Why do I care about this issue?
I was a non executive director of auDA from 2001-2015.
The .au domain name space is well established, and understood by organisations and Internet users.
There is significant value in the existing .au brand hierarchy. NetRegistry describes “com.au” as:
The most recognisable Australian domain name
I’m quite open minded about being able to be convinced there is a need for direct .au domain registrations, but the issue is, no quantitative business case has been put forward.
Is this a cash grab?
I am concerned that the primary focus of introducing direct .au domain registrations is to:
- increase revenue for auDA (they receive a domain name fee for every .au domain name sold),
- increase revenue for domain name retailers, and
- increase revenue for domain legal service providers.
However, the expense appears to be borne by organisations.
There’s been no clear business case made for the expansion of the .au domain name space, and it’s not like ‘.com.au’ names are running out.
Where is the quantitative business case?
Listen to Ned O’Meara’s question, and Cameron Boardman’s response at the 2016 auDA AGM which is available here (2nd clip).
The Deloitte Access Economics Report (which is not a business case) commissioned by auDA recommended that:
A more quantitative analysis of the costs and benefits should also be
undertaken. Any modelling of costs and benefits should give proper
consider to their distribution. If the benefit of the proposal is concentrated
to a handful of individuals or businesses, or the cost is disproportionally
borne a small subset of the industry, the proposal may be inappropriate
even if the total benefits exceed the total cost because of equity
Cameron Boardman, CEO of auDA:
When will auDA members, Internet users, and organisations be able to read this critical missing quantitative business case?
More reading on direct .AU registrations
auDA Board Members – Chair: Chris Leptos AM, Deputy Chair: Erhan Karabardak
14 March 2018. Demand Class Director Vacant.
In other words, domain sellers “Supply” out vote domain buyers “Demand” on the board.
auDA 2017 Policy Review Panel
27 September 2017 – current. NO Peak business body representative!!!
Stop .AU it’s a cash grab that will hurt business
Change.org petition. 12 March 2018
Reddit/r/australia discuss The Business ABC story
12 March 2018
New internet domain names for Australia have been slammed as a tax on business
The Business, ABC News. Story by Dan Ziffer. 12 March 2018
Direct AU Registrations
Brand Builders. Jim Stewart & Josh Rowe. 6 March 2018
Brands voice objections to top level .au domain introduction
Mumbrella. Story by Paul Wallbank. 5 March 2018
$300m .AU domain name tax on businesses
Threaded discussion on LinkedIn. 1 March 2018
Ed Husic demands government sorts out concerns over “.au” domain introduction “quick smart”
Smart Company. Story by Emma Koehn. 1 March 2018
Australian Government House of Representatives Hansard
Speaker Ed Husic MP. 26 February 2018
“A load of bollocks”: SMEs demand answers from auDA over introduction of new “.au” domain names
Smart Company. Story by Emma Koehn. 21 February 2018
Is .com.au Dead?
PowerRetail. Story Natasha Sholl. 21 February 2018
Small businesses face expensive fights for “.au” web addresses as experts sound warning over new domain changes
Smart Company. Story by Emma Koehn. 20 February 2018
Millions of Australian domain name owners ‘ripped off’
Sydney Morning Herald. Story by Cara Waters. 8 August 2017
2015 Names Policy Panel
February 2015 – December 2015
REA Group Response to 2015 auDA Names Policy Panel
30 September 2015
CarSales Ltd Response to 2015 auDA Names Policy Panel
John Swinson Response to 2015 Names Policy Panel
30 May 2015
Australia registers more .au than .com domains
auDA 2007 Names Policy Panel Submission by Josh Rowe. 15 June 2007
What is the point of sending your customer (or potential customer) an email if you don’t want a reply?
Our main business email address is hello@(domain-name).
Email is one of the most powerful ways to communicate directly with your customers.
Don’t forget the simple stuff. Be human. Talk to your customers.
