Right now, individuals and businesses register domains directly below a second-level .au domain —which includes .com.au, .org.au, id.au, .net.au ,and .asn.au. State and territory namespaces, depending on their eligibility, are also available.
Registrants of .au domain names had to be registered businesses within Australia, except for .id.au, which is for Australian individuals.
This has put registrants in a tight spot. They’ll have to be eligible to a domain name to have it, all while vying for the claim against multiple parties.
The new .au
The process is bound to get simpler with the au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) — the governing body for .au domain names –– approving the introduction of direct .au domain registrations (e.g. mydomain.au).
In this new system, registrants with existing .au domain names (e.g., mydomain.com.au or mydomain.org.au) get a Priority Status. This goes a long way in resolving conflicts in case of competing claims to a matching direct .au domain.
While auDA still hasn’t released a statement about opening direct .au domains to the public, brands and SMEs may still want to register .au domains while waiting. Not only will they secure their domain of choice, but they also get dibs to register their domain’s direct .au counterpart.
General Qualifications for Second-Level .AU Domains
AuDA commissioned AusRegistry for the process of designing, developing, and implementing a registry system and associated domain name system infrastructure for the .au domain administration.
AusRegistry is the designated registry operator for all current open 2LDs, including:
For all commercial entities, such as businesses registered with state governments and companies with Australian Company Number (ACN) as registered through Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
For all incorporated associations, trade unions, sporting and special interest clubs, and political parties
For all commercial entities, such as businesses registered with state governments and companies with ACN as registered through ASIC
For individuals who are Australian citizens or residents
For non-profit organisations and charities
Community Geographic Domain Names (CGDNs)
Community geographic 2LDs are reserved for use by community groups. Only Australian geographic names or territories may be registered as under the following domains:
The domain is for community use of geographic names within New South Wales.
The domain is for community use of geographic names within the Australian Capital Territory.
The domain is for community use of geographic names within Queensland.
The domain is for community use of geographic names within Victoria.
The domain is for community use of geographic names within the Northern Territory.
The domain is for community use of geographic names within Western Australia.
The domain is for community use of geographic names within Tasmania.
Further, there are two closed domains, which are not available to the general public and are only available to entities within a defined sector, including:
For Australian government bodies including state, commonwealth, territory, and local government bodies. This domain is managed by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) on behalf of the Australian government sector.
For educational entities registered at the federal or state level.
Registering a gTLD vs registering a .au ccTLD
Unlike gTLDs, there are certain limitations that apply to .au ccTLDs. To be eligible, registrants must fulfil specific requirements demonstrating their connection with Australia.
For example, the .com.au 2LD is specifically for commercial purposes, so registrants must be one of the following:
- An Australian partnership or sole trader
- An Australian registered company
- Trading under a registered business name in Australia
- An association incorporated in Australia
- A foreign company licensed to trade in Australia
Additionally, the domain name must be:
- An exact match or acronym of the registrant’s name or trademark
- Closely and substantially connected to the registrant
Are you ready for .au?
While the availability of direct .au domains have been pushed back more times than we like, one thing’s for certain. It’s only a matter of time until auDA implements it. We’re looking at looser registration qualifications, more domain options, and shorter, more memorable domain names.
Make sure to secure all second-level .au domains associated with your brand today to secure your direct .au domain in the future.