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What do the new .au domains mean for you?
There’s been a big change to domain spaces in Australia.
After overwhelming support for a shorter local domain, the Australian Domain Administration (auDA) has finally opened up the option of registering for a .au domain.
What does this mean?
Until recently, it was only possible to register your site under the lower level domains such as .com.au or .net.au. Now Australian businesses have the ability to register their new, shorter .au domain.
In short: instead of ‘shoesforcats.com.au’, you’ll soon start seeing websites that use something more like ‘shoesforcats.au’.
The Big Question: Do I Need to Jump on This for My Business?
Despite all the dire warnings currently hitting inboxes, these new domains aren’t any cause for panic. The ACSC have marked any potential risks as low, and only recommends that Australian businesses consider registering.
If you’re a major brand, or you have similarly named competitors using a different URL extension (e.g. shoesforcats.com.au vs shoesforcats.net.au), then registering for your .au domain can be a smart step for brand protection and/or mitigation against impersonation. You won’t need to swap your main domain name entirely, but registering for the .au domain means that you’ll have more control over the use of your brand name online.
If you’re not concerned about brand competitors for your business? There’s no huge rush to register for any new domain names.
If you do decide to go for a .au domain, it’d be a good idea to register during the Priority Allocation Period.
What’s the Priority Allocation Period?
If you already have a domain name that ends in com.au (or similar), and it was registered prior to the 24th of March 2022, then you have first chance to register it under the new .au domain as well.
The priority allocation period will run from the 24th of March to the 20th of September 2022.
Who can reserve an .au domain?
These domains are available only to those who can demonstrate that their business has an Australian presence.
The auDA has very clearly defined what they classify as an “Australian presence” in an exhaustive legal list here.
However, if your website currently has some variation of ‘.com.au’, then you automatically qualify, since you already tick all of the boxes.
What if someone tries to register the same domain?
Certain rules have been put in place by the auDA. You can review the full list of policies and rules here.
The major factor in a nutshell: the earlier you file for your domain the better! Don’t forget to check your domain contact and payment information are current, as registrars will check eligibility requirements for the qualifying domain name registration.
What are the benefits to registering an .au domain?
- You get a shorter, more memorable URL, making it easier to achieve top of mind awareness. This is also great for displaying on smaller mobile devices.
- Registering your new .au domain will help to establish your brand identity online and prevent anyone from impersonating your business.
How do you reserve a .au domain during the priority ?
You can contact your domain hosting service or IT provider to purchase a .au domain before the end of the Priority Allocation Period.
After this, those domain names will become public, to register on a first-come first-serve basis.