Old customers will stay, and you’ll attract new ones.
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Register to be part of the 6 week program beginning July 28.
Post-AGM Update: Two new Demand Class directors were elected. Congratulations to them both, they are both well credentialed people.
As per my original post, I encourage you to become an auDA member here’s why you should join auDA.
My career and passion doesn’t exist without the Internet.
My day job is delivering new online products and services for corporates and startups. realAs – a real estate industry startup – is my latest commercial venture.
My other experience includes helping businesses like Australia Post, Tarazz and Medibank deliver products and services using the Internet, for 20+ years.
The .au domain name space faces threats:
- Competition: different ways to navigate the Internet (e.g. search engines, new top level domains, apps, social media)
- Growth: flat
Does .au policy need to evolve to meet the needs of all .au stakeholders?
Discuss in the comments section below:
Questions & Answers
Question: “You’ve been on the board for the past 14 years, so you’re not quite an outsider looking to be newly elected. What will another term on the Board enable you to do? How does that compare to bringing in new voices into the organisation?”
JR: “To have auDA members re-elect me for 7 terms is humbling and I’ve never taken that for granted.
I have played an active role in delivering significant change during those years including: domain name policy, competition model, domain slamming, and domain monetisation.
The reason I’m standing again is to seek the opportunity to continue to be an energetic and entrepreneurial contributor to the .au domain name space.
One of the key issues which the next auDA board must consider is whether or not to open up .au for direct registrations. This will require a good understanding of policy, stakeholders and how the digital economy is evolving. I believe I tick these three boxes.
That’s not to say new blood on the board is not important, the current board does have a cross section of directors with a good balance of experience and tenure.
I am very passionate about seeing .au succeed locally and globally.
I expect this to be a hotly contested election in demand class – which is a good thing in itself.”
Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, nails it in this presentation about what is required to succeed in the Internet Century.
The people that can have the biggest impact of all are the ones we call: SMART CREATIVES
These are the product folks who combine technical knowledge, business expertise, and creativity.
“Why would I use social media – I only sell wire cables?” asked a business owner at the PeSA Internet Conference last week.
The audience member paused and then continued.
“My cables can be used on yachts, for fishing, on bridges, … “ detailing half a dozen examples of how his product could be used by customers.
The business owner’s commoditised wire cables came alive through his descriptions of how it would be used in amazingly creative and useful ways by customers.
The business owner had pigeon holed his product as a commodity item. In reality when it was used by the customer it was not just a wire cable. His product allowed his customers to sail the seas, catch fish and traverse valleys across the most beautifully scenic landscapes.
My response was short and sweet.
“You just provided me with a start to half a dozen blog posts which describe how your product can be used by customers. It’s just a question of which social media networks are most relevant to share these stories with your current and future customers.”
The business owner smiled. He’d just taken the first step in creating his social media strategy.
Social media is relevant to all businesses.
— Online Store Guys (@OnlineStoreGuys) May 29, 2014
— Beers Blokes & Biz (@BeersBlokesBiz) May 29, 2014
— Online Market Expert (@OME_NET_AU) May 29, 2014
— Federica Casoni (@FedCasoni) May 29, 2014
— Josh Rowe (@joshrowe) May 29, 2014
Tony Hawk is one of the greatest professional skateboarders of all time, I have been following him since I was a kid. I watched him fly through the air at the Australian Grand Prix the other weekend with grace and beauty. The branding for the event was “Tony Hawk and Friends Vert Jam”.
Over the years Hawk has lent his name to video games, amusement park rides, and an expanding digital empire. I asked a young teenage boy beside me at the Grand Prix skate ramp a simple brand question:
“Which came first; Tony Hawk the skater or Tony Hawk the video game?”
The young kid shot back his answer instantly with confidence; “Tony Hawk the video game”.
As far as this kid was concerned, the bloke spinning up gnarly tricks on the vert ramp had just adopted the name Tony Hawk because of a really cool video game.