20 August 2022
Brands have four weeks to claim their matching second level domain .au before they become available for anyone to register.
The six-month priority period that gives owners of .com.au, .net.au or org.au domains exclusive access to their corresponding.au domain ends on 20 September 2022, and this means anyone can register any available .au domain name.
To date 200,000 second-level .au domains have been registered. There are over 3.4 million third-level registrations in the .com.au, .net.au or .org.au spaces. This means that less than 10% of registrants have registered the matching second-level domain.
An analysis by brandsec has seen a much higher take up by corporate brands who seem to understand the risks of not registering their corresponding .au domain name.
Slow pickup among small business
Australian Small Business ombudsman Bruce Billson said the short deadline for the changeover could lead to a rise of cyber criminals taking advantage.
“.au… is like cutting a second set of keys to your front door and selling them to a rival, a stranger who tries to sell them back to you at a higher price or a criminal who uses them to rip off your customers.”
Mr Billson said he outlined concerns to AUDA and requested an extension to the deadline (20 September), but was rejected.
He stressed the rise of “cyber squatting” and the risk for small business not registering their corresponding .au domain name.
“All I can do is try and make sure small and family businesses are not caught short when it comes to the shortened .au domain name”, he said.
“The consequences of not registering your existing business name by this deadline could be catastrophic for a business if a rival or someone else took their online name.”
How Scammers could use .au to damage business
A scammer could register your brand in the .au domain space, copy your website and send spam or phishing emails to your customers, suppliers, or partners in order to trick them into thinking they’re dealing with you.
These scams are common, but if they utilise a .au domain name they could be more effective in soliciting trust from the recipient of the email. Scammers could also send malicious malware through .au domain name infecting many tricked recipients.
It is also worth registering yourbrandcom.au. This looks deceptively similar to a yourbrand.com.au and could trick some unsuspecting customers.
brandsec is a corporate domain name management and brand protection company that looks after many of Australia, New Zealand and Asia’s top publicly listed brands. We provide monitoring and enforcement services, DNS, SSL Management, domain name brokerage and dispute management and brand security consultation services.