What Does the New Australian Domain Name Change Mean for Businesses?

.au domain name

As of 24 March 2022, Australian businesses can apply for direct .au domain names (e.g., empowerit.au instead of empowerit.com.au). The auDA manages the .au namespace, and the changes are designed to be more accessible for Australian businesses and individuals. 

If you’re an Australian business owner, you must understand the implications of this change to decide whether to register a new domain name. Here’s what you need to know:

How does this change affect businesses?

Between 24 March 2022 and 20 September 2022, businesses with an existing .com.au domain name can register for an equivalent .au domain. To illustrate, if your company’s current address is ‘abcompany.com.au’, you’ll be able to switch to ‘abcompany.au’. Applying to the auDA now will give you priority status to get the shortened version of your current web address. This is, of course, optional and will not affect the ownership of your web address. 

However, if you don’t register within this period, your .au equivalent domain will be available to the public. That means any person or organisation in Australia will be able to reserve and appropriate your web address and brand. 

Changing to a shorter web domain makes it easier for customers to find and remember your website. Minimalist domains also look more authentic and professional from a marketing perspective, increasing the chances of web visitors trusting your website. Keep in mind that some of your marketing materials may needs update due to the domain change. 

What are the risks of not registering for the domain name change?

If you don’t register for a new domain, there is a risk that someone could take it from you. One is cybercriminals who may use your .au domain to impersonate your business and commit fraud. For instance, they could design a website similar to yours and use it to get sensitive information from your customers. They may even install web portals on these fraudulent websites to steal employee passwords and infiltrate your organisation. 

Any data breaches resulting from this type of brand impersonation can severely damage your company’s reputation. Future customers will be unlikely to trust your business or may avoid web addresses similar to yours because it was involved in a data breach. A damaged brand reputation may even cause significant revenue losses. 

The best way to protect your business from these threats is to register for the new domains before anyone else can. This ensures that no cybercriminal can use a domain similar to yours and cause confusion or damage to your business’s reputation. 

How do I get a .au domain name for my business?

If you’re interested in registering a .au domain name for your business, you can do so through an auDA accredited registrar. Fees between registrars may vary, but the application process is relatively straightforward and should only take a few minutes to complete. Take note that only Australian entities are eligible to apply. In other words, registrants must be one of the following: 

  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • An organisation with an Australian Business Number
  • A company registered to the Corporations Act 2001
  • An entity with an Australian registered trademark

Registrants will only receive priority status if the proposed name of their .au domain is an exact match of their current .com.au domain. Additionally, domains must meet the auDA’s syntax and naming requirements, as written on the application. 

If you have any questions about the implications of new .au domains and security threats, don’t hesitate to call Empower IT. We’re a managed IT services provider that can treat your company’s cybersecurity with the professionalism and care.