COSBOA is requesting that the non-government.au Domain Administrator (auDA) grant owners of.com.au,.net.au, etc. equivalents, priority registration for an additional 12 months.
The demand was made in response to COSBOA’s joining the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman in criticising the hasty rollout of.au direct domain names.
If small businesses don’t take action before September 21st, their.au name will be open for registration to anyone. auDA gave the owners of.com.au,.net.au,.org.au, etc., domain names priority registration of the.au equivalents for six months.
Since March, small companies and individuals have been permitted to register domain names with a direct.au ending. Instead of www.smallbusinessxyz.com.au, a website URL would now read www.smallbusinessxyz.au.
.au web domains
After September 20th, everyone will be able to register domain names on a first-come, first-served basis. Since the .au domain name became available for registration for the first time in March of this year, more than 170,000 registrations have been made, according to auDA, which oversees this naming system.
The Priority Allocation period covers the situation when there are numerous registrants for the same domain name and guarantees that businesses can request a straight match from their prior namespace (ex: if a registrant of domain.com.au and a registrant of domain.net.au are both applying for domain.au).
Anyone with a confirmed connection to Australia, such as organisations registered in the nation, citizens, and permanent residents, as well as organisations with a registered Australian trademark, is eligible to use the.au web domain.
This development puts Australia on par with its worldwide peers, including the United Kingdom (.uk), New Zealand (.nz), and Germany, and is thought to be the most important modification to the web domain area in Australia since the 1980s (.de)
COSBOA CEO Alexi Boyd said, “There’s nothing inherently wrong with the existence of .au direct – the problem is that not nearly enough people know about it, making it a risk for cybercrime, as has already been highlighted by the Ombudsman and the Australian Cyber Security Centre.”
“We are concerned that if priority registration isn’t extended, cyber criminals could purchase .au domain names and create ‘shell sites’ or ‘ghost sites’ impersonating legitimate businesses, potentially using online booking forms to gather information and/or money from the business’ clients.
“Another concern is that nefarious individuals could purchase the .au direct equivalent of small businesses’ website and hold it hostage until a Ransome is paid.”
Ms Boyd added, “In this digital age where having a website is basically a requirement to running a successful small business, domain names are valuable assets and important intellectual property. They should be treated as such.”
“In the meantime, we urge everyone who owns a website to protect their brands by applying for priority registration of the .au direct equivalent of their domain name as soon as possible via auDA’s website.”
Ms Boyd concluded, “We recognise the difficulty of getting the message out to tired small business owners who have been overwhelmed with new information these past few years. COSBOA has a good relationship with auDA, and we will continue to work with them to spread the message about .au direct.”