In 2022, the Australian domain name regulator, auDA, introduced the ability to register the shorter .au domain extension – e.g. example.au.
However, in order to protect companies and brands, auDA determined that priority for the .au would be given to existing registrants of domain names. In theory, this was a good idea – in practice, it has caused a lot of dissent and confusion because there are multiple registrants with the same root domain name. In quite a number of instances, it has led to formal complaints and disputes.
Here’s the issue: For some existing registrants, securing the .au domain has become a battle of priority rights. Imagine two businesses, one with the domain ‘example.com.au’ and the other ‘example.net.au’. With the introduction of the .au extension, both parties are vying for ‘example.au’ – and therein lies the conflict.
- The solution? Last year, auDA introduced a paid ‘token’ system. These tokens essentially locked in joint priority rights for these conflicted parties for a 12-month period.
- The problem now? These tokens are up for renewal shortly, and, for some people or businesses, the renewal process is anything but straightforward.
“Managing and renewing these priority tokens has proven to be a daunting task for many registrants. The auDA has not made this process easy, causing frustration amongst those looking to secure their .au domain.”
What are some common pitfalls associated with renewing a priority token?
While the renewal of priority tokens for .au domains can often be straightforward, it sometimes presents unique challenges. The process hasn’t always been as smooth as one might hope.
Here are some things you need to be aware of:
- Identifying your registrar: Do you know which registrar you applied with? It’s important to keep track of this information. Different registrars may have different processes for renewal, so knowing what’s what is essential.
- Communication with your registrar: Has your registrar been in contact with you about renewing your token? Regular communication with your registrar is crucial to staying on top of renewal deadlines and any changes in the process.
- Renewal deadlines: What happens if you don’t renew in time? The implications of not meeting renewal deadlines can be serious, potentially leading to the loss of your priority rights to the .au domain.
- What if you have changed registrars since you originally applied for your token?: The token stays with that original registrar. auDA did promise that there would be a tool made available to transfer tokens to different registrars, but in my opinion, this has been a total flop. Many of the major registrars have opted out of this because of potential issues. I have tried it, and it did not cover my needs. I don’t imagine I will be “Robinson Crusoe” either! You can see the tool here.
- What if you have bought or sold a domain with priority rights? Technically, the priority goes with the domain. But the token stays with the issuing registrar. Given the issues that can arise out of this, we will do a standalone article (coming soon).
Renewing your priority token for the shorter .au domain is vital. The key to navigating this process is understanding who your registrar is, maintaining regular communication with them, stringent adherence to renewal deadlines, and managing any changes in registrars with care.
If in doubt, ask!
P.S. If you feel like commenting (or asking any questions) you can do so here on LinkedIn.