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Shorter domain names available for small businesses

Australian small businesses can now register a domain name of .au, allowing the .com, .net or .org to be dropped from the internet address.

14 June 2022 

Registrants of existing com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au and edu.au domain names have three months left to participate in auDA's Priority Allocation Process, which runs from 24 March to 20 September 2022. The six-month period is known as the Priority Application Period.

These shorter Australian domain names are currently reserved for businesses that already use the relevant com.au, net.au or org.au addresses until 20 September 2022.

Australians have access to shorter and simpler domain names from March with the introduction of direct .au domain names. For example, this means shoes.com.au can become shoes.au.

This change was announced by .au Domain Administration (auDA) which is the organisation responsible for internet domains in Australia. 

Previously, it was only possible to licence lower level .au domain names, such as com.au, net.au, org.au.

If a business already had a domain name ending in .au, and registered it before 24 March 2022, the matching .au direct domain has been placed on a six-month priority hold – meaning that they have the first choice to register it.

Any domain names not registered by 20 September 2022 will be available for the general population.

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“The .au direct names are general purpose – they’re open to anyone with a verified connection to Australia who wants to create or manage an online presence for themselves or their organisation,” auDA said.

“To be eligible for a .au direct name, you must have a verifiable Australian presence, which includes being a citizen or permanent resident, or being an organisation registered in Australia.”

A domain name ending in the .au namespace (com.au, .net.au, .org.au, .edu.au etc.) indicates the business, organisation or individual using it has a connection to Australia. 

There are also specific rules around whether businesses can register domains in the .au namespace.

“You will be able to register new names via any participating .au accredited registrar in accordance with the .au Licensing Rules, as long as you are eligible to register the domain name,” auDA said.

“Exact matches will be put on Priority Hold for the Priority Application Period to prevent them from being registered by others and to enable existing registrants the first opportunity to register (Priority Status) the exact match of their existing domain names. 

“You’ll be able to apply for the exact match .au direct domain name via a participating .au accredited registrar.”

“In some cases, there also may be more than one applicant for the same .au direct domain name as there are different registrants that hold the same domain name licence in different namespaces. In these cases, the .au direct exact match will be allocated according to our Priority Allocation Process.” 

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