You may have already heard about the new domain extension about to launch in Australia, but don’t dismiss this news as unimportant.
If you are a business owner, (especially if you have a .com.au domain name) this impacts you.
Failure to action this can be catastrophic to businesses as there is a phishing opportunity for cybercriminals.
What is the new domain extension?
.au is a new domain extension (dubbed .au direct domain names) that is yet to be live.
They will soon be open to anyone with a verified connection to Australia, but we are in a small window where businesses who have the exact match in .com.au can apply for priority registration.
Can you have more than one domain name?
Yes. For instance you can have hello.com, hello.com.au, hello.net.au, hello.org, and on and on it goes.
If I already have a .com.au – do I really need this as well?
It’s a good idea to have as many domain names as possible that has your business name in it.
You don’t want someone else to have them, it’s part of your IP (intellectual property).
Should I do this straight away?
If you already own a .com.au (or .net.au) domain name, then you have first priority to purchase the .au domain of the same name.
However, you only have until the 20th September 2022 to indicate whether you intend to apply for the exact match of your name.
If you miss this deadline, or you choose not to apply for the exact match, it will become available to the general public on the 4th October 2022.
What do you mean by phishing opportunity?
If someone else snatches up your .au domain name, they could potentially use it for phishing. This means they could send emails that look like it’s coming from you, because the email address would be very similar to yours.
How do I register for a .au domain?
If you already have a domain name, contact your web registrar or web hosting provider to apply for priority status.
Who can apply for priority status?
You must hold either a .com.au or .net.au domain name.
You must be eligible to hold the domain name licence under the .au licensing rules.
This means you must have at least an ABN or ACN registered with the same name.
If two different people hold conflicting domains, a domain created before 2018 receives priority.
What happens after the priority deadline?
If no priority applications are made before 20th September 2022, it will become available to the public on a first come, first served basis.
This means that someone who does not hold an ABN or have a .com.au can register a .au domain even if someone else owns that business.
What happens if someone else gets my .au domain name?
If a cybercriminal registers your business name as a .au domain name, they could potentially impersonate you. They could then use this for not only phishing, but also go as far as create a website or google ads with your name and confuse your customers.
In short, should I get a .au domain?
I only have a .com website, should I try and get a .au?
Yes, it’s still recommended.
You won’t be able to put your name down for the priority reservations, but once they open up to the general public you should be able to register one. (So long as no one else has registered a priority application).
If you’d like to read more information about this, head to auDa who have lots of details on their website, or talk to your existing web registrar or hosting provider.
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