Thursday 31 August 2023

Email from my domain registrar, Rebel, saying the registrar of record's going to change?

Out of the blue, I got an email from one of my current domain name registrars. It seems they're offloading their .au domain name registration business to another business (been through this before, at least this time I'm being told in advance). The email correctly listed all the .au domains I hold with them, but had no web link to an FAQ, or to the receiving registrar.

UPDATE: Rebel published an FAQ.

UPDATE: Seems Rebel borked at least the technical contacts in the transfer from themselves as registrar, to Domain Directors as registrar and them as reseller.

The following is the letter I got:

Dear (me),

You’re receiving this email because you have .au domains registered with Rebel. Good news, we’re making a change to help manage these domains more effectively through a partnership with Domain Directors Pty Ltd.

You are the registrant for the following domain name(s):

(domains redacted)

Your domain name(s) are currently being managed on your behalf by

Here is what you need to know:

Moving forward, your domains will be renewed with a new accreditation to Domain Directors Pty Ltd.

The good news is that other than WHOIS data on the domain, absolutely nothing changes for you.

Your domains will continue to be fully managed through your Rebel account

Your domains will remain active throughout the change

The ONLY change is that the registrar of record in WHOIS will be Domain Directors Pty Ltd. rather than Rebel.

This change will happen on September 30th, 2023

You have the option to opt-out of this change. If you would prefer not to have your domain name(s) transferred to Domain Directors Pty Ltd, you can transfer your domain(s) to another registrar prior to September 30th, 2023, but we hope you stay.

Please note that all registrars must comply with the .AU Domain Name Suppliers' Code of Practice and auDA's transfer policy.

As per auDA’s requirements, we will send a reminder email seven (7) days prior to the transfer.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Rebel’s customer service team. Kind Regards,

Your Rebel Team

Thank you,

Rebel Customer Support

No link to an FAQ!

No link to this new "Domain Directors Pty Ltd"!

No reason for why this is happening.

All happening in about a month's time!

So far, I've been able to figure out that "Domain Directors Pty Ltd" is the Australian arm of "Instra Corporation". It sounds like Rebel is offloading the work of managing auDA regulated domains to Instra. I've contacted Rebel for more info, and will update when I find out more.

Update 1:

Emailed in to Rebel. They sent me a link to an FAQ they've now published here. The caveat being that the FAQ had a different business name in it, "Domains Party Ltd". I emailed them again and received a response back saying that, indeed, their FAQ has a typo in it, and it's actually "Domain Directors Pty Ltd". They haven't updated their FAQ yet with the correct business name.

The summary of the FAQ is basically that Rebel is going to stop directly registering .au domains, and instead resell rego services from Instra Corporation / Domain Directors Pty Ltd. Whilst searching for more info on this, I found this page over at Domainer. It seems to suggest that Rebel doesn't have very many .au domains under management - so they're probably doing this for cost optimisation (auDA imposes a number of administrative requirements above and beyond other registries).

Update 2:

It seems when Rebel transferred from themselves as registrar to reseller via Domain Directors, they somehow messed up the technical contacts of all the .au domains in WHOIS data.

Thank you for contacting Rebel. 

We apologize for the mix-up with the Technical contacts for your domains on WHOIS. This is currently being worked on and the technical contact for all the domains in the list that you sent to us in your email have been fixed. We have also reviewed other AU domains in your portfolio.

We believe that there might have been some issues with these contacts at first which created more problems when we partnered with Domain Directors and data had to be imported into their systems. We're working to fix the issue but it's going to take a couple of days, and we plead for your patience while we work on this. 

We would like to assure you that the mix-up did not affect any of your domain contacts in our database.

Hopefully it's all sorted out soon. I find on a related note they often seem to pick the wrong contacts out of the list I have in my account as the registrant, and then I have to play the dance of submitting ownership change, waiting for emails, getting the incorrect registrant to click the link, me click the link, and then waiting again.

My thanks to another Rebel customer (thanks, Martin!), who contacted me and some others, with news on how they'd found me and others listed in the WHOIS of domains they manage.

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