Launch of the .AU domain for Australia
10 March 2022
Zacco Digital Brand strives to deliver the most comprehensive domain management service on the European market, and an integral part of maintaining this reputation is keeping you updated on industry developments that will have an international impact.
Launch of .AU: Australian domain space is aligned with the majority of country-code TLDs
The launch of the Australian second-level top-level domain (TLD) .AU is an example of such a development. Until now, individuals and companies looking to register a domain name in Australia have been limited to registering third-level domain names such as ‘example.com.au’, instead of the more direct ‘example.au’. The launch of .AU brings the Australian domain space in line with the majority of other country-code TLDs across the globe.
Compared to third-level domains, important benefits include email and web addresses that are easier to remember and to understand, an increase in brand recognition, and the simple fact that .AU domains are more consistent with the majority of your other domains and websites. The new second-level domains will complement the existing suite of Australian domains already available, such as COM.AU and NET.AU, which will continue to operate as they do today.
Brand owners must take action to secure equivalent second-level domains
What this means for brand owners, and others currently holding Australian domains, is that you must take action to secure the equivalent second-level domains, if you want to avoid the risk of these being registered by third parties. Not registering your equivalent .AU domains increases brand risk and opens up competition over your brand’s reputation and name space within the Australian market.
A parallel might be made to the evolution of domain names in China, where individuals and commercial entities were only allowed to register third-level domains, such as ‘example.com.cn’, until 2003, when second-level domains were eventually made available. While .COM.CN remains fairly popular today, with over two million active domains in 2021, the direct .CN has dominated in recent years, with over 16 million domains now active. It is reasonable to expect the same development to become the standard within the Australian domain market.
Who may register a second-level .AU domain name?
Anyone with an Australian presence is eligible to register second-level .AU domain names. Having an Australian presence includes citizens or permanent residents, organisations, associations and businesses registered in Australia, as well as legal entities that have a registered Australian trademark.
The timeline for application and registration of a second-level .AU domain name
Priority Application Period – for existing holders (March 24, 2022 – September 20, 2022):
The Priority Application Period entitles holders of an existing third-level .AU domain (such as example.com.au) priority registration of the equivalent second-level .AU domain, example.au. During this time-limited phase, the second-level domain will not be available for registration by third parties.
In detail, this means that:
- Holders of any third-level .AU domain, such as example.com.au or example.net.au, are entitled to register the equivalent .AU domain, example.au, during the period of March 22 – September 22, 2022.
- If two different holders are eligible for the Priority Application Period, e.g., where one holds example.com.au, and the other holds example.net.au, the second-level domain example.au is allocated based on the priority category for each registrant.
- A holder’s priority category is based on the registration date of the third-level domain:
- Priority 1 – If your existing third-level .AU domain name is registered before or on February 4, 2018.
- Priority 2 – If your existing third-level .AU domain name is registered after February 4, 2018.
Where there are multiple Priority 1 holders, they are required to negotiate between themselves to determine who will be allocated the second-level domain. Zacco is well positioned to assist with such negotiations.
Limited Registration (March 24, 2022 – Sep 20, 2022):
During the Limited Registration period, one can request to register new second-level .AU domain names, but only if there are no existing third-level domain names with priority rights.
General Availability (From Sep 20, 2022):
The General Availability phase opens up to register second-level .AU domains on a first-come, first served basis, for anyone that is eligible to register a domain name in the Australian domain space.
Do you have a third-level Australian domain today and wish to claim your priority rights, or have any questions concerning domain names and trademarks in Australia? Please get in touch with your dedicated Digital Brand Consultant, or email email@example.com, for more information or assistance.Back to all news
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