Updated 23 August 2022
auDA held webinars on .au direct on 23 August 2022, 3 March 2022 and 30 September 2021.
Strong audience interest at each of these sessions saw that we received more questions from attendees than the time allowed. These questions have been summarised and auDA responses are set out below.
We have also added some frequently asked questions about .au direct.
1. What consultation did auDA undertake when deciding to proceed with .au direct and the chosen Priority Allocation Process and did it balance views from all participants?
auDA undertook extensive public consultation before proceeding with .au direct. Feedback received was overwhelmingly in favour of .au direct being launched for the benefit of the .au domain and Australian Internet users. Key consultation included:
- 2015 Names Policy Panel: Two six‐week public consultations following which the Panel recommended the introduction of .au direct registration with a request for further work on the allocation method
- 2017 Policy Review Panel: Public consultation from 4 February 2018 to February 2019 following which the Panel recommended the Priority Allocation Process for the introduction of .au direct
- Public consultation on the final report of the 2017 Policy Review Panel: Consultation conducted in 2019 including face-to-face forums and online workshops.
Following consultations, the auDA Board considered the views of a broad range of stakeholders – including written submissions and a survey of 97,000 registrants – and found the majority of respondents in favour of .au direct. It was agreed auDA should proceed with .au direct.
2. What consultation did auDA undertake on the cut-off date?
auDA undertook extensive public consultation on its implementation of the 2017 Policy Review Panel recommendations in the .au namespace implementation rules during October 2019, and noted that the launch of au would be delayed until at least mid-2020.
Face-to-face consultation sessions were held in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, and online sessions were held in multiple time-zones.
In relation to the cut-off date:
- The concept of the two categories of priority domains, the need for a cut-off date, and the choice of the cut-off date received strong support
- Existing registrants who created names well before 4 February 2018 generally supported the idea of the contention process
- Registrants who had more recently registered new domain names in com.au accepted that the first person to register a particular name after the cut-off date would have priority
- 65% of respondents agreed that the cut-off date of 4 February 2018 was still appropriate, despite the launch of second level names being delayed until mid-2020
- 73% of respondents agreed that auDA had the right balance between protecting the interests of existing and new registrants.
3. What is the eligibility criteria for .au direct registrants?
Anyone who meets the eligibility requirement of having an Australian presence can register a .au direct domain name from a participating auDA accredited registrar. This includes registered businesses and not-for-profit organisations, sole traders, Australian citizens, and holders of an Australian trademark. The full definition of an Australian presence can be found in Section 1.4 of the .au licensing rules.
A person applying for a .au domain name will need to provide evidence of their Australian presence, which will be validated by registrars prior to registration of a domain name licence.
4. Does the namespace I’m registered in (e.g. net.au or org.au) affect my priority?
No. Your creation date determines your priority category, not the namespace. Learn more about priority categories here.
5. How long can I register a .au direct name for?
You can register new .au direct names for 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 years.
Names allocated under the Priority Allocation Process where there are multiple possible applicants for the same name, will include one-year of registration from the date that the domain name licence is allocated.
6. What methods can I use to validate my Australian presence?
You can validate your Australian presence using methods including:
- Australian Business Number (ABN)
- Australian Company Number (ACN)
- Australian Trademark Number
- Australian driver licence issued by a State or Territory Government authority
- Australian Passport
- Australian shooter or firearm licence
- Australian security licence
- Australian birth certificate
- Australian permanent residency visa
- Australian Citizenship Certificate
- Australian Certificate of Registration by Descent.
Registrars may have preferred methods for validation. Some may pass on fees where validation methods incur costs.
7. If registrants need to provide documentation like passports or drivers licenses to register, how will auDA ensure this personal data is protected?
As the administrator of Australian critical infrastructure, auDA is committed to the highest standards of information security management for our organisation and supply chain.
auDA and the .au registry operator are independently certified to the international ISO 27001 Information Security Management System (ISMS) standard, follow the security controls in the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) Essential Eight, and implement global DNS security standards such as DNSSEC.
auDA has also conducted a baseline security audit of all registrars that will be eligible to offer .au direct and is working with all registrars to achieve ISO 27001 certification.
8. Are all currently registered .au domain names eligible to apply for .au direct name?
All existing domain registrations in the .au registry prior to launch on 24 March 2022 are eligible to apply for Priority Allocation, regardless of the namespace they are registered in, including gov.au and edu.au.
The type of namespace does not impact the priority of the name, only the date of registration.
Some names will be reserved from registration for reasons including security or appropriate functioning of Government.
Priority Allocation Process
9. What is the process for applying for Priority Allocation and what are the cut-off dates and times?
You can participate in the Priority Allocation Process up until 20 September 2022 23:59 UTC (9:59AM AEST 21 September) by applying via a participating auDA accredited registrar. You do not need to apply via your existing registrar.
