.au direct is the marketing name given to the new domain name launched by auDA (the organisation in charge of managing Australian domains including .com.au, .org.au etc). This new domain name was launched in March 2022, with a priority period that reserves a domain for the owners of domain names with a .au ending ie futuretheory.au is reserved for the owners of futuretheory.com.au, futuretheory.net.au etc. The .au direct priority period will end at 23:59 UTC 20 September 2022 (9:59 AEST 21 September 2022).
You can read more about the priority allocation process on the .auDA website: https://www.auda.org.au/au-domain-names/au-direct/priority-allocation-process
There is no difference between the new .au domain name and existing domain names .au names from any perspective apart from the .au direct domain names being shorter thanks to the lack of the extra full stop and character (as is the case with .com.au or .org.au for example).
Should I purchase a .au direct domain name?
If cost is not a concern, then yes, we strongly recommend that you register .au direct versions of all your domains. This minimal cost ensures that you are protecting your domain name and all associated entities such as websites and email addresses. There is also the security that this provides in ensuring that malicious parties won’t be able to get a domain name similar to yours and confuse or trick your clients into parting with their money thinking that they are paying you.
The catch is that you are essentially doubling your annual domain costs, but if you have a brand that is worth protecting, then the expense is worth it and quite minimal.
Who can register .au direct domain names?
Eventually, everyone will be able to register a .au direct domain name. However, there is a priority allocation process in place for those with other .au domain names registered.
Where can I register a .au domain name?
There are numerous organisations that can register a .au direct domain name for you, including us. Please get in touch if you would like us to assist in managing your domain name(s).