If you do not register the direct match of your existing domain for the direct .au domain, you risk your brand equity being consumed by someone else, rivals redirecting your clients to their products and services, squatters holding the domain, or cybercriminals impersonating your business. The opening of the new .au domain is the single biggest shift in Australian cyber real estate in decades and the risks for business are high.
If you are registering:
- an exact match of your existing domain name, for example .com.au or net.au; and
- you held your domain name prior to 24 March 2022
then you have priority access but only up until 23:59 UTC on 20 September 2022 (9:59am AEST on 21 September). Once this deadline has passed, the .au direct domain name will be available to anyone with a connection to Australia to register from 21:00 UTC 3 October 2022 (8:00am AEDT 4 Oct).
While you can register for the .au domain through any number of providers, the most efficient method is to utilise your existing provider. To do this, you will need your domain’s access information. If these details cannot be found, for example, the details were held by a former staff member, it can take some time to recover them so do not leave the registration process until the last minute.
Once you have applied for your matching .au domain, if your application is uncontested, you will be able to use the .au direct name soon after applying for priority status.
What happens if .com.au and .net.au both apply for the .au name?
If you share a domain name with another entity, for example, one entity owns .com.au and the other .net.au, the right to register the .au domain will cascade according to priority. Category 1 are those that secured the domain on or before 4 February 2018. Category 1 applicants have priority over Category 2 applicants who registered their domain after 4 February 2018. If the name is contested by a Category 1 and a Category 2 applicant, the Category 1 applicant will secure the name. If two Category 2 applicants apply for the name, the name is allocated to the applicant with the earlier domain license creation date. But, it gets tricky when two Category 1 applicants apply for the name. In these circumstances, both parties must agree on the allocation or the name remains unallocated.