search.JPGJackson Heights, New York, April 12, 2014 - Vital to the operation of a livable city are its public spaces: parks, plazas, streets, schools, libraries, etc. Over the centuries we’ve established standards for such spaces, including where they are best located and how they are used and governed. 

Today we’re faced with identifying public spaces within the .nyc TLD. According to .nyc’s Launch Program, we’ve only until 11 AM on August 4th to identify and set aside our digital public spaces. At that moment the Landrush period begins and within a few minutes all names of public spaces that have not been set aside will be purchased for private purposes. Thereafter their public use will be through condemnation and eviction procedures.

Why is this important? Some background will help.

38 cities applied for their TLDs in 2012, including 4 from the U.S. - New York, Boston, Miami and Vegas. In 2018, when the next window of opportunity to acquire a city-TLD will arise, we expect several hundred to apply for the capacity to develop this digital infrastructure. 

New York City has been a leader is development this resource. And just last month, after a 13 year gestation, it was delegated the .nyc TLD by ICANN a global licensing entity. The city is now in the process of deciding who gets what name for what purpose and when. (See http://nic.nyc for highlights on .nyc’s rollout or Launch Policies for a detailed look.)

One of the challenges the city faces is looking over the horizon and discerning digital spaces (domain names) that should be reserved for public use. There’s little guidance on this as traditional TLDs (think .com and .org) don’t have public spaces.

The last time the city faced such a challenge was in the early 1800’s when it set about carving up Manhattan into real estate parcels. What became known as “The Commissioners’ Plan of 1811″ created our street grid that has served our city well. But one of the “over the horizon” needs we missed back then was parks. And in the 1840s, when the need for public recreation spaces became apparent, the city was forced to evict several thousand people who were living in what is now Central Park. (According to Wikipedia “The earliest purpose built public park, although financed privately, was Princes Park in the Liverpool suburb of Toxteth” in 1842. So prior to that humanity lived in a world without public parks!)

Today’s challenge is identifying public spaces within the .nyc TLD, be they for public assembly, discourse, recreation, or some new “digital” purpose. Hopefully we’ll avoid the need to resort to eviction to create a more livable city.

In addition to acquiring the digital property one of the advantages that will arise from this exercise is the development of a descriptive vocabulary. So today, if I visit any U.S. city and feel the need for a moment of restful meditation, I can ask anyone “Where’s the nearest park?” with my need being easily understood.

So my question dear reader is, What needs and opportunities are there within a city, be it the digital or traditional, that a city-TLD can address? What are these public spaces called? And how are they funded, governed, and operated? This last question need not be answered immediately - we only figured out how to properly fund Central Park in the 1980, 140 years after setting it aside. 

So… what are our digital public spaces?

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

congratulations.pngJackson Hts., New York, March 25, 2014 - In the past couple of days a number of people have contacted me to offer their congratulations or thanks for my role in making the .nyc TLD a reality. With our city’s TLD having been entered into the root - see it here http://nic.nyc - they presumed that my goals for .nyc had been achieved.

But the Internet Empowerment Resolution that I’ve been shepherding for 12+ years had two key components.The first was acquiring the .nyc TLD. Done. But the Resolution sought the TLDs development as a public interest resource. That is not yet assured. So hold the good thoughts and join us in making sure that .nyc achieves a significant role in making a more livable and prosperous city.

When all New York’s businesses, civic organizations, institutions, artists, and residents have good .nyc domain names; when the city’s digital resources are a cinch to navigate online and off; when we can readily identify problems and opportunities and organize ourselves to address them; then it will be time to break out the bubbly. (Commons graphic courtesy of Mr. Groovysweet.)

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

Filed March 25th, 2014 under Rant

comments-icon.0.pngJackson Hts., New York, March 23, 2014 - My two primary areas of interest within ICANN’s scope of activities merged last week when the NTIA announced its plan to shift the IANA functions to ICANN. I’ll review that convergence here as it might be instructive to those considering the proposed Internet governance realignment.

