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.
Never Lose Your Glasses Again – Unloseable Sunglasses
For 100 people.
Tzukuri – a startup business – are looking for 100 passionate users to help them refine and test our glasses before they’re available to the public.
At the end of the testing period, you will be allowed to keep the glasses.
Using beacon technology and the world’s tiniest solar panel you are able to track where you last had your glasses via a smartphone app. Plus it automatically sends a series of alerts if you leave them behind.
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.
The World Wide Web is 25 years old which got me thinking about my first impressions of the web, the Internet and computers.
First impressions of Computers
I have had an interest in computers for a long time. My early exposure to computers included my uncle‘s Apple IIe (photo), my friend‘s Tandy MC-10 and Apple Macintosh, and the green screen Amstrad word processing computer that my parents owned. I was always drawn to the machines like a moth to a light. Computers were intriguing to my young, fertile mind, because they presented a blank canvas waiting to be brushed from my palate.
At eleven years of age I was programming the classic snake game in BASIC. I was the only grade six student to type up and print out their assignments. My teachers were suitably impressed. Mrs Salt, my grade six teacher, used to always make a point of how messy my hand writing was and that if I did not get it right I would not be successful in my chosen career. Her prediction proved to be incorrect, thanks to the proliferation of computers and my decision to learn how to touch type in high school.
Through high school my silicon chip fascination continued with more software programming; this time to simulate 20,000 random spins of a roulette wheel to provide additional evidence to my mathematical proof that (a) roulette is an unfair game (on average you will lose $1 out of every $37 you bet) and (b) there is no best bet. I had so many arguments friends at university and work that believed that one type of roulette bet was better than another, that I dug out my year 12 assignment and republished it on my web site.
In year 12 I filled out my likes and dislikes into a career questionnaire. It said I should be a primary school teacher, photographer or civil engineer; I looked up the pay rates and chose the highest – engineering. RMIT‘s Business Administration and Civil Engineering was the course I enrolled in. Not surprisingly I enjoyed and excelled at every subject in which I could use a computer. Whether it was AutoCAD to design sophisticated civil engineering designs, word processing software with laser printed reports (when my university friends only managed dot matrix reports at best) or Pascal programming.
First impressions of the Internet
RMIT University was where I first encountered the Internet. In 1992 the Internet and World Wide Web were young. At first the Internet was exciting because I was able to access the university library catalogue from home at any time of the day, while my friends were limited by the physical library‘s opening hours and limited number of available electronic terminals.
Then I realised that I had access to information that was more than academic. At an odd hour one day in 1992, I traversed the internet using my green screen text-based browser to find out that Kieren Perkins had smashed the 1500m freestyle world record and won a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics.
I knew the result before everyone else; who had to wait for the delayed telecast. Finding this information was not easy though. I think I may have used “Archie“, the very first Internet search engine.
My 1996 description of the juvenile Internet:
The Internet is a global network of over three million computers worldwide. The Internet is growing faster than any other communications market, roughly doubling every year since 1989. As many as 30 million people use the Internet with thousands of new subscribers joining every day.
The complexity of the Internet is hidden from view giving the appearance of a seamless web of interconnected resources; you can be downloading music from Finland one moment and viewing images in Africa the next! One facet of the Internet is the World Wide Web (WWW). The WWW is a software system that makes the Internet user-friendly and links documents across the Internet, through text, graphics and sound. The Web gives marketers global coverage for a relatively low cost.
According to Business Review Weekly, The key to understanding the Net and its importance is that this is a communications revolution, not an information revolution. Distributing masses of information is one aspect of the Net. On-line commerce in the future will be more about building relationships than selling … Businesses will be communicating with people, and they will be communicating with businesses and with each other (James O’Toole BRW, May 8, 1995).
First impressions of the World Wide Web
I created my first web site in 1994.
