Registrations for the new ‘.au’ direct domain names will be available soon. There is a priority allocation process allowing registrants of com.au, net.au or org.au domain names to register a direct match to their current domain name in .au form.
Eligible registrants must apply for Priority Status by 9:59am AEST 21 September 2022.
The non-government regulator, auDA is endorsed by the Australian Government to
administer Australia’s (.au) country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).
In August 2021, auDA announced that, beginning 24 March 2022, direct registration under ‘.au’ would be made available to allow Australian businesses, organisations and individuals to register new, shorter domain names directly before the ‘.au’. Instead of a domain name ending with ‘.com.au’, ‘.net.au’, ‘asn.au’, etc, it is now possible to register a shorter ‘.au’ name.
This raises many potential issues for the legal industry:
• a third-party may now register directly under .au a domain name substantially the same as an existing .com.au or .net.au, for example – thus appearing to relate to an existing business, creating confusion for customers/clients and other potential users of that business’s website and email addresses;
• a direct registration .au domain name could be used to impersonate an existing business’s legitimate website; and
• the direct registration of a .au domain name containing an existing business’s trade mark or business name could be used in a misleading or deceptive way to exploit the legitimate business or its customers.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre has issued an alert warning that the new direct registration opportunity could allow cybercriminals to facilitate fraudulent activity like business email compromise which can lead to invoice fraud.
Priority Allocation Process
In order to limit the potential for these serious issues to arise, auDA established a Priority Allocation Process.
The Priority Allocation Process allows registrants of .au domain names registered before 24 March 2022 (e.g. ending in com.au, net.au, org.au) to apply for Priority Status to register its exact match in .au direct form.
Eligible registrants must apply for Priority Status 9:59am AEST 21 September 2022.
If no priority applications have been made for the .au direct match, it will be become available for registration by the general public at 9:00pm UTC 3 Oct 2022 (8:00am AEDT 4 October 2022).
The following resources may also be of assistance to Constituent Bodies and their
• auDA’s Priority Allocation Process information page includes information on applying for priority status and what happens if a name is contested; https://www.auda.org.au/au-domain-names/au-direct/priority-allocation-process
• auDA has released a number of resources including factsheets, tools and
presentations which provide further information on the introduction of .au direct domain names; https://www.auda.org.au/au-domain-names/au-domain-names/au-direct