To .au or not to .au

(That is the question)

The big news this week is that Aussie businesses can now grab a .au website address! OooooOOOOOooooo 🤩

Here is a quick summary of what you need to know about this change:

What is this change?

Well, now you can buy a new website domain for your business that is simply .au at the end (eg. www.crispcommsco.au) – previously the only Australia-specific domains available were .com.au, .net.au or .org.au (eg. www.crispcomms.com.au) and other non-specific domains name like .co, .org, .net, etc.

This means that Australian web addresses will soon be shorter, allowing people to drop the .com for the first time ever.

Why is this a big deal?

In short, for most small businesses it’s not a huge change.

HOWEVER, a shorter website address does look more snappy and is less likely to be typed in incorrectly. Two thumbs up!

For bigger businesses, with a lot of brand recognition, this is a bit more of a dealio (more on that later).

Who can use this?

To grab your .au domain, you will need to demonstrate that you or your business has a connection to Australia.

Previously, to purchase a .com.au you needed to have an ABN and you had to be a charity or not-for-profit to get a .org.au domain.

Should you take the plunge?

If you have a .com.au, .net.au or .org.au domain already… you might be thinking why would you need another domain?

The main reason is to protect your brand. If you don’t have the .au equivalent registered in your name, then it is free for anyone else to register it in theirs. This could cause issues for searchability, fraud or your business’s name getting tarnished. To avoid a website being set up with a similar name to yours, go ahead and grab your .au domain (businesses with equivalent .com.au accounts are given priority for the next 6 months).

If you have another domain (eg. .net, .org)… then I suggest go ahead and register for a .au domain.

Why? A few reasons…

Most buyers preference working with businesses in their own country (especially with online buying / payments), so showing the world that you’re Aussie through your domain name can be good for business.

Having a .com.au or .au also helps Google show your page to more Australian audiences.

So for the sake of a few extra bucks a year (mine cost $8.97!), I believe it is worth the peace of mind.

What if your .au isn't available?

If your business name is trademarked, you can lodge a complaint if someone tries to buy your equivalent .au domain.

If you aren’t trademarked, that becomes harder (near impossible if they have trademarked the name!). However, you can still lodge a complaint to the auDA (the organisation that regulates Aussie domains), and go from there.

If you cannot get that .au domain, it might be time to assess: is this a risk to my business? And start to think of a plan of attack – I can certainly help you weigh up your options in the first instance.

So, that’s my breakdown of the biggest nerd news of the week.

I hope that you enjoyed it. If you have any questions – please get in touch!

Stay Crispy, xo Abi

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