.Radio’s rules against generic domains seem counterproductive.
At what point does a new top level domain name created for a community move from protecting its community to stifling innovation?
Many community top level domain name applicants have restrictions in place to keep out domain investors and speculators. The case of .radio makes me wonder if you can take this too far.
.Radio is operated by the European Broadcasting Union. It severely restricts the registration of generic names. Here’s the relevant language from its registrations policy:
A. Generic names
Generic names (understood in this context as any word that contains a class or group of things) can only be registered by registrants whose company name, commercial name, or any of its commercial activities associated with that registrant broadcasting business do have a connection with said generic name.
B. Generic names with specific significance for the .radio community
Certain generic names with specific meaning for the .radio community (categories of radio stations of services, news, info, musical styles or genres, radio-related technologies, etc.) may not be registered. Such names should be reserved for community oriented usages. Registry Operator may consider specific requests for said names once the appropriate procedure is adopted
and published in https://nic.radio/policies.
Names registered bypassing this provision may be suspended or even cancelled by the Registry Operator.
Here’s an example of how this works in practice.
Victory 91.5 is a Christian radio station in Atlanta. It participated in the .radio Pioneers program and got Victory.Radio before the domains were made available to the public. It uses that domain for its website.
When .radio went into general availability late last year, the station saw a unique opportunity. It provides an on-demand streaming music platform so it registered ondemand.radio. A few weeks later it received a cancellation notice:
I’d argue this falls more afoul of the clause regarding “Generic names with specific significance for the .radio community”.
But taking the domain away and not allowing anyone else to register it seems like a missed opportunity.
Although I wasn’t a fan of the idea of community top level domain names, the rules are what they are. As long as the restrictions are handled in a transparent and consistent manner, it’s up to the operator.
Still, I think .radio could be much more. Think about it. You have registrants who are in the media business and will constantly promote your domain extension. If the DJ says “stream our station at something.radio”, that is an ad for .radio. That’s a great thing and should be encouraged. It’s one of the reasons I recommend that new TLD operators do what they can to get first or last name domains into the hands of users without big premiums. If a person uses a domain with a new TLD for email, then every email they send is an advertisement for that TLD!
.Radio’s restrictions are part of the reason it only has 2,500 registered names in the zone file. It could do much more to make .radio useful for its community.