My early interest in ICANN emerged from a curiosity about the process and form global governance of the Internet would take. But since 2001 my primarily ICANN focus has been on ways its activities might influence the capacity of the .nyc TLD to best serve to social and economic life of my city.

Last year I was appointed to the .NYC Community Advisory Board responsible for engaging the public about opportunities presented by the .nyc TLD. One task I took on was to explore the implications of section C.2.9.2.d the IANA Functions contract, an agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and ICANN that detailed requirements for approving a new TLD. It stated of ICANN that it

“must provide documentation verifying that ICANN followed its own policy framework including specific documentation demonstrating how the process provided the opportunity for input from relevant stakeholders and was supportive of the global public interest.”

To smooth the way for the .nyc application I inquired about the process New York City should follow to demonstrate that it had received the required “input from relevant stakeholders.” In that task lies a lessons in accountability.

Step one was to write the NTIA about the steps it required of ICANN to demonstrate it had “input from relevant stakeholders” as required by the IANA functions contract. After some delay NTIA informed me that they didn’t set the standard, that I should contact ICANN. So I made an inquiry of the Director of Technical Services at ICANN’s IANA division who responded:

“The [IANA Functions] contract speaks of the obligations ICANN has to the US Department of Commerce, not of documentation that a requester needs to provide ICANN as part of an IANA delegation request.”

The director advised,

For questions about how new gTLD applications are evaluated, our colleagues in the new gTLD team should be able to answer those. Their contact address is csc@icann.org.

Anxious about the seemingly clear and reasonable requirement that stakeholder engagement be part of the review process, I followed IANA’s suggestion. And on March 18 I received the following response from ICANN:

“Please note that while ICANN cannot comment on any applicant’s business operations, if there is any additional information that ICANN needs from any applicant in order to fulfill ICANN’s requirements under its contract with NTIA, ICANN will reach out to the relevant applicant.” 

So, no guidelines for the city. No transparency of process. No guidelines on inclusiveness of relevant stakeholders. Thereby leaving ICANN free, on a whim apparently, to “reach out” to any applicant.

Is this how ICANN implements the IANA functions? Where will accountability lie under an “ICANN only” governance structure? And where in the process is the NTIA?

NOTE: As the .nyc TLD was delegated on March 20, see http://www.nic.nyc/, apparently the city needn’t worry about stakeholder engagement. Fodder for those considering new levels of engagement between cities and ICANN. See Cities, Citizens, and Internet Governance for more on this topic.

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

Jackson Hts., New York, March 8, 2014 - The below paper was submitted by Connecting.nyc Inc. to the NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance to be held April 23-24 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We recommend reading our submission below as some formatting was removed in the version posted at NETmundial.

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Summary

Most of netmundial.1.pngus live in cities that are only now beginning to take advantage of that critical Internet infrastructure, the Top Level Domain. While our lives are increasingly affected by digital developments enabled by the Internet, city residents have scant access to the governance structures that establish the policies, standards, and practices that guide the Net’s operation. This submission suggests ways cities and their residents can better participate in Internet governance at the local and global levels.

Background

When ICANN earnestly activated its new TLD issuance responsibilities in 2005, its initial inclination was to view cities as outside the scope of entities eligible for Top Level Domains. After a persuasive campaign by representatives from Berlin, Barcelona, New York, Paris, Tokyo and other global cities, that viewpoint changed and cities were included within ICANN’s 2008 resolution authorizing a new TLD program.

As the ICANN community struggled through the long process of developing an Applicant Guidebook, many in the city-TLD community noted that the needs of cities and their probable use of TLDs differed in significant ways from those of generic and business TLDs. And they urged that a different set of requisites for city-TLDs be established. Additionally, these proponents urged that cities be forewarned about the implications of a TLD, enabling cities to better prepare for the responsibilities entailed in their planning and operation.

However, the challenges surrounding the completion of an Applicant Guidebook and pressure from eager applicants did not allow for applicant categories. And the only significant interventions  were those proffered by ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) on behalf of the integrity of geographic names.

As of March 2014 it seems likely that approximately 35 cities will receive TLDs in the coming year.

