Australia domain administrator denies domain investing ban

Domainers get a victory in Australia.

picture of kangaroos on beach

Domainers can keep investing Down Under.

Australian domain name registry manager auDA will continue to permit domain investing in the .AU namespace.

The decision comes after its Policy Review Panel suggested a change that would effectively halt domain investing.

Current rules prohibit registering a domain for the “sole purpose” of selling or transferring it to another entity. The proposal would have changed that to the “primary purpose”, effectively closing a loophole.

But auDA management didn’t follow the suggestion.

It said that the provision would target domain investors:

The warehousing prohibition appears to disproportionately target domain investors as the licence portfolios or holdings of trademark and brand owners will be excluded under the PRP proposal. This proposal elevates the rights of trademark and other intellectual property owners over other licence holders in the .au domain, which may give rise to issues of market power and anti-competitive practices. Management believes that further information is required to assess whether the net benefit to the community of prohibiting warehousing in respect of a class of registrants outweighs the competition issues. For these reasons Management believes that there should be no change to the existing policy position.

It also noted:

The proposed test for determining whether a registrant has contravened the resale and warehousing prohibition will increase compliance costs for registrants and administration, monitoring and enforcement costs for auDA. These costs may be disproportionate to the risk or severity of the harm to the community from warehousing and the cost of a licence in the .au domain.

Internet Commerce Association was among the groups opposed to the proposal. I imagine that Afilias, which took over backend operations for .AU last year, also rallied the troops.