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Domain Restrictions: Can I Really Use it?

In our last educational article, we brought you all the information surrounding the eligibility requirements for each of the major TLDs in Australia. One of the important points we highlighted was that while a domain might be available, an individual or business isn’t always eligible to use it. In a similar manner, the .au Domain Administration (auDA) also impose restrictions on the composition and process with which one can register a domain name license – meaning, certain characteristics must be fulfilled.


General Rules

Second level domain names (2LDs) are categorised as either ‘open’ or ‘closed’. Closed domains are restricted to a “defined community of interest” and are inaccessible to the general public. Open domains however, are considered names where the general public has free access, albeit with some prerequisites. As such, business owners and domainers should take note of Schedule A within the auDA’s Eligibility and Allocation Policy, which includes the following:

–       First come, first served: Domain name licences are allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. It is not possible to pre-register or otherwise reserve a domain name.

–       Registrants must be Australian: Domain name licences may only be allocated to a registrant who is Australian, as defined under the eligibility and allocation rules for each 2LD.

–       Composition of domain names: Domain names must:
a) be at least two characters long;
b) contain only letters (a-z), numbers (0-9) and hyphens (-), or a combination of these;
c) start and end with a number or a letter, not a hyphen; and
d) not contain hyphens in the third and fourth position (eg. ab–

–       Domain name licence period: The domain name licence period is fixed at two years. It is not possible to license a domain name for a shorter or longer period.

–       Renewal of a domain name licence at the end of the two year period is dependent on the registrant continuing to meet the eligibility and allocation rules for the relevant 2LD.

–       Number of domain names: There is no restriction on the number of domain names that may be licensed by a registrant.

–       Prohibition on registering domain names for sole purpose of resale: A registrant may not register a domain name for the sole purpose of resale or transfer to another entity.


Reserved Names

The auDA have also published a Reserved List Policy”, which details the domain names that no user may license. Said restrictions have been broken into three categories, which can be summarised as follows:

–       Words and phrases that are restricted under Commonwealth legislation (e.g. Commonwealth, Federal, ANZAC, Olympic(s), Medicare, Bank, Banking, Commonwealth Games, etc.)

–       Names and abbreviations of Australian states and territories

–       Names that may pose a risk to the operational stability and utility of the .au domain


For each of these classifications there are some exceptions, providing a user is able to:

–       Collect the required consent from the nominated body; or

–       Apply for written approval from the relevant state or territory government; or

–       Receive approval from the Board of the auDA


To avoid potential complications with your domain name, it’s important you familiarise yourself with these requirements in full on the auDA’s website. Failing to do so could result in your domain being revoked or deleted.


That’s it for this occasion, stay tuned for our next educational article.


Best wishes,
The Netfleet Team

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