[LINK] RFI: The Process of Domain Redelegation

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Aug 23 10:41:43 AEST 2010

Much obliged for any pointers to sources, or explanations, re the 
following problem.

I've had the xamax.com.au domain delegated to a local ISP, Apex, for 
so many years that I'd have to look at my archives to find out when I 

Apex are a small outfit, not technically strong, and often not very 
responsive.  (Among other things, they not only still have their two 
name-servers on the same sub-net, but they've shown no ability to 
understand my several explanations why that's a bad thing, and no 
ability to look up and understand the RFC I pointed them to).

During July, my email became inaccessible using POP from some 
IP-addresses (including my home-office!), forcing me to rely on awful 
webmail alternatives in the interim, and putting at risk my 
all-but-complete and highly valuable email-archives dating back to 

I was appalled by the lack of professionalism of 4 alternative 
Australian ISPs that I checked out.  They variously didn't respond, 
had inadequate explanations on their web-site, responded very slowly, 
and had significant errors in their documentation.

(Their documentation is all still geared to virgin newbies who are 
delegating their domain-names for the first time, and provide no 
information about how to transfer a delegation.  So the salesmen have 
failed to convey to the techos and/or the webmaster that there are 
large numbers of people dissatisfied with their current suppliers, 
that churn is inevitable, that churn needs to result in a net 
increase to the ISP's customer-base, and that inbound churn needs to 
be encouraged by providing easy processes supported by 
easy-to-understand instructions.  But I digress).

The first ISP that delivered a half-usable service was Grapevine 
(originally NetConnect owned by ACTEW, then Grapevine owned by 
ACTEW/Transact, now owned solely by Transact).  They cocked up lots 
of things along the way, but it did get up and running.  If only 
their spam-management tool actually worked, maybe I'd be happy.

My problem is this.

1.  Grapevine said that I had to perform the redelegation myself.

Fair enough.  I knew who my registrar was, and had the registry key.

After I'd clarified two separate errors by Grapevine in communicating 
what their name-server addresses were, I changed the entries, and sat 
back to await the change to trickle through the system (12-24 hours 

In due course, that worked, although I suspect that they may have 
mucked up the entries in their name-server at the first attempt, 
because there was some very strange behaviour in the interim.

2.  Apex continues to have entries in its own name-server for xamax.com.au.

I know that because I can login to it via webmail, and some email 
continues to trickle into the account.

And the email that trickles into it is not only from Apex itself.  It 
includes occasional spams.


1.  How is redelegation supposed to be performed these days?
     Is there an authoritative description somewhere?
     Should I ask IIA?  Or maybe AuDA?  Or maybe ISOC-AU?
     What mechanism causes the old ISP to delete the entries from
     its (previously authoritative) name-server?

2.  Is it possible for the old entries in Apex's name-servers to
     cause problems with email-delivery?  (I'm aware of one important
     message that's been sent several times from two different locations,
     both in Canberra, all copies of which are lost in limbo somewhere)

I will of course send a message to Apex shortly, with explicit instructions.

But they failed to ever respond to my initial incident notification 
in July, and I suspect they'll have trouble understanding what I'm 
saying, and will have little motivation to help an ex-customer, and 
hence I'd like to know what I'm talking about before I contact them.


Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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