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.radio gTLD applicant joins the GAC

Kevin Murphy, June 28, 2012, Domain Policy

The European Broadcasting Union, which is one of four applicants for the .radio top-level domain, has asked to join ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee as an observer.

It is believed that its request is likely to be accepted.

The move, which comes just a couple of weeks after ICANN revealed its list of new gTLD applications, could raise conflict of interest questions.

While several GAC governments and observers are backing new gTLD bids – the UK supports .london, for example – they’re generally geographic in nature and generally not contested.

But .radio has been applied for by Afilias, BRS Media and Donuts in addition to the EBU.

While any organization can file objections against applications, under the rules of the new gTLD program the GAC has the additional right to issue special “GAC Advice on New gTLDs”.

Consensus GAC advice is expected to be enough to kill an application.

Since it’s not entirely clear how the GAC will create its formal Advice, it’s not yet clear whether the EBU will have any input into the process.

According to the GAC’s governing principles, observers do not have voting rights, but they can “participate fully in the GAC and its Committees and Working Groups”.

The EBU’s .radio gTLD would be open to all potential registrants, but it would be subject to post-registration content restrictions: web sites would have to be radio-oriented, according to the application.

It’s also the only Community-designated bid in the contention set, meaning it could attempt a Community Priority Evaluation to resolve the dispute.

The EBU has also applied for .eurovision, the name of its annual singing competition, as an uncontested dot-brand.

.radio is now a contested gTLD

Kevin Murphy, March 29, 2012, Domain Registries

The proposed .radio generic top-level domain is now officially contested, after the European Broadcasting Union confirmed that it plans to apply for the gTLD.

It’s the second .radio candidate to publicly reveal its intentions after BRS Media’s long-public bid.

The Executive Board of the EBU met in London yesterday – cutting it pretty fine given ICANN’s deadlines – and officially approved the bid, according to an EBU announcement.

The organization said in a statement:

the .radio TLD would allow the EBU to create an internet-based platform where the world’s radio broadcasters could assemble. Closer networking ‘under one roof’ would also bolster their position as an indispensible media sector, whose development would be accelerated by new radio services.

The EBU said its bid is supported by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU); Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU); African Union of Broadcasting (AUB); Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU); International Association of Broadcasting (IAB); North American Broadcasters Association (NABA); Organizacion de Telecomunicaciones Iberoamericanas (OTI).

The EBU is a Swiss trade association comprising national broadcasters, mostly based in Europe.

It’s also known for its annual Eurovision Song Contest broadcast, a singing competition which is known at least in the UK as a bit of tacky joke.

Oh, and the EBU has confirmed that it is going to apply for .eurovision, which appears to be the first example – but certainly not the last – of a probably wholly unnecessary dot-brand.

BRS Media, which also has longstanding plans to apply for .radio, is the current registry operator for the repurposed ccTLDs .am and .fm.

BRS still plans to apply for .radio, according to CEO George Bundy.

“We always felt that our knowledge of the On-Air AND Online Radio marketplace, backed with 15 years of real (.FM/.AM) registry experience provides us with a much better understanding in managing, marketing and operating an Industry specific top-level domain, like .Radio,” he said.

AusRegistry wins .jewelers deal

Kevin Murphy, September 27, 2011, Domain Registries

GJB Partners, one of the few companies to recently announce a commercial new top-level domain bid, has selected AusRegistry International to provide the back-end registry for .jewelers.

It’s the first non-geographic TLD contract win AusRegistry has announced this year.

While it’s probably a small deal, it’s notable because one of GJB’s managing partners is George Bundy, CEO of BRS Media, the registry for .fm and a potential .radio applicant.

BRS is currently the only public reference customer for Espresso, the registry platform offered by Minds + Machines, an AusRegistry competitor.

First post-approval new gTLD bids announced

After ICANN approved its new generic top-level domains program here in Singapore on Monday, many people I spoke to predicted a new “quiet period” for gTLD application announcements.

There’s a feeling among some that there’s little to be gained now from revealing what gTLD you plan to apply for, particularly if you’re a smaller player that could easily be out-bid by a larger, later applicant.

Nevertheless, today we have the news that GJB Partners plans to apply for .jewelers, one of the narrowest niche gTLDs to be announced to date.

GJB’s managing partner is George Bundy, CEO of .fm and .am registry BRS Media, which also plans to apply for .radio.

I imagine the choice of string took some thought – it’s plural rather than singular, US rather than UK English (in which it would be “.jeweller”).

In such cases, you only need to pick one. If this bid is successful, ICANN’s confusing similarity rules will make sure that .jeweller, .jeweler and .jewellers never see the light of day.

Also emerging this week, the city of Tokyo has announced that it will seek a .tokyo delegation, and is calling for expressions of interest.

That news follows the announcement last week of a commercial bidder for the .okinawa and .ryukyu geo-TLDs, to represent the Japanese region of Okinawa.

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