Home Strategy Unused Australian domains not cancelled: claim
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About a quarter of a million Australian domain names which once belonged to deregistered companies or expired ABNs have not been cancelled as per the current policy of auDA, the organisation managing the .au namespace, it has been claimed.

These .com.au names are taken up by what are known as domain catchers who resell them at a premium, according to Robert Kaay, who runs a domain brokerage company and a Web hosting company.

For example, MelbourneIT, which owns a domain catcher known as Netfleet, could get hold of 10,000 such cancelled domains and earn $800,000 as it sells .com.au domains for $80 apiece.

Asked about this, an auDA spokesperson denied this was the case, saying instead: "When a registrant is found to no longer exist, as in the case of a deregistered company, the domain name licence is deleted in line with auDA policy.

"auDA operates a complaints-based system where any individual can bring to our attention any concerns regarding de-registered entities holding domain licences.

"Ensuring registrants are eligible under our policies is a priority for auDA to manage and we work very closely with the registrar channel to ensure domain licence holders meet the requirements, in addition to investigating and responding to specific cases bought to our attention."

Asked why domain catchers were allowed to capture these domain names and profit from reselling them, the spokesperson said: "Once a domain name is deleted from the registry, it becomes available to be registered on a first come, first served basis provided eligibility requirements are met."

But the spokesperson admitted that there existed a secondary market for such domain names, adding, "It is important to note that in all cases a registrant who may acquire a domain name on the secondary market must meet all of the eligibility requirements to hold that licence."


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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