You may have received emails or reminders about registering the “.au” version of your business website. At first glance, it could appear to be yet another spam email – but there could be a legitimate opportunity for business owners in Australia if you act before the September deadline.
Here are some common questions small business owners have about the “.au” domain – and what they need to do next.
What is a .au domain?
The ‘domain’ refers to the name of your website, which is what people need to type in to find your website. Your current website domain might end in “.com.au”, “.net.au” or another version – and now you have a new, shorter domain option. If you secure the .au domain for your website, your business website could end in just “.au” to give people an even easier way to find your business online.
Why do I need a new domain?
It’s not compulsory – but if you don’t register your .au domain application before the deadline, somebody else might register it when it becomes available to the public.
That would mean someone could own a very similar version of your business website address, which probably isn’t what you want when you’re working to drive traffic (and potential customers) to your own website.
I’m very busy – can I sort this other domain out later?
The deadline to apply for the .au version of your existing domain name is 11.59pm UTC on 20 September 2022, which is 7.59am on 21 September in Western Australian time.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to submit your application to secure your .au domain – don’t leave it until the last minute in case you face some unexpected delays or technical issues.
From early October, website domains with “.au” which haven’t been secured by priority application will be available to the general public. You could still have the opportunity to register your business domain as an .au website if you don’t act before the September deadline – but it could also be too late.
Will I need a new website?
No, you can have your existing website directed to appear as your .au website. Speak with your web provider about this.
Of course, you could use your .au domain as the launchpad to start working on a completely rejuvenated website – but that depends on the amount of time, money and effort you’d like to invest. For website and digital marketing tips, you might like to book into one of our SBDC workshops or read our guide to Choosing a website professional.
Is it free to get my .au domain for my business?
Domain registration fees do apply. Just as you paid to secure your current website domain, there’s a cost to secure the .au version. Make sure you complete your registration application through a trusted provider – never provide payment details to a supplier you don’t trust.
While there’s a cost involved to secure your .au domain name, the good news is that you can claim domain name registration fees in your business tax return.
How do I apply for priority application?
Priority application means that you have owned the matching “.com.au” or “.net.au” (or similar) version of your domain since before 24 March 2022 – and you’d like apply for the the .au one to match, before the September deadline.
To apply, you can get in touch with your web host for details – or see the application process outlined by auDA.
The organisation .au Domain Administration Limited (auDA) develops and administers the rules for domain names in our .au country code.
Are there any risks if I don’t register my .au domain?
If you choose not to register the “.au” extension for your existing website domain, there is the potential that your business’s online identify could be at risk. From 3 October 2022, unclaimed .au domain names become available to the public (and potential scammers) to register from 3 October 2022.
Watch the video below to hear Consumer Protection General Manager of Compliance and Concilliation Paul Maher discuss what the .au domain change means for businesses from a risk perspective.
To learn more about .au domain names and the application process involved, see the tools and resources provided by auDA.
You can also sign up for our SBDC e-news for small business news just like this, every fortnight.