23 August 2021
.au direct will launch in March 2022

Last week, auDA announced a launch date of 24 March 2022 for “.au direct”, bringing more choice to the .au domain along with an opportunity to register a shorter domain name. Today’s blog will go into what that means and what you can expect from the commencement date onwards.


What is .au direct?

.au direct is a domain namespace or zone, that will be offered in addition to namespaces you may already know, such as com.au, net.au, edu.au, gov.au and org.au. On 24 March 2022, individuals, companies, government entities, and organisations will also be able to register or put in applications for domain names directly before the “.au”, an example being “csiro.au”.


How does .au direct differ from a com.au domain name?

.au direct domain names will work the same way as com.au domain names, however, the eligibility rules to register them will be different. With a com.au license, the registrant needs to be a registered commercial entity. To obtain a .au direct domain name, businesses, organisations and individuals will need an Australian presence that is validated by the registrar, and they can register any name they like -- assuming the name is available to be registered and does not infringe on the intellectual property of a third party.


How can I register a .au direct domain name on 24 March 2022?

On 24 March 2022, auDA will launch a Priority Allocation Process for six months. This period will provide an opportunity for existing registrants in other .au zones to apply for their matching .au direct domain name, and allow anyone to register a .au direct domain name that does not already exist in other .au zones. For example, Afilias Australia could apply for “afilias.au” as it will be reserved for Afilias, as Afilias holds the com.au and net.au domain name licences already and it isn’t registered by other parties in other existing namespaces. 

As more than one entity can have the same domain name in different zones, especially with generic terms, applications in the Priority Allocation Process will be based on the creation date of the matching domain name. In a follow-up blog, we’ll dive deeper into this process and how applications will be allocated to registrants.

At the end of the Priority Allocation Process, the .au direct reserved domain names that have not been applied for will become available to be registered by the Australian public on a first-come, first-served basis.


As the Registry Service Provider for the .au domain, Afilias Australia is proud to be a partner of auDA and looks forward to the launch of .au direct.