[DNS] Bad experience with auDA RE Domain Central, Bottle Domains, Explorer Domains and their holding company Australian Style Pty Ltd

[DNS] Bad experience with auDA RE Domain Central, Bottle Domains, Explorer Domains and their holding company Australian Style Pty Ltd

From: Paul Moore <paulmoore.australia§gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 4 May 2008 14:53:08 +1000

In correspondence with auDA, it was revealed to us that they know that the
domain name registrars they accreditted, Domain Central, Bottle Domains and
Explorer Domains, are reregistering the domains of their customers to
themselves, by the thousands, as auDA said to us they had received DOZENS of
complaints around the subject from other businesses who like us lost their
domains and websites to and through these outfits. Let me repeat myself: I
informed auDA of an abusive situation (explained below) and they advised us
that they know of, and have known of the issue for quite some time; that
several of their accreditted registrars are reregistering for themselves
their customers dot com dot au (.com.au) domains whenever the customer
forgets/neglects to renew them.

The registrars are refusing to give the domains back to their rightful
owners stating that they themselves as "Australian businesses" are equally
as entitled to register domains as any other business conducting ecommerce
in Australia.

auDA has done nothing, and is doing nothing about this improper conduct.
These Australian registrars are misusing their priveldged position and
conducting insider trading to scoop up thousands upon thousands of peoples
dot com dot au (.com.au) domains that were not renewed in time.

We accidentally forgot to renew, within a ludicrous "90 day renewal" period,
some of our highly descriptive dot com dot au domains that we had registered
some 6 years earlier to point at our main website. These weren't just random
domains. They were common dictionary words that received highly qualified
leads that generated a significant amount of sales on our main website.
These leads came through the domains because the domains describe desirable
items that people type directly into their web browsers followed by the dot
com dot au suffix, like " email.com.au". Since people directly "type-in"
these domains it makes them valuable. This "type-in" phenomenon is called
"direct navigation" and is the main reason we beleive our domains were
targeted by the Australian domain registrar holding company "Australian
Style Pty Ltd".
Australian Style Pty Ltd reregistered our domains within minutes of their
release to the public, but not to us! They reregistered our
Australian domains to themselves and refuse to give them back!

When I realised our oversight in neglecting to renew our domains a "90 day
renewal deadline" had passed by a couple of hours only so that our domains
were already in a "ServerHold, ServerRenew and ServerUpdate Prohibited"
status. Thus our domains were still registered to us but could not be
renewed due to the status they were in. We were informed that they were due
to randomly become available to the public on a "first come, first serve"
basis. We were told "there is nothing we can do except you can try to
reregister them once the registry has released them."
Of course the night that followed was near sleepless pondering what chance
we had to reregister our prized domains before another could. I came to the
conclusion our chance was 100 per cent because how on earth could anyone
except our domain registrar, "Aus Registry" (the maintainers of the Whois
database) and auDA (the ".au" domain suffix regulator) know that our domains
were expiring!!?
I was confident in the conclusion that we would be able to reregister our
domains back because some Australian domain investors/developers (a.k.a.
domainers) explained on a domain forum that they would buy dot com dot au
domains but cannot because of the restrictive policies and that none of the
expiring domain name services (SnapNames.com, NameJet.com, Pool.com) provide
information on the dot com dot au domains that will become available as the
expiry information on all dot com dot au domains is PUBLICLY UNAVAILABLE and
AusRegistry has an "IP (Internet Protocol) address lookup restriction" in
place on the Whois database that restricts people from looking it up more
than 20 times per day! So no one, except an insider, could be privy to the
fact our domains were expring. In other words it is IMPOSSIBLE for the
public to learn the expiry date of dot com dot au domains.
I was extremely disapointed in auDA's innaction and reaction to our loss. I
demanded to know what actions they had undertaken since they received the
first similar complaint and what actions they planned to take regarding the
conduct relating to the documented abuse and misuse of customer records and
Whois database information theft by some of the registrars they accredditted
to stranglehold peoples domains.

We tookup this issue with auDA as they are the self governing industry body
who oversees dot com dot au domains so it is their duty to do the right
thing by the public. They did not, and are not fullfilling their role!

Well, to our discust, our questions and issues have still not been resolved.
In fact, the issue has been swept under the carpet, and to this day (months
later) auDA is continuing to allow the above mentioned registrars and their
related enterprises to WAREHOUSE thousands upon thousands of dot com dot au
domains. Thus I am now posting this open letter in this public forum to
demand to know why auDA is continuing to allow "Australian Style Pty Ltd"
(the holding company of *three* auDA accredited registrars Domain Central,
Bottle Domains and Explorer Domains) to reregister for themselves the domain
names of their former customers and to hold them hostage while MONETIZING
them to display paid links by Google? There is no doubt in my mind these
extortionist registrars will soon turn around and sell these thousands upon
thousands of warehoused domains back to the market when auDA's new reselling
policy is formulated this coming June 2008!

It is sickening that auDA is allowing their registrar partners to rape the
Australian domain suffix. Something should be done to stop this abusive,
racketerring-like conduct and misuse of a priveldged position of trust to
literally 'steal' Australian domains from their former and rightfull owners.

I hope that those of you who agree with us will follow through in demanding
that auDA respond to and satisfactorily address this important issue.
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Received on Sat May 03 2008 - 21:53:08 UTC

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