Earlier this year auDA set up a Secondary Market Working Group (SMWG) of industry and consumer representatives to examine the operation of the .au secondary market and recommend actions that should be taken to address any identified market failures. The SMWG handed its final recommendations to auDA in September, all of which were accepted.
Perhaps the most significant recommendation was that the six month prohibition on registrant transfers should be removed. For those of you who don’t know, auDA’s Transfers (Change of Registrant) Policy (2008-08) prohibited a registrant from transferring (or selling) their domain name to another party within the first six months of registration. This was intended to prevent people from registering a domain name for the sole purpose of resale or transfer, which is not allowed under the Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules for Open 2LDs (2008-05). Transfers within the first six months of registration were only possible with auDA’s authorisation.
The SMWG found that the six month prohibition was possibly not effective in achieving its aim of preventing illegitimate registrations, and most likely not warranted given the statistical evidence. AusRegistry data since 1 July 2008 shows that most registrant transfers occur more than 3 years after registration. Based on their own experience and public feedback, SMWG members concluded that the six month prohibition had simply created an administrative burden for auDA, registrars and registrants alike.
So from today, the six month prohibition is no longer in force and registrants are free to transfer their domain name at any time without authorisation from auDA – as per the new Transfers (Change of Registrant) Policy (2011-03).
SMWG members also noted consumer concerns about the apparent complexity and expense of the registrant transfer process. They recommended that auDA publish information for registrants about the registrant transfer process, including the fact that registrants can choose to transfer their domain name to another registrar prior to processing a change of registrant.
Accordingly, today we have also published an FAQ about registrant transfers which we hope will help registrants to understand the process. We would welcome feedback about the FAQ, especially any issues relevant to registrant transfers that we might not have covered – please email email@example.com.