On March 24, 2022 applications officially opened for businesses wanting to register a .au domain name. Whether you already have a domain name in use or not – here is why .au matters and what you need to do.
The launch of .au domain names is a big deal for Australia. It brings us into line with some of our international counterparts that already offer shortened location-specific domains like New Zealand (.nz), the United Kingdom (.uk), New Zealand (.nz), Canada (.ca), France (.fr), China (.cn) and Germany (.de). The new .au domain name is uniquely Australian and is only available to businesses and individuals with an Australian presence.
For businesses, it offers a great opportunity to shorten their web addresses, demonstrates that your committed to keeping your digital presence fresh and relevant, or a chance to perhaps even secure a domain name you may have missed out on previously.
But it’s not all about the marketing wins! There are some serious IT security reasons to consider securing your domain name ownership.
Taking steps to secure the domain names you already use and may want to use in the future is critical to protect your brand AND how its used. The release of new domain spaces of any type always sees proactive cybercriminals and cyber-squatters get to work hijacking popular brands by leveraging brand familiarity and registering a similar name and setting up fake phishing sites and scams to dupe visitors into clicking first and thinking later.
Adding to this, unlike .com.au domains, .au direct domains do not require ABN or ACN checks. This means early-stage companies and start-ups without an ABN or ACN can register for a .au domain and have their online presence easily identified as an Australian-based entity.
So from both a branding and a security perspective, let’s unpack what you need to know.
How can I secure a new .au domain for my existing website or domain name?
If already have a website or own a registered domain name, you may have received notification from the registration service (e.g. Go Daddy, Web Central or similar) that you are eligible to apply for your current domain name. Whether you are granted the rights to register your existing domain name as a .au domain will be subject to a Priority Allocation Process, which is running for the next six months.
This is important because at the end of this six-month period, unclaimed .au domain names will become available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.
Find out all the ins and outs of the Priority Allocation Process at .au Domain Administration (auDA).
How can I secure a new .au domain name ?
As long as the domain name does not already exist in any other namespace, you can register through a domain name registration provider. In this case though, it is worth investigating and registered the .com.au and other domain names as well to ensure all your new-domain bases are covered now and in the future!
If you have an existing website or domain names registered:
- Update your WHOIS entry to allow auDA to communicate with you. Contact your domain name registrar to do this.
- Act now to apply for Priority Allocation, or your .au domain name will be available to the public from 20 September 2022.
If you are registering an all-new domain that has never been used elsewhere before:
- Get in fast to secure your .au name, and consider registering .com.au or others to prevent your new domain from misuse in the future.
- Even if you’re not ready to actually use your .au domain name right now, mark out your digital territory by securing your name now and essentially “parking” your domain name until your ready, mainly to prevent other people snapping it up down the track.
Need help or more specific advice? Give us a call on 1300 629 786 or contact us here.