Most people are likely familiar with the website domain suffixes .com and .com.au, but Australians now have the option of registering a .au direct domain.
Despite being launched less than two years ago, .au direct has become the second most popular .au domain, accounting for almost 20 per cent of all websites ending in .au.
Head of customer and commercial at IT services company Micron21, Sheldon Dyer, says even businesses which already have a website or don’t think they need one should take notice.
“In a digital world, you need to be seen and the only way you get seen properly is having a brand online and having a domain is an important part to that digital exposure,” he says.
“I know there’s a number of entrepreneurs and smaller businesses who go through social media a fair bit, so their presence in the digital world is driven by Instagram or Facebook.
“All we’re talking about here is ensuring your domain is protected from a brand perspective. If someone else has it, they could impersonate you or take business away from you.”
Sheldon suggests businesses with existing websites can also leverage a new .au domain to complement their primary website or to try something different for their brand.
He says aside from being shorter and simpler than other common Australian domain names, the .au direct domain also offers more flexibility for business owners.
“There are less restrictions and rules governing the .au direct. With .com.au, you have to effectively be a registered business to operate that,” Sheldon explains.
“With .au, you just have to show Australian presence. That could be either you have a business here in Australia or you’re an Australian citizen.”
The .au direct also comes with all the existing benefits of the .au domain, the seventh largest in the world with almost one .au domain name for every five Australians.
Domain administrator, .au Domain Administration Limited (auDA), also found three of four Australians were more likely to trust an Australian business if its website ended in .au.
Micron21, an accredited domain registrar with auDA, has decided not to make any margin on .au direct domain registrations, despite its growing popularity.
“We wanted to ensure people protected their brand effectively and offering something at the lowest possible price makes it easy for people to do that,” Sheldon says.
“We thought ‘let’s make it easy for people’ … it wasn’t designed as a money spinner or anything like that. It’s just purely a community act to help our customers.”
Micron21 also offers businesses related services, including cloud hosting for WordPress websites through to virtual machines and a secure data centre.
“We’re Australia’s first Tier IV data centre, which is sort of counter-intuitive. Four is actually the highest level, rather than one,” Sheldon says.
“That means this data centre is rated for 100 per cent uptime for its power and cooling infrastructure. So effectively, we don’t go down.”
As a licensed telecommunications carrier, Micron21 also puts fibre in the ground to provide high-speed internet to businesses.
“Most providers have their own little silos, whereas we’re more of a holistic company,” Sheldon says.
“Having a one-stop shop allows you just to come to us and we manage it all.”
For more information visit Micron21