Most of us are used to seeing the various types of domain names that are used around the world. For example, we are accustomed to seeing domain names that use top-level domains like “.com” (e.g., “.net” (e.g., “.org” (e.g., etc. 

We are also familiar with domain names that use second-level domains. For example, in Australia, commercial entities commonly use second-level domains like “” and “”, and Australian educational institutions often use the second level domain “”. 

Domain names that use second-level domains like “”, “” “”, etc, have been available since 1986.  However, it has not previously been possible to register domain names that use the top-level domain “.au” like e.g.  That is about to change.

The 24th of March 2022 marks the arrival of a new domain name regime which will allow businesses to register shorter so-called “.au Direct” domain names like e.g.  This has been released by the .au Domain Administration (auDA) which is the governing body for all .au domain names.

The “.au Direct” namespace is intended to complement, rather than replace the existing second-level domain namespaces (like e.g. “”, “”, etc), and to provide domain holders with the option to register “shorter, simpler domain names”.  The new so-called “.au Direct” namespaces will therefore be available for general use (unlike certain second level domains like e.g. domain names which are reserved exclusively for not-for-profit entities, and “” domain names which are reserved for educational institutions). 

Existing second level domain owners will receive automatic eligibility to apply for Priority Status Allocation.  This means that if you already own, you will be eligible for a priority status for  The priority allocation will be reserved for six months.  This means that you will have until 24 September 2022 to apply for the new top level domain name.

In cases where there may be multiple parties eligible for a particular new domain name in the .au namespace, auDA have developed a priority system.  Under the priority system, any business whose existing domain name was created before 4 February 2018 will be given priority.  The next level of priority will be given to businesses with existing domain names created after that date.   If there are multiple businesses with first priority then negotiations will need to take place between them, etc.

Whilst it is not necessary for a business to change to or even register a new .au domain name, doing so may be useful to improve web traffic and create increased online visibility.  It may also provide customers/clients with an easier web address (domain name) to remember.

Businesses who wish to apply for a new “.au Direct” domain name will need to make sure they meet the auDA licensing and eligibility rules.  The general requirements are to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident or a legal organization that is registered in Australia (although there are ways that foreign individuals and entities can meet the necessary eligibility requirements as well).

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