Way more than a year, I had a client CPA firm that wanted me to get them .firm back in 98 (maybe even '97?). A rash of name-vendor websites developed to "hold" your registration application so that when the dot-whatevers became available you'd be in the gold rush (seems to me there were 7 new first level domains).
yup - don't think we will see them in the near future or possibly ever. My favorite so far was the company taking pre registrations for the .web addresses. I think somebody retired to a small island after that.
To tell the truth I think there would be no small advantage in having .eu for europe. But .shop , .firm etc. sounds...sort of like "blecch!". They're facing an enormously enormous awful task with this one, and I don't envy them one jot.