Domain name wars not yet over in Australia

While Australia never suffered the extreme examples of Internet domain mania seen in the US, it seems many local registrars are still prepared to go to extreme lengths to secure desirable domains.

While Australia never suffered the extreme examples of Internet domain mania seen in the US, it seems many local registrars are still prepared to go to extreme lengths to secure desirable domains.

Speaking at the board meeting of Australian domain names overseer auDA in Melbourne today, auDA CEO Chris Disspain said that some recent problems in the performance of the underlying domain name registration system could be traced back to the attempts of individual registrars to secure soon-to-be-deleted .com.au names.

Unlike .com domains, which were effectively sold off under a first-come first-served basis, registrants for .com.au have to demonstrate ownership of the name they're seeking.

Generic domains (such as shoes.com.au) were originally banned and then later sold through a series of category auctions. However, a number of exceptions were made in the early years of Australian domain registration, and these have become the target of recent battles.

"A number of registrars blitzed the registry with a battalion of create commands, and that led to some degradation in the regular service," Disspain said.

Board member Bennett Oprysa from registrar Enetica argued that it was the responsibility of AusRegistry to develop a system that could handle such high-profile demand situations.

While auDA develops the policies controlling .au domain names, AusRegistry manages the actual registry software under a tender that runs through until 2009.

auDA is currently conducting a policy review for deleted domain names, but that isn't expected to conclude before the end of the year.

The meeting also confirmed that the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) will organise a review of auDA's effectiveness later this year.

Board members said this was not expected to result in any major changes.

"It's sensible for the government to have a look at it. It hasn't arisen because there's any great problem they want solved," said chairman Tony Staley.

At an extraordinary general meeting prior to the board meeting today, the auDA board also approved resolutions changing its overall membership structure, enabling electronic voting at meetings and making it possible for board members to receive payments for attending meetings, though any such payments will still need to be voted on by auDA members.

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