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What is the .au Domain Name Supplier's Code of Practice?

The Australian domain name space has a solid reputation both locally and in the international community, and one of the reasons is the Supplier's Code of Practice.

The Code of Practice is a set of principles and methods of market conduct developed by the au Domain Administration (auDA); the government-endorsed, self-regulatory body charged with the very important taks of oversight of Australia's name space.

It's not an optional policy - it must be complied with by all auDA accredited registrars, plus their appointed resellers. The auDA regularly conducts checks to ensure the Code is continuing to be complied with.

The Code covers a variety of areas; including renewal notices, marketing practices, disclosure and complaints handling. It helps supports competition and ensures minimum standards for dealings with registrants. 

The Code also forbids practices such as suppliers registering domain names on their own behalf for the purpose of preventing registration by another party; or to on-sell to another party at a higher price. This practice has unfortunately not been uncommon in other parts of the world, disadvantaging registrants. Suppliers may register domains on their own behalf; but only for their own use.

Another forbidden practice is where a registrar sends renewal notices, or a communication that appears to be one, to the registrant of a name that the registrar does not manage. Many people around the world have been caught out by this practice and while it has also occurred in Australia, the auDA quickly puts a stop to such incidents when it becomes aware of them occurring.

On the flip side, a registrar of record is also compelled to send a renewal notice at least 30 days before a domain under its management is set to expire.

This just scratches the surface of the responsibilities and principles suppliers must adhere to. The full 2004-04 - .au Domain Name Suppliers' Code of Practice can be accessed here. The Code was based on similar codes used by other industry bodies, including the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) and the Australian Direct Marketing Association.

Other polices relating to Australian domain names can be viewed here.

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