    How can existing .au domain name registrants secure investment in their businesses now that auDA has created such turmoil yet we see plans for a $12 million campaign to promote the very things so many are against which has already been noted as causing damage already?




    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  4. DomainNames

    DomainNames Membership: Community

    Oct 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    snoopy likes this.
  5. Jimboot

    Jimboot Membership: Community

    Sep 11, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Well apart from the obvious libel and deflection, wtf is he talking about? Why do they think their competing with Twitter?
    DomainNames and Bacon Farmer like this.
  6. joshrowe

    joshrowe Membership: Community

    Sep 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Jimboot, snoopy and Bacon Farmer like this.
  7. snoopy

    snoopy Membership: VIP

    Jul 14, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I don't think that email was well thought out.

    "Your Board concluded that those practices warranted referral to the Victoria Police. As you would appreciate, it is not appropriate at this stage to provide further details regarding this matter."

    How is it appropriate to say it is a police matter but it is not appropriate at this stage to provide details? This has been going on for a couple of years so surely if there was anything in it charges would have been laid by now?

    Which board members? This seems to be yet another slur on past management with no substantiating details.
  8. Bacon Farmer

    Bacon Farmer Membership: VIP

    Jan 21, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I love the bit about recruiting new demand class directors. They're demand class member representatives, not jobs for mates.
    DomainNames and Jimboot like this.
  9. joshrowe

    joshrowe Membership: Community

    Sep 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Bacon Farmer likes this.
  10. DomainNames

    DomainNames Membership: Community

    Oct 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    ?? Really??
    auDA's Policy Review Panel was always doomed
    Public submissions to auDA for opinions on the Public Review Policy recommendations were due on Sunday. Hopefully you remembered to submit yours?

    Everyone is now waiting and watching for the auDA to release the results.

    Regardless of what those results are, I had the unfortunate experience of watching every domain name investor in Australia be called a "cybersquatter" on the weekend by the Chief Technology Officer of Melbourne IT. And this wasn't for owning a trademark-infringing domain name, but just for simply owning more than one generic or geographic every-day domain name.

    He didn't just label every domain name portfolio holder in Australia a cybersquatter, in effect he labelled every domain name investor worldwide, a cybersquatter. And all for simply owning a number of domain names (which most of us realise are actually valuable digital assets). He states that no domain name should ever be sold to anyone for an amount over, what he calls, a "face value" of $50.

    I guess people who own Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cardano (cryptocurrency, but also digital assets) are cybersquatters too, and their coins are never allowed to be worth more than $50 each, by this logic?

    For those not in the know, Melbourne IT Group is a publicly listed company with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. They claim to aspire to be "Australia's most impactful digital technology partner".

    In the area of small to medium businesses, they have over 450,000 direct customers. In their Enterprise Services Business division for corporate and government sectors, they claim to generate annual revenue of over $70m.

    The CTO of Melbourne IT also happens to be a current serving panelist on auDA's Policy Review Panel (PRP). The PRP have recently been busy designing recommendations to auDA on how Direct .AU Registrations should be implemented. Including what the eligibility and allocation critera should be.

    The massive shakeup and huge financial disruption the current PRP's proposed Direct .AU Registration discussion points are causing and will continue to cause have been well-documented in other articles on this website over the past few weeks.

    As important as the role of PRP member is, guiding the implementation of the biggest change to Australia's internet domain name (website names) system in over 30 years for over 2 million Australian businesses, it has been made very clear this past weekend, that Brett Fenton (CTO, Melbourne IT) has always been driving for one particular outcome.

    This really happened on Linked In just last weekend, in March, 2018.

    1st March, 2018
    Brett Fenton

    The only people arguing against choice (in regards to Direct .AU Registrations) are cybersquatters who want to limit the available space so they can manage demand and their operational cost base.
    2nd March, 2018
    Robert Kaay

    With all due respect to everyone involved, there is a massive difference between a trademark-infringing cybersquatter, and a business who holds 20 domain names to protect their brand, and a domain name investor who is intelligent enough to use foresight to invest hard earned money into a domain name that can be used in the future to develop a great business. Just because some domain name investors got in early, doesn't mean they are doing anything wrong. That's like complaining that you should be given 20 free Bitcoins because you didn't know they were going to be so valuable down the track... "it's not fair, let's change the rules" translates into: you're jealous you didn't think of it earlier yourself. 2nd March, 2018
    Brett Fenton

