Have an Australian domain name? Get ready for .au coming on March 24, 2022.
Have an Australian domain name? Get ready for .au coming on March 24, 2022.

Have an Australian domain name? Get ready for .au coming on March 24, 2022.

Big announcement, that you need to know about! There are new domain names that will become available in Australia on top of the already existing “.com.au”, “.net.au” and “.org.au” namespaces from the 24th March 2022.

The .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) is the Australian entity responsible for developing and administering rules regarding .au domain names.  The purpose of the release of the new, “.au” direct namespaces (e.g. example.au) is to align Australia with the many other countries that already have shorter domain names specific to their countries such as New Zealand (.nz), the United Kingdom (.uk) and the United States (.us).

These shorter domain names, sometimes called “second-level names” or “direct registration”, will be available to the public. This means that a person or organization will be able to register them within Australia, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the auDA licensing rules.

What do you need to know about the new .au domain names – Who’s eligible?

Individuals, businesses, and organizations will be eligible to register a new “.au” domain name if they have an Australian presence, including holding Australian citizenship or permanent residency or having an organization that is registered in Australia.

Eligible people and entities that register, and have an existing Australian domain name, such as “.com.au”, “.org.au” or “.net.au”, will be given priority status when applying for their corresponding “.au” direct domain.

What you need to do in order to get your new .au domain

If you already own an existing .com.au domain name, think about whether you would like to register the corresponding “.au” direct domain name. If you don’t already own one of these domains, you’ll need to decide whether you want to register the  “.com.au”, “.org.au” or “.net.au” in order to get priority status in registering the corresponding “.au” direct domain name.

To register the “.au’ domain, it must:

  • Be available for registration
  • Meet auDA’s requirements on syntax
  • Not be already reserved (under auDA’s rules restricting the use of certain domain names, or under the priority registration scheme)

Priority registration for existing domain name registrants

The Priority Allocation Period will be from 24th March 2022 to 24th September 2022. This is for existing holders of an Australian domain name, which includes “.com.au”, “.org.au”, and “.net.au” domain names. These domain holders will have priority to register for the corresponding “.au” name through an accredited auDA registrar.  Once this Priority Allocation Period finishes, all “.au” names will be able to be registered on a first-come, first-served basis.

What happens if more than one person claims a domain during the Priority Allocation Period?

There may be some cases where more than one registration is eligible to apply for priority status for the same “.au” domain. This could happen if one person owns “yourdomain.com.au” and a second registrant owns “yourdomain.net.au”.

If this happens he applicants priority status is determined based on:

  • Category 1 applicants (those whose domain name was registered before 4th of February 2018) will have priority over Category 2 applicants (those whose domain name was registered after 4th of February 2018).
  • If there is more than one Category 1 applicant applying for the same “.au” domain, the domain name will be allocated upon agreement/negotiation between the various applicants. 
  • If there are only Category 2 applicants attempting to register the same domain name, it will be allocated to the applicant with the earliest domain name creation date.

What is involved in the Priority Application Process?

This is important. Existing registrants that own corresponding “.com.au”, “.org.au” or “.net.au” domain names will be have priority to apply for the corresponding “.au” domain name from 24th of March 2022 for a period of 6 months, which is the Priority Allocation Period. During this time you will be able to obtain priority status by applying through an accredited registrar.

An important note is that existing domain names will continue to operate as long as their registration is kept up to date. However, if no person or entity applies for priority status during the Priority Allocation Period, then the  “.au” direct name is available to be registered through an accredited registrar on a first-come-first-served basis as soon as the Priority Allocation Period ends.

Key Takeaways and Conclusion

It’s vital to protect your IP and digital presence and therefore essential to consider the domain names that your entity needs.

If you hold a domain name in the wider .au namespace (e.g. “.org.au”, “.com.au” or “.net.au”) you should absolutely consider whether you want to obtain direct registration over the shorter .au domain name. If you do, then apply for priority status within the 6-month period from the 24th of March 2022.

It’s also important to keep in mind where you may sit the priority queue and whether you should register other domains in the wider .au namespace before the date of release to make sure that there are no competing applicants for the shorter .au direct domain. This will assist in preventing another person or entity from getting direct registration of the .au domain name during the Priority Allocation Period.

Food for thought!

Get in touch with us to learn more about how to protect your IP and online presence. 


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