auDA announces registration for .au direct namespaces to commence from March 2022

.au direct domains will be available as a new option for Australian internet users.

Australian Domain Name Administrator (auDA) has announced it will release new .au direct namespaces from 24 March 2022 to give individuals and businesses more choice of Australian domain names.

The not-for-profit policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain space said when .au direct is released, Australians will be able to register names directly before the .au, such as getyour.au.

It added that the move would complement existing Australian namespaces, such as com.au, net.au, edu.au, gov.au, and org.au, as well as allow users to register shorter, more memorable online names, and provide names that are easier to type and display on mobile devices.

"I am delighted to announce .au direct will be available from March 2022, providing consumers the opportunity to licence shorter, eye-catching names and bringing Australia in line with most other country code top-level domains including the United Kingdom (.uk), Canada (.ca), the USA (.us) and New Zealand (.nz)," auDA CEO Rosemary Sinclair said.

"The trusted, reliable, and uniquely Australian .au domain has been supporting Australians online for more than 35 years and the launch of .au direct is an exciting innovation, delivering enhanced opportunities for Australian internet users." 

Anyone with a verified Australian presence, including businesses, associations, government entities and individuals, will be eligible to register a .au direct name through an auDA accredited registrar, subject to auDA's licensing rules and the priority allocation process.

The priority allocation process is being introduced to allow existing holders of a .au domain first dibs to apply for priority status through an auDA accredited registrar to register the exact match of their existing domain name at the .au direct level. For example, during the six-month priority allocation period, which launches from the start date, the pre-existing registrant of getyour.com.au can apply for priority status for getyour.au.

If registrants do not apply, corresponding names will be made available for registration by the public after this six-month period, the auDA said.

Or in the event that more than one interested registrant applies for priority status for the same reserved .au direct name -- for example, if one registrant holds the licence for getyour.com.au and the other has getyour.net.au -- the name will be allocated, according to auDA, by the existing domain name creation date and the priority cut-off date of 4 February 2018.

Unlike existing Australian namespaces such as com.au and org.au that have specific allocation criteria, there is no allocation criteria that determines which names an eligible person can register in the .au direct namespace.

In mid-April, new rules were introduced by auDA for com.au, net.au, org.au, and asn.au namespaces in the .au domain came into effect.

The new rules were introduced to streamline and simplify around 30 policies and guidelines that governed the .au domain.

"This signifies an important step forward in .au governance -- modernising the policy framework, ensuring the .au domain can respond to the changing needs of internet users, and continuing to build trust and confidence in .au namespaces," Sinclair said of its introduction.

Changes included eligibility and allocation rules for some namespaces -- com.au, net.au, org.au, and asn.au; the terms and conditions for .au domain names; the complaints process; and how auDA manages rule compliance.

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