The Australian domain name administration, auDA, is now publishing on its web site a list of existing .au domain names for which registration is about to expire, enabling anyone interested to try an secure a sought-after domain as soon as it becomes available: but the list includes names that auDA has already banned!
Buyers beware, auDA does not distinguish on the list
between domain names that have been deliberately relinquished by their owners, lapsed through oversight or negligence, or banned by auDA itself.
All names are "available for registration on a first come, first served basis subject to auDA policy rules," and some of them are available only because auDA has already decided that they do not meet these policy rules!
One such is optuspoo.com.au set up by social media consultant, blogger and commentator Laurel Papworth in mid 2009 "to create an online community of people annoyed with Optus." Papworth explained
: "I'd had shocking service from Optus and was in the mood to shine some social media spotlight on to poor customer service in Australia."
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Someone, one presumes Optus, complained to auDA, which wrote to Papworth saying "We have received a complaint that optuspoo.com.au may be a prohibited misspelling of Optus Zoo'¦Under the Prohibition on Misspellings Policy, a person may not register a domain name which is a misspelling of an entity, personal or brand name that does not belong to them, in order to trade on the reputation of that other entity, person or brand."
Clearly Papworth was not attempting to "trade on the reputation of" Optus, and told auDA as much.
"OptusPoo.com.au is a satirical site gently poking fun at Optus by collating ALL tweets, blogs and social media mentions (good and bad) about Optus in one place. It is really clearly not an Optus site - it's not even branded with an Optus look and feel - and has so far provided hours (ok minutes) of amusement for my friends and followers on Twitter. I would consider the removal of my site as an infringement of civil liberties and freedom of speech and therefore ask that you leave it in situ."
auDA did not buy this argument. However Papworth has excised the exact reasons for auDA's decision from its response, which is posted on her web site.
She was told the name would be deleted; which no doubt is why optuspoo.com.au is now up for grabs, along with numerous others that, one suspects, unlike optuspoo were registered initially with intent to deceive: names like telestra.com.au, quntas.com.au. ninensn.com.au and ninensm.com.au.CONTINUED
The domain drop list is just one part of a new auDA policy that came into effect on 18 April. According to Mary Still, a partner at law firm Clayton Utz in Sydney "The new policy means that holders of .au domain names will need to have appropriate measures in place to ensure that renewals of domain names are done on time to prevent their domain name from being placed onto the Domain Name Drop List when they expire'¦
"The introduction of an official Domain Name Drop List which will alert the public to the exact time and date that expired or deleted domain names will become available."
auDA has also introduced a new service called 'domain sync' which allows registrants with multiple domain names to set a common expiry date for all their domain names, provided that the date set for individual domain names is less than two years from the date of registration.
Expired or deleted domain names will be purged from the registry at a fixed time (1.00pm AEST or 2.00pm AEDT) every day, rather than at random times as under the previous policy.
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