Time is running out for existing registrants to secure their matching domain.
Registrants of third level .au domain names have just four weeks to claim their matching second level domain before the names become available for anyone to register.
Until this year, people could only register third level domains in Australia’s .au country code. That changed with “.au direct” launched in March this year. Now, instead of selecting example.com.au, consumers can register example.au.
To protect existing registrants, auDA set up a six-month priority period that gives them exclusive access to the domains. But that priority period is coming to a close on September 20, and this means any third level registrant who doesn’t claim the second level equivalent could see another person or company snap up the domain.
So far about 200,000 second level .au domains have been registered. There are about 3.4 million third level registrations in .au. While some of those overlap (.com.au vs. org.au, etc), this means that less than 10% of registrants have registered the matching second level domain.
When the United Kingdom’s .uk ran a similar program, it provided a five-year priority period. This meant that businesses started seeing the second level domains in the wild and could inquire about getting the matching domain. I imagine many Australians will understand the ramifications of matching second level domains when it’s too late to register their matching domain.