This submission advances two topics for consideration by NETmundial. The first involves changes to the city-TLD issuance and development process and for the inclusion of cities in Internet governance processes. The second suggests a means for cities and individual Internet users to better participate in Internet governance processes.

Cities and Top Level Domains

Cities are amongst the oldest and most complex entities we encounter in our daily lives. They house more than half our planet’s population, with U.N. estimates projecting that will rise to 75% by mid-century. Cities are the places from which a preponderance of ideas and economic development emerge. And there’s growing acceptance that a sustainable planet is likely to arise from the efficiencies of urban areas.

To date, the digital needs of cities have been given short shrift by Internet technologists and the Net’s governance ecology. As remedy, we offer the following suggestions.

  • The Roadmap should recommend a more robust process for issuing city-TLDs. This should include a recommendation that the TLD issuing entity provide an informative and enlightening application process for cities considering TLD acquisition. While the “letter of non-objection’” required of the 2012 city-TLD applicants held the spirit of informed consent, the inclusion of a detailed scoping of a city-TLDs utility to residents, local businesses, quality of life, government operation, and global identity would better contribute to their efficacious planning and development.

  • Cities do not have a formal place in the Internet governance ecology. While a City-TLD Governance and Best Practices workshop was held at the 2010 IGF in Vilnius, follow-up has been scant. At ICANN, there’s a move to include city-TLDs within the Registry Constituency of the GNSO, but only as part of a broader geographic representation. However, considering their size, their unique needs, and their importance to the global economy and a sustainable planet, we urge that cities be considered a full stakeholder within any multistakeholder regime.

A Message From The Bottom

Our lives are increasingly affected by digital activities enabled by the Internet. Yet Internet users have modest access to the “bottom-up” governance structures that establish the policies, standards, and practices that guide the Net’s operation.

Here in New York City we’ve experienced a small inkling of the potential of bottom-up participation in Internet oversight and management through two At-Large Structures. One is operated by the New York Internet Society, a chapter of the global Internet Society, and another by Connecting.nyc Inc., an advocacy and education organization focused on the development of the .nyc TLD. For those not familiar with the role of the At-Large Structures within ICANN, here’s a brief history.

In its early days ICANN provided for strong representation of individual Internet users in its decision making processes. It did so by allocating 5 seats on its board of directors to be filled by Internet users, with each of ICANN’s regions selecting one member via a direct election. One such election was held and, for a time, 5 ICANN board members were selected by individual Internet users.

The corporation found fault with the selection process and replaced the user-selected members with an appointed At-Large Advisory Committee and a Nominating Committee charged with selecting several board members.

In recent years the At-Large was reconstituted and now participates in selecting one (1) voting member to ICANN’s board of directors. This member is selected via a multi-staged process that provides for each At-Large Structure (organizations with membership and other structures) casting a vote for its preferred board member.

While one board member is better than none, by any measure, under today’s governance formation, the world’s 2+ billion individual Internet users and the At-Large Structure’s impact on ICANN’s governance decisions remains tenuous.

In our role as an At-Large Structure Connecting.nyc Inc. has observed a significant improvement of the At-Large’s operation over the past several years. As one example, this past year the At-Large made significant contributions more than a dozen ICANN policy considerations.

But far more can be achieved by expanding and enhancing user engagement the through the following actions.

  • The number of seats selected by individual Internet users on ICANN’s board of directors should be increased. Reverting to the original 5 seats seems a reasonable short term target.

  • The new board seats should be allocated as of old, one per ICANN region.

  • The new seats should be selected by direct vote of each region’s At-Large Structures. (There are currently 180 At-Large Structures in the 5 regions.)

  • The number of At-Large Structures should to be increased with additional resources provided to facilitate their operation.

  • Care should be taken to assure that participation by the poor and the marginalized is facilitated.

  • Concomitant with this resource allocation there needs to be improved transparency and accountability measures for the At-Large.

  • In those instances where At-Large Structures exist in cities with TLDs, city government should be provided with ex officio participation.

For those interested in learning more about the At-Large, an At-Large Summit is to be held during ICANN’s June 2014 London meeting, with a representative from each of the At-Large Structures in attendance.

