There is less than a month to go to the biggest change to the Australian internet and domain industry since its launch around 30 years ago. Over the last five months, many companies have taken advantage of their priority opportunity to register a .au direct domain name that matches their existing domain names ending in .au.
Launched on 24 March 2022, .au direct is Australia’s newest namespace. It enables Australian businesses, organisations and individuals to register new, shorter domain names directly before the .au (e.g. getyour.au) and create a distinctly Australian digital presence.
The threat of another company owning yourname.au will spark many to use their priority application to register yourname.au before the cut off.
More than 200,000 Australians have already taken advantage of the new namespace by registering a .au direct domain name. The number of .au domain names has increased to 3.6 million this year. The .au namespace is thriving and with the advent of so many names becoming available (those not registered), the namespace is set for a further increase.
From 3 October, the general public can register yourname.au without the .com or .net. Register yours today.
From launch, existing .au registrants have had the opportunity to participate in the Priority Allocation Process to register a domain name in the new namespace that matches their pre-existing .au domain name. This priority status runs out on 20 September 2022!
Priority relies on a registrant who had registered the domain name yourname.com.au or yourname.net.au prior to 24 March 2022. The registrant has priority to apply for an exact match of this name in the new namespace, yourname.au.
This means you have less then one month to secure yourname.au.
Priority applications must be made by 20 September 2022. After that time, the domains will become available to the general public.
As you own yourname.com.au, you might think that you are automatically going to get yourname.au. This is not the case. However, you are likely to be able to get it.
Existing holders of a .au domain name licence (registrants) will 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 Allocation period. During this period, eligible registrants may apply for Priority Status through an accredited auDA registrar. For example, during the Priority Allocation period, the pre-existing registrant of getyour.com.au can apply for Priority Status for getyour.au.
What happens if there are multiple Priority Status applications for the same .au direct domain name?
If you have yourname.net.au and someone else has yourname.com.au, whichever domain was created first, will be able to register yourname.au.
Who is eligible?
This is a substantial change. Simply, all you need is an Australian presence and you can register a name of your choosing, instead of the need to match your name or be the name of an existing service, good, event, activity or premises that you provide.
Should I register for Priority Access to get yourname.au?
Yes, definitely. Due to the fact that the eligibility rules will be different under direct registration, someone else may be able to register yourname.au. Your intellectual property rights will be retained, but to protect your brand, you are better off registering yourname.au even if you do not make it the primary domain or advertise it in your collateral.
Can I just stick with .com.au?
Yes you can. And you should still register yourname.au before someone else does.
You may continue to promote yourname.com.au or yourname.net.au as your main address and just redirect yourname.au to your existing main address.
In time you might switch to yourname.au as the primary domain, giving more focus on your brand. You get the benefit of the .au and you end up with a shorter domain that focuses more on your brand, e.g. luminary.au. Is luminary.au better than luminary.com? Well it depends on the circumstances and your market and brand strategy.
So yourname.com.au or yourname.net.au can also be registered as yourname.au. This is a significant change and many purists lament the loss of the structure of the domain name extension, while many others argue that countries like New Zealand have been able to register yourname.nz without the .co for many years.
These days there are many domain name extensions from the existing .com.au, .net.au, org.au to new extensions including .club, .cool and even .gay and .ninja. Will direct registration in .au become just another one in a sea of domain extensions? Possibly. However, it is likely to become the predominant extension representing Australia and Australian businesses. It may feel like an additional cost, but in time it is likely to become a real asset.
I encourage you to register yours before 20 September and protect your brand.
Marty was a Director of the AU Domain Administration Ltd from 2006 to 2012.
If you want to know more about registering a .au domain name, check out Marty's earlier article on the topic '.com.au is about to become .au'.
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