I coded the web site by hand in Hyper Text Mark-up Language or HTML for short. The web site was titled “Josh‘s Sanctum” as a play-on-words; since sanctum means a private place and the Internet was proving to be the exact opposite. The web site address was http://minyos.xx.rmit.edu.au/~s924603/ – which looks pretty long and antiquated now. At the time however I displayed it with pride in my electronic signature on emails and newsgroup postings.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org.EDU.AU (Joshua Rowe) Newsgroups: comp.infosystems.www.users Subject: JOSH'S SANCTUM is online... <---- <---- <---- <---- Date: 2 Feb 1995 01:52:34 GMT JOSH'S SANCTUM is online.... Let me know what you think of my new web page http://minyos.xx.rmit.edu.au/~s924603/ If you want me to add your link to my homepage just drop me a line at email@example.com -- |~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Joshua Rowe~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~| | Advertise firstname.lastname@example.org Perception is | | here http://minyos.xx.rmit.edu.au/~s924603/ Reality | |______________B.Eng(Civil)/B.Bus RMIT Melbourne, Australia_________________|
My first Internet start up
I started a web site development business “Sanctum Internet Consultants” in 1994. My fledgling business offered web page packages for small and large businesses. The sanctum.com.au web site advertised single text-based web sites or multi-page web sites with graphics and your own domain name.
Australia was an early adopter as far as the Internet went. There were more domain names registered under .au than any other country code top-level domain in 1991 – a grand total of 29. Some early .au domain name registration statistics suggest that my registration of “sanctum.com.au” was one of the first 2500 com.au domain names to be registered. This contrasts with over 2.7 million .au domain names registered in 2014.
There are over 2.4 billion people using the Internet globally which is only 34% penetration.
The Internet is becoming a core ingredient in everything we do; social media, wearable devices, Internet of things, etcetera. However, the opportunities for Internet service innovation and invention is boundless. The same goes for increased penetration of Internet access around the globe.
Thirsty for more?
Read my 2008 Masters thesis which includes an ethnographic narrative on the evolution of Internet industry and policy in Australia: http://domainusability.com/
We throw the word around all the time, but what does it really mean?
Google says it’s “someone who organises a business venture and assumes the risk for it“.
I relate to that definition. I even label myself an entrepreneur.
My earliest memory of my entrepreneurial behaviour was as an 11 year old when I had my first real job; a newspaper boy.
I would sell newspapers and magazines on Saturday mornings on the footpath of a busy suburban retail strip.
The newsagent owner provided me with a leather coin pouch with change in it. However, this was hopelessly inefficient with all the coins and notes mixed up together. Every time a customer purchased a product it would take time to find the correct change from the coin pouch.
My newspaper boy pay was made up of two components – base hourly rate plus a commission for unit sales of the newspapers/magazines.
Therefore, I proposed to the newsagent owner that a spring loaded coin sorter that strapped to my belt would increase my efficiency and I could sell more of his product. A financial gain for both of us.
He wasn’t interested in my 11 year old business case.
Instead, I purchased a coin sorter out of my own pocket.
The following Saturday all the other newspaper boys had purchased their own coin sorters.
An entrepreneur is someone who takes the risk with a business venture with the opportunity to reap a reward.
I took the risk on the cost of the coin sorter and was rewarded with an instant payback.
What was your first entrepreneurial experience?
The #SuperAwesomeMicroProject is a Life Size Lego Car Powered by Air. Watch it in action:
Anyone interested in investing $500-$1000 in a project which is awesome & a world first tweet me. Need about 20 participants… #startup
— Steve Sammartino (@sammartino) February 29, 2012
22 months later Steve and Raul have created a Life Size Lego Car Powered By Air, but that’s only half the story.
The other half of the story is how 40 patrons came together using the power of the Internet to take an idea from a Romanian whiz kid and make it into a reality.
I love the way Steve describes it:
The is why I love working on and with the Internet every day as a business person and end user.
The opportunities are limitless.