The Frightening Truth About .au Domains

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Don’t Let Your Domain Be Abducted

Recently, I wrote about the importance of securing your .au direct domain name and since then, I’ve been shook. Like, literal chills down my spine! The frightening truth about .au direct names and what I’m about to share should freak you out… as should my predictions about the future of the .au domain space.

Originally only those who had previously registered the .com.au, .net.au or other .au variation of a domain actually qualified for the .au direct version. Those organisations also needed to have legally owned the original .com.au or .net.au version of their domain for more than 6 months prior to submitting their order for the .au equivalent. 

Sounds fair right? 

Well, it was – up until October 4th, 2022!

After registering well over 70 .au direct domain names for our amazing clients alone, and jumping through all of the pre-registration hoops for each one, we’ve realised a shocking truth.

ANYONE CAN NOW PURCHASE ANY .AU DOMAIN NAME

The .com.au and .net.au Hoops

The pre-qualification period has been lifted and now, if you have left your .au direct name on the table… anyone in Australia can purchase it without you even knowing.

In the industry, it’s widely known and accepted that in order to register a .com.au or .net.au, you had to a commercial entity, plus the domain name applied for must also qualify for one of 6 other criteria including; that it needs to match or be an acronym of the applicant’s company, business, statutory or Personal name and match an Australian Trade Mark. 

Even an .org.au needs to be a legitimate profit entity and is also held to similar name matching criteria as .com.au and .net.au domains.

Then, for some freaky reason… .au direct domain names are different.

How Easy It Is For ANYONE To Register A .au Direct Domain

Your .au direct domain name could already be the legal property of someone else without you knowing.

Now that the pre-qualification period is over, anyone in Australia can register a .au direct domain… including the one that, just earlier this month, should have been yours.

“To register a .au domain name you must have an Australian presence, which includes being a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or being an organisation registered in Australia.”AUDA

This is great news for local bloggers, hobbyists and anyone wanting an Australian web presence without going through the hassle of registering an official business. Until now, these people had to settle for the .com or a non-Aussie variation, but this is terrifying for business owners. It’s now more vital than ever to register your .au direct domain variation to ensure it’s secure.

I’ve been hearing reports from colleagues saying that some domain registrars (suppliers)are accepting direct domain orders with just an Australian license or passport. No ABN, no registered company or entity. And this has been a big worry.

My .au Direct Domain Abduction Fear + Predictions

The fact that .au direct domains can be registered by any Australian resident scares me. It’s one thing for a competitor to purchase a domain name that ought to be yours, but then there’s the extra risk that your neighbour could do the same. Even a disgruntled customer or former employee could cause a little havoc by registering your .au domain name without you even knowing about it. They could apply an add-on service called “Domain Privacy” and you’d never know who legally owned the domain you should have registered.

Now that the pre-qualification period has lifted, here are my predictions:

  1. I suspect there are already domain traders out there buying up as many .au domains as they can with the intention of selling them back to Aussie business owners like you for a ridiculous premium.
  2. That some scammers will look to purchase .au direct domains of prominent companies and mimic their websites online to fool customers. Most people wouldn’t notice that the website or email addresses have changed from something like domainanme.com.au to domainname.au.
  3. Over the next few years, there will be a wave of business owners kicking themselves for not securing the .au direct version of their domain names because they’ve already been purchased by their competitors or someone else. I believe this will cause a surge in complaints to the AUDA (the administrator of Australia’s .au top-level domain) plus potential legal interventions.

  4. Websites will start being built directly on the .au direct version.

I also predict that over the next few years that it will become second nature for us to drop the “.com” when we say domain names. In my recent article How To Protect Your Brand In 2022 – The Importance Of Securing Your .au Domain Name, I highlight similar predictions along with the benefits of having a .au direct domain name.

Ready To Stop Your Domain From Being Abducted?

Step 1. Register your .au direct domain asap!
That’s our advice, pure and simple.

Need a hand to secure your domain name?
We can assist. We go one step further and redirect your new .au direct domain name to point to your existing website. This means that if someone forgets to type in the .com in your domain name, they’ll still be able to find you.

Get Started With A FREE 15 Minute Consultation