Domain names are getting shorter and shorter. From this week, anyone with a local connection to Australia will be able to register for a .au domain name, rather than com.au, org.au, etc. This is cool and marketable, but there’s one important reason why you should grab yours.
What does .au mean?
You will see many different endings to domains out there. These are known as Top Level Domains (TLD), and include things like .com, .org, .co, or .net. In the last few years there has been a massive release of new TLDs, including full words like .design, .academy, or .fashion. Country-specific domains may also have a country code, like .uk, .ca, or .ru. These are known as Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD).
Previously, the .au ccTLD was always used in addition to a normal TLD, but now a domain can use .au as part of it’s core domain name. For example, instead of using digitalbarn.com.au, I could register digitalbarn.au.
What’s the concern with .au?
It’s not a concern with .au specifically, but every time there’s a release of a TLD like this there is a cause for concern.
For spam-conscious consumers, checking an email address is a key way to see if an email is suspicious. It’s the difference between receiving an email from ebay.com.au or from e-bae.com.au. However, the availability of this new .au domain option creates a new avenue for duplicitous spammers to impersonate your business. A quick skim and someone might miss an invoice coming from digitalbarn.au instead of digitalbarn.com.au.
What can you do?
All Australian businesses will have until 20 September to reserve their .au equivalent domain name, before it becomes available to the general public. To help protect you from opportunistic cybercriminals, the Australian Cyber Security Centre is recommending that all Australian businesses with existing domain names register their .au equivalents before this deadline. If you don’t, it will become available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.