Since 24 March 2022, Australian domain names no longer require three components for registration, such as ‘cgw.com.au’. Instead, a new direct .au domain that dispenses with the middle component (e.g., .com or .org) is now available.
Eligible applicants have already taken advantage of the .au domain by adopting shorter and more marketable domains, such as ‘cgw.au’. Doing so may also prevent a competitor from registering a .au domain that is similar to an existing domain.
Until 21 September 2022, eligible applicants have priority when applying to any accredited registrar for a .au domain. However, once the priority application period closes, the .au domains will be available to the general public.
Eligibility for a .au domain
Any applicant that has an ‘Australian presence’ is eligible to register for a .au domain. An applicant will have an Australian presence where they:
- are an Australian citizen
- are an entity issued with an Australian Business Number
- are a charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission
- do not have an Australian presence but are the owner of an Australian trademark identical to the .au domain name.
Unlike traditional three component domains, there is no eligibility requirement for a connection between the .au domain name and the business of the applicant.
Eligibility for priority application
Only an existing registrant of an Australian domain name is eligible to apply to for a .au domain before 21 September 2022. Once the priority application period closes, the .au domains will be available on a ‘first in, best dressed’ basis.
As it is possible for two registrants to apply for the same .au domain – e.g., cgw.com.au and cgw.org.au – a further priority regime has been adopted for the priority application period.
Domains created on or before 4 February 2018 (Category 1) will obtain priority over domains created after that date (Category 2). A priority dispute between two Category 1 domains will be settled either by agreement or until one active applicant remains, with the .au domain remaining suspended until that time. If there are two Category 2 domain applicants, the domain with the earliest creation date will be allocated the .au domain.
If you are eligible for a priority .au domain application, we recommend you apply before 21 September 2022. Otherwise, you run the risk of an unrelated business, or even a competitor, registering for the .au equivalent of your existing domain.
Please contact a member of our corporate advisory team if you wish to discuss any of the matters addressed in this article.