    "Cybersquatting is the practice of registering common or brand-related domain names with the aim of reselling them at a profit. Companies may engage in defensive registrations of these domain names to prevent others engaging in cybersquatting."
    So I completely disagree. Anyone who registers names solely for the purpose of resale, who simply looks to extort 10's, 100's or 1000's of times the face value of a domain to businesses is by the Deloitte definition a cybersquatter.
    They add no value, create no IP, build nothing and employ no-one. It's well past due to end the activity once and for all in Australia.
    The great irony is they have the most to lose in .au, and so are screaming and rather than talk about the impact to their business, talk about costs for small business in Australia. If they were so concerned about costs in small business, they wouldn't be extorting them via domain resale and charging thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for something with a face value of less than $50.
    Fortunately, there are some other people who seem to have a clearer understanding on what the term "cybersquatter" really means. You can read their opinions here and here, but the short version goes like this:

    Unfortunately, even some lawyers don't seem to understand what cybersquatting truly is. Take this Legalvision article from December 2015. The first sentence is wrong and misleading in my opinion:

    "Cybersquatting refers to the registration of internet domain names with the purpose of profiting from its purchase."

    Thank goodness we have some lawyers like Cooper Mills who define the term properly:

    "Cybersquatting is the practice of bad faith use and or registration of a domain name."

    There's a big difference between those two definitions.

    My response to Brett's response that every domain name investor is a cybersquatter, and every domain name is only worth $50, went exactly like this:

    2nd March, 2018
    Robert Kaay

    I honestly can't believe you just wrote that Brett. As CTO of Melbourne IT Group and a panel member of the PRP, you have just publicly called every single domain name investor and domain broker, an "extortionist" and have publicly stated that domain names like BHP.com.au(,) CarSales.com.au(,) RealEstate.com.au (and all the other 3.1 million Australian domain names) are worth no more than $50.
    Domain names are valuable digital assets. In your important various public roles, I can't believe you don't and can't understand that?! Absolutely unbelievable.
    Your one-sided viewpoint and role on the crazy PRP implementation rules is now crystal clear. This madness needs to be brought to a swift end.

    2nd March, 2018
    Brett Fenton

    In other news today, cybersquatters don't like being called cybersquatters and the sky continues to be blue.
    It is crystal clear that the CTO of Melbourne IT and a current serving panelist on auDA's PRP sees every single Australian domain name as only having a "face value" of less than $50. He believes every single person or business that owns more than a couple of domain names for their business, is a cybersquatter, and if they try to sell a generic or geographic domain name for over $50, they are an "extortionist".

    Last year, I sold four Australian domain names over $50,000 each. There's a good reason for this. The companies that bought these names were not silly. They knew how powerful a premium domain name can be. They knew they were making an incredible investment in a powerful digital asset. And you can see how well these three examples have utilised their valuable digital assets:


    Yet, Brett Fenton believes they were ripped off?! That they should have only paid $50 for each domain name.

    But I say this: Scarce and unique domain names cost money. At least tens of thousands of dollars. Because if they didn't. They wouldn't be scarce and unique. They'd be ordinary. And ordinary businesses, make ordinary money.

    The companies mentioned above, in terms of their online presence, are far from ordinary.

    This has got to be the final straw with this whole PRP Direct .AU implementation process. It can't be clearer here. This is proof that there is at least one panelist member of the PRP that had a pre-conceived, self-interested reason for being there.

    How many others in the PRP listen and/or are influenced by Brett Fenton's views?

    And get this.

    Brett Fenton has publicly stated that both himself, and Melbourne IT, will be EXITING THE DOMAIN NAME INDUSTRY in about 2 years from now.

    Why then, was he chosen as a contributing current member of the Policy Review Panel, that will affect the outcome of Australian domain names for decades to come?

    The PRP train has well and truly fallen off the rails. The track is bent and warped. auDA must surely now look to reverse their decision to implement Direct .AU Registrations altogether and disband the current PRP.

    Published: Sun, 4th Mar 2018 19:58
    Author: Robert Kaay"​
  11. DomainNames

    DomainNames Membership: Community

    Oct 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    "Brett Fenton Chief Technology Officer at Melbourne IT Group
    I think given the current situation with an SGM being called a fair question to ask and be answered Josh Rowe is, are any of the signatories calling the SGM presently under police investigation?"​