COVID-19 Update

Domain Update: The .au Direct Domain Name is Here

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the .au domain name is now available.

On 24 March 2022, the direct .au domain name will launch and be available for licensing from .au Domain Administrator (auDA) accredited Registrars.

The new domain level means website names can be shortened by dropping the .com (or other variants featured in domain names) to become just “website.au”. 

Where there is no existing domain name using the same prefix, the .au direct name will be available for general public licensing from 24 March 2022. 

existing holders with a current Australian domain name (such as .com.au or .net.au) can apply for priority allocation to a direct .au name until 20 September 2022. 

What are the benefits of switching to a .au domain name? 

According to auDA, the benefits of this new domain option include:

  • Short, simple and uniquely Australian domain names;
  • A greater choice of website or email addresses ending in .au;
  • They are easier to type into mobile devices and internet searches; and
  • They are available to everyone with an Australian presence.

Who is eligible for a .au domain name? 

Eligibility for the .au direct domains mirror the current 2nd level domain (eg .com.au and .net.au) eligibility criteria, which includes:

  • Australian citizens or permanent residents;
  • Organisations, associations and businesses registered in Australia; and
  • Legal entities with a registered Australian trademark.

Can you switch your current .com.au or .net.au website domain to .au? 

Existing holders of .XXX.au domains who wish to switch to .au will get priority over new licensees. Existing holders can apply for participation in the Priority Allocation Process before 20 September 2022. 

So, if you are considering or intending to move to a direct .au domain, you must apply before 20 September 2022 to ensure you have first use of the domain. If you are the only priority applicant, you will be able to claim the direct .au domain after this date.

I don’t want to change to a .au domain name. Can someone else use the .au version of my domain? 

Yes, different holders can license the same name with different .au domain variations. For example, one business can license example.com.au, whereas another business can subsequently license example.net.au notwithstanding the .com.au domain already existing for that name. 

If this is of concern, you can register for multiple domain variants (ie. .net.au; .com.au; etc.) and then re-direct website visitors to the preferred domain (which will feature your website). This will prevent others from licensing that exact domain whilst you are the holder. This is a relatively inexpensive solution, however only prevents registration of the exact domain – not similar names.

What if two different websites with the same prefix want the .au domain name?

Where there is a contested priority (for example, the holders of name.com.au and name.net.au both seek priority), the .au direct name will be allocated under the following criteria:

  • names created on/before 4 February 2018 will have a priority over names created after that date;
  • Where the holders both created their domains on/before 4 February 2018, allocation will be determined through agreement and negotiation between the holders. If the holders cannot reach an agreement, the .au direct domain will remain on Priority Hold (and therefore not available to others) until only one priority claim remains; and
  • Where the holders both created their domains after 4 February 2018, the name will be allocated to the application that licensed the domain first.

If you are looking for any assistance with Australian domains, please do not hesitate to contact our team.

Maddison Reznik, Lawyer and Trade Mark Attorney

Contact FAL Lawyers for all enquiries