You will most likely have already heard about the new .AU Direct domain name, but just in case you’ve missed it, here is a quick recap….
What Is .AU Direct?
.AU Direct domains are an additional domain type that can be registered by Australian businesses and organisations. Registrations for .AU Direct domains commenced on March 24th 2022. Existing owners of .com.au or any other current .au domain types (ie. .net.au, .org.au etc) are being provided with an exclusive period (called “Priority Allocation”) where they can register the equivalent .AU Direct domain of any existing .au domain they own. For example, we are the owners of unbrandedspace.com.au and as such we alone are able to order unbrandedspace.au (and have done so). If we failed to purchase the .AU Direct domain before September 20th 2022, then the domain becomes available for anyone to register.
Sometimes a domain may be contested. If two .au domains exist for a name, but are owned by separate businesses, then this domain becomes contested. So for example, if mybusiness.com.au and mybusiness .net.au are both registered but to completely different organisations, then both organisations can apply for the domain during the Priority Allocation period. The decision as to who gets the domain comes down to a number of factors, which we won’t cover here, but you can read all about it on the auDA website.
Why You Might Want to Register a .AU Direct Domain
We’ll cover the question of “Need” shortly, but for now, let’s look at the reasons why you might want to register a .AU Direct Domain.
.AU Direct Domains are Shorter
.AU Direct domains may only be 4 characters less than the .com.au counterpart, but in the online space, any reduction in the length of your domain is saving your customers time. It’s going to be quicker to type in that browser address bar – especially for mobile users.
It also looks better visually, both on-screen and in print. Try it! Type out your current business name (eg. mybusiness.com.au). Now try it with just .au (mybusiness.au). It looks better, doesn’t it? This is because it is simpler. The perfect time to introduce your new .AU Direct domain is during a rebrand, but you want to make sure you can secure that domain name during the Priority Allocation period, even if the rebrand might be a few years away.
Benefit from the Reliability of an Australian Domain.
Like other .au domains, the .AU Direct domain communicates your Australian presence. While a .com domain can be registered by anyone from anywhere in the world, all businesses registering .au domains are verified as legally registered entities within Australia. Your customers will feel more confident that they are dealing with a reliable and trustworthy business.
Why You Might Need to Register a .AU Direct Domain
In deciding why you need a .AU Direct domain for your existing .au domain, you need to consider the consequences of someone else obtaining it. What could they do to hurt your business?
Protect Your Business
You might be thinking that because you have a business name registered then no one else is going to be able to operate online with your name. However, the business entity name and the online business name do not have to match. You are better protected if you have trademarked your name, but even then should someone else decide to operate an online business website with the same name as yours, then getting that business to shut down or change its name is not a simple task.
The introduction of .AU Direct domains, has opened up the potential for a second party to operate an online business with a close or even exact match of your business name. Why would they do this? If your business is perceived as being successful, then the second party may benefit from your existing website traffic either as an intentional or unintentional move. They may start encroaching on your online search traffic or they may just benefit from users forgetting to type “.com” when entering your domain name. As .AU Direct domains start to become more popular, then this will become even more likely.
Protect Your Brand
If you choose not to purchase your .AU Direct domain then you also run the risk of leaving your brand open to significant damage from scammers who purchase the domain. Although there are processes in place to limit this through the registration process, the reality is that it can still happen. There are a number of ways your brand could be damaged:
Lose Control of Your Brand
Someone could create a website that posts defamatory, obscene or illegal content. If a customer accidentally finds this site while searching for your business, then a negative association with your brand has been made. Even though they may understand that the content has nothing to do with your business, on some level this association has become a part of that customer’s engagement with your brand.
Scams & Spam
Email scams can be sent out using an infinite number of emails addresses attached to the .AU Direct variant of your domain. The customer receiving these emails might just see your business name in the address and not realise that the domain is not owned by you.
Prevent Imitators with Malicious Intent
You expose your customers to Phishing scams, where scammers create a duplicate of your site using the .AU Direct variant of your domain. This site could then be used to obtain customer information or force the download of a malicious script/virus. Again this is not directly your fault, but your customer may on some level hold you indirectly responsible and may be reluctant to use your online services again.
Choosing to Get Your .AU Direct Domain Should Be an Easy Decision.
We hope that we have provided a compelling argument for why you need a .AU Direct domain, but we also hope that we have provided positive reasons as to why you might want one. Registering a .AU Direct domain provides protection and security for your business online but also provides you with an opportunity to improve your branding and brand recognition online.
If you are thinking about rebranding your business, then doing this with a new .AU Direct domain is a perfect time. Unbranded Space can design and build a compelling online experience for your customers. We will also ensure a smooth transition from your existing domain ensuring your search and web traffic transition smoothly to your new .AU Direct Domain.