Time is running out to claim your .au domain name

.au domain names

Since March 2022, Australians have been able to register a shorter .au domain name, such as mybusiness.au.  The new .au direct domain name allows businesses to register a simpler and more memorable domain name by removing the second level (such as .com, .net, .org etc).

Unlike .com.au domain names, which are only available to commercial entities with an ABN or ACN, this new category of domain name is available to anyone with a connection to Australia.


Cybersecurity risk

While this new category of domain name allows users to register shorter, more memorable online names; it also creates an avenue for cybercriminals to conduct fraudulent cyber activities. Opportunistic cybercriminals could register your .au domain name in an attempt to impersonate your business.

For example, if you have currently registered mybusiness.com.au, a cybercriminal could register mybusiness.au or mybusinesscom.au and use the domain to conduct fraudulent cyber activities.

To help protect your business from opportunistic cybercriminals, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) recommends that all Australian businesses with existing domain names register their .au equivalents before 20 September 2022. If a business does not reserve their .au equivalent direct domain name by this date, that name will become available to the public on a first come, first served basis.

You can reserve your .au domain name by visiting an auDA accredited registrar.


Registering a brand new .au domain name

New .au domain names have been available since 24 March 2022.

They are available to the public on a first come, first served basis as they are not already registered in any other .au namespace e.g., com.au, or org.au.

New .au domain names can be registered via any participating .au accredited registrar in accordance with the .au Licensing Rules.


Registering the exact match of a .au domain you already own

If you hold a .au name in another namespace (e.g., com.au, org.au. etc) and it was created before 24 March 2022, you will have until 20 September 2022 to apply for its exact .au direct match. This six-month period is known as the Priority Application Period.

Exact matches will be put on Priority Hold for the Priority Application Period to prevent them from being registered by others and to enable existing registrants the first opportunity to register (Priority Status) the exact match of their existing domain names.

For example, if you are the registrant of mybusiness.com.au, and it was created before 24 March 2022, you will have six months to apply for mybusiness.au.

You’ll be able to apply for the exact match .au direct domain name via a participating .au accredited registrar.

In most cases you’ll be able to register and begin using your matching .au direct domain name soon after you apply for it.

In some cases, there may be more than one applicant for the same .au direct domain name as there are different registrants that hold the same domain name licence in different namespaces.

For example:

  • Jane is the registrant of mybusiness.com.au
  • Bob is the registrant of mybusiness.net.au

Both names were created before 24 March 2022, so both registrants are eligible to apply for mybusiness.au

In these cases, the .au direct exact match will be allocated according to the Priority Allocation Process (more on this below).

If you are an existing registrant, you can expect to hear from your existing .au registrar about the launch of .au direct and how you can apply for the exact match of any .au names you already hold licences for.

Applying to register your matching .au direct name is optional and has no effect on your existing .au domain names. Your existing name in the .au domain will continue to operate as it does today, provided you keep your registration up to date.


What is Priority Allocation?

Existing holders of a .au domain name licence (registrants) have the first opportunity to apply for Priority Status to register the exact match of their existing domain name at the .au direct level through the Priority Allocation Process.

Under the Process, exact matches of all names in the Australian registry prior to launch will be reserved for .au direct during the six-month Priority Application Period (March to September 2022). During this period, eligible registrants may apply for Priority Status through an accredited auDA registrar. For example, during the Priority Application Period, the pre-existing registrant of mybusiness.com.au, can apply for Priority Status for mybusiness.au.


What happens if there are multiple Priority Status applications for the same .au direct domain name?

In some cases, more than one registrant may be eligible to apply for Priority Status for the same .au direct name (e.g., where Registrant A holds mybusiness.com.au and Registrant B holds mybusiness.net.au). In those cases, the creation date of each applicant’s domain name licence will determine how a name is allocated according to a priority category.

More information on priority categories and examples to help explain how Priority Allocation works can be found on the auDA website. Registrants can use the Priority Status Tool on the auDA website to check their priority category and see if there are other registrants eligible to apply for the same .au direct name.


How will conflicts be resolved?

Conflicts related to Priority Allocation will be resolved by direct negotiation between the relevant applicants. auDA’s complaints process under the .au Licensing Rules and the .au Dispute Resolution Process (auDRP) will be available to parties


Further help

More information can be found on the auDA website.

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Source: auDA

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