It is our belief that engaging cities as stakeholders and expanding the At-Large will democratize and enhance the ICANN’s operation.

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Connecting.nyc Inc. is a New York State not-for-profit formed in 2006 to advocate and facilitate the development of the .nyc TLD as a public interest resource. In 2012 it was recognized as an At-Large Structure by ICANN. 

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

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Jackson Hts., New York, February 22, 2014 - When AOL bought Time-Warner in 2000, New York City recognized that a fundamental basis for the city’s awarding the franchise to Time-Warner Cable was being violated: Local ownership was being stripped away, with the city’s cable services  henceforth to be controlled by corporate interests in Virginia.

Luckily the city franchise agreement required city hall’s approval for an ownership transfer, and DoITT’s Commissioner Allan Dobrin negotiated for the provision of a competitive Internet Service Provider (ISP) in exchange for the city’s OK. And thanks to the Commissioner’s eagle eye New Yorkers using Time-Warner Cable now can choose from two ISPs, Time-Warner’s Roadrunner and service from Earthlink. 

Now, a decade later, a challenge to local ownership has arisen from Philadelphia based Comcast. But the 2010 franchise agreement the city negotiated with Time-Warner (long ago separated from AOL) allows for ownership transfer if consummated via the exchange of publicly traded shares (thank Mayor Bloomberg for this). New Yorkers with cable complaints can now take Amtrack to Philadelphia. (Image courtesy of Teamcoco.)

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

Filed February 22nd, 2014 under Rant

dozen-smile.pngJackson Hts., New York, February 21, 2014 - With the de Blasio Administration reviewing the city’s approach to the .nyc TLD, today we reviewed the Towards City-TLDs In The Public Interest White Paper prepared by Dr. Michael Gurstein and our founding director in 2007 and thought it worthwhile that we promote its findings once again. 

The White Paper detailed 12 advantages that would arise from a thoughtfully planned and executed TLD development plan. While the intervening 7 years revealed other benefits, the original advantages constitute the bulk of the advantages we might anticipate. Here they are:

NOTE: In the following GC-TLD refers to a Global City TLD.

  • Good Domain Names - If issued equitably and at affordable rates, a public interest GC-TLD will facilitate the fundamental benefit that derives from a new TLD, that is, good names, those that are short, descriptive, and memorable.
  • Equitable Distribution of Domain Names – A public interest GC-TLD can establish allocation policies that avoid pitfalls such as hoarding and typo-squatting. Policy decisions can be made on price and nexus requirements (a legal term indicating a required city connection such as a residency or operating a business), and can reserve domain names for unbiased public interest directories, government, civic, and issue usage.
  • Affordable Domain Names – By eliminating the profit requirement, public interest GC-TLDs can keep prices low and set rates that maximize community benefit. It can provide affordable names for the young entering the business world, for the community and civic worlds, for recent immigrants, small businesses, and for use in the public realm. Where appropriate and feasible, a GC-TLD operated in the public interest can provide free names to individuals, organizations, start-ups, etc.
  • Name Set-Asides - With an improved community a key part of its mission, a public interest GC-TLD can set aside second level names for neighborhoods or civic benefit activities and issues, e.g., “www.elections.nyc” or “www.sante.paris” Also, it can experiment with allocation plans that facilitate shared name usage for civic, community, and issues. e.g., developing a reusable public access name bank that facilitates a time-based allocation of names like “www.save-the-tree.nyc.”
  • The New Proximity – While the Internet excels by connecting on a global scale, a public interest GC-TLD can establish discussion, issue, geographic, and opportunity name spaces where residents can locate one another. Combining the Internet’s global reach and local face-to-face contacts will optimize the exchange of ideas and revivify the traditional role of cities.
  • Civic Tools for Collaboration – The New Proximity will be facilitated by making available public access civic tools such as calendars, maps, listserves, polling, and organizers. These may be adapted from those currently providing web widgets such as Google or custom developed if needed.
  • More Secure Experience – With a focus on a limited and fixed geographic area, a nexus requirement for acquiring a city domain name (i.e., a demonstrated residency or business interest in the city), and working in close cooperation with the extant institutions, public interest GC-TLD operators can approximate the expectation and experience found with TLDs such as .gov and .edu.
  • Unbiased Directories – A public interest TLD can create directories of selected second level domain names like www.hotels.nyc and www.schools.nyc, making city resources far more accessible. For example, a carefully designed and managed www.hotels.nyc directory would provide global access to a small directory page presenting the city’s hotels using alpha and geographic links to sites of the hotel’s choice. Or a directory might make a city’s schools accessible by organizing them by public vs. private, and primary, secondary, and university.
  • Intuitive Design - A well planned and organized TLD will be intuitive and provide confidence that “guesses” will be effective. For example, today one might imagine success by directly entering www.ibm.com or www.coke.com into a browsers address space. With a fresh GC-TLD name space residents might presume that the entry www.jacquescafe.paris would reach its target. Intuitive design will also play a role in encouraging directory searches of the likes of www.bookstores.london or www.restaurants.nyc.
  • Search Engine Transparency – Whether one is searching for a hotel or issues surrounding a local election, the trustworthiness of the responses is vital. Developers of GC-TLDs will find advantage by presenting search engines with transparent heuristics.
  • Identity – While any city-TLD will say for example, Made in Berlin or From Mumbai, a GC-TLD operated in the public interest will assure the long term preservation of the TLD as a symbol of a city’s character. And with public participation in its design and development, it will provide that point of civic pride around which a population will rally to protect its brand.
  • Shrink Digital Divide – A public interest GC-TLD could (and should be expected to) commit a portion of funds received from name sales and other sources to facilitate the provision of civic collaboration tools, education, training and eradicating digital divides.

