Monday , June 27 2022

You will soon be able to directly register .au domains

auda

Australia’s newest namespace, .au direct, will launch on 24 March 2022. auDA and the Australian domain name industry are working together closely to prepare for its introduction.

Registrants of existing com.au, net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au and edu.au domain names will be able to participate in the Priority Allocation Process, which runs from 24 March to 20 September 2022. The six-month period is known as the Priority Application Period.

The process by which registrants apply for and are allocated these names is the Priority Allocation Process, which is set out in the .au direct Priority Implementation Rules.

An update on .au direct preparations is provided below.

Priority Status Tool

auDA has released the Priority Status Tool on the auDA website to help registrants check the status of domain names that are subject to the Priority Allocation Process.

At launch, existing registrants of eligible .au domain names will have priority status to apply for the exact match of their domain names in .au direct. The Priority Allocation Process runs for six months from 24 March until 20 September 2022.

The Priority Status Tool will allow registrants to:

  • Check the Priority Category of a domain name
  • View any matching domain names in other .au namespaces and their Priority Category
  • Discover whether other existing registrants have lodged a Priority Status application for the matching .au direct name (from 24 March 2022).

The Priority Status Tool is available here: www.auda.org.au/tools/priority-status-tool.

Consultation on proposed updates to Reserved Names List

The launch of .au direct on 24 March 2022 will allow people to register domain names directly before the .au (e.g. getyour.au) for the first time.

As a result of the introduction of .au direct, auDA is seeking community feedback on reserving domain names at the second level (i.e. domain names that appear directly before the .au) and adding them to the Reserved Names List.

Reserved Names are .au domain names that are not available to be registered, except in specific circumstances. The Reserved Names List is the complete list of domain names reserved by auDA to prevent their misuse and ensure a high level of trust is maintained in the .au. Information on reserved names is set out in section 2.6 of the .au Licensing Rules.

Consultation is now open and will conclude at 5pm on 31 January 2022. For more information on the proposed names to be added to the Reserved Names List and to have your say, visit: www.auda.org.au/consultation/updates-to-reserved-names-list.

.au direct Priority Implementation Rules

auDA has today published an updated version of the .au direct Priority Implementation Rules and consequential changes to the .au Licensing Rules in response to feedback, clarifying sections of the Rules and to add key dates related to the introduction of .au direct.

The updated .au direct Priority Implementation Rules, including a marked-up version illustrating the changes, is available here: www.auda.org.au/policy/auda-rules-au-direct-priority-implementation.

The updated version of the .au Licensing Rules is available here: www.auda.org.au/policy/au-domain-administration-rules-licensing.

Priority Overview

When .au direct names launch on 24 March 2022, all names in the registry prior to launch will be reserved from being registered as .au names for the six-month Priority Allocation Period.

Registrants of existing .au names will then have six months to apply for Priority Status to register the .au direct match of their name, if they would like to licence it.

For example, the registrant of getyour.com.au can apply for priority to register getyour.au.

In most cases the applicant will be allocated the .au direct name soon after they apply for it.

In a small fraction of cases there is the potential that more than one person will apply for the same reserved .au direct name. This may occur where different registrants hold the same name in different namespaces . This is known as a contested name.

For example:

  • Tina is the registrant of getyour.com.au
  • Gene is the registrant of getyour.net.au

Both are eligible to apply for getyour.au

In these cases the .au direct name will be allocated according to priority categories determined by the existing domain name licence creation date and the priority cut-off date of 4 February 2018. See below for more information on contested names.

If there are no applications for a reserved .au direct from an eligible registrant name during the six-month Priority Allocation Period, that name will become available to the public on a first come, first served basis at the close of the Priority Allocation Period.

There is no obligation to apply to register the .au direct exact match of your existing domain name if you don’t want it. Your existing domain names will all continue to operate as normal and according to auDA policy regardless of whether you take up the option to register the matching .au direct name.

Who can apply for priority status

When .au direct names launch on 24 March 2022, all .au direct domain names that correspond to existing domain names in the .au registry prior to launch will be placed on Priority Hold for six months until 20 September 2022.

By placing the existing names on Priority Hold, the .au direct names are prevented from being registered by others, enabling existing registrants the first opportunity to register (Priority Status) the exact match of their existing domain names.

To apply for Priority Status the registrant must be eligible to hold the existing domain name licences under the .au Licensing Rules.

For example:

  • Tina holds the licence for getyour.com.au and wants to apply to register getyour.au.
  • Tina can apply to her registrar (or another accredited registrar) for Priority Status within the six-month Priority Application Period.

In most cases, if the name is uncontested, the applicant will be allocated the .au direct name soon after they apply for it.

