Re: DNS: COM.AU DNA's Progress Report after Week 2

Re: DNS: COM.AU DNA's Progress Report after Week 2

From: Simon Hackett <simon§>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 10:56:06 +1000
I have some questions to Melbourne IT regarding the recent report of
activities in November, to date, as a fee-paying "Participating ISP". They
stem mostly from this statement in the report:

>Melbourne IT  is not prepared to relax its policy of demanding evidence
>of credit or payment in advance of processing new DN applications, 
>because by doing so - and thereby avoiding the management of bad debts -
>it can keep the costs of the bureau service to a minimum.   However we
>are now actively considering an option of invoicing for renewal of
>existing allocated COM.AU Domain Names.  I hope to make a policy
>announcement on this within a week.

It seems to be that domain names that exist in the space at this time
fall into three basic categories:

(a) - domain names in the backlog that you cleared for "free" in the last
few weeks (which isn't really free, now is it - see below)

(b) - domain names that were already registered and operational prior to
Melbourne IT commencing operations

(c) - domain names registered through Melbourne IT for a fee since you
commenced operation.

I have had trouble finding any statement in the Melbourne IT web pages about
names in category (b) [existing names]. I have located a statement in the
melbourne IT web pages which says that domain names in category (a) [newly
registered names] above will be subject to a re-registration fee for "a
period of either one or two years" as as at 31-december-1996. 

I presume that we are going to receive an invoice for that re-registration
at some point?  Is that the case?

Do you intend to gather data on our notion of preferred billing address for
these names, or just throw our customer base into confusion by sending them
a bill they didn't expect or ask for?

I have located no statements regarding domain names in category (b) above
(the majority of existing names, of course), and hence am unsure about what
I'm supposed to tell my circa 100 domain name service customers, who are
calling us to ask what is going on.

Two hopefully clear and important questions are consquent to this. Your
rapid response would, I'm sure, be of interest to many:

(1) names in category (b) [existing operational names] should become due for
a one or two year renewal fee on the anniversary of their installation into
the DNS system. This is based on both sensibility and the clear precedent of
the operation of the US DNA for names in the .COM space. 

I have just read a statement on the "guidelines" page (what a mess of pages)
stating that  _all_ existing names in must be renewed before February
1st, 1997. I have been told that this blanket renewal point exists because
their true anniversary is not known. Well, guess what - for the 100 or so
we're responsible for caring for at this time, I *can* supply the
anniversaries, and I *dont* intend to pay you $10,000 for doing nothing as a
christmas present, for doing nothing with respect to those names. I *would*
be prepared to pay you on the real anniversary of the creation of each name,
as that is the point where I will be collecting fees from my customers for
continued value added services related to the adminstration of those names.

Hence, what I'm asking you to do is to trust any statement of the
anniversary for a domain name from a party with a reasonable relationship to
the name (e.g. technical or admin contact) - which will have the sensible
effect of spreading income over the whole year, a very sound business
practice and the way to avoid upsetting hundreds of ISP's and their
thousands of DN customers. And, guess what - there is no down side to the
date being inaccurate! All you need to do is institute the following policy:

        "Existing operational names in the COM.AU name space will have a
nominal license renewal anniversary of 01-January-1997 unless an alternative
anniversary is notified to the DNA prior to 31-December-1996. Normal renewal
fees will apply from the nominated date. 

         Prior to the nominated anniversary, these existing names will be
supported in the domain name system on a strictly "as-is" basis. Monitoring
of the integrity of these names will not be guaranteed. Changes requested to
any such existing delegated names will attract a $25 service fee per change."

... and then accept any nominated date in the year, at all, for each name.

Will Melbourne IT adopt a policy such as the above, and resolve what may
otherwise become a tremendously unfair and unpopular choice to deem all
"old" names to have "expired" on 31-December-1996?

(2) The web page I noted above which talks about renewals being due for
names in category (a)
[] talks about
renewals for "one or two years" (near the end of the page, under "Timetable
for Introduction of Fees"). This public statement that renewals will be
accepted for a one year period is sensible and appreciated.

What are the prices for one year renewals (since only two year renewal rates
are listed in the rest of the quoted web page)?


One other note: the form for renewing existing names will, according to your
web site (, be done by
completing a form that "will become available on 15th November". 

Guess what - it's the 18th. You've missed your service guarantee point on at
least one, very public, deadline. One that's being watched very closely by a
lot of ISP's wondering what the hell to tell their customers. Whoops.

Final comment: Making a hide and seek game of this process of working out
your rules with respect to existing names just is not good enough. You need
to be attempting to contact all existing name holders (you have their email
addresses, they are in the public database of names...) and notify
them of your "requirements" in the area of fee payment. Do make sure you
offer them 

(a) their choice of one or two years renewal as noted in one of your web pages

(b) their choice of renewal anniversary if they do not wish to choose
January 1st as their renewal date, since they all are likely to know when
their names were registered, and if *you* don't know, it is not *THEIR* fault!

You can't expect the holders of all of those thousands of domain names to
"just know" your new rules. Nor can you expect the ISP's in Australia to
bear the brunt of the call and mail load of enquiries about this. You _must_
take immediate action to directly contact all name holders to explain
yourself to them, thats the only way we have a hope in hell of convincing
our customers that you exist that that we should be collecting money from
them on your behalf, at our expense. You have to make yourself known
directly to those customers if you expect us to have a hope in hell of
justifying your fees to our customer base.

  Simon Hackett
  Internode Professional Access
  a paying customer of Melbourne IT
Simon Hackett, Technical Director, Internode Systems Pty Ltd
31 York St [PO Box 284, Rundle Mall], Adelaide, SA 5000 Australia
Email: simon&#167;  Web:
Phone: +61-8-8223-2999          Fax: +61-8-8223-1777
Received on Mon Nov 18 1996 - 12:14:30 UTC

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