New risks in .au domain name expiry

The introduction of the Official Domain Drop List by the Australian Domain Name Administrator (auDA) represents a new risk to Australian domain name holders. auDA now publishes on its website a list of all expired and deleted .au domain names that are due to be purged from the registry. Once purged, the domain name is available for registration on a first come, first served basis, subject to the usual auDA policies. Accordingly, it is important that domain name holders are aware of the timelines that affect their ongoing use of their domains.

Registration

A standard .au domain name is licensed for a two year period. So, if registered on 1 January 2010, the domain name will expire on 1 January 2012.

Renewal

An .au domain name can be renewed a maximum of 90 days before the expiry date and up to 30 days after the expiry date. Regardless of when the domain name is renewed, the new expiry date is set to exactly 2 years from the previous expiry date. So in the above example, if validly renewed in 2012, the domain name’s new expiry date would be 1 January 2014.

Expiry and purge

If a domain name is not renewed within 30 days of its expiry date, it is placed in an “expired pending purge” state and one calendar day later it becomes eligible for purge. The domain is then purged when the next purge cycle is run which is at 1.00pm AEST every day of the year.

Protection

The availability of the Official Domain Drop List poses a threat to domain name holders that fail to renew their domain in that there will undoubtedly be domain name squatters and the like monitoring the list closely for opportunities to purchase valuable domains. Therefore domain name holders should ensure that their domain name renewal dates are noted and monitored on an ongoing basis. If multiple domain names are held, businesses should look to make use of expiry synchronisation services offered by some providers which assist in unifying expiry dates (albeit at the risk of placing all your eggs in one basket).

By taking the above steps, domain name holders can avoid the cost and potential damage to business that can come with a loss of a domain name and any ensuing dispute. For assistance with domain name disputes or for further information on domain name policies, please contact Certus Legal Group.

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