[UPDATED] .AU Direct Domain Names: All You Need to Know About the Launch
After several years of planning and consultation, au Domain Administration Limited or auDA, the entity responsible for developing and administering rules for .au domain names, has finally announced the availability of the new .au direct domain namespace last 24 March 2022.
The new .au direct domain is a great opportunity for website owners and businesses to shorten their web addresses — making them more memorable for future clients and customers.
What is .AU Direct Domain Name?
All domain names are typically made up of multiple parts. For instance, a traditional Australian domain name must contain the following:
The 'AU' country code top-level domain (ccTLD)
A second-level domain (2LD) like '.com' or '.net' for businesses, '.edu' for educational institutions or '.org' for non-profit organisations
A third-level domain (3LD), which, in most cases, contains the name, abbreviation, or the products or services they provide.
Unlike above, the recently announced .au direct namespace does away with the fixed 2LD part of the domain name. .AU Direct domain names will, instead, have a custom name at the 2LD level.
The key advantage of .au direct is that this new namespace is much shorter, cleaner, and carries the potential to be more memorable. The new .au direct domain name will also benefit from higher availability to more businesses than before.
Who Can Apply for .AU Direct Domain?
The eligibility criteria for.AU are more relaxed than .com.au or .org.au eligibility requirements, which have very rigid or specific allocation criteria.
To register a .au direct domain name, the eligibility criteria are as below:
a) Anyone who has an Australian presence or local connection to Australia (the applicant must be an Australian resident, registered entity, or hold an ABN will be eligible to register.
b) The .au direct domain name must be directly connected to the domain name applicant (e.g., it should either match the applicant's name, trademark or meet other criteria set for name eligibility requirements).
Priority Allocation Process for Existing AU Domain Holders
Here are some of the key rules and regulations of the priority allocation for .au direct domain:
a) Existing .au namespaces (such as .au, org.au, and net.au) will continue and remain unaffected by the introduction of .au direct names. Furthermore, all the domain names in the .au category registered as of 24 March 2022 will be reserved for the .au direct namespace for six (6) months after 24 March 2022, also known as the Priority Allocation Period.
b) During the priority allocation period, any individual or business of an existing domain name in the wider .au namespace (g.myname.com.au) will be fully entitled to apply for Priority Status in respect of the domain name, which is an exact match in the .au direct namespace (g.,mybusiness.com.auto mybusiness.au).
c) If there are multiple holders of the same existing domain name in different.au namespaces (for instance, com.auand mybusiness.net.au) applying for Priority Status, the .au direct name will be allocated based on the following points:
Applicants whose domain name was created on or before 4 February 2018 (category 1 applicants), will get priority over applicants whose domain name was registered after 4 February 2018 (category 2 applicants).
In the case of multiple category 1 applicants, the contested .au direct name will be allocated strictly based on negotiation and agreement between the applicants.
If an agreement is reached, the .au direct name will remain reserved. The applicants will be able to renew their applications every year.
If there are no category 1 applicants and only category 2 applicants are available, the .au direct name will be allocated to the applicant who registered its domain name in the existing .au namespace first.
If there are no exact matches in existing namespaces, domain registration will be strictly on a first-come, first-serve basis.
To know more about registering and applying for the new .au domain as well as the Priority Allocation process, read here. Also, you can use this tool to check domain availability.
But what about new registrations?
You can also register entirely new .au direct domain names, provided they’re not registered or do not exist in any other namespaces. But keep in mind that these domain names are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so you need to be quick in scoring your new domain.
You can start registering new .au direct domain names after the Priority Allocation Period, which ends on 20 September 2022.
Onwards and upwards with the new .au
Registering a .au direct domain for your business gives you a shorter domain name, secures your branding, and helps drive more traffic to your website.