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Small businesses ‘should race to register’ .au suffix 


Firms that fail to successfully add the shortened domain variant invite commercial disaster, says IPA.

By Josh Needs 10 minute read

Time is running out for small businesses to register the “.au” version of their domain name or risk losing visibility, clients and goodwill, said the IPA.

The .au Domain Adminstration (auDA)  made the shorter suffix available in March and said anyone with a connection to Australia would be able to register a “.au” variant of an existing web address that uses “”, “” and “”.

As the September deadline for registration approaches, general manager of technical policy at the IPA, Tony Greco, said that small businesses needed to be protected by the change.

“The clock is ticking as Australian businesses only have until 20 September to register their equivalent .au domain name before it becomes available to the general public,” said Mr Greco.

“There’s a lack of small business awareness of this change, and what actions need to be taken to protect their interests.”

The ACSC said after the deadline, .au equivalents of existing domain names would become available to the public on a first come, first served basis.

Mr Greco said small businesses without dedicated IT advisers could be caught out if they failed to register their current website with the new shorter .au URL. 

Co-chair of the ATO’s Cyber Security Stakeholder Group, Michael Croker, of CA ANZ said cyber criminals would see an opportunity to register versions of existing domains using the new suffix, with huge potential downsides for businesses.

“The brand recognition generated from websites is enormous,” he said. “Your clients have come to trust communications you send them and you don’t want cyber squatters mucking your marketing strategy about.”

The ACSC warned that the change would present opportunities for cyber criminals to register a business’ .au domain name in an attempt to impersonate it and scam its customers.

The .au Domain Administration (auDA), which manages the rules for domain names, has outlined how it would resolve contested names between two different entities but has yet to clarify how it would resolve a business losing its web address to a scammer.

Where names were contested, for example if two separate applicants for .au held and, the new suffix would be allocated for an initial one-year licence term according to each applicant’s priority category.  

Priority category one means names created on or before the cut-off date of 4 February 2018 and priority category two describes names created after that date.

Category one applicants have priority over category two applicants, but when multiple category one applicants contest a name it will be subject to a priority hold until there is an agreement between the two.

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Josh Needs

Josh Needs


Josh Needs is a journalist at Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, which are the leading sources of news, strategy, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Josh studied journalism at the University of NSW and previously wrote news, feature articles and video reviews for Unsealed 4x4, a specialist offroad motoring website. Since joining the Momentum Media Team in 2022, Josh has written for Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser.

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