A Shorties Guide to .AU Domains

On the 24th of March 2022, a new range of domains became available for Australian users.

The new .au domain names are open to anyone with a verified connection to Australia who wishes to manage an online presence for their organisation or for themselves individually.

Here is what you need to know:

What is the change and what is the difference?

Domain names that currently end in .au are referred to as ‘3rd level .au domains’ and include most domains ending in .au, such as mydomain.com.au, mydomain.net.au, mydomain.org.au etc. Government and education domains are not included.

The new style of .au domains will do away with the .com, .net, and .org, resulting in domains that are four characters shorter e.g., mydomain.au, mydomain.au, mydomain.au.

How do I claim my .au domain?

If you already own a 3rd level .au domain (mydomain.com.au, mydomain.net.au, mydomain.org.au and so on), you will have priority status for the new .au domain. You have likely been contacted by your domain registrar (the place you bought the domain from such as Digital Pacific, VentraIP, Crazy Domains, Go Daddy etc.) advising you that they are now taking orders for .au domains. In most cases they will provide you with information on how to claim your .au address.

If you have not received this information, contact your registrar directly to find out how you can register your .au domain (if you are unsure who your registrar is, an easy way to find out will be to ask your accounts team to find an old invoice).

How long do I have to sort this out?

The priority status for .au domains will expire on 20 September 2022. After this date, unclaimed .au domains will be released into the wild.

Can anyone else claim my .au domain?

Where this could get complicated…

If you already own a 3rd level .au domain (mydomain.com.au, mydomain.net.au, mydomain.org.au etc) then your domain will be held under a priority status, and you will have six months to claim ownership. After this time, they become open to the public.

However, if you and another party both happen to hold 3rd level .au domains, then a priority category process is undertaken.

For example:

  • Dennis is the registrant of mydomain.com.au
  • Chanelle is the registrant of getyour.net.au

In this case, whoever is in the highest priority category has first claim. Categories are as follows:

  • Priority Category 1: Domain names created on or before the cut-off date of 4 February 2018
  • Priority Category 2: Domain names created after the cut-off date of 4 February 2018

If Dennis and Chanelle are both Category 2 applicants, then allocation goes to the applicant with the earliest creation date.

If Dennis and Chanelle are both Category 1 applicants, a negotiation will be required. If this cannot be resolved, the domain will remain on priority hold until there is only one applicant even if this goes beyond the September 20 priority expiration date.

What if I don’t own a 3rd level .au domain?

If no one owns a 3rd level .au domain for a corresponding .au domain, then no one has priority access to it and can be acquired by anyone who is eligible to register an Australian domain name.

How much does this cost?

The cost of a .au domain ranges from $8.67 up to whatever the registrar (Digital Pacific, Crazy Domains, Go Daddy etc.) wishes to charge. $8.67 is the wholesale price provided to registrars, so it is unlikely to be this low, but fees we have seen so far have been between $15 and $20 for a 12-month registration.

Does this really matter?

For a lot of businesses, this may not make too much of a difference, but from our perspective, you should want to own your .au name if for no other reason than to prevent others from acquiring it and using it for nefarious purposes. Additionally, in the future, it will be useful to use as part of a rebrand, campaign, new application, or side project should the opportunity present itself.

What if I don’t have the time or resources to sort this out?

Contact us at marketing@vandalist.com.au and we will help you get it sorted out. It doesn’t take long, and only needs to be done once.

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