Toward the end of this year auDA, the .au Domain Administration Ltd, intends to launch Direct .au Registration in the Australian domain name space.
This means you will be able to register domain names in .au directly such as “yourdomain.au” as opposed to “yourdomain.com.au”.
Under the proposed eligibility rules, a registrant of a .au domain name must simply have an “Australian Presence”. This will most likely be either an ABN or ACN as per the current requirements, or proof of address in Australia such as utility bill, drivers license, or passport details. We shall see what auDA require later this year.
We are not yet sure if it will be as “open” as the existing .com space or remain as “closed” as the current .com.au and .net.au space.
Whilst they are saying that the .com.au and net.au domain names will see more flexibility in being able to be bought and sold.
Why would I register a domain ending in .au?
Simply put because it looks nicer and it’s shorter and simpler.
And the other major reason is to protect your brand if you already own the .com.au and/or the .net.au.
The major benefit of .COM.AU domain names is that they instantly tell someone you are an Australian based business and are here to serve Australian customers. As the most popular and widely recognised Australian specific domain name, .COM.AU’s also come with a high level of trust as there’s a set of criteria that must be met before someone can register a .COM.AU domain name i.e you must have an ABN or ACN.
When someone visits a website with a .COM.AU domain name, they know they are dealing with an established business that they can trust. When you’re just starting out, this added trust factor can be invaluable when someone is unsure about doing business with you for the first time.
Will the .au have this same trust? We are not sure yet.
I already have a .com.au, should I register direct .au?
It’s not entirely necessary for an existing site/business. But to protect your brand from someone else getting the new .au, then yes. Your host can easily re-direct yourdomain.au to point to yourdomain.com.au.
Does it make a difference for SEO if I have a domain ending in .au?
Google is also known to favour .com.au domain names over Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) as it is a signal that the website is relevant to Australians. Will this change with .au, probably not.
Do I need an ABN to register a domain ending in .au?
Currently you do need an ABN registered with state governments or an ACN registered through ASIC to register a domain ending in .com.au and .net.au. The .au namespace has had talk that this will be more “open”, how open, we are not sure yet?
I like the look of .org.au, can I register that?
You can only register a .org.au domain if you have are a registered charity or non-profit organisation.
How can I check the status of a domain name to see if it is available?
Simply search here https://www.newsprout.com.au/domains/
Is there any difference between a low cost and a very expensive domain name?
No. Domain names are relatively cheap, so it is worth ensuring you use a reputable company but still have their domain names priced competitively.
Our current view on the new .au namespace:
It looks great and it would have been great if this was the original way Australian domains were registered.
But they weren’t and it is now an after-thought which cannot be compared to anything else as the AU space is very much established with many emails and websites entrenched in our country and using the .com.au and .net.au spaces.
We believe this is going to benefit the Registries more than the end users.
It forces many many new registrations (and money spent) to protect a users existing space.
Because there will be many new registrations for no real necessity.
If it was truely about making the AU namespace better, they would block all existing names that currently exist and are already registered with all the other .au spaces, such as .com.au and .net.au. Meaning if you don’t want to switch to .au then you don’t have to and maintain the peace of mind of not having to register the name “just because”.
If you do want it because you like the fact that it is shorter and simpler, then no problem, this is your decision and you can choose to buy it. We agree with this. It is nice and short and if you want to rebrand your website, email, etc. then go for it!
But if the existing names were blocked, this would mean all the existing businesses who are happy with their current Australian domains could remain as is (who remember, were forced to register these types of TLD’s if they wanted an Australian domain).
It would mean no one can “steal” your name if you had it first and don’t want to change.
The key term here is “wanting” to change rather than being “forced” to change.
It is not the same as opening .net because .com became highly utilised, .net will never be seen as high as .com. Or opening .net.au to give extra options because .com.au was highly utilised.
.au will be seen as “better” than .com.au, but this is in reverse. The Registries know this, and it is a big opportunity for them to boost revenue in a stagnant industry, where costs are very small due to the infrastructure already existing. There is very high margin in it for them which they will not admit to. Instead they will say it is $2 to $3 per domain, but in reality their total costs will only be about that, and anything they sell it for will be margin.
The registries could prove to everyone it is no money grab by blocking existing names already taken in other Australian namespaces.