The European Broadcasting Union plans to operate the forthcoming .radio gTLD in such a way as to discourage domain investors.
It yesterday set out its launch timetable, registration restrictions, and expects registrars to charge companies between €200 and €250 per domain per year ($213 to $266).
Interestingly, it’s also proposing to charge different, lower prices for individuals, though that pricing tier has not been disclosed.
I’m not sure I can think of another company that wants to charge different prices depending on the class of registrant and it seems like would be tough to enforce.
If I’m the domain manager at a radio company, can’t I just register the domain in my own name, rather than my employer’s, in order to secure the lower price?
Other registries, notably .sucks, have come under fire in the past for charging trademark owners higher fees. Isn’t basing pricing tiers on the legal status of the registrant pretty much the same thing?
That perception could be reinforced by the angle the EBU is taking in its marketing.
“We are proposing that the radio community may like to consider securing the integrity of their web presence by requesting appropriate .radio domains for defensive reasons initially,” .radio TLD Manager Alain Artero said in a blog post.
“The TLD will be focused on content and matters specific to radio and we want to prevent speculators and cybersquatting in this TLD,” he added.
The EBU is not planning to take the TLD to general availability until November, which is a long launch runway by any measure.
Before then, for two months starting May 3, there’ll be a qualified launch program in which radio stations (as opposed to “internet” radio stations) will be able to claim priority registration for their brand.
Sunrise will begin in August.
The EBU secured rights to .radio as a “Community” gTLD, meaning it has to enforce registration restrictions, after a 2014 Community Priority Evaluation ruling allowed it to win its contention set without an auction.
The eligibility criteria are somewhat broad, including: “Radio broadcasting stations. Unions of Broadcasters. Internet radios. Radio Amateurs. Radio professionals (journalists, radio hosts, DJs…) [and] Radio-related companies selling radio goods and services”.