.AU domains start next March 2022

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Currently in Australia, it is possible to register only third-level domains such as my-domain.com.au, but by March 24th, 2022, it will be possible to register second-level domains such as my-domain.au.

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The .au domain authorities (auDA) announced on their website that they would issue the new top-level domain .au (2nd level) on March 24th, 2022 and it will be available for registration from next year. Following a multi-year process that included public engagement and an independent policy review, potential Australian domain name registrants will be allowed to license shorter domain names that end in .au after the end of the year.

The auDA is responsible for the administration and development of the regulations governing domain names in the .au country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).

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The new auDA Rules are similar to the presently published policies, broadly the changes affect:

- the eligibility and allocation for .au domain names

- the terms and conditions for .au domain names

- the complaints process, and

- auDA management and compliance of the auDA Rules.

For the time being, any registrant of a domain name under the .au country code top-level domain must meet the eligibility requirements defined in Schedules A and C (com.au) and Schedule E (net.au) of the Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules for the Open 2LDs (Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy Rules). At present, foreign companies who use an Australian Trade Mark will meet the eligibility requirements as long as the domain name is an exact match of the Trade Mark.

If anyone wants to apply for or renew a domain name that is not an exact match to the Australian Trade Mark, they will need to choose another foundation on which the domain name satisfies the requirements for having an "Australian" presence. For example, the domain name may be transferred to a legal company that satisfies the requirements.

Foreigners may use the registration of a trademark in Australia as evidence of their presence in the country; however, the name of the domain must be an exact match of the trademark name. It is sufficient to have a trademark application in order to get a domain name; there is no need to wait for the trademark to be registered in order to obtain a domain name. The application procedure takes less than a week to complete in total.

If someone registers a third-level Australian domain (e.g.,.com.au) before March 24th, 2022, they may be able to claim precedence for the second level (.au) name when registration is open to the public. For those who already own a 3rd level Australian domain (com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au, or edu.au), there will be a priority period starting March 24th, 2022 and lasting for 6 months, during which they will be able to register their.au 2nd level domain with priority starting March 24th, 2022 and lasting for 6 months. After then, all domains will be made accessible on a first-come, first-served basis until they are all taken.

If two or more registrants have priority over the same domain, the allocation procedure will divide them into two groups: first, those who have priority over the domain and those who do not. Priority category 1 includes names that were established on or before the deadline of February 4, 2018. Priority category 2 includes names that were registered after the deadline of February 4, 2018.

In the case of several category 1 applications, the name is assigned based on agreement/negotiation amongst the category 1 applicants; in the case of just category 2 applications, the name is assigned to the applicant with the earliest creation date.

This is an opportunity for all those who have a third-level.AU domain but were unable to obtain the name they desired due to restrictions. All of the businesses, people, goods, and services with the suffix of .au are included. For French speakers, there are numerous words that end in “au” that are generic in French, but not in English, and which may be registered in the language of their native country.

According to Oscar Weber of Nominus.com, the second-level domain.au will open up new possibilities for businesses since Australians prefer .au sites over .com sites, which means that firms will benefit from this preference. It will also aid in the prioritization of .au sites in local search engines, and it will undoubtedly become a favored TLD for local businesses in the future.

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