Registering a domain is relatively easy with many providers offering services for domain registration. There are benefits when you register your website as a ‘.au’ domain if you are an Australian business. Recently, there have been talks about making .au the de facto domain for Australian websites. This means a shift away from the ‘.com.au’ domains which have been traditionally used.

Here we’ll outline the differences between .com.au and .au and discuss how each can benefit your business.

Generic top level domains versus ‘.au’ domain space

Generic top level domains such as .com, .net and .org are open to anyone from anywhere in the world. There are no strict guidelines or regulations when you register for a top level domain. Top level domains are generally well-respected globally. However, their trust and reliability for the most part remains ambiguous for customers. This is particularly evident with a growing number of phishing and scam sites using generic top level domains. One can associate domains ending in .com and .net with US companies.

A ‘.au’ domain indicates that you are an Australian site. As such, Australian customers will trust these websites, especially when purchasing products online. Customers will know they are dealing with an established Australian business. This is particularly desirable if you are marketing towards Australian consumers.

Registering a ‘.au’ domain will increase the level of trust for Australian customers because there are strict eligibility rules behind its domain registration. To register a ‘.au’ domain, you need to supply an Australian Business Number (ABN), Australian Company Number (ACN) or an Australian Registered Trademark. The .au Domain Registration Ltd (auDA) regulates the ‘.au’ domain space.

Registering a ‘.au’ domain

If you do not have a ABN it is relatively easy to set one up. The auDA website will be your most reliable starting point for registering a ‘.au’ domain. On their website you can find a list of domain registries to choose from, with each specialising in a particular domain name such as .edu.au or .net.au for example.

To sum up

If you are an Australian business starting a website and would like to market yourself towards Australian customers then there is good reason to register your website as a ‘.au’ domain. Customers can identify an Australia business if the website ends with ‘.au’. This will establish a heightened sense of trust from Australian customers. This is particularly useful for Australian businesses that are just starting out as the trust factor with customers is critical for doing business online for the first time.

A business looking overseas or globally does not require a ‘.au’ domain. The tradeoff is that Australian customers are unlikely to trust your website immediately but this might not affect all customers. Additionally, Australian customers are generally more familiar with .com domain. If you choose to use a .com.au, you will need to advertise your website for clients to find your website.

However, there is no risk when registering a ‘.au’ domain if you are an Australian business. In fact, not only will you get the benefit of trust from Australian consumers but a ‘.au’ domain will work well if you sell unique Australian products or your marketing strategy is around having an Australian identity.

Have more questions? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.

Christopher Cruz

Chris is a legal intern at LawPath, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University. He is interested in commercial and IT law.