DNS: Implementation of Changes to COM.AU Naming Policy and Renewals Policy

DNS: Implementation of Changes to COM.AU Naming Policy and Renewals Policy

From: Peter Gerrand <ceo§MelbourneIT.com.au>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 14:01:45 +1000
The Domain Name System (DNS)Industry Forum met in Sydney on 17.1.97 and
accepted, with some refinements, the amendments proposed by Melbourne IT
to Rules 5, 6 and 7 of the General (Naming) Policy for com.au 

These minor changes have since been endorsed by the .au DN
Administrator, Robert Elz,
who has made some useful comments on further clarification of the
amended Naming Rules which are incorporated below.

The Forum also requested a change in Melbourne IT's renewal policy to
allow for a future competitor Domain Name Administrator (DNA) for
com.au. Our response is also given below, and is intended to provide
equal access by a future competitor DNA in the com.au domain to renewal
revenue from the "historical" domain names in the com.au zone files. 

The purpose of this message is to explain how Melbourne IT will
implement these changes. In line with our published General Policy, 30
days' notice is hereby given of the changes to current policies.  Until
c.o.b. Friday 21 February, the current Naming Rules will apply; from
Monday 24 February 1997, the new Naming Rules will be applied when
accepting new registrations of domain names.

(At one stage it was proposed to offer a buffer period in which multiple
applications would be allowed for domain names under the new rules. We
have since realised that the time needed to implement the new software
capable of storing and resolving multiple and parallel applications
would be excessive, and be counterproductive to the industry's need for
minimum delays in processing new applications for domain names. The
agreed implementation plan also allows us to continue using the AUNIC
register in its current form.)

A. Amendments to the com.au Naming Policy

Rule 5 (forbidding common dictionary words) will be amended, to allow
registration of distinctive common words that form part of a registered
company name or registered business name of the applicant. However, as
clarified below, generic names for products (goods or services),
industry sectors and corporate entities will still be excluded, thus
maintaining the spirit of the current naming policy. 

Rule 6 (excluding generic names) will be deleted, because it is
effectively incorporated in the new Rule 5. 

Rule 7 (excluding Australian place names) has been defined more exactly;
it explicitly excludes Australian placenames found in the the list of
Australian Postcodes http://www.auspost.com.au/pcode96.htm, plus of
course Australia itself and the names of Australian States and
Territories (and their standard abbreviations). 

1.  Clarification of the new Rule 5

The amended Rule 5 now permits common words to be accepted as Third
Level Domain Names (3LDNs) under com.au, provided that all the following
conditions apply:

a) the proposed word is a distinct word within the registered company
name or registered business name of the applicant - or represents the
complete set of initials of all words within a registered Australian
company name, excluding the initials corresponding to Ltd or Pty Ltd. We
reserve the right to reject offensive names, especially those coined
ingeniously from the initials of company or business names.

b) the proposed domain name(DN) is not a generic product name (such as
pizza, cars, magazines, information, cash, credit, restaurants) or a
generic industry or industry sector name (such as banking, tourism,
education, tennis, gardening, agriculture, mining or consulting). 

c) the proposed DN is not an Australian place name (or standard
abbreviation of an Australian place name), such as Australia, WA or
westernaustralia, or any name on the list of Australian Postcodes

d) the proposed DN is not a generic word describing organisations or
industries (such as company, corporation, industries, association,
organisation, trust, fund, bank, cooperative, institution) - nor a
standard abbreviation for any of these words, such as Pty or Ltd. 

1) Ample Industries Pty Ltd is entitled to ample.com.au  or
ampleindustries.com.au or ample-industries.com.au or ai.com.au, but not
to industries.com.au
2) Tennis Australia is entitled to tennis-australia.com.au but not to
either tennis.com.au or australia.com.au
3) Minter Ellison is entitled to me.com.au or to minter-ellison.com.au

2.  Timing

The newly clarified Rule 7 will apply straight away, as it is simply a
clarification of current policy. 

Because of the significant change to Rule 5, and the need to provide 30
days' notice under our current General Policy, the new Rule 5 will apply
from Monday 24 February 1997.  In other words, from 24 February
companies and businesses registered to trade in Australia will be
entitled to apply for distinctive common names under com.au, consistent
with the amended Rule 5 above, through the normal com.au registration
process. Melbourne IT will establish a procedure before then, to support
those companies wishing to change their existing DN to a new distinctive
common word that is acceptable under the new Naming Rules. 

B. Amendment to the com.au Renewals Policy for 'historical' domain names

A request was made at the DNS Forum by the WAIA representative that, to
avoid pre-empting market share to a future competitor DNA in the com.au
domain, Melbourne IT should retain in its Zone Files those DNs that are
not renewed by March 17 , but not support them in any other way.  

Upon discussing this proposal with my colleagues at Melbourne IT, I note
that there are two undesirable consequences of this policy:

a) it will leave unwanted ('dead') DNs in the Zone Files. There are
believed to be several hundred, and possibly over one thousand
dead DNS within the com.au zone files. To meet the objective of
efficient use of the com.au name space, it is desirable to eliminate
dead DNS as soon as possible so they can be reused by Australian
businesses. The commercial discipline of paying for renewal will flush
out those names acquired at a time when all domain names
were obtained free, for which the owners have no further commercial

b) the change in policy would be unfair to the holders of more than two
thousand DNS that have already paid to renew their DNs since November
and also unfair to Melbourne IT that has been servicing these DNs over
this period.

Therefore we are proposing an alternative amendment to the Renewal
Policy, one that
is designed to meet the desired objectives of competition in the com.au
domain, without the undesirable outcomes above.

1. Scope of Variation to Renewal Policy.

The policy variation applies only to com.au DNs registered in the com.au
Zone Files before 8 October 1996 (when Melbourne IT took on the role of
DNA): referred to as 'historical DNs' in the following. It does not
apply to the approx 4,500 DNs registered by Melbourne IT since 8 October
have been , which fall into two categories:
(a) an initial back-log of 2,500 DNs which were registered free during
October-November 1996, on the explicit understanding that they would
need to be renewed at a fee by end of December 1996, with a grace period
of one month (to end of January 1996). 
(b) new registrations (some 2,000) made with payments since 1 November

2. Allowance for Migration of Historical DNs

All historical DNs - like other DNs - will need to be renewed with
payment by 17 March 1997, to avoid being deleted from the com.au Zone
Files, as part of the current validation and updating of the com.au DNS.
However Melbourne IT makes a commitment that upon the legal
accreditation of a competitor DNA for com.au, the administrative
contacts for historical DNs may transfer their DNs to the competitor's
Zone Files and receive a reimbursement of their Renewal Fee.  This
reimbursement will consist of a pro-rata reimbursement, based upon the
months remaining in the renewal license, minus a small administrative
fee ($25). This commitment is contingent
upon reciprocity between DNAs i.e. the competitor DNA will need to
an equivalent, reciprocal policy for migration of DNs.

This means that if a historical DN is renewed for two years in February
1997 for $125, and requests transfer to a competitor DNA in May 1997,
its administrative contact will receive reimbursement of $(125 x 21/24)
- $25 = $74.40c. (If the competitor DNA charges less than this pro rata
for the remaining 21
months, the DN licensee can gain a net refund.)

Discussion on this reimbursement proposal (which is based on an earlier
suggestion from
Simon Hackett via the mailing list) will be sought at the February
meeting of the DNS Forum. 

Professor Peter Gerrand
CEO, Melbourne IT
Received on Thu Jan 23 1997 - 16:29:45 UTC

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