While we are all familiar with .com.au domains and how they can be used, there is a new kid on the block! In March 2022, .au Domain Administration Limited (auDA) launched the .au direct domain name. This is intended to provide a simpler way of showing that your website has a direct association with Australia.
How do I get a .au domain name?
Australian second level domain name holders of .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, etc. are still able to attain priority for a corresponding .au direct domain name, provided they register before 20 September 2022. After this date, they’ll have to wait for the general release on 4 October 2022.
The priority registration can be done in 3 steps:
Step 1: receive a priority token from https://priority.auda.org.au/
Step 2: apply for the matching name (e.g., forexample.au) from your domain name reseller.
Step 3: If your reseller doesn’t offer services to obtain a .au domain, head to https://getyour.au/ and use the services of any registrars listed on this page.
Why secure .au. direct domain name?
When you hold a .au direct domain name, it is shorter and easier to display on mobile devices. It also is believed to possess a lower rate of cybercrime than second level domains. This is due to a number of factors:
- Required validation done before registration, which ensures the registrant has an Australian presence provable by an ABN, an ACN, a registered trade mark, or an Australian issued licence or passport;
- Post-registration checks relating to the validation and use of the website are done by auDA; and
- There is complaints process in place for third parties to report wrongful ownership of .au domains.
Practically, a .au direct domain name registration will also provide brand protection. It would be disastrous for your business if a third party acquired the .au domain, e.g. www.bunnings.au, or www.uppercutdeluxe.au, as this is likely to divert sales away from your business.
Lastly, from a cybersecurity perspective, you should seek to secure the .au domain to prevent third parties acquiring it and launching phishing attacks on your customers.
Can anyone secure one?
It is extremely simple to secure a .au domain name. As mentioned above, you only need to have either –
- an Australian presence substantiated by Australian Business Number (ABN)
- an Australian Company Name (ACN) via ASIC
- registered trade mark, or
- an Australian issued licence or passport.
Then post 4 October 2022, you will be able to secure one by visiting this link to https://getyour.au/, or just contact the team at Macpherson Kelley and they will do it for you.
Be aware though that unlike other domain listings, the details of the registrant are made public. The rationale for this is to ensure registrants can be held accountable.
Also, of significant importance to foreign companies with existing domains of .com.au and/or net.au domains, there are two important requirements to enable the acquisition and maintenance of a .au domain name:
- They must have an Australian registered trade mark; and
- The domain name must be an exact match of their trade mark.
Article by Mark Metzeling and Gretchen Raja
If you would like further information on how to attain your .au domain name, or would like assistance with securing it for you, please contact the Macpherson Kelley IP Team.