On 12 April 2021 a new set of rules for the .au domain took effect. These are the .au Domain Administration Rules: Licensing (.au Licensing Rules).
The new rules contain a range of changes that will affect the monetisation of .au domain names.
‘Domain monetisation’ broadly refers to the practice of registering a domain name licence to generate revenue from advertising on a website associated with the domain name.
Domain monetisation is allowed in the com.au, net.au and .au direct namespaces but must be undertaken in accordance with the rules.
When the new rules will apply
Domain names created, transferred or renewed on after 10:00 AEST 12 April 2021 are subject to the .au Licensing Rules.
If the current licence period for your .au domain name began before 10:00 AEST 12 April 2021, the legacy published policies in place at the start of your current licence period apply. If you renew your .au domain name the .au Licensing Rules will apply.
Monetisation under the auDA Rules
Domain Name Monetisation is prohibited in the org.au, asn.au, id.au, edu.au and the State and Territory namespaces. It is allowable in com.au, net.au and .au direct.
To register a domain name for monetisation, registrants simply need to meet the eligibility requirements for .au direct, or the eligibility and allocation requirements for the com.au or net.au name they wish to register or renew.
As long as the eligibility and allocation rules are met, registrants can monetise a domain name, or transfer a com.au/net.au/.au direct domain name licence to another eligible registrant.
You can register com.au/net.au/.au direct domain name licenses for the purpose of transferring them to another registrant
Under the .au Licensing Rules, a registrant who meets the eligibility criteria for .au direct, or the eligibility and allocation criteria for com.au/net.au, can register a com.au, net.au or .au direct domain name licence for the sole purpose of transferring it to another registrant who also meets the eligibility criteria. Leasing or sub-licensing of .au domain names is prohibited under the .au Licensing Rules.
What to do if these changes affect you
To ensure you remain eligible to hold your domain name you may need to update the basis on which your name meets the eligibility or allocation criteria.
While you will need to assess what is best for your own circumstances, you may wish to register a matching business name to ensure you meet the allocation criteria.
Registrants should review the allocation criteria set out in clause 2.4.4 of the new licensing rules.
If you wish to rely on your domain name being a match or synonym of the name of a service you provide, you will need to be able to describe the service that you provide, supply the name of that service, and demonstrate that you provide the service under that name.