 Read the White Paper here. Commons image courtesy of  J. Star.

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

Filed February 21st, 2014 under .NYC Advisory Board, Oversight, Governance

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Jackson Hts., New York, January 17, 2014 - After more than a decade of stop and go, it seems the .nyc TLD will become a reality later this year. We at Connecting.nyc Inc., having invested years of effort aimed first at encouraging the city to commit to .nyc’s acquisition, and more recently to assure it is used as a public interest resource, are delighted to see this “end of the beginning” approaching.

The above is the December 2013 timeline from the city’s contractor. Delays are possible (if you consider that the original city resolution calling for .nyc’s acquisition was passed on April 19, 2001, maybe that should be likely), but your opportunity for purchasing “yourname.nyc” is getting close. Those gearing up for a new venture might consider waiting a few months. 

For an historic perspective on these “targets” see the .nyc timeline

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

Filed January 17th, 2014 under Inspiration, Auction, Competition, Domain Names

Jackson Hts., New York, January 15, 2014 - Last November activist and author David Bollier blogged  The Silent Giveaway of New York City’s Internet Domain: Will De Blasio Step Up?  about our initiative. It summarized some key aspects of our effort quite well and with Bill de Blasio now sworn in as New York City’s 109th Mayor, we thought it worth a reprint.

Guest Post by David Bollier

The election of Bill de Blasio as Mayor of New York City suddenly presents a rich opportunity to reclaim a commons-based resource that the Bloomberg administration was on the verge of giving away. I’m talking about the pending introduction of a new Internet “Top Level Domain” for New York City, .nyc.   

Top Level Domains, better known as TLDs, are the regions of the Internet denoted by .com, .org and .edu.  They amount to Internet “zones” dedicated to specific purposes or countries.  Over the past few years, far beyond the radar screen of ordinary mortals, the little-known Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – which manages TLDs — has been pushing the idea of TLDs for cities.  If Paris wants to have its own Internet domain — .paris – it can apply for it and get it.  Rome could have its own .rome and London could have .london. 

New Yorker Thomas Lowenhaupt of Connectingnyc.org – a long-time advocate for treating the TLD as a shared resource – has written, “I’ve often thought of the .nyc TLD in its entirety as a commons — that the .nyc TLD is a digital commons that we all need to protect as we today (seek to) protect our physical streets and sidewalks by not littering, and provide clean air, parks, schools, health care, fire and police protection, and the like, to our built environment so that it best serves 8,200,000 of us.”

