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Domain name registrations
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A domain name is a word or group of words used to uniquely identify your website.
Domain names come with hundreds of different extensions known as top-level domains, such as .com, com.au and .co.nz. In most cases they represent the geographic location or country of the website that the domain name was registered for.
Much like a physical address a domain name serves two main purposes. The first is as the address of your website. By typing your domain name into the address bar, visitors are directed to your website, in the same way they would use your physical address to arrive at your place of business. The second is as a mailing address. People can send emails to an email address that uses your domain name. This email will arrive in your inbox. This mirrors sending a regular letter to your business address where it will arrive in your post box.
When choosing a domain name for your business you need to consider your geographical area of business, your industry, and your company name.
In Australia .com.au domain names are the most popular and by default the .com.au is targeted to web searches made within Australia, so for an Australian business a .com.au domain is the best option. If you are looking at expanding internationally then a more generic domain extension such as a .com could be best.
Netregistry recommends registering several popular domains extensions including .com.au, net.au, .com and .net to protect your brand identity online.
According to auDA's regulations, .com.au or .net.au domains may only be registered to Australian sole traders, businesses or companies.
During the domain name registration process you will be asked to supply an Australian Business Number (ABN), Australian Company Number (ACN), State Business Number, Trademark Number or Incorporated Association Number to prove your eligibility.
To register a .org.au domain name, the same registration requirements are also in place. However, it is further restricted to only Australian non-profit organisations and registered charities. Australian associations, clubs, sporting groups, political parties and close equivalents may register .asn.au domain names, although such associations must be not-for-profit.
Generally, there are no restrictions on who can register .com domains and the period of registration can vary from 1 to 10 years. Any person or organisation can own a generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) and use them for any legal purpose.
You will need an account with an accredited domain name registrar. If you need .au domains (like .com.au or .net.au) you should use an accredited Australian registrar, like Netregistry. For Australian businesses, registering both .com.au and .net.au versions of your domain is strongly recommended to protect your brand from competitors.
A domain name is a powerful asset. When making your choice there are a number of considerations, like whether there are similar domains that could confuse your customers, whether it is sufficiently descriptive or memorable, and how easy it is for people to share.