Here’s the good news if you're after cheap Australian domains!
A new domain type will become available for anyone with an “Australian Presence” – from about October 2022.
Called a 2nd level domain – the new .au extension not only makes Australian domains four characters shorter (by removing the .com part) – but they will be a lot easier to register, than the other 3rd level options.
Why has AUDA done this?
AUDA – the Australian Domain Authority has introduced the new .au domain to make Australian domains more available to Australians.
You see, 3rd level domains – ie: .com.au and .net.au domain names, are only approved for commercial purposes, and you must have an ABN or ACN number to register a domain using either of these extensions. (.org.au domains are reserved for non-commercial organisations, like registered charities).
Because I have an ABN, I have commonsensemarketing.com.au. Up until now, if you didn’t have an Australian Business ID, you couldn’t register a domain with an Australian extension. You could only register a .com domain – as these are available to anyone.
But if I wanted to register annettewelsford.com.au – I couldn’t. It would have to be annettewelsford.com. Which kind of implies that I’m based in the US . . . but I’m not!
However, come 24 March 2022 – I can apply for annettewelsford.au – and any other .au domains that I might like to own. I will just need to provide proof of my Australian presence. I have already applied for commonsensemarketing.au because I’ve had .com.au for many years!
What does Australian Presence mean?
According to the AUDA website – Australian presence means
(1) an Australian resident who is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident visa holder;
(2) a company registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth);
(3) a Registrable Body means a registrable Australian body or a foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) which has an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN);
(4) an Incorporated Association under State or Territory legislation;
(5) an entity issued with an Australian Business Number under the A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 (Cth);
(6) an Indigenous Corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) on the Register of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations;
(7) a Registered Organisation that is:
(a) an association of employers;
(b) an association of employees (union); or
(c) an enterprise association;registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth) and which appears on the Register of Organisations
(8) a Cooperative registered under State or Territory legislation and which appears on the State or Territory register of cooperatives;
(9) a Charity registered under the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Act 2012 (Cth), and which appears on the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission’s Charities and Not-for-Profits Register;
(10) a Political Party registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Commission Act 2012 and which appears on the Register of Political Parties;
(11) a Partnership under the relevant Australian State or Territory law where at least 60% of the partners are Australian citizens or permanent resident visa holders or an Australian body corporate;
(12) an Unincorporated Association formed in an Australian State or Territory with at least its management committee being Australian citizens or permanent resident visa holders;
(13) a Trust where the trustee must be an Australian citizen or the trustee is an Australian body corporate;
(14) an Educational Institution regulated under an Australian State, Territory or Commonwealth law;
(15) Government, being either the Crown or a Commonwealth, State or Territory statutory agency;
(16) a Commonwealth entity as defined in section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth);
(17) an Australian Trademark application or registration in circumstances where a Person does not meet any other Australian Presence requirements but who has applied for or registered a word mark under the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth), and who thereby may apply to register a domain name that is an exact match of the word mark applied for or registered
Current domain owners get first priority until 23 September
From 24 September onwards the .au version of domains will come on to the market and be available to anyone at all with an Australian presence.
Until then, if you hold a .com.au or .net.au or .org.au version of your domain, you will be able to apply for Priority Status for the .au version.
What if someone else has a version of your domain?
Let’s say you have fantasticcompany.com.au and you lodge an application for Priority Status for fantasticcompany.au today.
There is always a chance that someone else might also apply to reserve fantasticcompany.au too. Why? Because other people might legitimately own other versions of it.
- Greg registered fantasticcompany.com.au on 3 February 2018
- Rachel is the owner of fantasticcompany.net.au which she registered on 4 February 2018
- Simon is the registrant of fantasticcompany.org.au which he registered on 5 February 2018
Each person provided the required business IDs when registering their version, and so all are eligible to apply for fantasticcompany.au.
Each person lodges a Priority Application for the .au version, before the Priority Application Period closes on 23 September 2022.
Who will be approved to own the new .au version?
The creation date of the domain name on which the application is based, determines the priority category:
- Priority Category 1: Names created on or before the cut-off date of 4 February 2018
- Priority Category 2: Names created after the cut-off date of 4 February 2018
This means Greg and Rachel have priority category 1 applications. Simon is out of the running because he is classified as having a priority 2 application. Category 1s have priority over category 2s.
What happens next to Category 1 owners is a bit crazy! Greg and Rachel need to contact each other and negotiate who gets it. If there’s no agreement, it remains subject to a Priority Hold until eventually there is only one active application remaining. Applicants need to renew their application every year. Could end up being stalemate for a long time!
If however all the applicants were Category 2s, then the earliest creation date wins.
For more info – see the AUDA.org site – Priority Allocation Process
What we recommend every business do now
It’s important that you protect your brand and secure the .au version of your domain, and any others you don’t have, so that no-one else can buy them.
If you don’t want competitors or unscrupulous people to buy the .au version of your domain name and potentially do damage to your brand by creating a competing website. Imagine the confusion this would cause your customers.
You also don’t want cyber squatters to buy it and then try and charge you a fortune to purchase it from them later. This is a common trick and easily overcome if you apply for the .au version immediately so that you have it on Priority Hold for release to you on 24 September.
How to purchase and secure your domains
Commonsense Marketing is a registered domain supplier, and can help you secure your domain now.
For a very low annual fee of just $33 per year, including GST, you will also have access to the domain manager dashboard where you (or we) can add all the necessary information to allow hosting of your website and emails.
Be aware that some other domain sellers may offer you a lower annual fee, but it doesn’t give you any access to the domain manager. You have to pay extra for it, and this fee is often quite hefty. We don’t believe in doing this, because what good is a domain name if you can’t do anything with it?
Simply click on the button below, enter your domain name, and tick the extensions you would like – eg: .au and maybe the others, such as .net.au or .com etc.
If you would like emails to go with the new domains – eg: firstname.lastname@example.org – then click the Extras button and choose how many emails you would like set up. These will be managed and hosted through Microsoft365.
What to do with your new .au domain
You have four options for your new domain.
- Protect your brand by just sitting on it, so no-one else can buy it.
- Continue to use your current domain address for your website, and we can redirect the .au version (and other versions) to your main one if you would like us to do that. This ensures no-one ever gets a “domain not found” notice.
- Move your current website to the new .au address and put a permanent redirect on the old address. We can do this for you – simply choose this option on the form below and we’ll be in touch.
- Design and build a brand new website for you on the .au address (or any domain address you wish for that matter!) – simply choose this option on the form below and we’ll be in touch.
What about other domains?
You may also be considering purchasing other Australian domains that are relevant to your business, so that you can register your Priority Hold application for the .au version before they go on the open market.
Eg: if you have awesomegaragesnow.com.au – you may want robustgaragesnow.com.au or bestsydneygarages.com.au - along with the relevant .au versions of these domains.
Remember, whomever registers a .com.au, .net.au or .org.au first, will be given priority for the .au version before 24 September, if they apply for it.
Like some help?
If you find all this a bit confusing, don’t worry. We understand perfectly. It’s a lot to get your head around. If you’d rather have a chat about it and how it applies to your situation, simply click the button to book in a free chat and we’ll give you a call.