Battle for Dot-Radio: Part II

George Bundy is the CEO of BRS Media Inc., a San Francisco based multimedia e-commerce company that targets radio and the Internet, and one of the four applicants for the dot-radio domain. In 2011, the company was cited by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest growing companies.

An early pioneer in the domain space movement, BRS Media launched the dot-FM and dot-AM Top Level Domains at the turn of the millennium, the predominant accomplishment that Bundy believes qualifies BRS over the other applicants for this task.

This is the second part in a series about the complex decision of who will manage dot-radio. To read last week’s feature on EBU, go here.

Below are Bundy’s answers from a July 5 phone interview with Radio World, followed by responses to questions from Radio World sent this week in an email by Bundy. Interviews have been edited for grammar and length.

July 5

Why have you applied for this registry?

I think the motivation for us has been the experience we’ve had … We really know what the market wants. It was a great opportunity to expand that reach.

Why should radio organizations care about this change?

Number one, the entire landscape of the Internet is going to be dramatically overhauled and changed. There (will be) possibly 1,000 new extensions, even branded ones like Google, CBS, ABC. So you will see more specific domains coming out of the market.

The radio extension will be more focused on the advertising tools … building, developing more content … Dot-radio will let [radio stations] expand in the local market. Why should they give that up for Pandora?

Why should ICANN pick your application over the others?

We have what we contend to be an awful lot of experience dealing with industry-specific domain names. Many of these extensions are going to crash and burn. You open the floodgate and many will not succeed. That’s a difficult challenge because, if it does, how do you manage it accordingly?

Afilias has applied for (many different domains). The fact is, they care no more about radio than they do the color pink. We only applied for the one, again because that’s been our focus for the past 15 years … well before anyone understood what the domains were, we had a booth at the NAB and we tried to sell people on the domain names. We didn’t get anyone interested then, because it was obviously well before its time.

Aug. 6

What is the relationship, exactly, between the eventual winner and people interested in using dot-radio?

For the most part, there is no direct relationship between a domain registry and domain holders. However, the domain registry sets policies that domain holders must adhere to. In the case of some domains, these policies can limit or restrict (block) who can (or cannot) get a domain.

People interested in any domain, must purchase from an ICANN registrar (retailer), as the domain registry is the wholesaler.

Let's say BRS gets chosen. Does that mean it has the right to sell names? Or is it merely a gatekeeper?

In the wholesaler/retailer registry/registrar ICANN model, the entity chosen to run dot-radio sells domains to the retailers (registrars) who in turn sell them to the public.

Is there money involved?

Money is involved in nearly all domains, including the currently listed domains (dot-com, dot-org)… In fact, the ICANN application required applicants to submit 3–5 year business plan and financials with their application for review.

Why did you complain about EBU’s role in this process?

We did not complain about the EBU process or application, although we do not agree with the bureaucratic, biased and discriminatory restrictions within their dot-radio application.

Our issue is with the timely and calculated move by the EBU to join one of the most influential committees [Governmental Advisory Committee - GAC] within the ICANN community, during the New TLD Applicant Evaluation Period.

The GAC has been in existence since 1999. So why did the EBU feel the need to join the GAC in 2012, during the New TLD Applicant Evaluation Period? It’s a question the EBU has been unable and/or unwilling to answer.

EBU is not a governmental body but a trade group, and while the EBU may not have any voting rights, it can fully participate in the Governmental Advisory Committee and have unreserved access to influence the GAC’s Committees and Working Groups that may set policies voted on by GAC members.

Do you think EBU might have an advantage over other applicants, in that an association might be seen as somehow a less partial arbiter than a for-profit individual company?

There is no advantage the EBU has with regards to “nonprofit” in running a Top Level Domain. If you look at VeriSign, a publicly trade for-profit corporation, running dot-com and at PIR (Public Interest Registry), a nonprofit corporation that operates dot-org, to the end user there is very little difference … with regards to price, polices and usage.

So EBU’s claim to run the dot-radio “not-for-profit way” is totally without merit. At the same time, their other application for Eurovision, directly indicates their intent to run that “where it carries commercial activities.”

Next up: More about the remaining two applications for the dot-radio domain: Afilias  Ltd. and Tin Dale LLC. 

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