A shake-up of the Australian domain name space could soon see Australian businesses simplifying their website addresses from .com.au to .au. Here's what you need to know about the direct .au domain name space.
What is happening?
Australia's Domain Administration (auDA), is currently considering opening up the top tier of Australia's domain name space to the public.
While Australian domain names currently display as .com.au, (for example, www.diamondit.com.au) in future we're likely to see domain names such as bhp.au, cricket.au and diamondit.au.
While there have been some protests against the opening up of .au domain names - most often by the small to medium business (SMB) community already struggling to defend their branding - around 80% of those canvased in past studies were all for the expansion of the .au Top Level Domain (TLD).
Who gets first dibs on the .au domain names?
According to the implementation rules found on the auDA site, the new domain licenses will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis. Priority 1 applicants will have first claim, set from a historical date, for those who have held the .com.au, .net.au or .org.au 1-3 years prior to the release of the domain names. Priority 2 applicants are those who have registered their domain names after the historical date but before the release of the domain names. At that point, the .au domain name will move to "General Availability".
If you're thinking you might steal cba.au and ransom it off to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, you're out of luck. The holders of existing 2nd level country code domain names (cc2LD) get first option to take the new names, and if contested between the owners of .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, asn.au and id.au the name remains unavailable. To be able to apply for the priority access to the new .au ccTLD names you'll need to have held the existing domain name for a year or two, with the final cut off date not yet solidified.
What do you need to do?
Nothing. There is no real necessity to update to .au when it becomes available. If you don't want to switch to .au, then you certainly don't have to. However, if a shorter and simpler domain name appeals to you, you're in the middle of a rebrand of your company website, or you just want to be a part of the hype, then go for it!
This said it is worth noting that if you want to protect your brand from someone else getting the new .au, then you can easily purchase the new domain and have your website host re-direct the .au domain to your existing site
It is also worth noting that while the new .au domain will have little impact on the ranking or 'searchability' of existing or new sites, google is known to favour .com.au over 'top-level' domains.
When will the change come into effect?
The auDA has not currently confirmed when the change will come into effect, however it is said to be expected .au to be available sometime in early 2020.
How can Diamond help with my online presence?
Our Business Technology Managers (BTMs) are experts in helping your organisation get online and seen with IT infrastructure, and consulting on how to register and set up your Domain Name Service as part of your branding.
To give your organisation a competitive edge, contact our team today.