To apply for Priority Status with a registrar, you will need to provide a username and password (known as a priority-token) to prove you are the registrant of the name you are applying with. You can retrieve your token here. A link to retrieve the priority token will be sent to the Registrant email address as recorded in the registry at: https://whois.auda.org.au/
Priority applications must be made by 20 September 2022 (23:59 UTC 20 September / 9:59AM AEST 21 September). After that time, names that are not subject to an application will become available to the general public.
Priority Categories determine how a name is allocated in a small fraction of cases where more than one registrant may be eligible to apply for Priority Status for the same .au direct name.
- Priority Category 1: Names with a creation date in the registry on or before the Priority Status cut-off date of 4 February 2018 23:59:59 UTC
- Priority Category 2: Names with a creation date in the registry after the Priority Status cut-off date of 4 February 2018 23:59:59 UTC.
Find out more about the Priority Allocation here.
10. Is there a tool to check:
a) The creation date of domains?
auDA does not publish the creation dates of domains to protect registrants from scams and renewal fraud by malicious actors. See ScamWatch advice here.
To check the creation date of your domain name you will need to contact your registrar, or you can retrieve using the tool at https://pw.auda.org.au/. This will send the creation date to the registrant contact email address recorded in the registry at: https://whois.auda.org.au/
b) The priority status of my domain name?
A Priority Status Tool is available on the auDA website and allows registrants to check the priority status of their domains. The tool allows registrants to identify whether a name is in Priority Category 1 or Priority Category 2, and the order in which related names were created in the registry.
11. At the end of the six-month Priority Application Period, who will be able to register .au direct names that have not been contested?
The Priority Application Period concludes on 20 September 2022 (23:59 UTC 20 September / 9:59AM AEST 21 September). Uncontested names can be registered by any applicant who meets the eligibility criteria for .au direct from 3 October 2022 (21:00 UTC 3 October / 8:00AM AEDT 4 October).
12. What if the names are contested / multiple parties with Category 1 names cannot reach an agreement?
If multiple parties cannot reach an agreement, the .au direct domain name will remain reserved from registration until the dispute is resolved.
Each party will need to renew their application for Priority Status annually if they wish to remain in contention for the .au direct name.
13. If a Priority Category 1 applicant holds a com.au name, but the ABN used to meet eligibility criteria has expired, is the applicant still able to apply for the corresponding .au direct name?
To be eligible for Priority Allocation, you must hold your existing domain name in compliance with auDA’s licensing rules.
Applicants must update their .au registrant eligibility information (Registrant Name, Registrant ID, Eligibility Type, Eligibility Name, and Eligibility ID) for their existing domain name in the .au registry prior to applying for the matching .au direct name. If your domain is not compliant with the .au licensing rules, you will not be eligible to apply for Priority Allocation.
14. If other parties eligible to contest a name through the Priority Application Process ultimately decline to apply for the corresponding .au direct name, will the other eligible applicants be notified?
You can use the priority status tool to check the status of other possible applicants at any time. If other eligible parties decline to apply for the corresponding .au name, and your application is the only eligible application left, the name will be automatically allocated to you. Your registrar will advise you if the .au direct name has been allocated to you.
15. If a domain has been transferred between registrants, will the creation date be the date the domain was originally registered or the date of transfer?
The creation date remains the date a domain was originally created as recorded in the registry.
16. If the registrant ID changes, does that affect my priority status?
The creation date of the domain name in the registry determines priority status.
17. Did auDA consider revising the priority cut-off date considering it was originally determined in 2017?
auDA undertook extensive consultation on the cut-off date at the end of 2019, and a clear majority of the community supported keeping the cut-off date as 4 February 2018.
Based on this consultation, auDA considers the current cut-off date remains sound.
18. How soon after applying for Priority Allocation, will I get my .au direct name?
.au direct names will be allocated shortly after Priority has been determined:
- Where there are no contested applicants, the .au direct name will be immediately registered.
- Where names are contested, we expect the name will be allocated within 24 hours of the contention being resolved.
20. Will expired .au direct names drop as they do for com.au?
Support for small businesses
20. What is the support for small businesses to help them understand .au direct?
auDA has undertaken a broad-based marketing campaign across radio, television, outdoor billboards and digital channels to raise awareness of .au direct for the public.
We will also continue to:
- Post updated materials on our website and social media
- Provide regular updates to .au members via our weekly member newsletters
- Engage with government departments, industry associations like the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) and chambers of commerce around Australia to inform their members of these changes and available resources
- Speak at a range of forums about .au direct in the lead up to and after launch.
