From 18 April 2010, the Australian Domain Name Administrator (auDA), which is responsible for regulating the .au namespace, will introduce a new policy in relation to the renewal, expiry and deletion of .au domain names.
Key changes include:
The introduction of an official Domain Name Drop List which will alert the public to the exact time and date that expired or deleted domain names will become available.
A new service called "domain sync" which allows registrants with multiple domain names to set a common expiry date for all their domain names, provided that the date set for individual domain names is less than 2 years from the date of registration.
Expired or deleted domain names will be purged from the registry at a fixed time (1.00pm AEST or 2.00pm AEDT) every day, rather than at random times as under the previous policy.
The new policy means that holders of .au domain names will need to have appropriate measures in place to ensure that renewals of domain names are done on time to prevent their domain name from being placed onto the Domain Name Drop List when they expire.
Holders of .au domain names will still have 30 calendar days after the expiry of their domain name to renew or transfer their domain name. Once the 30 day period expires and no action is taken to renew or transfer the domain name, holders will no longer be able to update, renew or transfer their domain name to another registrar. Domain names that reach this stage will then be placed onto the Domain Name Drop List published on the auDA website and will be purged from the registry shortly thereafter.
Practical tips for .au domain name holders:
The Domain Name Drop List will be made available on the auDA website from 18 April 2010 and the new fixed purge time for expired domain names will commence on 19 April 2010.
Any organisation with multiple domain names should take advantage of the "domain sync" service to consolidate its domain name portfolio. Organisations should contact their registrar to inquire whether they intend to provide the "domain sync" service. After the portfolio is consolidated, relevant staff should be made aware of the revised uniform expiry date of their domain names.
Keep an accurate record of the expiry date of all domain names, and ensure all relevant staff are aware of this. Also make sure that the registrar has up-to-date contact details so that the reminders for domain name renewals reach the appropriate people. If unhappy with your registrar's renewal services, inform the Code of Practice Committee so that this issue is taken into account at the next review of the .au Domain Name Suppliers Code of Practice.
Be aware that the Official Domain Drop List will not publish community geographic domain names (that is, locality-based website addresses).
Finally, if you have had your eye on a previously unavailable domain name, keep an eye on the Official Domain Drop List to see when that name might become available. If it is - pounce!