[DNS] Time for the rules to change regarding transferringdomainname licences

[DNS] Time for the rules to change regarding transferringdomainname licences

From: K Heitman & Co <kheitman§westnet.com.au>
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 01:38:19 +0800
> Kim Davies wrote:
> > What are the community benefits from encouraging a secondary
> > (which seems like a euphemism for encouraging cybersquatting)?
> The lifting of the current prohibition on transfer of domain names
by auDA
> has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the community.
> action may not be sufficient to ensure the development of an
orderly, open
> and competitive/efficient secondary market in .au domain name

Could you be more specific - are you proposing that the transferee
need not demonstrate any eligibility criterion to get the name? Or do
you think that the eligibility criteria should go, and let the market
decide where names end up?

Bruce has proposed a simplified transfer mechanism decoupled from the
sale of a business but still retaining the requirement that the
transferee is eligible under existing rules. That sort of review has
a focus and a direction, and can be considered on its merits.
However, apart from appeals to principles of economic theory, so far
advocates for reform of naming rules and transfer policy haven't
really said what they want to change and how they'd scale the adverse

The auDRP is all well and good, but can't be the only mechanism to
stop uses of the .au names that are contrary to the utility of the
DNS. It's not an acceptable national outcome if there are porn sites
in .edu.au or schools in .com.au, or if all the type-in intuitive
names have been cyber-squatted. 

"Open Slather" would encourage registrars and speculators to park and
offer for sale "good names" as a second business. No doubt some here
would think that a form of human right, but it would encourage the
sorts of bubble speculators and wannabe monopolists that made the
dotcom era memorable for the wrong reasons. 

I would argue that the lack of DNS utility in having "good names"
parked for sale or redirected instead of attached to working websites
counters the possible economic benefits, but no one has really done
the numbers.

> A critical question: Is the prohibition on transfer of domain names
> between
> registrants anti-competitive, but in the public interest under the
> Practices Act.  I'm not aware that auDA has justified this
> intervention in terms of net public benefits.
> Ian Johnston

It's more accurately described as regulated rather than prohibited,
since the right to use names can be transferred by bona fide
businesses with the mere bagatelle of documentary evidence and legal
costs. However, the economic argument for additional deregulation
could use some modelling and real statistics, and a fact-rich
submission to the next policy review panel may well be useful to
establish where the optimal public benefit lies.

In the meantime, current policy permits the transfer of the licence
as a business right on the sale of a business, and permits a
secondary market of online business brokers. The only liberty missing
is making a profit from speculating on the value of a domain name
bought for resale, which is the essence of cyber-squatting. 

The transfer-between-registrants guidelines have been liberalised on
two occasions to support genuine transfers. In the event there are
emerging reasons to permit different circumstances of genuine
transfer between eligible registrants, then articulating these would
be of assistance to those who believe an urgent review of this policy
is required. 

Kimberley Heitman

               Kimberley James Heitman               
Received on Mon Sep 26 2005 - 17:38:19 UTC

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