Domain reseller in court over marketing practices

Australia

Australia's domain industry self-regulatory body, auDA, has suspended Internet Name Group's (ING's) provisional accreditation following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC's) announcement that it is taking legal action against the company in the Federal Court. The case, in which the ACCC is seeking a permanent injunction to stop ING from engaging in alleged deceptive practices, will be heard on May 24.

Specifically, the ACCC alleges that ING made representations that it:

  • had the authority to register or renew a customer's domain name and could provide the services of registration or renewal;

  • could renew '.com.au' domain names for periods of four, six, eight or 10 years when in fact renewals can only be made for two-year periods;

  • had sponsorship, approval, affiliation or authority that it does not have; and

  • could register '.bz' (the country code of Belize) domain names which it claimed were equivalent to ICANN approved '.biz' domain names.

An application for interlocutory relief has already been settled, with ING agreeing (i) not to distribute unsolicited domain registration renewal forms, and (ii) not to market '.bz' domains as meaning 'business', as is the case for '.biz'.

Cheng Lim, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Melbourne

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