The domain landscape is changing. After 20 September 2022 shortened ".au" domain name extensions will become available for registration by the public. However, businesses and trade mark owners have an opportunity to obtain the .au equivalent domain of an existing domain (eg, .com.au, .org.au or .net.au), if action is taken now.
Since your existing domain may represent your business or company name or brand, it is important for you know about this change and how to register the shortened .au version of an existing .au domain. Not reserving the shortened ".au" domain name could devalue your business or allow the shortened .au version to be registered by someone else, including another business or even scammers.
Since time is of the essence, we have outlined some simple steps to take to use your business or brand name and your existing .au domain to obtain the shortened .au equivalent.
A business/company with a domain in the .au namespace (ie, .com.au, .net.au or .org.au) registered before 24 March 2022, can apply for priority status to register the equivalent shortened domain name ending with .au.
As part of the process, the current registrar of the current domain name will need to provide a priority token, which is usually sent to the email address registered as the administrative email address for the existing domain. That means that someone within the business supplied that email address when the current domain was registered. Surprisingly, not all businesses with a domain know those details or indeed which company is the registrar of that domain. Fortunately, a 'whois' enquiry at https://whois.auda.org.au/ can identify the current registrar if you're unsure who it is.
Once a priority token has been obtained, the current registrar of your existing domain will need to begin an exchange of information with the administrator of your business domain account and/or the person who can access the administrator emails of your existing domain. Before starting the process the business should enquire about the noted detail details, so the process described below can be followed with the least interruption.
The steps to take are briefly described below:
- Access the current domain registrar's website.
- Find the .au registration service they provide.
- Nominate the YYY.com.au or YYY.net.au or YYY.org.au (where YYY is your current domain name) that you wish to rely on as priority for the shortened YYY.au domain.
- Complete the details for the owner entity (your business), the administrative contact (email and phone) and identify the basis for obtaining the .au domain. There are numerous bases for obtaining the .au domain. For example, it could be that the owner of the .com.au is a particular type of entity: sole trader, partnership, incorporated company or an owner of an Australian Trade Mark application or registered Australian Trade Mark. The details for the entity (such as its ABN or ACN) or for trade mark application/registration will need to be provided along with other information to justify the basis for obtaining the priority right to the shortened YYY.au domain.
- There is a tick box requiring the applicant to confirm that they are making truthful statements in support of the application.
- Click the link on the registration page to open a different website (we suggest you make that using the "Open link in new tab" and then click the buttons that will request a priority token. The priority token comprises a "Priority Contact ID" and a "Priority authinfo" (which are both 16-character long strings will be similar in format to this example - U8JggV347HFLoT61).
- Copy and paste the "Priority Contact ID" and the "Priority authinfo" strings into the registrar's .au registration site page (the registrar requires the token to allow them to register the shortened .au domain for the owner/business).
- Pay the fee.
- Receive confirmation of registration and a certificate.
The process can take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour depending on how much information you have prepared in advance. If you have prepared as suggested then the process should be relatively simple and quick.
Once registered, the shortened .au domain will not link to a web page unless it is redirected to your .com.au domain. The redirection is best set up by your web developer or by someone within your business with the appropriate skills.
If you are interested in obtaining a.au equivalent domain of an existing .au domain, we suggest that you collect the information identified above and start the registration process using your domain registrar's webpages or contact their help desk for assistance.
If you do not take action promptly, there is a risk that another business may apply for the same YYY portion of the domain before you, meaning that you may not be able to obtain the.au domain. Please refer to an earlier article we wrote on this issue.
If you do not reserve your .au domain by 20 September 2022, it may not be the end of the world. However, it could result in a first-in best-dressed domain grab.
If the YYY.au domain is unlikely to be of interest to others, a standard registration for that .au domain may still be available for your business.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.