Australia’s newest namespace, .au direct, launched on 24 March 2022. One year on, it’s making an impact as the second largest namespace in .au, behind only com.au. To learn more about the new namespace, auDA’s Chief Operations Officer, Dr Bruce Tonkin, hosted a webinar to mark the anniversary and take us through .au direct insights, trends and updates. Here are our top takeaways.
1. .au direct is improving utility of the .au domain for Australians
The launch of .au direct enabled Australians to register shorter, more memorable domain names directly before the .au for the first time. It was the largest innovation in .au in 20 years. The last significant change was in 2002 when the com.au namespace was expanded to allow the registration of dictionary words. Like the com.au change, .au direct has opened up greater choice for registrants.
Registration data indicates that .au direct is of appeal to Australian citizens and not-for-profits. Prior to the introduction of .au direct, more than 90 per cent of total registrations in the .au domain were made by businesses and only two per cent were made by not-for-profit organisations and 0.4 per cent by citizens. In March 2023, 85 per cent of new .au direct registrations were made by businesses, nine per cent by not-for-profits and six per cent by citizens.
This demonstrates that .au direct supports a broader group of registrants to participate in the digital economy through .au.
2. Australians have embraced .au direct
In the year since launch, Australians have leapt at the opportunity to register .au direct domain names . As at March 2023, there are more than 740,000 .au direct domain names registered. This accounts for 18 per cent of total registrations in the .au domain, second only to com.au, which accounts for a huge 75 per cent of total registrations in .au.
As a result of demand for .au direct domain names, the .au domain overall grew by more than 20 per cent in 2022. According to Verisign, .au is now the seventh largest country code Top Level Domain and the tenth largest Top Level Domain globally.
3. The Priority Allocation Process helped registrants licence matching .au direct domain names
Between March and September 2022, existing .au registrants (those who held a .au domain name registered before the launch of .au direct), were given priority to apply for the .au direct match of their existing domain name via the Priority Allocation Process (e.g. the existing registrant of getyour.com.au had priority to register getyour.au, if they wished to do so).
Where there were two or more eligible priority applications for the same .au direct domain name, the name was not immediately allocated to either party. These .au direct domain names are referred to as contested names. More than 450,000 instances of contention were resolved through the Priority Allocation Process. Only around 6,000 .au direct domain names remain in contention, representing fewer than one per cent of all .au direct names registered.
4. Priority applications for contested .au direct domain names must be renewed annually
To remain in contention for a contested .au direct domain name, applicants must continue to hold an active priority application and renew it annually. The first renewal for priority applications fall on 20 September 2023 (UTC). Annual renewals will occur on 20 September each following year.
Failing to renew your priority application means it will lapse and you will fall out of contention for the .au direct domain name. When one active application remains, the .au direct domain name will be allocated to the remaining applicant.
Read more in our Priority Allocation Process fact sheet.
5. If you registered a .au direct name around launch, it may be time to renew your licence
You must renew your licence before it expires to continue to hold and use your .au direct domain name. Renewals open 90 days prior to your licence expiry date. Your registrar will send you a reminder email as the end of your licence period approaches. To ensure you do not miss these emails, make sure you keep your contact information up to date and check your spam folder to ensure important emails from your registrar are not going there unnoticed by you.
.au domain name licences can be registered for a duration of one, two, three, four or five years. If you registered a one-year licence for a .au direct domain name around the time of its launch in March 2022, it may be time to renew your licence. You can confirm your domain name licence expiry date at pw.auda.org.au.
Read more in our .au renewals fact sheet.