Dale Beaumont, Business Blueprint
.au direct domains are now available to the public from 24 March 2022.
This article will guide you through the process of registering your .au domain, applying for a priority process and dealing with two parties wanting the same domain.
I already have a .com.au domain, why do I need a .au domain?
With the release of the new .au domain, businesses and individuals will have shorter, sharper and more eye-catching domain names. Plus, .au direct domain names are easier to type into internet searches, especially for people accessing your website on mobile devices.
In addition, having a .au domain may help with your Google ranking. A .au domain name helps Google understand where your business operates. If you’re using a .com domain, Google would have a harder time ranking your website for local searches.
Above all, registering your .au domain name prevents brand theft. You can ensure that no one else uses your existing domain name with the new .au extension.
How to register a .au domain?
Anyone with an Australia Presence can apply to register a .au direct domain name through an auDA accredited registrar. This includes…
- Citizens or Permanent Residents
- Associations and Businesses Registered in Australia
- Legal Entities with a Registered Australian Trademark
Find the full definition of an Australian presence here.
Registrants of existing .au domains, such as com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au and edu.au, will be able to participate in the Priority Allocation Process, which runs from 24 March to 20 September 2022.
During the six-month priority allocation period, existing holders of a .au domain have first dibs to apply for priority status to register the .au direct match of their domain, if they would like to register it. For instance, Company XYZ will be able to register and use the domain name companyxyz.au as well as (or instead of) companyxyz.com or companyxyz.com.au
If registrants do not apply, the .au domain will be made available for registration by the public on a first-come, first-served basis on 21 September 2022
How to Apply for Priority Status?
If you’re planning on claiming your .au direct domain, here’s a step by step guide you can follow.
1. Apply for priority status via your registrar, or any other accredited registrar offering .au direct namespace starting 24 March 2022.
2. Prepare payment of the application fee, like the prices of domain name registrations, this fee will vary between registrars.
3. Ensure that you are eligible to hold the .au domain which forms the basis of your application. Your eligibility for your existing .au domain will be checked when you apply.
4. Prepare a priority token (or authorisation code) for your application to ensure your application will be accepted. The authorisation code contains a username and password assigned by the registry to each eligible registrant applying for priority status.
Once you submit your Priority Status application, you will be unable to update the registrant information associated with your existing domain name while your application is active. It is important to make sure it is up to date before you lodge your application.
Application for Contested Domain Name
When more than one person will apply for the same reserved .au direct name, this is referred to as a contested name. For example, registrants for mydomain.com.au, mydomain.net.au and mydomain.org.au are all eligible to apply for Priority Status to register mydomain.au. These cases will be resolved based on the existing domain name licence creation date and priority cut-off date of 4 February 2018.
The domain names created on or before the cut-off date of 4 February 2018 are classified as priority Category 1. On the other hand, domain names created after the cut-off date of 4 February 2018 are classified as priority Category 2. For example, the registrant for mydomain.com.au has a creation date of 1 March 2019, so the application for mydomain.au is classified as priority Category 2.
What to do with a .au domain
Once you’ve secured your .au domain, you can redirect it to your .com.au domain. This enables you to hold more than one domain name without the need to create a duplicate website. When you redirect your .au domain, people will automatically be taken to your selected website as the redirection takes place “behind the scenes”.
How to redirect a .au domain name
To redirect a .au domain, you need to set up a domain name redirection via your registrar. Then, follow the steps outlined on your registrar’s website. If you are unsure of the process, contact your registrar for assistance.
Remember to maintain valid licences for all domain names you are using and redirecting. If the licences expire, they will be removed from the registry and become available to be registered by the public.
If you choose to change or remove the redirection once it’s in place, all you need to do is follow the steps outlined by your registrar, or contact your registrar for assistance.
Remember there is no obligation to apply to register the .au direct exact match of your existing domain name. If you don’t register, your existing domain name will continue to operate as normal as long as you keep your registration up to date.