If your business is based in Australia, you probably have a “.com.au” domain name.
You may be eligible for a shorter & simpler exact match “.au” domain name.
Learn why this could be important and very valuable for your business.
The domain registration authority for Australia (auDA) is about to launch a new type of domain name called “Au Direct”. auDA believes Au Direct domain names will provide shorter and simpler Internet addresses.
In preparation for this launch, auDA has reserved the .au version of all currently registered Australian domain names.
Applications open as of 24 March 2022.
Aussie entities can register any unreserved domain names as of 24 March 2022. Almost NO rules apply.
If you have an existing com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au or edu.au domain name, you have 6 months to apply to register an exact match of your current name, but with the shorter “.au” ending. This would be a new domain name for you, in addition to your current domain.
As an example, if you have a .com.au domain name such as “yourname.com.au” you will be eligible for the exact match domain name “yourname.au”.
Different entities may want to register the same .au domain name, as they may each use the same name but in the different name spaces (com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au or edu.au.) This means that during the six month priority application window, there may be strong competition for the same .au domain name.
After the initial six month priority application window closes on 20 September 2022, existing domain names will no longer be reserved and any Australian entity can register these .au domain names.
This new domain name space is almost unregulated. It will probably become popular and highly competitive.
This will also be popular with scammers and domain name squatters who will no doubt register many domain names they will then try to sell back to the owners of businesses that use that name.
All of this is going to become very messy, especially for businesses who do not act quickly enough to protect their own interests.
Switching to the new .au direct name may be a great idea for your business, but even if you don’t plan on using the name, it will still be a good idea to apply to register your .au domain name while you can.
It will also be important to consider registering other variations of names and words that relate to your business.
For many businesses, it will be vital to register the new domain name to protect your corporate identity and commercial goodwill, even if you continue to maintain your current .com.au domain name as your primary address.
Concise Digital is able to register most types of domain names in Australia and internationally.
The simplest way for you to organise your new Au Direct domain name is to let the domain management team at Concise Digital do it all for you. Simply phone us on 1300 226 624; OR complete this form OR click the orange Help button on this page. We’ll call you and then start to get it all sorted for you.
The key starting date is 24 March 2022.
If Concise Digital is helping you with this, let us know before 24 March and we’ll start the process earlier for you.
The launch of au Direct names is unprecedented in Australia. It will become a ‘grab’ for Internet addresses in this new unregulated Australian domain name space.
The eligibility rules for .au direct domain names are very different to the rules that apply for .com.au domain names, where you need to show proof that the name you want to register is related to your business.
For .au Direct names, any entity with an Australian presence can apply to register any Au Direct name. The only unavailable names will be those on auDA’s ongoing Reserved List.
Whilst this lack of regulation may appeal to some people, the ‘open slather’ approach is going to get very messy for businesses who don’t act quickly to protect their own business names and identity. You can expect domain name squatters and even some of your competitors to register .au domain names that are relevant and potentially valuable to your business. They may use them against you or try to sell these names back to you.
You can use the new domain name once it is registered to you. How long this will take depends on:
If there are no other priority applications for the same name and no potential for others to apply for the name you want, then the new Au Direct domain name will be allocated to you soon after you apply for it.
If there is the potential that more than one person will apply for the same .au direct name, then this becomes a ‘contested name’. The process for this is outlined further below, and will require negotiation with the other applicants to reach agreement prior to the registration proceeding.
No, you can register your new exact match .au domain name and then not actively use it.
Whilst this may seem like a waste of money, it is a smart strategy that a lot of businesses will happily implement, comfortable in the knowledge they have protected their own business IP by preventing anyone else from registering the name.
You can passively use the new .au domain name by having it automatically redirect to your existing website address, so if someone types the new domain name in, they land at your website.
If you are going to switch over to use your new .au direct domain name as your new primary website URL, then make sure you think it all through first.
In addition to the changes to your website content, you will need to get redirections added to automatically redirect users and Google from the old domain to the new domain. This can be done with a global ‘domain redirection’ or with individual ‘301 Page’ redirections for each page.
The purpose of the redirections is to make sure that incoming backlinks and user bookmarks will still work. Perhaps even more important is the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your website as you need to ensure your page listings in Google’s index are preserved as much as possible.
