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Four companies given OK for .osaka

Kevin Murphy, February 28, 2012, Domain Registries

While GMO Registry announced yesterday that it had been given government approval to apply for the geo-gTLD .osaka, apparently it was not alone.

Four companies were given the same approval by the Osaka Prefecture, according to local gTLD consultancy UrbanBrain.

As well as GMO, letters of non-objection have been given to UrbanBrain parent company Interlink, BusinessRalliart, and Future Spirits, UrbanBrain’s Jacob Williams said.

Interlink is a Japanese ISP and domain registrar, Future Spirits is a hosting company, and BusinessRalliart is a technology company already linked to bids for .okinawa and .ryukyu.

Whether all four actually apply is another matter entirely — cash could be saved if the companies combine their efforts now or if some of the less cash-rich applicants withdraw.

Japan gets two new geo TLD projects

BusinessRalliart, a Japanese technology company, has announced that it plans to apply for two geographic top-level domains covering the prefecture of Okinawa.

According to a few local news reports, the two proposed TLDs are .okinawa and .ryukyu, covering the names of the region and the islands themselves.

It’s not entirely clear from the articles whether the company will also apply for the Japanese-script equivalents.

What’s particularly interesting is the fact that, according to a translation provided by UrbanBrain, the investors in the project are reportedly a car rental firm and a restaurant chain.

I’m speculating, but it seems likely that these investors will get some premium domain name real estate under these TLDs as part of the deal.

I’m expecting to see quite a few of these kinds of relationships emerging in the first round of new TLD applications – getting an investor and an anchor tenant on board in one deal makes good sense for a limited community or geographic TLD.