The Curious Case of IARU’s .radio Endorsement

An interesting news item popped up on the ARRL website last week.

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has expressed public support for a .radio top-level domain name. Under the proposal as put forth by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), registration will be available via the EBU to all eligible radio representative organizations and broadcasters, Internet radios, radio amateurs, radio professionals and their respective representative organizations, as well as companies providing radio-specific products and services in order to create a worldwide radio community.

The IARU supporting comment:

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) welcomes dot-radio, the Internet Top Level domain that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) proposes to create for the global radio community.Created in Paris, France, the IARU has been the watchdog and spokesman for the world Amateur Radio community since 1925 and counts with over 160 members from many different countries and territories.

The IARU believes that the dot-radio proposal to be submitted by the EBU could provide an unique opportunity to standardize Radio domain names on the Internet.

The use of a specific global online name such as dot-radio can help create a unique space worldwide, a place where the global radio community can gather.

Am I the only one who thought to themselves, “what does this have to do with Amateur Radio?”

What does the European Broadcast Union, a group that represents the interests of broadcasters (especially on radio spectrum issues), have anything to do with ham radio? Anyone? I can hear the crickets chirping….

What does it mean to “standardize radio names on the Internet”? How about “a place where the global radio community can gather”? I mean, is anyone feeling like this sort of thing is missing on the Internet?

Has anyone had any trouble getting their callsign domain name in .com, .net, .org, or From an Amateur Radio perspective, this whole thing seems like a solution in search of a problem.

Others have also weighed in the potential conflict of interest in EBU’s application. Julien Mervyn Dedier filed this comment with ICANN:

Dot. Radio the Internet top Level domain that EBU proposes to create for the global radio community is not in the best interest of amateur radio operators worldwide. The International Amateur Radio Union’s (IARU) support for Dot. Radio by EBU does not reflect the views of all amateur radio operators globally.

Apparently he’s not alone in raising the conflict of interest concern. Kevin Murphy, editor of the domain name blog DomainIncite, wrote:

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.

I’m not suggesting that there is some grand conspiracy here. There may be very valid reasons why IARU believes that this is fundamentally in our best interest. They just aren’t clear to me from the press release.

I e-mailed Mr. Ellam, the president of the IARU, a week ago for comment. I asked specifically for an example of how the approval of EBU’s .radio application would benefit the Amateur Radio community.  I ‘m still awaiting a reply.



Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of Contact him at [email protected].

12 Responses to “The Curious Case of IARU’s .radio Endorsement”

  • k8gu:

    Follow the money? So, will you be registering

  • Matt W1MST:

    That’s what I don’t understand, Ethan. Normally you can “follow the money” to at least get some understanding of why these things happen.

    In this case, I cannot see any benefit to IARU for sticking their neck out to endorse this. What’s in it for them — or us, since the IARU represents itself as the spokesman for the world amateur radio community? I don’t get it.

  • Bob K0NR:

    There are a number of new TLDs being added, so having .radio is a reasonable addition. What are you worried about?

    73, Bob K0NR

  • Matthew N8OHU:

    I don’t think anyone has had difficulties getting the desired domain name they want, nor do I believe it is a case of a solution looking for a problem. Like vanity callsigns (where available), I truly believe that a distinctive .radio domain name would benefit Amateur Radio in ways that we currently cannot see, by making our websites (if we choose to put them in the new top level domain) stand out in a sea of websites; currently, if I want to search for a website specifically geared toward ham radio, I can’t simply input a top level domain and find relevant sites that way.

    73, Matthew N8OHU

  • Matt W1MST:

    It’s not that I have any objection to a .radio TLD, per se. What surprised me is that IARU took the step to endorse one organization’s application over another — especially when that organization represents media interests.

    The EBU is a regional union of broadcasters. While they have indicated “amateur radios and clubs” will be able to apply for a .radio domain, the procedure and cost for doing so is not clear.

    This appeared on CommLawBlog today and provides an interesting perspective:

  • Julien 9Z4FZ:

    George T Bundy” wrote: I quote

    What you have in the comments are great talking points. The Community
    basis of EBU’s Application should also be of concern. As it
    preventing legitimate ‘radio’ members from registering a .Radio domain
    (See Below)

    Also on the EBU/GAC Conflict, The EBU willfully intends to use its new
    position on the GAC to influence their New TLD Applicant(s) for its
    own “commercial activities”. Outlined in its application(s), where it
    plans to ask (lobby) the GAC for “Exceptions” that would benefit them
    financially “where it carries commercial activities”. #22 The New TLD
    Applicant rules clearly forbid the registration of “Country Name”
    within any New TLD string.

    The Community-based nexus applied by the EBU’s application does not
    match the delineated term of the entire world of Radio because it is
    exclusive and creates material harm to a significant portion of the
    Radio Industry by preventing legitimate ‘radio’ members from
    registering a .Radio domain.

    According to the EBU’s ”Community-Bias” application, even being in the
    TOP two Categories of the pecking order afford one be on a
    first-come/first served basis. ”Priority will be differentiated by
    Category (and Sub-category) each one having absolute priority over the
    next one”

    If your organization falls under the red line – categories 2-7:
    Licensed radio Broadcasters, Companies serving Radio, Web radios,
    Licensed amateur radio and clubs, radio professionals or ‘Same as
    above’ {Whatever that means} – it’s presumably unlikely that you will
    get or be qualified for any beneficial .RADIO domain on a
    first-come/first served basis.

    Notice “Licensed amateur radio and clubs” are 5th on the pecking order
    of who can get a .RADIO under the EBU’s bureaucratic and
    discriminatory policies.

  • Ray, KA1AAA:

    Hmmmm……. Sounds a bit redundant….
    I think the whole idea of the EBU and IARU even entertaining a .radio TLD is dumb…

    73 de KA1AAA


    BRS Media Voices Concern Over EBU’s Use of ICANN Trademark

  • David, G7AGI:

    I would have thought .qra would be much more suitable for amateur radio, although in truth it is not usually difficult to find a personal amateur web site. Google any callsign and you will easily find a Twitter page, details, and personal web site.

    73, David

  • HB9SLM:

    i wonder why some are concerned about .radio domain.
    we are all hams and are entitled to apply for an .radio second level domain.
    Who ever is not able to handle that privilege should just not register one.

    btw, all other Applicants are 100% profit company doing advertisement and marketing stuff.

  • Anthony, 9Z4A:

    i must agree with Julien, 9Z4FZ

    73, Anthony

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