Controversy Continues to Surround Geographic Domain Names
Australia’s domain name regulator, auDA, is to sell a portfolio of valuable 320 geographic domain names including Australia’s capital city canberra.com.au.
These domain names were part of an original ballot in 2005 that saw the release of 2700 previously reserved geographic names in the com.au and net.au name spaces.
The original 2005 ballot of 2700 geographic domains was planned to fund the launch of eight new domain spaces for Australia; nsw.au, nt.au, tas.au, act.au, wa.au, vic.au, qld.au, sa.au, to compliment the existing name spaces under com.au, net.au, gov.au, etc. Each of the 2700 domains were randomly allocated to interested parties at AU$825 and the same price is being placed on the soon-to-be-released 320 names.
The 320 names are being re-released due to a legal issue with the previous registrant.
Leading Australian domain name registrar Netregistry was concerned about auDA’s practice of using valuable geographic domain names to fund the new name spaces. Since launch, only 18 new ‘community domain names’ under these new names spaces have been registered.
“One year on from the formation of the new name spaces, only eighteen of the new style domains have been registered”, says Larry Bloch, CEO Netregistry. “2700 highly valuable domain names were sold with over $1m dollars of the proceeds used to fund community geographics with only 18 names afer 12 months. This is the most spectacularly unsuccessful name space launch globally ever.”
Netregistry is concerned at this practice of funding small interest projects through badly administered schemes. Such controversies affect the reputation of the domain name industry in Australia. Netregistry worries that poor management and controversial decisions disrupts and distorts an otherwise principled online business community.
The 320 remaining geographic domains will be released on 21 October. You will need to be an Australian registered business to own one.