[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: Tony Owen <tony§seol.net.au>
Date: Sun, 4 May 2008 15:53:30 +0930
Good luck with your endeavours, 

I have contacted AUDA with concerns about dropped domains being snapped up, they simply told me unless I had concrete evidence (which of course would be nigh on impossible to get) they would not even look at the situation, and then hung the phone up on me.

Cheers Tony

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Paul Moore 
  To: dns&#167;dotau.org 
  Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2008 2:23 PM
  Subject: [DNS] Bad experience with auDA RE Domain Central, Bottle Domains,Explorer Domains and their holding company Australian Style Pty Ltd


  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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