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If you have a small business, then having a website is most likely something you’ve already built or are considering. A website is a crucial platform to promote and market your services or products while also providing social proof that your company is a ‘real’ business. For Australian small businesses, the announcement of the .au name extension has caused confusion and frustration. Let’s explore what it means for your small business.
Make it.au! Benefits of buying .au domains
Australia has introduced a direct domain extension to the Australia domain namespace. This allows all business entities and individuals in Australia the possibility of registering a .au. The domain au direct will allow businesses to use shorter domain names to make them unique.
Whilst some small Australian business owners might feel forced into buying a .au, there are some notable benefits to purchasing .au domains.
- .au is shorter than .com.au – you can use less characters in your social media posts
- .au is for everyone – businesses and individuals alike
- .au’s are original – give your .au a creative name rather than just a trademark
- You can create multiple .au’s to protect your brand or redirect traffic to established sites
- With nearly all of the good .com, .net, and .org domains gone, you’re left with fewer options to choose from when registering a new domain. .au direct may be the easiest way to get hold of domain names that you can’t register with the .com or.net extension.
As of 20 September 2022, any Australian business, person or entity can register any unclaimed website names with the .au domain. Before this date, you had to provide a valid ABN to register for the current .com.au domain name – this will no longer be a requirement.
Why do I need a .au direct in addition to .com.au?
If you have a domain ending with .com.au, .net.au, asn.au, .org.au etc., and registered it before 24 March 2022, your corresponding .au has been held for six months (known as the Priority Allocation period or priority allocation process).
For example, if your domain is mybusiness.com.au, your new available domain is mybusiness.au.
After 20 September 2022, .au domains become open to the general public on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. You can keep your existing domain name, but you should also acquire the.au domain name, as advised by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), for your company’s brand and security. If you don’t register the .au alternative, someone could register it and impersonate your business. This creates an opportunity for cybercrime, such as creating a fake website or sending phishing emails pretending to be from your company.
How much will .au domain name cost?
auDA (au Domain Administration) is listing the wholesale price of a .au direct domain at $8.67 per year including GST. As registrars (domain name providers) set the retail price – it’s worth shopping around. We’ve seen providers charge over $80 per year which is not helpful for small businesses at all!
Note that the initial registration price is subject to change or increase when it’s time for renewal. Keep in mind that you can usually register a domain name for 1-5 years, with the possibility of extensions if you still qualify for the domain. You can register your new .au domain with an accredited registrar or if you prefer, your current provider should also be able to assist you.
Where can I get cheap .au direct domain names?
We’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of domain name registrars so you can check if your current provider is offering .au domain names reasonably or not.
Many small business owners own multiple domain names to protect their brand identity so choosing an affordable .au direct domain name provider makes good sense. Remember that you can buy a .au domains from any of these providers below and transfer your other domain names to them later on. It might be a good time to review your web hosting package and use this opportunity to move to a better hosting and domain provider.
Cheap .au domains
VentraIP $8.67 per year (100% Australian, 24/7 local support, link includes discount on hosting)
Micron21 $8.61 per year (100% fully Australian owned and operated)
GoDaddy $9.96 per year
Affordable .au domains
Only Domains $12.99 per year
DreamIT Host $14.95 per year
Web Central (formerly Net Registry) – $14.95 per year
Crazy Domains $20.99 per year
Expensive .au domains
What action should I take?
- Check your domain’s contact information to ensure it’s correct.
- Click here to see if your domain is eligible for priority status with auDA: Priority status tool | auDA
- Obtain a .au domain through your current domain name registrar or visit any auDA accredited registrar
What if I don’t buy the .au domain name?
Your competition may buy the .au and start doing business as your website or email address, impersonating your company and potentially accepting money for services and goods. Your .au domain name could be purchased by a cybersquatter, who will potentially ask you to purchase it back for a large sum at a later date. If you’re not careful, cyber-criminals could easily abuse the .au name to commit crimes (such as sending invoices with fake bank account details or emails pretending to be from you or your business).
Harmful activities such as the above could harm your business reputation or result in a loss of money. It may be difficult to identify cyber criminals and even more difficult to reclaim a domain name that has been registered to someone else, so prevention is always the best option. Do your business a favour and get the .au domain name before somebody else does.
If you need help with anything to do with domain names or website hosting, we can assist! Contact us today.
Who is the .au domain registry?
auDA (au Domain Administration), is in charge of all of Australia’s country code top-level domains (cctlds). They’ve been managing domain names in Australia for almost 20 years.
Who can get a .au domain?
Individuals, groups, and companies with an Australian presence can now register a new type of domain name known as.au direct. Business people can use an ABN/ACN number to sign up for their company name and Australian residents need to present an Australian identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, to finish registering.
If you are an Australian individual, you can use verification methods such as a driver’s license, passport, visa, or birth certificate. Please note that a small validation fee may apply. Once verified, you will be able to register for .au domains without any additional fees.
Can I do a .au domain whois?
Yes, you can. Simply go to the auDA whois page to conduct your search. To execute a .au domain whois search, follow the instructions on their homepage.
When can I use my .au domain?
Starting from 24 March 2022, .au direct domains were made available. Eligible businesses and individuals were able to use the new extension immediately.