auDA bleeds 67 years of experience

Since the .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) Annual General Meeting last year, auDA has shed 67 years of .au experience from the board and executive.

Here is who has parted ways with auDA in the last 12 months:

  • Chris Disspain – former CEO – 16 years experience
  • Jo Lim – former Chief Policy & Operations Officer – 16 years experience
  • Josh Rowe – former demand director – 14 years experience
  • Julie Hammer  – former independent director –  9 years experience
  • Graham McDonald – former independent director – 8 years experience
  • Paul Levins – former demand director – 4 years experience

That is a total of 67 years corporate memory which has been lost.  Thirty-two of those years were from the former CEO and second in charge.

I care deeply about the .au domain name space and this situation worries me.

Here are the issues which are concerning:

1. CEO appointment process was not transparent

It appears that there may be at least one prior relationship between a board member who was involved in appointing the new auDA CEO.

I have not met the new CEO so I am not in a position to judge his suitability for the role.

2. auDA membership base at risk of capture

auDA members have the power to vote people onto the board.

auDA demand class membership is just $22 which makes it enticing for existing or prospective board members to encourage “friends” to become auDA members. The auDA board even agrees with this point.

It would be an interesting exercise to take the current auDA membership list and align their support to current and potential board members.

3. Direct .au registrations are not universally supported

There’s a clear economic motivation for domain sellers for opening .au domain name registrations at the second level, e.g. “yourname.au”.

However, there is not universal support for the proposal.

In fact some suggest consultation with the existing 1,700,000 individual domain name owners was grossly inadequate.

Tough road ahead

I want the .au domain name space to continue to:

“do what it says on the tin”

When you go to a .au website, you can expect that the domain name relates to the product, service, or information on offer. If it doesn’t, you have reliable, responsive complaints mechanisms available to you and rules by which they can be enforced. .au is Australia’s home on the Internet and is widely recognised as such. As an Australian business, community, organisation or individual, you can rest assured that there is a place at .au for you.

To continue to meet this high standard requires a good mix of:

  • experienced people,
  • thorough processes and
  • robust technology.

The rationale for writing this post is because of the significant loss in experienced people at the helm of auDA.

I would not be surprised if more staff depart.

What you can do about it

I will not be seeking nomination for the auDA board.

However, if you’ve read this far then you should.

Nominations must be received by 5pm AEDST, Friday 28 October 2016.

You do not have to be an auDA member to be nominated, but you do need two auDA members to nominate you.

If you want advice about nominating for the auDA board you’re welcome to email me.

Broken processes

28 October Update

A week after Jo Lim left auDA the IANA Admin Contact has not been updated.

 

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