ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ *Dot.au is the “Old Kent Road” to its dot.com “Mayfair” neighbour. But that could change soon, reports Stewart Carter.
AUSTRALIAN model, musician, dancer, actress and net entrepreneur Estelle Asmodelle is advertising her supermodel.net.au domain name for sale.
Her modelling agency business, Supermodel, already has a well-established website at supermodel.com.au, so she figures she’ll make an easy $10,000 from the .net equivalent.
It’s not going to set any records – not like, say, melbourne.com or perth.com which sold recently in the US for $US700,000 ($A762,000) and $US200,000 respectively, or bored.com which sold for $US4million earlier this month.
Strictly speaking, Estelle shouldn’t do it. It is illegal to advertise Australian domain names (those ending in .au) for sale – or more accurately, it’s prohibited under the rules of the industry regulator Au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA). A purely commercial trade of domains is also against the rules.
But Chris Disspain, chief executive officer at auDA, said people like Estelle needn’t worry. “The auDA board has recently accepted the recommendations of our review panel to lift the ban on advertising Australian domain names for sale,” he says. Work on implementing the change in policy has already begun and could be finished by as early as June this year. “We’ve got some administrative bits and pieces to work out first, and then there’ll need to be some changes made to the software and systems used at the registrars. We’re also mindful there’ll need to be a program of public education so the general public is aware of the new policy.
“I’m concerned to make sure that we don’t see a situation arising where domain name consumers are ripped off, and conned into paying too much for a com.au domain name. Likewise we want to make sure that we don’t get people conned into selling them for too little. In other words we want to make sure there’s going to be an informed marketplace.”
Industry experts say an informed marketplace is likely to be a real problem to start with, if only because the current auDA policy has been so restrictive.
Bruce Tonkin, chief technology officer at Australia’s biggest domain name registrar, Melbourne IT, says auDA’s current rules restrict transfers of domain ownership to a very specific set of exceptional circumstances.
“The current policy doesn’t allow domain names to be transferred or sold like other business assets. Essentially, you have to sell the whole business to sell the name.
“They have to apply to us for a transfer, and we have to check that the applicant has the authority to transfer the name, and there’s usually some sort of legal deed that has to be attached, along with a statutory declaration.