One of the first things that businesses tend to look at when establishing a brand, is choosing a domain name. According to auDA, the .au Domain Administration organisation, at the end of the last financial year they had 3,339,032 .au domain names under their management, an increase of almost 6% compared to 2020.
Businesses around the world have access to most top-level domains, which are maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and include domains ending in .com, .net, .org, etc. However, the most obvious choice for Australian businesses is to get a second-level domain name from an appropriate namespace for example, .com.au, .org.au, .qld.edu.au etc.
auDA is responsible for regulating access to each of these namespaces which serve different sectors and purposes and have different registration rules, including:
- com.au for commercial entities with an ABN or ACN as registered through ASIC
- org.au for charities and non-profit organisations
- asn.au for incorporated associations, political parties, trade unions, sporting and special interest clubs
- edu.au a closed namespace for educational institutions registered at federal or state level
- gov.au for Commonwealth, state, territory and local government bodies. This domain is managed on behalf of the Australian government sector by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA)
- qld.au for community use of geographic names within Queensland.
It is no surprise that the number of registered .com.au domain names surpassed three million for the first time in June 2021. This specific namespace represents 90 percent of all .au domains. In the last few months, Australia has shown a steady increase in domain registrations as businesses quickly pivoted to online strategies due to COVID-19. This is backed up by internet penetration in Australia which stood at 89% in January 2021 according to the Hootsuite Digital Overview Report, 2021.
Last year, auDA announced the release of the .au direct domain names, like fortemarketing.au, as a new option for Australian internet users. Businesses will be able to access this shorter, simpler domain from 24 March 2022 which will operate in an identical manner to names registered in other existing namespaces.
Choosing an effective, short and easy to remember domain is a key factor when establishing your online presence. Google recommends short domain names, typically between three to four terms, which are easier to remember and type, helping users navigate directly to your site. A .au direct domain is a simple but effective solution to position a brand and is open to all Australian businesses.
As with any .au domain, to be eligible you must have an Australian presence, which includes being a citizen or permanent resident, or be an organisation registered in Australia. Any business will be able to register .au direct domain names through most Australian accredited registrars including Digital Pacific, WebCentral, Crazy Domains and others.
If the business currently holds a domain name in any other .au namespace (e.g., com.au, org.au etc.), the owner will be able to apply for ‘Priority Status’ to register its exact match in .au during the six-month period from launch, that is from the 24 March to the 24 September 2022. Once that period is over, any business will be able to register the .au direct domain following the regular registration process.
If you already have a business and want to secure your .au domains or if you are looking to create a new brand, our team at Forte Marketing can help.