The new .au direct domain is here. Why you need to register yours now

14 July 2022
.au domains
Smarter Business

auDA, the administrator of Australia’s .au top level domain, recently announced that Australian internet users can now register for .au direct domain names.

This presents an opportunity for small businesses to own the exact .au direct match of their existing domain, but there are some risks to manage. Here, we outline what the .au launch means for you and what you can do next to register and protect your business online.

There are more than 3.3 million active domain names ending in .au in Australia, commonly in namespaces such as and The addition of .au direct domain names – such as – is an exciting update to the Australian digital landscape. They’re shorter and simpler, and as of 24 March 2022, eligible Australians are now able to register for them.

Following auDA’s announcement, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) issued an alert advising businesses to secure the .au direct domain name connected to their business name – or they could leave themselves open to opportunistic cyber crime.

If your business already owns the exact match domain name in another .au namespace (like or, you are encouraged to register for your .au direct domain name before 20 September 2022, when registration opens to the general public. The ACSC warns that after this date, businesses could be vulnerable to phishing, ‘business email compromise’ and other forms of cyber crime. It could also leave you open to ‘domain flipping’, a perfectly legal money-making practice in which someone buys a domain and resells it for a higher price.

Paul Mather, Product Lead, Telstra Business Website Services, highlights the importance of owning your brand – including all relevant domain names. “It’s essential to invest in your brand online – don’t let others take advantage of all the marketing efforts you have invested over the years,” he says.

Benefits of registering your .au direct domain name

Registering your matching .au direct domain name before 20 September is quick and low-cost. Here is why it’s worth your while.

  • It prevents anyone else from buying it, whether they’re cyber criminals or others looking to flip domains.
  • It’s inexpensive. Prices will vary depending on your registrar (the accredited agency you choose to provide domain services to you).
  • You don’t have to use it or create a new website. You can keep using your main website address and redirect the new .au direct domain to that existing address.

As well as being a great way to ensure you are in control of your brand on the internet, registering for a .au direct domain can help you when the time comes to launch new projects or events: you will already own a place online that can house a microsite for a new product, for example. It can also offer you a short, memorable name for a new business idea.

Why you should secure your .au direct domain name before 20th September

The business risks of not registering for your .au direct domain exact match before 20th September may range from inconvenient to expensive, and even damaging to your business’s reputation. Here’s how.

  • You and another business could both be legitimately eligible for the new domain name. If you don’t register before 20 September and the other business does, they will be allocated the .au direct domain.
  • Someone could buy the domain and try to resell it to you for a higher price.
  • Someone could buy the domain and impersonate your business online, trading off your business’s reputation to make sales for themselves.
  • A cyber criminal could buy the domain and create email addresses that look like yours to launch phishing attacks on your customers, staff or suppliers.
  • More people are eligible, which means there is more demand. Registration for .au direct domain names is open to everyone with an Australian presence, unlike the namespace, which is only available to people with an Australian ABN or ACN.

Paul Mather says disruptive incidents in which third parties acquire other people’s domain names are more common than you might think.

“We often hear stories like these. More recently, a client was forced to pay $2,750 to get their domain back after it was accidentally cancelled and bought by someone else. Make sure you put checks in place to protect your brand to ensure no one else can claim it.”

The more serious events may feel unlikely to happen to your business, but just as you’d purchase an insurance policy to protect your premises from storms or fire, it’s worth playing it safe to avoid the risks.


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