What are the new rules for Australian domain names?
From 24 March 2022, Australians gained access to shorter, simpler .au domain names. Previously, it was only allowed to purchase lower level domains like com.au, net.au, org.au etc. Now, it will be possible to register and use a short domain name, such as joe.au, rather than joe.com.au. This means you'll be able to register and use yourdomainname.au rather than yourdomainname.com.au.
If you already have a .au domain name, and you registered it prior to 24 March 2022, you have a six month priority period to register the .au domain first. Once this priority period expires, the .au domain will be available to the general public.
So, for example, if someone named Joe owns joe.com. au, he has until 20 Sept 2022 to register joe.au as well. After this priority period, anyone can register the .au domain.
Registrations for .au direct domain names are open to everyone with an Australian presence. This differs from .com.au names, which have been restricted to people, organisations and businesses with an Australian ABN or ACN.
How does this affect me?
If you already have a domain ending in .au, you can still register a matching .au direct domain. However, if you do, you'll receive a notification email stating that you've received a priority registration. You'll have until 20 September 2022 to complete the registration process. At this stage, the .au domain is no longer reserved for the original owner.
Will I lose my existing .au domain?
No, you won't lose your current .au domain. In fact, you might even want to keep it because you could potentially sell it later.
What are the rules and eligibility for a .au direct domain name?
To register a .au domain name, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- You are already operating a web site in Australia. If you do not have a web site, you can still apply for a .au address.
- Your organisation meets the requirements listed above.
- You are a resident of Australia.
- You are a citizen of Australia.
- You are employed by an Australian Government department or agency.
- You are a permanent resident of Australia.
What should you do?
If you want to register your .au domain, there are four things you must do before submitting an application to auDA:
What happens if I don't make a priority application, however change my mind?
If you don't make a priority application before 20 September, you'll be competing with any other potential applicant. Any conflicts will be considered via the auDA complaints process or .au Dispute Resolution Process.
What benefits are there of a .au domain name for your business?
This new category of domain name lets you register shorter web addresses. They're called ".au" domains because they use the .au TLD, which stands for Australia. The .au domain names are typically used by local businesses, charities, non-profits, or government entities.
Registering different variations and having domain redirections in place makes sure people can easily find your site, and provides you with the most simple website possible for your branding. Even if you don't intend to use the new .au version, registering it now ensures that you'll always have access to it in case you decide to change your mind later down the track.
The benefit of having a .au domain names is that they provide extra protection against certain kinds of fraud and cybercrime. If someone tries to take advantage of your business, they won't know what you look like or where you live. With a .au domain names, it becomes much harder for criminals to steal money from you or damage your reputation.
The shorter domain potentially makes it be easier to show up better visually on print and display formats, contributing to a professional image for your brand.
If your business doesn't register an .au direct address, what happens?
If you don't register a .au domain during the priority period, it could mean losing control of your brand and potentially being forced to change your domain address.
The Australian Government supports businesses registering a .au domains because it helps protect against cybercrime and fraud.
However, there are risks associated with not registering your .au domain. These include:
- Cybersecurity risks - if someone else registers your .au domain, it could compromise your online presence and expose your customers' personal information.
- Domain squatting - if someone else registers the .au domain, it could prevent you from getting another one later. They may also try to resell it to you for a higher price.
- Brand dilution - if someone else registers a .au domain, it might cause confusion among consumers about what your business actually stands for.
- Loss of revenue - if your business isn't registered, you won't receive any income from the .au domain.