On September 20th (yes, next week), your domain name will be available to your competitors and the wider public on a new Australian domain extension: ‘.au’.
On the 24th of March, Au Domain Administration Limited (auDA) released a new domain extension, ‘.au’, to anyone in Australia with a verified connection.
As in ‘.com.au’?
No, just ‘.au’.
Trying on our own name for size, think advisible.au instead of advisible.com.au.
The new domain ‘.au’ will be a general purpose extension that lets any individual manage a presence online for themselves or an organisation
What does this mean?
Unlike other domains, such as “.com.au” or “.net.au”, individuals won’t require a registered trust name, trade mark, company name or business name that holds the same domain name being submitted to be registered. This also brings a few benefits (or concerns) for your website.
How does this involve me right now?
If you are the owner of a domain ending in ‘.au’ (such as .com.au or .net.au), your domain’s direct ‘.au’ version is currently on reserve until September 20th. Effectively, this means if you haven’t yet (provided it’s before this deadline), you still have time to apply to get your .au to purchase this new domain name and stop a competitor from trying to undercut you.
However, it’s not just competitors that may be trying to grab your .au domain name. Cybersquatters may attempt to buy your name to sell it back to you at a much higher price later. In the worst-case scenario, cybercriminals may purchase the domain name to create a ‘lookalike; and use your brand for phishing purposes to defraud your valued loyal customers.
Most applicants should be allocated the new domain soon after applying, according to auDA. But others may need to contest it with other applicants.
Why get a direct .au address?
The #1 reason we recommend why you should get your .au domain is to protect your brand from being undercut by competitors.
You don’t want to work hard on building up your business and brand just for someone else to swoop in and take your business because your customers are confused.
To be sure that you are protected, we recommend getting in before the deadline.
Another valid question you’re probably also asking is: ‘what is the value of a “.au’” direct domain name?’
From auDA, the general premise is that Australians love shortening words, and if you look at how we handle slang, it’s true: McDonald’s becomes Maccas, and the bottle shop becomes the bottle-o. Which is why ‘.au’ may become the next easiest go-to for internet users.
Here are some practical applications:
Easier to remember
.au was created to be “.com.au” and “.net.au” shorter and snappier cousin. Making it easier to remember for customers.
Easier to type
A shorter URL is also faster to type when someone is trying to get directly to your website on their browser.
Easier to print
It can also reduce some text and save some space when printed on paper, labels or packaging, so it can also be a great way to market your brand.
It’s more local
As the URL is shorter, it instantly emphasises the fact that your brand does business in Australia.
What if I have a Contested Name?
Say there are multiple online businesses with your brand name created before the 24th of March, 2022.
For example, mybusiness.com.au, mybusiness.net.au, or mybusiness.org.au.
In that case, you hold a contested name.
Contested names will fall into two priority categories, which will help narrow down who will have priority. Where category 1 applicants will have more priority over priority category 2.
Priority category 1: Names created on or before the 4th of February, 2018
Priority category 2: Names created after the 4th of February, 2018
In the case that there are multiple category 2 applicants, the name will be allocated to the applicant with the earliest creation date. If there are multiple category 1 applicants, the .au name must be decided through negotiating with the other applicants.
For more information about registering priority status for a contested name, read auDA’s priority allocation process here.
What if the deadline passes?
If the September deadline passes before you’ve had a chance to apply for the .au direct domain name, you can still apply, but you won’t be granted the same priority status. Which means first come, first served.
If you still don’t manage to attain your .au domain this way, it may be possible to still get back the domain either through purchasing it off the current owner or by lodging a dispute with auDA.
Stay tuned to our blogs to get the latest insights about digital marketing and online spaces for your business.