.au Direct

I’ve been patient. I want my .au domains damnit!

I knew about the .au direct domain sales opening up months ago. It’s frustrating that there are now calls to extend the priority registration period for 12 months!

The .au Domain Administrator (auDA) developed a fair process to allow current owners of .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, etc. domain names to have priority access to the shorter .au domain. They have been advertising the availability of direct .au domain registrations for more than six months.

Apparently, the press picked up this story (1, 2, 3, 4) today after the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) and related organisations caught wind of it, and started spreading FUD about the risk of identity theft, ransom and other cyber-crime:

“…nefarious individuals could purchase the .au direct equivalent of small businesses’ website and hold it hostage until a Ransome (sic) is paid.”

.au Direct a Risk for Cybercrime against Small Businesses (cosboa.org.au)

Whilst I acknowledge that having another option for registering legitimate sounding domain names may slightly increase the chance of an unwitting victim falling foul to cybercrime, the auDA already has in place strong policies and procedures protecting legitimate owners of domain names from falling foul of such activities. If I was a bank operating under andrewc.id.au, and some cyber-criminal purchased andrewc.au and started pretending to be me to my customers, I could contact the auDA and have that domain removed.

From the fradulent text messages I’ve received from such cybercriminals, they’re not likely to really make use of the .au domain name. They tend to stick to domain names from countries without the strong protections auDA has. They rely on the stupidity or inattentiveness of their victims; not how close they can get their domain name.

The number of squatters on usable .com.au and .net.au domains that exist today is a much wider problem, and the opening of .au direct domains for registration is a small relief for this issue. auDA should not extend the priority registration period any further, as to do so would only give domain squatters more time to lock out legitimate users of the .au domain.

Ironically, while trying to find a SBS article on this topic, I ended up at sbs.net.au, which is a firm in Brisbane purporting that they are “solving real world challenges for real people”, not sbs.com.au. It’s odd to me that of our two national broadcasters, one uses .net.au and the other uses .com.au.

Feature image: Screenshot of auDA website from today.

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