In addition to this, .au registrars have directly contacted their .au domain name customers with information on how to apply for .au direct names as well as undertaking their own marketing activities.
If you would like to stay informed on matters relating to the .au, you can also join auDA’s .au member program, here.
21. Do businesses need to take up .au direct?
There is no obligation to take up .au direct. It is a choice for businesses and individuals to make after considering whether it is beneficial to them. We believe the new namespace will be of interest to many new and existing businesses and individuals as it:
- Delivers a greater choice of online names in the trusted Australian domain
- Allows users to register shorter, more memorable online names, facilitating greater consumer engagement
- Provides names that are easier to type and display on mobile phones.
.au direct expands the options businesses already have when setting up an online presence, similar to the business decision to register more than one domain name, for example com.au and .com.
Businesses with the same or similar names already co-exist without eroding trust or security – that is why different namespaces were created.
22. Which registrars will I be able to register a .au direct name and do I need to apply through my existing registrar for Priority Allocation?
You can find a list of registrars offering .au direct at the bottom of this webpage here.
You may apply to register a .au direct name through any accredited registrar offering .au direct, it does not need to be your existing registrar. For more information see question 9.
23. Can I transfer my name between registrars if I’ve applied and am waiting for an outcome for Priority Allocation?
24. Do I need a priority token if I’m applying with the same registrar?
Registrars have access to the priority token associated with domains under their management, but most registrars will request that you provide the priority token so that they can authenticate that you are eligible to apply for the matching name in .au direct.
25. What will the fee be to apply for .au direct and why is a fee required?
An application fee is charged for Priority Applications in .au direct to cover processes to validate an applicant’s eligibility to apply for the corresponding .au direct name and contribute to registry operations.
The wholesale registration fee set by auDA for .au direct is the same as existing wholesale fees for com.au, and the wholesale Priority Application fee will include one year of registration for successful applicants.
Consumer registration fees for .au names are set by registrars.
26. If a .au direct name is in contention and the matter is not resolved within the initial one-year registration period, is there a need to pay the application fee for a further year to keep the name in contention?
Yes. The fee is applied to validate the applicant’s eligibility annually and contributes to ongoing costs related to managing domains that remain in contention.
27. Won't the registration requirements for .au direct lead to a rise in fraud and cyber crime?
Since .au direct launched in March 2022, auDA has seen no increase in fraudulent registrations and has also seen a decline in complaints received due to our strict validation requirements.
auDA’s Licensing Rules require .au direct registrants to prove their Australian presence and require our accredited registrars to validate this information.
.au sees very low rate of cybercrime, with police requests related to only 0.002 per cent of names in .au. auDA monitors DNS abuse threat feeds which show < 0.03 per cent of names in .au are reported for phishing, malware, or email spam. Of the abuse reported in .au, most is in fact due to hacked websites of businesses.
To keep .au secure from cybercrime, auDA has four levels of protection:
- Validation before registration
- Post-registration checks by auDA
- DNS Abuse threat intelligence feeds
- Complaints process.
These processes make .au one of the most secure domains in the world.
28. Will auDA take steps to prevent misleading domains, such as cim.au, from being registered?
Yes. auDA reserves names under clause 2.6 of the licensing rules. The categories of reserved names include:
- A word, acronym or abbreviation that is restricted or prohibited under an Australian law
- A name or abbreviation of an Australian state or territory, including the word ‘Australia’
- Names that may pose a risk to the security, stability and integrity of the .au and global Domain Name System
- Names that are necessary for the proper administration of government
- Names that are reserved for future use as second level domains.
29. Will the auDRP still apply if a trademark is infringed in .au direct?
Yes. Where disputes occur over eligibility and rights to hold .au domain names, auDA’s Licensing Rules and .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP) set out the processes for resolution. Trademark disputes are managed independently by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the Resolution Institute.
30. As an education provider, do I need to get a .au direct name?
The edu.au namespace is designed for educational institutions registered at federal or state level. This domain name space is managed by auDA in accordance with the .au Licensing .
While those with edu.au names can register .au direct, they are not required.
For edu.au registration information, please contact Education Services Australia.
id.au rule changes
31. If I’ve registered an id.au for a hobby, will my domain now stop working?
The new id.au rules took effect on 24 March 2022 at 00:00 (UTC).
If you have registered an id.au name that refers to a personal interest or hobby, you remain eligible for that name until your licence expires.
Under the new id.au, rules, the domain name must match a person’s name or nickname. A nickname means a familiar or humorous name given to a Person but does not include the name of a company, trademark, profession or service.
32. Can I use .au direct as my email address?
Yes, .au direct names can be used for email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org. This can be set up via your email service provider.