Having a well-developed website is crucial for your business, and owning your website domain is just one way to help your website stand out from your competitors. Recently, it has been announced that there is a new category of website domain names being introduced for Australian businesses. This new category will replace the domain your website currently has, and it is essential you apply for your new domain equivalent in order to protect your business from cybercrime.

What is a website domain?

A domain name is a unique address given to your website. Currently, website domains include:

  • examplewebsite.com.au;
  • examplewebsite.net.au;
  • examplewebsite.org.au;
  • examplewebsite.gov.au; and
  • examplewebsite.edu.au.

If you have a business website, it is likely that you (or your website provider/agency) has already secured your domain name as part of building your website. Having a secured domain name is crucial as it allows you to build an exclusive online presence for your business.

The new domain category

It has been announced that a new category of domain names is being introduced. This new domain name will replace the current domain names and will create shorter domain names that will end in ‘.au’.

This change will impact a large number of Australians, with anyone with a local connection to Australia (including businesses, associations and individuals) being eligible to register.

The benefits of applying for your new domain

Until recently, Australian businesses have only had the option for second-level website domains (such as ‘.com.au’ or ‘.net.au’). Introducing this new type of website domain allows users and businesses to register for a shorter, and potentially more memorable, domain name.

Additionally, the new domain name allows website visitors to easily recognise your website as being Australian. This could assist in building trust between your audience and your business, which could result in potentially increasing your click-through rate and bringing new clients to your website.

What action should I take?

It is highly recommended that you register your ‘.au’ domain and investigate setting up a domain redirect to your existing website.

We are currently in the middle of a six month priority allocation period, which commenced on the 24th of March, 2022. Within this period, businesses who have an existing domain name are eligible to apply for their new domain name before anyone else.

This priority process will conclude on the 20th of September, 2022. After this date, there is no longer a priority for businesses to claim their domain equivalent name and the general public can start applying.

If you do not register before this date you risk your business’ domain name being purchased by someone else.

Once open to the public, the domain names will be granted on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. As such, not registering during the priority period could open the door for cybercriminals, who may apply and register your equivalent domain name and impersonate your business.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) recommends that all Australian businesses with an existing domain name register for their ‘.au’ equivalent before the closing of the priority period to help protect their website and reduce their risk of being targeted in a cyber-attack.

Link to Apply

To learn more about the priority allocation process, and to start applying for your new domain name, visit the auDA accredited registrar website.

This article was written by Davidsons’ Marketing Coordinator Meghan Carr in collaboration with the team from Arthur St. Digital.