Businesses and individuals with an Australian presence will now be able to register for the shorter, more memorable “.au” direct domain name. Users with an existing registered Australian domain, such as ".com.au", ".org.au" or ".net.au", will be given priority to apply for the corresponding ".au" direct domain name until 20 September 2022.
Who can register?
In order to be eligible to apply for a “.au” domain name, you must be able to demonstrate an Australian presence. For individuals, this can include having Australian citizenship, and for companies, includes those registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), or those holding an Australian Business Number or a registered Australian trademark. Unlike other domain names such as ".com.au" and "org.au", no other eligibility criteria applies in respect of the individual, business or organisation, other than that the domain must be available for registration, meet the administrator’s syntax requirements and not be reserved for another user.
What businesses need to do
From the launch date of 24 March 2022, eligible businesses and individuals were able to register for their new “.au” direct domain name through an accredited registrar.
Before considering whether to register for a “.au” domain name, businesses may wish to review their current compliance with the new licensing rules, including whether they still qualify for their existing Australian domain.
For businesses that hold an existing Australian domain, there is a ‘priority period’ which extends until 20 September 2022, during which time those businesses can apply for priority status to register a “.au” direct domain name which is identical to their existing domain name. There are a number of commercial benefits to transferring to a “.au” direct domain, including protecting the business’ brand and ensuring that once the priority period expires, your domain name is secured against being acquired by another business or individual.
There are two priority categories: domain names created on or before 4 February 2018 and domain names created after 4 February 2018, with domain names registered before 4 February 2018 holding first priority.
Importantly, if no priority status is claimed by the end of the priority period, the “.au” direct domain name will become publicly available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
In light of these licensing changes, we recommend that businesses review their eligibility during the priority period to ensure that their brand, and where applicable, trademarks are protected.
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