Melbourne IT Tells auDA To Widen the Name Game

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] Melbourne IT has made a submission to domain name administrator auDA, urging
it to remove restrictions on .com.au domain names which forbid registration
of generic names and require names to be derived from business names.

Melbourne IT, which itself has representatives on the auDA board, said that
the rules were “not representing the Australian Internet community in the
most efficient and consumer focused manner possible.”

The company’s chief technology officer, Bruce Tonkin also criticized the
restriction on the issue of multiple domain names to individual companies,
saying Melbourne IT had received significant interest from businesses
wishing to register multiple domain names relating to their trading entity.

“The current restrictions prohibiting multiple domain names being registered
is forcing businesses to register Australian business names solely for the
purpose of registering additional domain names; which is not only a
significant cost to business, but also not the intended use of Australian
Business Names,” he said.

Another issue of concern, according to Tonkin, are the current restrictions
which prohibit companies from registering names which are not derived from
their trading names.

Tonkin said Melbourne IT research suggested this restriction had also led
businesses to register business names solely to secure the domain name of
their choice.

“From our experience, we have found that many applicants do not want a
domain name which is an exact match of their commercial name. Over 40
percent of the rejected applications are due to the name not being derived
according to the derivation rules,” he said. “Usually, domain name
registrants want something shorter and with easy consumer recall, so ideally
there needs to be allowance for names other than those that are matches to
the trading name.”

Also slammed in the submission were restrictions on the issue of generic or
geographic names as domains. Melbourne IT stated in its report that the
intention of the restriction to restrict unfair competitive advantage had
“fallen down due to the many historic names (names registered pre October
1996) which are clearly generic words, (e.g. travel.com.au, insurance.com.au)
and Australian capital city names (e.g. sydney.com.au, melbourne.com.au).”

Tonkin said that the fact that these names are already in existence made the
continuing restriction of generic and geographic names difficult to justify,
and is the cause of disputes with domain name registrants and discredits
domain name registration procedures.

“As well, the current application of the rule to only single words means
that many phrases, which could be argued to give competitive advantage as
much as a single word, are acceptable,” he said.

Melbourne IT proposed that should there be a continued restriction on
generic and geographic words, would be a publicly available list of words at
the time of registration. “However,” Tonkin said, “this list would need to
be continually monitored given the nature of the English language.”

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