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Act Now to Secure Your .au Business Domain
You may be aware that in March of 2022, the .au Domain Administration (auDA) introduced a system allowing businesses, individuals, organisations and associates with an Australian connection to register a “.au” direct domain, shortening the existing format, often “.com.au” or similar. This was brought in to afford website owners the opportunity to use a shorter URL if they wish to do so. For business owners, there are a few reasons to secure the .au version of your existing domain, chief among which is to ensure that nobody else can secure it first. Read on to find out more about that, and what else you can do with the shortened .au domain.
Why You Should Secure the .au Version of Your Existing Domain
If you are currently the owner of a domain that ends in .com.au (or similar, e.g. .net.au or .org.au), you had priority access to the equivalent .au domain up until 20 September. For example, if you are the owner of “brilliantaccountants.com.au”, then you had until that date to register “brilliantaccountants.au” before it was put on sale to the general public. While it is unlikely that another business will try and swoop in on this domain, it does leave you vulnerable to cybersquatters or scammers taking it now that the deadline has passed. The Small Business Ombudsman has requested an extension from auDA, which will not be granted (as at the time of writing).
If another person or entity does gain control over your business’ equivalent .au domain, they could do a number of things with it. They might retain ownership until such time as you decide to secure it, and then attempt to sell it to you at an inflated price. It is also possible that they could set up an email profile on the .au domain and pose as your business, with a view to committing fraud. This sort of crime is already prevalent within the small business community, with an ever-growing list of victims, and having a very legitimate-looking domain name will make it even harder for your customers to spot a scammer. Therefore, it is not only in your own best interests to secure your .au domain, but those of your customers too (especially now the deadline has passed).
The Benefits of Having Your .au Domain
Aside from protecting your business from cybersquatters, a shortened domain can have further benefits for your business. One is being able to offer your customers and other potential website visitors a shorter web address to type into their browser. The condensed nature of the .au format may also stand out, particularly as it is still in its relatively early stages.
Using a shorter domain can also have practical benefits in terms of the layout of printed collateral that you produce for your business. For instance, you could reduce the space taken up by the full domain on your business cards by enough that you can increase the size of the font – especially useful if you have a long domain name and space is at a premium. You might also use this an opportunity to condense your domains across the board. Using the example from earlier, you could consider shortening brilliantaccountants.com.au to brilliantacct.au (and set up a redirect to your existing website) – saving time for people finding your website directly. As your business email also sits on that domain, you could shorten “email@example.com” to “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Imagine how much simpler that would be for people to use when they contact you.
What to do Now
With the 20 September deadline now gone, the time to act is now. It cannot be understated how a few dollars and a bit of time spent now can save you a big problem in the future, so don’t delay in securing your .au business domain. You can visit the auDA’s website and view their list of Accredited Registrars, through whom you can purchase the rights to your equivalent .au domain. So, give yourself peace of mind knowing it’s been taken care of by securing your .au business domain today.
If you would like assistance in taking your business to the next level, including improving your online presence, don’t hesitate to reach out to the McKinley Plowman Business Improvement team for a free initial consultation. You can reach us via our website, or give us a call on 08 9301 2200.
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