To .au or not to .au? That is the question.
From March 2022, Australians will be able to register a new category domain name .au. For example, Planning Results will be able to register the domain planningresults.au.
Are there benefits from a marketing perspective?
When the choice was only between .com and .com.au
The general rule of thumb has been –
When you have a product, service or organisation that requires a worldwide presence then, a .com domain is probably the better option. Sometimes, an Australian organisation may opt for a .com domain even though operating locally simply to give the perception of global.
If your focus is within Australia and want to emphasise the local aspect of your business then, a .com.au domain may be better suited.
Whilst your domain name will not be the only driver to your site, a .com.au domain name for an Australian business lets Google know it is based in Australia, which may assist in showing up in more search results for Australian target audiences.
Sometimes the choice is out of your hands. You just must grab what you can get. Don’t panic, it is not the foundation of your marketing strategy. It is a nice to have.
A new world with .au
Those who tend towards the alarmist side of life will argue that .au will only cause confusion.
Stop the panic!
.au provides new options and with the rapid change in technology today this is just another blip on the long line of changes.
What should you know?
- Who can purchase the new .au domain?
According to au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) the official overseers of Australian domains, you’re require to have an “Australian presence”, that means to apply for a .au domain is much broader than the previous .com.au, .org.au and .net.au. In a nutshell, if you operate in Australia or are an Australian citizen, hold an ABN or ACN you qualify. For the more legal description take a look at the auDA website.
- Is it worth protecting your name/brand?
If you have an existing .com.au, .org.au or .net.au secondary domain, consider buying the .au version. This will limit others encroaching on you brand space.
You don’t want a .au version competing with you on Google.
According to auDA, “When .au direct names launch in March 2022, registrants with existing domain names in existing namespaces (e.g. ending in .com.au, .org.au, .net.au etc.) will have the chance to apply for Priority Status to register the exact match of their domain name as a .au direct name.” Details of the process and potential conflict resolutions are available on their website.
- Opportunity to obtain a better domain
If you are living with a domain that comes under the category of ‘this is the best we could get’. This is potentially an opportunity to review and upgrade, subject to availability of course.
This also gives small business the opportunity to brand their business and reinforce being local. We all know you need every chance to raise your profile.
There you have it. It is important to think about it now and decide what you are going to do. Put the important date reminders in your calendar. Remember May 2022 will be all too late.
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