.AU Domain release

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Last Updated on 07/03/2022 by Arnie

What is the New .au Direct Domain Name?

Beginning in March 2022, Australian internet users will be able to register domain names in the 2nd level (2ld.au), like aksdigital.au, directly!

Preregistrations are now available for all registrants with current .au (eg .com.au,.net.au,.org.au) domains (currently registrations will be for 1 year). Price for .au domain registrations will be half of the .com.au domain price.

.AU Second Level Release

It’s an exciting time for the Australian ccTLD, .AU, and we’ll be using this page to provide you real-time updates and information for all you need to know about what’s to come, and what you can do today in preparation.

What’s happening

AuDA, the Registry operator for the Australian ccTLD .AU, is going to allow registrations of domains directly under the .AU extension. AuDA will open for 2nd level .AU (2ld.au) registrations on 24 March 2022.Until now, only 3rd level .AU domains (3ld.au) were allowed for registration (e.g. domain.com.au or domain.net.au), so this is a significant change and a great opportunity for any registrants operating in Australia. At AKS Digital, we are actively preparing the system to support your success! We will be using our house registrar Domain Directors Pty Ltd. for the launch of 2LD.au domains.

Benefits of registering new .au domain

As such, today we have highlighted the top 3 benefits of registering the new domain name for your business. Read on to find out what it can do for you to help you stay ahead of your competition

At the moment, commonly used domain names for Aussie businesses large and small include:

  • .com.au
  • .net.au

and plenty more.

However, the Australian domain governing body, auDA, has announced the introduction of a new domain name in next year. From March 2022, a new domain name will be added the list of available domain names:

  • .au

This opens up options for Australian business owners like yourself and provides additional benefits for businesses looking to expand their online presence and reach more potential customers on the internet.

1. Shorter URL for Your Online Business

In the online space, having a shorter, more memorable URL for your business can be advantageous. Not only will it be easier for potential customers to search and find you on search engines, it also shows up better visually on print and display formats, contributing to a professional image for your brand. Microsites and new landing pages to support online marketing efforts will also have more URL options and creative freedom.

With plenty of brand exposure and purchasing done on our mobile devices these days, a shorter domain name that’s easier to use and remember may be beneficial for your growing business.

2. Reliability of an Australian Domain

Aside from being a shorter domain name, .au direct domain highlights your Australian presence without needing much explanation. It functions similarly to .com.au, but is four whole characters shorter, conveying a more trustworthy and reliable business to online customers while still giving you room for creativity.

For potential and younger customers who are unfamiliar with your brand, a .au direct domain can provide them more confidence to click on your URL during an online search.

More Domain Name Options for New Australian Businesses

If you are an entrepreneur or own an existing business without an online presence, you now have more options to choose from when it comes to your domain name. If your business operates primarily in Australia and/or has a target audience that is mainly Australians, a .au direct domain name should be one of your considerations.

Choosing the right domain name is crucial to your business so having an extra option can contribute to an informed decision.

3. Prevent Brand Theft

By registering your .au direct domain name, you ensure your brand is protected from online scammers. They will not be able to use your .au direct domain for fraudulent activities, including against your existing and potential customers.

This means your brand name is safe and in your control. You can continue to build trust among your existing customer base and there is less chance of your brand getting tarnished.

Pre-register Your .au Direct Domain with Webcentral

The release of the new .au direct domain name can have varying effects on your online brand, marketing efforts and customer base. Enhance and protect your brand by pre-registering your .au direct domain with an accredited registrar with auDA like us.

Register for our newsletter for more about how you can be one of the first to register now. Not sure if you are eligible? Read more about your business eligibility for .au direct domain name here.

Faqs

What is the grandfathering process for Registrants of existing Third-Level .AU domains?

All names in .au (e.g. forexample.au) that match an existing name in any of the other namespaces in the registry (e.g. forexample.com.au) by March 24, 2022 00:00 UTC will be placed on hold and only made available for application by Registrants of a corresponding Third-Level .AU domain.

Priority Application period: 180 Calendar days from 24 March 2022

  • Existing registrants of a domain name in the .au registry will have 180 days to apply for their matching .au domain names
  • According to AuDA’s figures, only a small percentage of .au domains will be subject to a contention set between multiple applicants. This will mainly affect domain names based on common dictionary words and English phrases rather than typical company or business names
  • Most of the contention arises between com.au and net.au licences and many of these licences are held by the same legal entity.
  • 96% of Priority Applicants are expected to be able to register their matching .au domain name as soon as they apply.

Until now, only 3rd level .AU domains (3ld.au) were allowed for registration (e.g. domain.com.au or domain.net.au), so this is a significant change and a great opportunity for any registrants operating in Australia. At AKS Digital, we are actively preparing the system to support your success! We will using our house registrar Domain Directors Pty Ltd. for the launch of 2LD.au domains.

How does the priority application process work?

AuDA has divided Priority applicants in 2 categories, depending on when their Third-Level .AU domain was registered. The Second.Level .AU domains will be allocated according to the following criteria:

  • Priority category 1: Third-Level .AU Names with a creation date on or before February 4, 2018 at 23:59:59 (UTC)
  • Priority category 2: Third-Level .AU Names with a creation date after February 4, 2018 at 23:59:59 (UTC)
  • Where there are Category 1 and Category 2 applicants, Category 1 applicants have priority over Category 2 applicants
  • Where there are multiple Category 1 applicants, all Category 1 applicants must agree on the allocation. Domains for which an agreement cannot be reached, will remain reserved indefinitely, until a single applicant remains.
  • Where there are only Category 2 applicants, the name is allocated to the applicant whose Third-Level .AU domain has the earliest creation date in the .AU registry.