Driven by what is colloquially referred to as ‘Google juice’, it can take years to build up good visibility and prominence for your web pages within Google. You need to carefully plan and then accurately and meticulously implement any changes to the URL structure of your website. It always pays to get some good SEO advice first so you don’t risk losing your Google juice.
When you apply to register your .au direct domain names, you can choose a licence term of between one and five years. With many domain resellers in the Au marketplace, prices do vary. Concise Digital charges AUD$30pa +GST for registration of an AU domain name. To keeps admin costs down, most domains are registered for a 2 year period for AUD$60 +GST.
If your chosen .au name is contested by others and you want Concise Digital to negotiate on your behalf, then time-based fees would also apply.
Depending on how you want to use your new domain name, then additional fees may apply. As an example, you may want domain redirection, web hosting or email mailboxes at the new domain. Without getting too technical, domain redirection requires DNS Hosting for which Concise charges $20pa + GST.
During the 6 month window prior to 20 September 2022, the age of the original domain name will determine the priority of who can register any ‘contested’ names. Licensees of domain names created on or before 4 February 2018 have high priority, and licensees of names created after this date have lower priority.
Where there are multiple high priority applications for the same name, then auDA expects the various applicants to “negotiate between themselves to determine who will be allocated the .au direct domain name they have applied for”.
It will be interesting to see how this will work in practice. No doubt some domain names will be highly contestable and valuable, especially already short domain names that are based on the initials or acronyms of longer business or organisational names.
If you find that your chosen name is contested, then it will be a good idea to run through a valuation process before you get into the negotiation. This will involve estimating the value of the new .au domain name to your business AND also the likely value of the same name to the other businesses that want it. Remember you need to think of the ‘lifetime value’ to each party. This is a one-off negotiation as you will not get a second chance to buy or sell your new .au domain name.
If you want our help or even just a quick chat about any of this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can learn more here on the AU Direct page on the auDA website. This will be very useful for you if you want to DIY or if you use a different domain registrar other than Concise Digital.
For your convenience, here is some key info from auDA…
Registrants of existing com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au and edu.au domain names will be able to participate in the Priority Allocation Process, which runs from 24 March to 20 September 2022. The six-month period is known as the Priority Application Period.
When .au direct names launch on 24 March 2022, all names in the registry prior to launch will be reserved from being registered as .au names for the six-month Priority Allocation Period. Registrants of existing .au names will then have six months to apply for Priority Status to register the .au direct match of their name, if they would like to licence it.
For example, the registrant of getyour.com.au can apply for priority to register getyour.au.
In most cases the applicant will be allocated the .au direct name soon after they apply for it. In a small fraction of cases there is the potential that more than one person will apply for the same reserved .au direct name. This may occur where different registrants hold the same name in different namespaces . This is known as a contested name.
In these cases the .au direct name will be allocated according to priority categories determined by the existing domain name licence creation date and the priority cut-off date of 4 February 2018.
The creation date of the domain name on which the application is based determines the priority category:
Where there are multiple applications for a contested name, the following principles apply:
If there are no applications for a reserved .au direct from an eligible registrant name during the six-month Priority Allocation Period, that name will become available to the public on a first come, first served basis at the close of the Priority Allocation Period.
In most cases, there will only be one registrant eligible to apply for a reserved .au direct name as they will be the only holder of its match in another .au namespace. This is referred to as an uncontested name.
In these cases, the applicant will be allocated the domain name shortly after applying for Priority Status. The registrant will be able to choose a licence term of between one and five years.
Priya holds getyour.org.au, and there are no other licenses for ‘getyour’ in any other .au namespace. Priya applies to register getyour.au and is allocated the name shortly after applying.
Even if your matching .au direct name is uncontested, you must apply for Priority Status if you wish to secure the .au direct name, otherwise it will become publicly available on a first-come, first-served basis from 20 September 2022.
In some cases, there will be more than one registrant eligible for a reserved .au direct name, as different registrants can hold the same name in different namespaces. This is referred to as a contested name.
All hold names that were in the registry before the launch of .au direct. Tina, Gene and Priya are all eligible to apply for Priority Status to register getyour.au.
In these cases, the .au direct domain name will be allocated for an initial one-year licence term according to the Priority Allocation Process and each applicant’s priority category.
Use this tool to look up Australian domain names to see the registration details.
Priority Status Tool
Use this tool to check your priority category and/or see if there are other registrants eligible for the .au direct name you seek.
Au Direct Infographic
This PDF from auDA is a handy summary of the key points.
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