Australia has approved a new domain extension. Soon businesses with a verified connection with Australia will be able to register not only domain names with .com.au but also .au
The idea is it is supposed to make URLs shorter, simpler, and more direct and will bring us into line with the rest of the world.
From the 24th of March 2022, these new domain names will be available to be registered.
Owners of.com.au, .org.au and other relevant .au domain names have from the 24th of March until the 20th of September 2022 to register the exact .au match of any other .au domain names they may currently be holding (e.g. .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, .id.au, asn.au).
So, for example, our business owns heartcomms.com.au. From the 24th of March, we can also apply to register heartcomms.au.
If you don’t register the .au version of your domain name by the 20th of September, then the .au version of your domain name will be released onto the market, which will allow anyone to register it.
Existing Businesses – What does this mean in practice?
If you have an existing business, you already have your emails, marketing and website using the .com.au domain name.
Unless you have deep pockets, a lot of time and a good SEO (search engine optimisation) person helping you, so you don’t ruin any of your hard-earned Google rankings, I wouldn’t move your business to the new .au domain name.
However, I would register your domain name with the new .au ending to stop other people from taking your virtual real estate. You don’t want your competitor setting up a domain in direct competition as you, using nearly an identical URL as yours.
When you register your new name, set up a redirect at your hosting so that if anyone types in the .au version of your name, it will take them to the .com.au version of your domain name. So, if someone typed in heartcomms.au, I will be setting up a redirect to have it take them to heartcomms.com.au.
If you are creating a new business, I recommend registering both versions of your domain name – the .com.au and the .au version, and then choosing which version you prefer.
Do we have to hurry to get our applications in?
No – you don’ t have to rush to get your application in.
All exact matches are put on Priority Hold until the 20th of September 2022 to prevent them from being registered by other people and allow you to register the domain name.
If your name is the only match, you will get immediate approval if you meet the usual eligibility criteria.
However, if there are two businesses with similar names but with different endings, this is classed as a contested name, and your application will go into pending registration status.
For example, if one business has the domain name getyour.com.au and another has getyour.net.au, both are eligible to apply for getyour.au.
In those cases, if your name was registered before the 4th of February 2018 (called a Priority Category 1), you get priority over names registered after that date.
If there is more than one Priority Category 1 application, the name is allocated on agreement/negotiation between the parties.
If there are only applications from names registered after the 4th of February 2018, the name will be allocated to the applicant with the earliest creation date.
If you are the owner of the different variations, e.g., you own the .com.au and the .net.au versions, you can choose to apply under one and decline the other.
The Priority Status Tool
Want to know if other businesses will be competing to register the exact match of your domain name? Use auDA’ s Priority Status Tool to find out.
Any other tips?
Most businesses will be being bombarded by marketing spam from companies trying to get you to sign up for their special deals.
There are also a huge amount of scammers popping up trying to maximise on the confusion.
Pop all that marketing and spam into the bin and find where your current business domain names are registered.
Wherever that is, choose that company to register the .au version of your domain name. Try to keep your domain names all together in one place to make it easier for you to keep track of.
What happens after the 20th of September 2022?
From the 20th of September 2022, all .au names that are not contested will be made open to the public.
Want to know more?
If you want to know more about the move to .au, check out auDA (the peak body that looked after domain names in Australia).
For all my website maintenance clients, I will be helping you through this process and talking you through what to do and where to do it, and then helping you get the redirects in place. This is all just part of my helping cut through your online overwhelm.
If you are not one of my website maintenance clients and need a hand making sense of it all, get in touch and I will help you through the process at our regular consulting rates.