What is happening

From March 24, 2022, qualifying Australian businesses will for the first time be able to purchase .au domain names in addition to their existing .com.au domain names.

Why are .au domain names important

It is possible (but not certain) over the coming years the .au namespace will become the standard used by Australian Businesses, and the use of .com.au will become less common.  As well as being longer than the more simple .au, the .com.au namespace is in some ways considered a subdomain of the American .com namespace, and so .au provides a more uniquely Australian option.

Do I need to get one

No, but there are risks if you don’t:

  • For the first 6 months, registration priority will be given to businesses who own the corresponding .com.au domain name.  After that time, any business will be free to purchase any domain name, even if it matches your existing .com.au domain.  They may then setup a competitive  website, forward traffic onto their own website, or attempt to sell it back to you at an inflated price.
  • If .au becomes the new normal, you risk your brand being associated with the legacy .com.au domain space.

Would I need to stop using .com.au

We would not recommend that initially, but instead recommend waiting until .au has greater presence.  If you choose to register a .au domain now, we would suggest you continue using .com.au as your primary domain name both for your website and email, and have the .au traffic forwarded to your .com.au domain.  The same can also be done for email accounts if you wish.

Once .au becomes more established, you can then choose to make .au your primary domain, and the .com.au an alias.  At this point you may also whish to update your other print and digital marketing products that mention .com.au.

How much does a .au domain name cost

  • Registration – $65 per domain initially which includes our administration fee.  The domain then needs to be renewed annually as you do with your .com.au domain.  Prices have not yet been confirmed by the governing body, but will likely be between $10-$20p.a.
  • Website reconfiguration (optional) – $49 one time fee per domain to configure your existing website and hosting account to forward  the new .au namespace to your .com.au website.
  • Email reconfiguration (optional) – $29 one time fee per email address to configure email forwarding rules for the .au domain to the .com.au domain.

What do I do next

Contact Wade if you would like to know more, or to arrange the purchase of your .au domain names.

You may wish to read more in this Guardian article.