It has certainly been an interesting 8 days since the new .au domains were allocated.
By allocated, I mean either by registrants winning a back-order placed at their registrar of choice; or winning an auction at Drop.com.au.
As a seasoned domain investor of some 20 years standing, I offer these initial observations and opinions on the new .au:
Is there demand and a market?
Absolutely. In the last week I have been inundated with enquiries, as have other domain investors. David Warmuz, the CEO of Trellian (which includes brands such as Drop and Above) reports substantial activity – his brokers have been incredibly busy doing deals.
In my opinion, the “enquirers” can be divided into two groups. Existing com.au registrants who did not participate in the priority allocation process (and now realise they should have); and other registrants looking forward to taking advantage of this!
And of course there is a “forced market” that will remain for a long time. Aka “defensive registrations” from holders of the com.au. These registrants decided they had no choice but to protect their brand, and so locked up the .au early. auDA is not on their Christmas card list.
Do they get “traffic” compared to the premier com.au?
Yes is the short answer. I have used ParkingCrew for my landing pages for many years, and I am simply amazed at some of the stats that the new .au are generating. I’m not an SEO expert by any means, but to me this augurs well for fully developed sites.
What about com.au?
It will always be Number 1 in my opinion. It is too ingrained into everyday Australian life – including advertising and marketing – to ever be supplanted. If you look at NZ and the UK who have been operating their shortened versions for over 5 years, their premium co.nz and co.uk far outnumber these newcomers.
These have already started, and there will be many. The scope of these complaints vary from people who were:
- unsuccessful in getting their backorder, or
- com.au registrants protesting either because their competitor or some other person / entity acquired their exact match in .au, or
- brand infringement or cyber squatting. Already I am aware of cease and desist letters being issued. I believe the auDRP process will be getting a real workout.
The first two are baseless, however they will be time consuming for registrars and auDA.
The latter is serious, and if someone does register .au domains for purposes of “passing off”, then they deserve the consequences. That said, there is a big difference between “passing off”, and having alternate rights and uses for generic words or phrases, geographic locations (or a combination of all).
Contested .au allocations
There are apparently over 6000 good .au domains that remain locked up because there are two or more eligible parties after it. Whilst there has to be some sort of process to manage these, auDA has come under severe criticism for the way they have gone about it – and more particularly for what happens after the first 12 months. Read my article “auDA Shows Us All How To Profit“.
I think there will be some great “supply and demand” opportunities in the first few months. Smart operators will always do well.
And I like the .au because it takes away the majority of the mind boggling and confusing rules and policies of the com.au. That feeling is shared by many. So hat-tip to auDA for that.
However, just like the historical “goldrushes” of yesteryear, it is a fact that the service and supply industries will ultimately make the most money.
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