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Time’s almost up to secure your domain name – is your business .au ready?

- August 31, 2022 3 MIN READ
Website URL with .au domain name

Australian domain names are getting a shake-up with the launch of the new, shorter .au domain name extension, writes Tamara Oppen, Managing Director at GoDaddy Australia. Local businesses are being urged to make sure they are .au ready.

For many years, Australian website domain names have been restricted to traditional extensions like ‘.com.au’ or ‘.net.au’. Now, in the biggest domain development in 20 years, Aussie businesses can register internet domain names with just the ‘.au’ domain name extension.

Since March, Australian businesses with an existing  .au domain name extension like .com.au have been able to register to get priority access to the new .au direct domain names. However in just a few short weeks, on 20 September 2022, the priority registration process for existing domain name owners closes. The .au domain names will then become open to the general public to purchase from 4 October 2022.

Why does my domain name matter?

The domain name and extension that you choose can tell potential customers a lot about your business.

With an unprecedented 9.3 million Australian households buying something online during financial year 2022, competition to stand out in the increasingly competitive eCommerce environment is high.

Domain names can reveal to shoppers where you are located and, securing the right ones can also help to protect your brand from potential customer confusion.

Highlighting local small businesses

Having a .au domain name can also help shoppers easily identify they are browsing or buying from an Australian business. This can be important logistically and appeal to those who like to spend their money locally.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, buying locally has become more important to Australians. Research from the National Australia Bank in June found that 34 per cent of consumers were now more mindful of supporting local businesses in their area.

Further, 35 per cent said they were more conscious of buying Australian-made rather than overseas-made products.

Securing both your traditional domain name and the ‘.au’ domain name extension can help to ensure you give your customers confidence about where they are shopping. It will protect your brand by preventing someone else from securing the same name.

The .au extensions are also shorter to type which is handy now that so many Australians are shopping on mobile.

A potential cyber threat

While the new .au extensions create great opportunities for businesses, the Federal Government’s cyber watchdog has also warned it’s another potential chance for cybercriminals to infiltrate a business if they don’t take the proper precautions.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) recent bulletin recommends that all Australian businesses consider claiming their .au domain name extension now before the September priority access period expires. 

“This new option for domain names creates opportunities for businesses, organisations and individuals, however, could also provide another opportunity for cybercriminals, such as by facilitating fraudulent activity business email compromise,’’ the ACSC warned in August.

“Businesses, organisations and individuals who have registered a domain name outside of Australia can also now consider registering an .au direct domain name, to show their business is an Australian business.

Can I apply?

There are more than 3.6 million domains registered with an extension that ends in .au, according to the auDA, the domain administrator in Australia.

If you hold a .au name in another namespace like .com.au or .net.au and created it before 24 March 2022, you can apply for its exact .au match before 20 September 2022 – when the priority registration process closes. In cases where there is more than one applicant, priority allocation will help to determine who is able to register the .au equivalent. From 4 October 2022, anyone can register a .au address provided it has not already been snapped up.

The launch of .au is an opportunity to help future-proof your digital identity and protect it while enhancing your reputation as a trusted Aussie business.


This article was originally published on Kochie’s Business Builders, read the original here.

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