Sydney, Melbourne Likely To Apply For Own gTLDs

The Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne have expressed an interest in applying for the .SYDNEY and .MELBOURNE generic Top Level Domains with governments in both cities saying they will apply for the new gTLDs when ICANN commences the application process.

In Sydney, the state government’s Premier’s Office has expressed an interest in applying for .SYDNEY as long ago as June 2009 when ICANN held one of its three meetings per year in the city.

According to a report in The Australian newspaper today, the NSW Premier’s Department is planning to release a tender to assist in applying for the gTLD and operate the registry. Meanwhile further south in Melbourne, a City of Melbourne spokeswoman told The Australian the council was “actively considering” obtaining .MELBOURNE.

“No decisions have been made” on whether to apply for the name, she told The Australian, but industry sources told the newspaper Melbourne was also seeking advice on lodging an application for the gTLD with ICANN.

The NSW Premier’s Department said .SYDNEY would provide major benefits for Sydney and there were “potential risks if the .SYDNEY gTLD was not secured for use in connection with Sydney (Australia).”

Chris Disspain, CEO of auDA, the .AU policy and regulatory body acknowledged that the upfront $185,000 application fee to ICANN for a new gTLD was a not insignificant amount of money, but that there were strong community benefits in establishing .SYDNEY and .MELBOURNE, and it was likely the cities would designate the names for promotional and tourism purposes.

“At the moment, if you type Melbourne into Google, chances are you will be inundated with a heap of monetised websites that provide you with links to a heap of other monetised websites that then provide links, eventually, to something that might be of use,” Disspain told The Australian.

Depending on registration policies, it could be gTLDs for the cities of Sydney and Melbourne could also gain support given the somewhat restrictive registration policies for .AU.