.au domains explained – the future of Aussie domain names

Mar 03, 2022|By Atomix
Read time: 6 mins

From arvo to Macca’s, we Aussies love to shorten everything.

Now, with the arrival of the .au ‘direct’ domain, we can even shorten our web addresses.

Whether it’s to keep your domain name short and sweet or to protect and build brand recall, you’ll want to get behind this new domain extension.

Time is of the essence: you only have until 20 September 2022 to secure your reserved .au domain before it’ll be up for grabs for the general public.

Register your .au domain by September 2022

From 24 March to 20 September 2022, current registrants of .com.au, .net.au and .org.au domains will have priority for their matching .au domain. After 20 September 2022, someone else could grab your .au domain and steal a chunk of your traffic or hold your brand name to ransom.

What is a .au domain?

  • On 24 March 2022, the Australian Domain Administration (auDA) released the brand new .au domain name extension to Australians. This means Australian-based businesses will be able to drop the “.com” from their domain name.

  • Aussie businesses have been comfortably using .com.au, .org.au or .net.au for years, but there are a lot of reasons why you might want to also purchase your direct .au counterpart.

Here are just some of the reasons why you should consider securing your .au domain:

  • Prevent competitors from stealing your .au domain and any traffic it receives.

  • Stop third-parties from taking your .au domain and holding it ransom for more than you would have to pay otherwise.

  • .au domains are short and sweet which makes them more memorable (and easier to type in) than web addresses with longer domain extensions.

  • Aussies love supporting local, and this domain shows you’re a true local too: you have to be physically based in Australia to be eligible.

How you can get your .au domain

Getting your .au domain is simpler than you might think. While .com.au and .net.au domains require you to have a corresponding registered company name, business name, trust name or trademark, this is not the case for .au domains.

To secure your own .au domain, all you need to qualify is an “Australian presence”. The auDA defines an Australian presence in a number of ways in .au Domain Administration Rules: Licensing.

Importantly, to demonstrate your Australian presence, the license holder will need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident visa holder.

To prevent competitors or unwanted third-parties securing your .au domain before you, the auDA is temporarily holding a priority registration period.

How does priority registration work?

From 24 March to 20 September 2022, the auDA is holding a priority registration period for those who currently hold a .com.au or .net.au domain.

After this date, anyone who can demonstrate an Australian presence can snap up your .au domain.

During this period, you get priority to register your .au direct exact match. To do so, you must use an accredited registrar such as GoDaddy to apply for Priority Status before 20 September.

In some rare cases, there are multiple registrants who are eligible for the same .au domain. For example, one business might have registered atomix.com.au and another has registered atomix.net.au. Which one should be the winner for the direct .au domain? This is where priority categories come into play:

Category 1

  • You fall into Category 1 if your domain name license was created on or before 4 February 2018. Category 1 applicants always get priority over Category 2. If there is more than one Category 1 applicant, then an agreement on allocation must be made between the applicants, else the .au domain will remain unallocated. This negotiation is independent of the auDA.

Category 2

  • If your domain name license was created after February 4 2018, you are a category 2 applicant. If there are only Category 2 applicants for a given .au domain, then the domain with the earliest creation date wins. You can assess your Priority Status with the auDA Priority Status Tool.

When will .au domains be available?

As of writing this blog, .au domains are available today! If you register before 20 September 2022, you can secure priority allocation.

After 20 September, allocation is on a first-come first-served basis for anyone who can demonstrate an Australian presence; there will be no requirement to have an already matching .com.au or .net.au domain name.

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