As of which date will be able to pre-register mydomain.au?

If neither the Category 1 or Category 2 is taken of the domain name you want, then we recommend you register it today in the 3ld.au as this will give you a priority right as a Category 2 applicant.

As of which date will be able to pre-register mydomain.au?

At this point in time, we are gathering all the requirements and will shortly announce the date as of when we will start accepting pre-registrations. Once the system is up and running we will guide you through the pre-registration process and ensure you are placed in the correct category for yourdomain.au.

What can I do today?

1) If you have a 3ld.au domain: double check that all your information on the AKS Digital console is correct on the related domain information. If you need help in updating anything, please let us know.
2) If you want a specific 2ld.au domain and it’s not already registered in your 3ld.au, then we recommend you consider registering the 3ld now to give you a priority right.
3) If you have other .au domains elsewhere, we suggest you review your portfolio and consider transferring your domains to AKS Digital, your registrar of choice.
4) Watch our website, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, twitter where we’ll post regular links to updates!

More FAQs

Will AKS Digital pricing remain the same?
Yes, our prices will not change as a result of the .au direct release.

What is the price for a 2nd level .au domain?
The prices will be the same as for 3rd level .au domains.

When do pre-registrations start?
pre-registration process are available now. Please email our support the domain name(s) you require registration for. Prepayment is required before the official release.

What do I need to know about trademarks?
Trademarks will not factor into the .au direct release process.

Will there be a pre-registration period prior to Priority stage where registrars start accepting applications?
Yes, there will be a pre-registration period. We will shortly announce the date as of when we will start accepting pre-registrations. Once the system is up and running we will guide you through the pre-registration process and ensure you are placed in the correct category for yourdomain.au. (Available now.)

What term can I apply for my .au for?
Priority tokens will only be available for 1 year registrations.

Am I eligible for my .au?
As of 15 December 2021, auDA has released a Priority Status Tool that will help you determine eligibility. You can use the tool by clicking here.

What are the requirements to get my .au?
In addition to the priority allocation process described above, you must have a verifiable Australian presence. Per the rules listed by auDA, an Australian presence means:

  • an Australian resident who is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident visa holder;
  • a company registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth);
  • a Registrable Body means a registrable Australian body or a foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) which has an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN);
  • an Incorporated Association under State or Territory legislation;
  • an entity issued with an Australian Business Number under the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth);
  • an Indigenous Corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) on the Register of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations;
  • a Registered Organisation that is:
    • an association of employers;
    • an association of employees (union); or
    • an enterprise association;
    registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth) and which appears on the Register of Organisations
  • a Cooperative registered under State or Territory legislation and which appears on the State or Territory register of cooperatives;
  • a Charity registered under the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Act 2012 (Cth), and which appears on the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission’s Charities and Not-for-Profits Register;
  • a Political Party registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Commission Act 2012 and which appears on the Register of Political Parties;
  • a Partnership under the relevant Australian State or Territory law where at least 60% of the partners are Australian citizens or permanent resident visa holders or an Australian body corporate;
  • an Unincorporated Association formed in an Australian State or Territory with at least its management committee being Australian citizens or permanent resident visa holders;
  • a Trust where the trustee must be an Australian citizen or the trustee is an Australian body corporate;
  • an Educational Institution regulated under an Australian State, Territory or Commonwealth law;
  • Government, being either the Crown or a Commonwealth, State or Territory statutory agency;
  • a Commonwealth entity as defined in section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth);
  • an Australian Trademark application or registration in circumstances where a Person does not meet any other Australian Presence requirements but who has applied for or registered a word mark under the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth), and who thereby may apply to register a domain name that is an exact match of the word mark applied for or registered.

Do I have to have the exact ABN against a company name to buy a .au domain?
No, you do not.

What timeframe do I have to use my priority eligibility to obtain my .au?
You have 6 months from 24 March 2022.

My name is conflicted as there is more than one registrant who has priority, what do I need to do to resolve this?

  • Where there are Category 1 and Category 2 applicants, Category 1 applicants have priority over Category 2 applicants
  • Where there are multiple Category 1 applicants, all Category 1 applicants must agree on the allocation. Domains for which an agreement cannot be reached, will remain reserved indefinitely, until a single applicant remains.
  • Where there are only Category 2 applicants, the name is allocated to the applicant whose Third-Level .AU domain has the earliest creation date in the .AU registry.

Is it first come first serve for names that don’t have any other registered third level .au?
Yes – you can grab a 3rd level now giving you a priority status.

Do my ABN/Ownership details have to match that for my 3rd level domain which gave me priority? Can I use different information for the 2nd level .au?
It must match.

Do I have to have my 3rd level domain with the same registrar?
No – but it’s easier and the process will be much smoother if you have them all at AKS Digital.

What will happen to priority status if I need to update my contact info?
You won’t lose priority status if you need to update your contact information.

We will continue to keep this page regularly updated and look forward to supporting you through this exciting and opportune time for .AU domains. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our support for more information.

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