Launch of .au direct
The .au Domain Administration(auDA) has officially announced the launch of direct .au registration, a new namespace for all Australians on 24 March 2022. The launch of .au direct means Dove Hosting will be able to provide partners with domain names registrations directly before the .au (eg. yourclientsdomain.au).
It is important to note that .au direct is optional and will not affect any existing .au domain names.
Eligibility for all in Australia
Any business, association and individual with a local connection to Australia is eligible to register a .au direct name through Dove Australia.
Priority Allocation Process
Registrants with an existing .au domain name/license (eg. a registrant who holds domainexample.com.au) will have the first opportunity to register the exact match of their existing domain name at the direct level (eg. domainexample.au) through the Priority Allocation Process.
auDA has confirmed that exact matches of all names in the Australian registry prior to the launch of the new namespace will be reserved for .au direct during the six-month Priority Allocation Period, beginning in March 2022. In the event more than one registrant is eligible to apply for Priority Status for the same .au name, the name will be allocated according to priority categories, which will be determined by:
• Creation date of the existing domain name
• The Priority cut-off date of 4 February 2018, as outlined in auDA’s Priority Allocation Process.
Overview of the .au direct priority allocation process
When .au direct names launch on 24 March 2022, all names in the registry prior to launch will be reserved from being registered as .au names for the six-month Priority Allocation Period. Registrants of existing .au names will then have six months to apply for Priority Status to register the .au direct match of their name, if they would like to licence it. For example, the registrant of getyour.com.au can apply for priority to register getyour.au. In most cases the applicant will be allocated the .au direct name soon after they apply for it. In a small fraction of cases there is the potential that more than one person will apply for the same reserved .au direct name. This may occur where different registrants hold the same name in different namespaces . This is known as a contested name.
• Tina is the registrant of getyour.com.au
• Gene is the registrant of getyour.net.au
Both are eligible to apply for getyour.au
In these cases the .au direct name will be allocated according to priority categories determined by the existing domain name licence creation date and the priority cut-off date of 4 February 2018. See below for more information on contested names. If there are no applications for a reserved .au direct from an eligible registrant name during the six-month Priority Allocation Period, that name will become available to the public on a first come, first served basis at the close of the Priority Allocation Period. There is no obligation to apply to register the .au direct exact match of your existing domain name if you don’t want it. Your existing domain names will all continue to operate as normal and according to auDA policy regardless of whether you take up the option to register the matching .au direct name.
Who can apply for priority status
Registrants of .au domain names in the registry immediately before launch are eligible to take part in the Priority Allocation Process.
How to apply
You will be able to apply for Priority Status via the registrar of your existing .au domain name, or any other registrar offering direct .au domain names when the priority allocation period opens in March 2022. There will be a fee for lodging an application and, like the prices of domain name registrations, this fee will vary between registrars. You must ensure that you are eligible to hold the .au domain which forms the basis of your application, and your eligibility for your existing .au domain will be checked when you apply.
You will also need your domain password for your application to be accepted. Once you lodge your application you will be unable to update the registrant information associated with your domain name while your application remains active, so it is important to make sure it is up to date before you lodge your application. If you are allocated a name via the Priority Application Process, it will automatically be registered to you on an initial one-year licence. After this initial licence period you will be able to renew it for a licence period of up to five years.
In most cases there is only one registrant who can apply for a reserved .au direct name as they are the only holder of its match in another .au namespace. This is referred to as an uncontested name. In these cases, the applicant will be allocated the name on an initial one-year licence shortly after applying for Priority Status. e.g. Priya holds getyour.com.au, and there are no other instances of ‘getyour’ in any other .au namespace. Priya applies to register getyour.au and is allocated the name on a one-year licence shortly after. Even if your matching .au direct name is uncontested, you must apply for Priority Status if you wish to secure it, otherwise it will becomes publicly available on a first-come, first-served basis at the end of the six-month Priority Allocation Period.
Once you’ve submitted it, your Priority Status application is categorised based on the creation date of the domain name on which the application is based:
Priority category 1: Names created on or before the cut-off date of 4 February 2018
Priority category 2: Names created after the cut-off date of 4 February 2018
e.g. you hold getyour.com.au and it has a creation date of 1 March 2019, so your application for getyour.au is classified as priority category 2. Note that the cut-off date only determines which category your application falls into, not whether you can apply for Priority Status. You’ll be able to determine your priority category via an online tool which will launch soon.
How the priority categories determine who is allocated a contested .au direct name
Where there are multiple applications for a contested name, the following principles apply:
• Category 1 applicants have priority over category 2 applicants;
• Where there are multiple category 1 applications, the name is allocated on agreement/negotiation between the category 1 applicants;
• Where there are only category 2 applicants, the name is allocated to the applicant with the earliest creation date.
Negotiation between multiple category 1 applicants
Where there are multiple category 1 applications, those registrants will need to negotiate between themselves who is to be allocated the .au direct domain name they’ve both applied for. Applicants will be able to contact each other to discuss the name via the publicly available registrant contact information via the WHOIS .
Where an agreement is reached:
• Unsuccessful applicants withdraw their applications;
• The name is allocated.
Where no agreement is reached:
• The .au direct domain name remains reserved;
• Applicants will need to renew their application on a yearly basis;
• The name remains reserved until there is one active application.
When are contested names allocated?
When a contested name is allocated depends on the categories of all eligible applicants and which eligible registrants apply.
In cases where there is no contest or an applicant with a clear priority, the name is allocated shortly after the priority registrant lodges their application.
Contested names may take longer to resolve and allocation can happen either once an agreement is reached, or at the close of the Priority Allocation Period.
If you’ve missed out on the exact match of your name in .au direct, your existing domain name will be unaffected and will continue to operate according to .au policy, provided you keep your registration up-to-date.