In some cases, a name may be contested. This happens where more than one existing registrant holds the same domain name in different .au namespaces and they choose to apply for Priority Status to register the matching .au direct name.

For example:

Tina is the registrant of getyour.com.au

  • Gene is the registrant of getyour.net.au
  • Both registrants are eligible to apply for getyour.au

Where this happens, the .au direct name is allocated based on the priority category for each registrant. See below for more information on how priority categories are determined.

Once the Priority Application Period closes on 20 September 2022, if there have not been any applications for the .au direct name (that is subject to a Priority Hold) by an eligible registrant, that  name will be available to the public on a first come, first served basis.

There is no obligation to apply to register the .au direct exact match of your existing domain name if you don’t want it. Your existing domain names will all continue to operate as normal regardless of whether you take up the option to register the matching .au direct name, provided you keep your registration up to date.

How to apply

You will be able to apply for Priority Status via your registrar, or any other accredited registrar offering .au direct domain names, during the Priority Application Period.

There will be a fee for lodging an application and, like the prices of domain name registrations, this fee will vary between registrars.

You must ensure that you are eligible to hold the .au domain which forms the basis of your application. Your eligibility for your  existing .au domain will be checked when you apply.

You will also need a priority token (or authorisation code) for your application to be accepted.

Once you lodge your Priority Status application you will be unable to update the registrant information associated with your existing domain name while your  application is active. It is important to make sure it is up to date before you lodge your application.

Uncontested names

In most cases, there will only be one registrant eligible to apply for a reserved .au direct name as they will be the only holder of its match in another .au namespace. This is referred to as an uncontested name.

In these cases, the applicant will be allocated the domain name shortly after applying for Priority Status. The registrant will be able to choose a licence term of between one and five years.

For example:

  • Priya holds getyour.org.au, and there are no other licenses for ‘getyour’ in any other .au namespace.
  • Priya applies to register getyour.au and is allocated the name shortly after applying.

Even if your matching .au direct name is uncontested, you must apply for Priority Status if you wish to secure the .au direct name, otherwise it will become publicly available on a first-come, first-served basis from 20 September 2022.

Contested names

In some cases, there will be more than one registrant eligible for a reserved .au direct name, as different registrants can hold the  same name in different namespaces. This is referred to as a contested name.

For example:

  • Tina is the registrant of getyour.com.au
  • Gene is the registrant of getyour.net.au
  • Priya is the registrant of getyour.org.au
  • All hold names that were in the registry before the launch of .au direct.
  • Tina, Gene and Priya are all eligible to apply for Priority Status to register getyour.au.

In these cases, the .au direct domain name will be allocated for an initial one-year licence term according to the Priority Allocation Process and each applicant’s priority category (see below).

Priority categories

The creation date of the domain name on which the application is based determines the priority category:

  • Priority Category 1: Names created on or before the cut-off date of 4 February 2018
  • Priority Category 2: Names created after the cut-off date of 4 February 2018

For example: You hold getyour.com.au and it has a creation date of 1 March 2019, so your application for getyour.au is classified as priority Category 2.

Note that the cut-off dates only determine which category your application will fall into, not whether you can apply for Priority Status.

You can see an existing name’s priority category with the Priority Status Tool.

How do the priority categories determine who is allocated a contested .au direct name?

Where there are multiple applications for a contested name, the following principles apply:

  • Category 1 applicants have priority over Category 2 applicants;
  • Where there are multiple Category 1 applications, the name is allocated on agreement/negotiation between the Category 1 applicants;
  • Where there are only Category 2 applicants, the name is allocated to the applicant with the earliest creation date.

Negotiation between multiple category 1 applicants

Where there are multiple Category 1 applications, those registrants will need to negotiate between themselves to determine who will be allocated the .au  direct domain name they have applied for.

Applicants will be able to contact each other via the publicly available registrant contact information found in WHOIS.

Where an agreement is reached:

  • The agreed applicant(s) will withdraw their applications;
  • The name is allocated to the registrant with the only active Priority Status application remaining for an initial one-year licence term.

Where no agreement is reached:

  • The .au direct domain name remains subject to a Priority Hold;
  • The name remains on Priority Hold until there is only one active application remaining;

Applicants will need to renew their application on a yearly basis.

When are contested names allocated?

A Contested name is allocated once the contention is resolved. This will vary depending on:

  • Which eligible registrants submit an application for Priority Status, or decline or withdraw their applications
  • Each applicant’s priority category
  • If and when an agreement between Category one applicants is reached.

Unsuccessful applications

If you’ve missed out on the exact match of your name in .au direct, your existing domain name will be unaffected and will continue to operate according to .au policy, provided you keep your registration up-to-date.


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