Here are some examples that Lowenhaupt has come up with for how .nyc could make New York City more accessible and navigable:

                

 

 

 

 

 

The idea is that Internet users could use the TLDs to access various aspects of city life by using them in creative ways.  Instead of having to rely on Google to search for museums in New York (which would yield thousands of not-very-well-organized listings), you could use museums.nyc and find everything laid out more intelligently.  Or if you were new to Brooklyn Heights, you could go to brooklynheights.nyc and find all sorts of civic, community and commercial website listings for that neighborhood – the library, recycling resources, parking rules, links to relevant city officials.  And yes, the businesses. The possibilities are endless — and potentially enlivening for a city.

Under Mayor Bloomberg, the city was going to let a private vendor sell off the domain names with minimal city oversight.  Anyone could buy up “restaurants.nyc” and any hotel chain could buy “hotels.nyc.”  These would amount to privately made, market-driven choices about the future of New York City.  They amount to urban planning decisions. Unfortunately, the implications of the Bloomberg plan has received scant attention. However, the final contract between the City and ICANN for .nyc TLDs has not yet been consummated, so the De Blasio administration could plausibly step in and take correction action.

It should.  The current plan is crazy and short-sighted.  Infrastructure should be used to serve the needs of everyone, not just the highest bidder.  And TLDs are surely a form of civic infrastructure that belongs to all of us.

As Tom Lowenhaupt recently noted, if the current plans for .nyc go through, “we’ll not have a guiding framework like the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 which mapped Manhattan’s street grid.  Instead of a thoughtfully organized digital grid, .nyc will bring a chaotic mean-streets, a digital reincarnation of the 1980’s Times Square.”  This is the logical result of the Bloomberg administration’s choice to let the management contract for the .nyc TLD to a vendor who wrote the RFP [request for proposal].  Imagine if city planners had surrendered the grid-layout of Manhattan streets to road-builders or General Motors. 

Monetizing the TLDs by selling them to the highest bidders achieves little of lasting value.  It simply surrenders equity control (forever) of a key piece of city infrastructure and planning authority to private parties.  This has sweeping global ramifications. Why should the City willingly give up its priceless .nyc TLD to some philistine investor, possibly a non-New Yorker, whose only goal will be to host a motley strip mall of .nyc domain-names and milk their leasees for all they’re worth? Why not use this infrastructure more creatively and deliberatively to advance the larger, collective interests of New Yorkers?

It is unclear if Mayor De Blasio cares enough about this issue (or understands its implications sufficiently) to intervene.  Does he understand how this seemingly arcane technical matter will have enormous, far-reaching implications for the future of the city?  Does he and his staff appreciate how the .nyc TLD could be a rich tool for empowering the City’s 352 neighborhoods and helping people around the world to interact more intelligibly with the City’s people and resources?  (For the latest official thinking on the .nyc TLDs, here’s an account of the October 17 advisory committee meeting on the .nyc TLD.)

A commenter on Lowenhaupt’s blog, Eric Brunner-Williams, notes that New York City is a global city, a premier cultural venue and a thought leader.  It should act accordingly.  It should not simply outsource control over this vital city planning resource (the TLD) with little thought to the larger public and long-term implications.  There is too much at stake for the “little people” and non-commercial interests who have been marginalized for the past twelve years.

Fortunately, according to Brunner-Williams, the administrative plans for the .nyc TLD can be “easily redressed within the existing contract and/or reasonably redressed within a competitive rebid process to a much larger universe of capable contractors, and improved substantively by sources of informed and interested policy advisory offerings to the implementing agency.” 

Mayor-Elect De Blasio, you’ve invited the people to make suggestions for your new administration. You’ve made the beautiful point that “we all rise together.”  Here’s an issue that will directly affect our ability to do that.  How you choose to deploy the .nyc TLD will have far-reaching implications for many generations of New Yorkers.

Reprinted from author and activist David Bollier’s blog post of November 7, 2013. 

