If you run a small business in South Australia, you probably already have a website, or have thought about getting one.
A website is great to promote and showcase your services and/or products as well as provide social proof that your business is a ‘real’ business.
To register for the current .com.au domain, you had to supply a valid ABN, but going forward from 20 September 2022 the general public, without an ABN will be able to purchase a .au domain.
- What does the .au domain mean, can’t I keep my current domain?
If you currently have a domain name ending with .com.au, .net.au, asn.au, .org.au etc, and you registered it before 24 March 2022, the matching .au direct domain has been placed on a 6 month priority hold for you.
e.g. currently domain is www.mybusiness.com.au
New available domain is www.mybusiness.au
After this priority period, which ends on 20 September 2022 the .au domain will become available to the general public on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
You can keep your current domain, but it is advisable for your business brand and security that you also purchase the .au domain name as recommended by Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). If you don’t register the .au alternative, it is possible that someone else could step in and take it. This could create an opportunity for someone to impersonate your business and conduct fraudulent cyber activity, such as creating a fake website or sending emails to people pretending to be your business (read more below).
- How much does a .au domain name cost?
auDA lists the wholesale price of a .au domain at $8.67 per year including GST. Registrars set the retail price so it’s worth shopping around to find a registrar with a competitive price and whose services meet your needs.
You should also be aware that the initial registration price may change or increase when it comes time to renew. Generally, you can register a domain name for between one and 5 years, with extensions available if you continue to meet the eligibility requirements for the domain. The https://www.auda.org.au/ lists accredited registrars, or you can register the new .au domain with your current provider.
- What action should I take?
Before 20 September 2022 undertake the following:
- review your current domain’s contact information to ensure everything is accurate
- Check your domain is eligible for priority status by clicking here: Priority status tool | auDA
- Apply for your .au domain through your existing domain name registrar, or by visiting any auDA accredited registrar before 20 September 2022.
Potential risks to businesses if they don’t register for a .au domain mean that anyone will be able to:
- digitally ambush and impersonate your business - your competitor can buy the .au domain and start trading as your website and or email address
- hold the .au website to ransom for you to purchase for big $$ at a later date
- engage in cyber-crime under your domain (sending invoices with your .au domain and email with their bank account details, or emails pretending to be you and/or your business).
Activity such as the above can result in your business and your clients losing money and also could harm your business reputation.
Tracing cyber-criminals can be difficult, and it can also be complicated to regain a domain name once it is registered to someone else, so as always, prevention is key.