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Our take on auDA’s impending .au ccTLD Direct Registration implementation.

For public release: Wednesday 26th April 2017

As most of our customers already know, one year ago, the auDA Board decided to accept the recommendation of the 2015 Names Policy Panel to introduce direct registrations in .au – for example, “yourname.au” will be available to register, along with your existing “yourname.com.au” and “yourname.net.au” domain names.

Over the past year, auDA have implemented various development processes. Information on that can be found here.

In February 2017, I was one of a list of people who were interviewed as part of auDA’s qualitative interviews, in regards to the direct .au registration process. Later in April, there will be more qualitative interviews held. Summary outcomes of the first interview process that I was a part of will be made available to members in the April member auDA newsletter. You can sign up for the auDA newsletter here.

What does all this mean?

As of April 2017, (the current month as of this writing) auDA are publicly stating on their website, “We understand that the introduction of direct registrations represents a major change to the .au domain space, and that it will have an impact on all of our stakeholders. Chief amongst these are existing registrants of domain names in the .au 2LDs – com.au, net.au, gov.au, org.au and so on. As such, full consideration of this impact and other associated economic considerations will be thoroughly referenced and evaluated throughout this policy development process.”

So, yeah… Exactly what does all this mean?

I bolded the words “major change” in auDA’s publicly released statement above, because I wanted to expand on these words, in my own opinion.

As far as I am personally concerned, “the introduction of direct registrations represents a major change to the .au domain space” should be taken as;


Can you imagine if all the postcodes in Australia were changed? The impact this would have on changing stationary, ensuring you were sending parcels to the right address, ensuring your letters and parcels were actually being sent to the right address and not accidentally being sent to someone who’s not meant to receive them?

Can you imagine if all the existing land phone numbers and mobile phone numbers configurations were reset to something else? How this may result in customers not being able to contact you as they came to terms with the new way of contacting you? How much business you could possibly lose during this process?

This is THAT big.

Today, reading auDA’s latest statement on what is about to happen… This is really sinking in to me personally, just how huge this impact is going to be. And, although this information is and always has been publicly available, I feel it is my duty to let past and present buyers and sellers of domain names know the severity of what is about to happen.

In the simplest terms I can think of, I believe this change is going to turn the Australian internet, and three million Australia business owner’s websites, upside down at the time of implementation, and perhaps for a few years after…

Without a doubt, no matter the outcome of how the changes are to be implemented, one can only assume that most of the three million Australian business holders are going to attempt to register their equivalent .au version of their name, practically overnight. Possibly spending around $90,000,000 in a very short amount of time. ALL IN THE NAME OF BRAND PROTECTION for their digital, online, Australian internet presence.

Although the possibility of direct .au registrations has been publicly debated and discussed on the official auDA website for many years now, we are taking this opportunity to remind our existing customers, both buyers and sellers of domain names, what this all means, in the simplest possible form. And, to inform you all that THIS IS HAPPENING, in case you haven’t been keeping up to date with Australian technology and internet news.

You hopefully would also seen that I bolded the term “and so on” in the quoted auDA paragraph above. For some reason, auDA have left out certain Australian second-level TLD’s, including .edu.au(,) .id.au(,) .asn.au and .csiro.au from their statement. These TLD’s, along with the popular .com.au Australian second level TLD, and the others mentioned, ALL make up the current Australian second level TLD registration options.

I tell you this because I personally believe there are two ways this is going to go.

Possible Outcome No 1

auDA are going to decide that ONLY .com.au holders of their equivalent domain name are going to be granted the direct .au version of their exact-match name. Meaning the owner of drone.com.au will exclusively be granted “first rights” to the drone.au version of their name. All other second level TLD holders will miss out.

Possible Outcome No 2

auDA are going to decide that ALL Australian second level TLD holders will have EQUAL rights to claim their exact-match version of their name. This means, whoever owns the drone.com.au will be entitled to own drone.au(,) unless the drone.net.au and drone.id.au and drone.org.au owners relinquish their own rights to own it. Because the owners of drone.net.au and drone.id.au and drone.asn.au will also have rights to the name.

Now, you would think auDA would automatically go with Possible Outcome No 1, right? But go about asking people’s opinions so they can say they’ve “done the right thing”.

I wouldn’t be so sure.

Even though over 80% of the three million currently registered Australian domain names are .com.au TLD’s, the whole point of bringing in direct .au registrations (according to auDA themselves as at 18 April 2016) is:

“The Board agreed with the majority views expressed in the Panel’s final report, that the introduction of direct registrations would:

  • make available domain names which are shorter, more appealing and more memorable
  • give Australians more choice in deciding what domain name to register
  • respond to market demand
  • be more attractive to natural individuals than the current option, id.au
  • strengthen the “.au brand” in a globally competitive market
  • add value to all three main categories of users – registrars and resellers, registrants and ultimate users of the .au domain name system.”

The most important quote to note from the auDA release is the following:

“THE (auDA) BOARD AGREED” … “that the introduction of direct registrations would” … GIVE AUSTRALIA’S MORE CHOICE IN DECIDING WHAT DOMAIN NAME TO REGISTER.

If auDA simply choose the Possible Outcome No 1 option I mentioned above, meaning they give .com.au TLD domain name holders exclusive first rights to owning their equivalent domain name, in my opinion, it will look as though this whole process is just a double-dipping exercise to generate (hopefully) three million brand-protection-based registrations equating to nearly $90,000,000.

The Possible Outcome No 1 option I mentioned above goes directly against what the auDA Board AGREED on 18th April 2016, when it said, “give Australian’s more choice in deciding what domain name to register“.

Possible Outcome No 1 will NOT give Australian’s more choice. It will SIMPLY GIVE EXISTING .COM.AU DOMAIN NAME OWNERS THE .AU VERSION OF THEIR DOMAIN NAME.

In this way, there is NO CHOICE for Australian’s who don’t own a .com.au domain name. AT ALL. Which would clearly GO AGAINST what the board agreed to.

I tell you this because auDA have never explained what the rules are going to be. And by now you should be able to clearly see how much of an impact these rules are going to have on EVERY AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS. To this date we still have no idea what is going to happenAll we know is that they have said Direct ccTLD .au domain names are coming into existence, soon! The train is on the tracks, so to speak.

As noted above, auDA publicly stated all of the above information one year ago. This information was available to the public at the time on their website. We hope you have been keeping up to date with this information. If not, this is the reason we are sharing it with you now. Before it’s too late to do anything.

We feel the implementation process is starting to finally draw to a head and the launch date and rules will be released very soon. And when the rules are released, auDA could also stipulate a certain date, as to when and how certain second level TLD’s have the power to put their hand up for rights on the equivalent direct .au(.) When this could be is anyone’s guess. It could be a month from now, it could be a year from now.

What can I do to protect my Australian website address on the internet?

Due to the fact that no one knows how or when this implementation of direct .au ccTLD is going to happen, we are recommending to all of our clients, both buyers and sellers of domain names, to brand-protect their current domain name as best as they can.

One such way of doing this is;

If you have the opportunity to purchase the .net.au version of your domain name (or any of the other second level TLD’s) now would be a good opportunity to do so.

You can either do this yourself, by contacting the current owner of the .net.au(,) or requesting an IT professional you know to do it on your behalf, or you could engage our services to do this for you, which of course, we would be happy to do.

As always, it is your responsibility to keep up to date with what is happening in regards to the impending direct .au registrations, but if you would like to receive regular updates from us, please join our mail list.





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