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

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Jackson Hts., New York, December 26, 2013 - I’ve mixed feelings when I hear the “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” announcement on the subway. At first I’m annoyed because my train of thought has been broken. But then an image like Boston’s tragic marathon will pop into my head and I’ll groan, “OK, it’s necessary.”

IYSSSS acknowledges that the public’s participation in our public system safety is vital. It draws upon our common interest, and it invites and engages the public to help avoid a potentially deadly situation. One can hope for a less intrusive way to deliver the message, but maybe it’s just a commons chore. 

We need a similar campaign to protect our city when the .nyc TLD arrives. But because it’s new, it will require some explanation. Here’s a four layered campaign.

  • First, create a vision message that presents .nyc as a commonly owned resource that benefits us all - like the air, the streets, the schools, the libraries, and the parks.
  • Present examples of the benefits residents receive with a thoughtfully developed .nyc TLD; and of the consequences for cities that neglect to do so.
  • Initiate an education effort that preps residents to identify those using .nyc websites to squat on names that belong to others, that scam and swindle, and that infect computers with malware.
  • Most importantly, we need to create a system that effectively responds to abuses. These may be provided by a neighborhood or community; or by the government’s workforce through 311, the NYPD, the Departments of Consumer Affairs and Finance, the Secret Service, etc.
  • And we need an IYSSSS-like slogan to keep the civicly aware on their toes.

In short, we must create a civic culture that engages residents to report those using .nyc domain names in ways that diminish our city’s social and economic order.

At the same time we need to recognize that this is a very, very sensitive task. And as we scope and develop this culture change we need to avoid creating a Nanny or Orwellian state. (Graphic of subway steps courtesy of CnI.)

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

nyc-Neustar-Phased-Launch-12-09-13.pngJackson Hts., New York, December 12, 2013 - On Monday evening I attended the city’s first public meeting on the .nyc TLD. The “.NYC Public Workshop”  provided New Yorkers with their first peek at the soon to arrive TLD. Fifty or so people showed for the event, held at Brooklyn Law School. A recording of the event by the New York Internet Society’s Joly MacFie is now available.

News from the workshop concerned the time frame for its arrival and a first look at pricing. If the the new administration follows the current path, and there are no surprises from ICANN or other fronts, .nyc domain names will become active in October 2014. More detail on timing is available on our Timeline page.

Wholesale prices are announced as $20 for Government Affiliated names; $15 per name for Trademark holders; $30 for names acquired during Landrush; and $20 during General Availability. 

During the workshop several people raised questions about plans for the allocation of neighborhood names. The city responded that, while not finalized, the neighborhood names (as well as the premier names such as news.nyc and sports.nyc) will likely be auctioned off. And that “fairness” precluded showing preference to parties offering to provide city focused values in the operation of these domain names.

Shaping .NYC’s Future

After the presentation and a brief Q&A, three breakout sessions were held. I was invited to moderate one entitled Shaping .NYC’s Future.

                                           “machines, once made, make men” Ralph Waldo Emerson

By way of introduction, I quoted Emerson and raised the specter of the Internet, the largest machine ever built, shaping us in unintended ways. And faced with a complex shaping assignment, I suggested we approach the TLD’s development by keeping our city’s values in mind. For Mayor Bloomberg, these were recently expressed as:

“Personal freedom, economic opportunity, technological innovation, artistic expression: for centuries, these four values defined our city – and for 12 years, they have guided our Administration. But they are not alone. A fifth core value is no less important: We invest in the future.”

Our new administration might want to add other values such as justice and opportunity.

Procedurally, after determining the values, we must assess how .nyc can be shaped to meet the needs of the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the handicapped, immigrants, etc. And how we might shape it to reduce crime and homelessness, improve education and health, and provide business and artistic opportunities.

Robert Pollard did the breakout session report. We were not able to make much progress in the 20 minutes allotted to the session. But if the .nyc TLD is to be shaped to meet the city’s values, these questions await the de Blasio Administration. (Graphic courtesy of Neustar Inc. For all presentation graphics and a video of the Workshop see Slideshare.)

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

Filed December 12th, 2013 under .NYC Advisory Board, At Large, Neighborhoods
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