auDA is the body regulating the .au “name space” or ccTLD.
In that role, it has issued a number of policies including the auDRP (modelled on the UDRP) for the resolution of disputes between rights “holders” and the registrants of confusingly similar domain names.
auDA’s Board has now announced its acceptance of a number of the recommendations of:
2010 Names Policy Panel
Among the recommendations that have been accepted are:
Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules for Open 2LDs:
- That the requirement for registrants to be Australian (or registered to trade in Australia) should remain in place.
- That the “special interest club” eligibility criterion for org.au and asn.au domain names should be more clearly defined.
- That auDA should publish the results of its periodic audits.
- That auDA’s position on third party rights with respect to domain name leasing or sub-licensing arrangements should be clarified and published.
- That the close and substantial connection rule for id.au should be relaxed to include domain names that refer to personal hobbies and interests.
- That direct registrations under .au should not be allowed at this time.
- the list of reserved names (i.e., those you can’t have) should be maintained and updated.
- the misspellings policy should be continued in its current form (e.g. you can’t register acebook.com.au, aaami.com.au etc.).
- A revision of the “domain monetisation” policy so that it will no longer be a standalone policy and “the definition of “domain monetisation” will be replaced with a description of permissible practice, to accommodate a range of monetisation models”.
When the “domain monetisation” policy was originally adopted:
a monetised website was easily recognisable and mostly followed a common format, which meant that enforcement of the policy was relatively straightforward. However, the practice of domain monetisation has significantly changed from a simple webpage with click-through advertising links, to incorporate other formats such as news articles, blogs, images and so on. Methods employed by domainers (ie. people who register domain names for monetisation purposes) are becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex. In some cases it may be that domainers are attempting to circumvent the policy. However, to be fair to the domainer industry, the practice itself is constantly evolving as domainers test and refine ways of generating revenue.
If this were a gTLD, the trade mark owners would be going ballistic – “to be fair to the domainer industry”?????
The proposed revisions, however, would still
prohibit allow objection on grounds that “the domain name must not be, or incorporate, an entity name, personal name or brand name in existence at the time the domain name was registered.” See chapter 3 and p. 20 of the Name Policy Panel’s final report (pdf).
Some recommendations still under consideration:
- That registrants should be able to license a domain name for a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 year period.
- That, in the absence of any compelling technical or policy reason to maintain the restriction, single character domain names should be released (subject to the registrant being eligible to register the name).
Secondary Market working group
The accepted recommendations of this group effectively aim to put in place a mechanism to transfer domain names from one registrant to another in place of the current “workaround” involving surrender and (re-)registration (with the attendant risk that someone might get the name in between those two events.