Direct .au Domains; What are They and When Can I Get One?

Posted by: Amira Bird

September 17, 2020

Australian domain names are getting a shake up this year with the introduction of .au direct domains. Quite simply, that means that rather than ‘yourdomain.com.au’, you?ll soon be able to register for ‘yourdomain.au’. Much simpler right?  

However, there’s a bit more to it.  

For one, their release has been delayed. A reason for this is because the new .au domains may cause some contention for businesses that already have an .au domain extension, such as .com.au or .net.au. Still, these new domains are highly anticipated, and for a number of reasons.  

Why should I register for a .au domain? 

Quite simply, ‘yourdomain.au’ is shorter, more memorable and quicker to type than ‘yourdomain.com.au’. Although it may only be a second saved, this adds up quickly when you think about how many people there are in Australia.  

As well as being a simpler choice, .au domains have other benefits that make them a better choice for Australian businesses.  

This includes SEO benefits for businesses operating within Australia. Google recognises that .au domains are more relevant to people within Australia and is more likely to prioritise these in searches. This is particular useful if your products or services target a local audience.  

Another benefit is the authority that .au direct domains hold. Similarly to the current .au domain extensions, .au direct domains are likely to require you to have an ABN or ACN to register. This has shown to create an immediate sense of trust between your website and the Australian public.  

The final reason to register for a .au direct domain is to protect your brand. If you already hold the domain name for your business, you might consider registering for the .au direct domain as well. Not having both domain names leaves the potential for your competitors to register it and for your customers to visit their site rather than yours.   

How do I get a .au domain?  

At this stage, there is an implementation plan for the .au direct domains which favours businesses that already have .au domain extensions such as .com.au.  

Basically, any .au domain extension (that could be .com.au, .org.au, .net.au or more) that was registered before February 4, 2018 will get priority for registering a .au direct domain once they are released.  

If no one falls into this category for a particular domain name extension, or if no applications are made for it, it’s then offered to anyone with registered for that domain extension since February 4, 2018.  

Then, if no one applies or has previously registered for that domain extension, the .au direct domain becomes eligible for registration by the general public.  

The problem comes when more than one business fits into either of these categories.  For example, there could be both ‘yourdomain.com.au’ and ‘yourdomain.org.au’. And, since there are so many .au domains extensions available, there is a high chance that there will be more than one business registered before 2018. 

To solve this issue, auDA have provided the following guidelines. If more than one business registered before February 4, 2018, then they will need to come to an agreement between them or the name will become available for the .au direct domain.   

However, if more than one business registered for the domain after February 4, 2018, than the domain will become available to whoever registered first.  

When will the .au direct domain be released?  

Originally, the .au direct domain was set to be released late 2019. However, this launch was delayed as auDA (.au Domain Administration Ltd) required more time to raise awareness about the launch and to consider and avoid any potential issues.  

Now, these domains are scheduled to be released in the first half of 2020 but, considering the disruption that Covid-19 has caused, we’ll have to update you as time progresses.  

For now, we’ll have to stick with .au domain extensions. But, if you’ve been thinking about registering for a particular name and are waiting for the .au direct domain, it might be worth getting the .com.au domain extension so you get bumped up the priority list when they release the direct domains.  

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