Changes are coming to the .au domain name space. From 24 March, Australian companies, brands, and individuals will be able to hold direct registrations in the .au name space.
In this article, we look at what direct registration means, who can participate, and what to do if you already own a .au domain name.
What are direct registrations?
Until now, the .au name space only accepted registrations at the third level. This is shown in domain names like advicewebsites.com.au or abc.net.au. They all have .au on the end but then the second level contains a string like com, net, org, edu, id, gov etc…
Direct registration means that Australians will be able to register their company, brand etc, at the second level. So you will be able to get a domain name like advicewebsites.au or if the ABC would like to; abc.au.
This all begins to happen on the 24th of March. There’s more to it though, read on!
Priority Status for existing domain name owners
AUDA (.au Domain Administration) is the organisation that oversees domain name policy in Australia and they have a policy that aims to protect existing domain name/brand holders when direct registrations become available.
In short; if you own a third-level domain name (e.g., advicewebsites.com.au) you receive priority status and have the first opportunity to register the same string as a direct registration. (i.e., advicewebsites.au).
There is a tool that AUDA has released that allows existing registrants to check their priority status – find the tool here.
What should you do?
If you’re a small business or a large corporate this change will impact you. You may be happy with your existing domain name, and that’s fine. You have to be aware though if you don’t register the direct version of your domain name, it will be available to anyone to register it. It’s not until September 2022 that this will happen but direct registrations will completely open up at that point, meaning there’s no more priority registration for existing domain name holders.
How to act?
You will need to work through an Australian domain name register to access a priority registration. The AUDA website lists all of the registrars. You can then follow links through to whomever you use as your registrar.
AUDA have a press release here that outlines a lot of the rules and details on how the transition to direct registrations will be conducted. Start there to get all the details.