We’ve moved the blog to http://connectingnyc.org in 2014

Filed October 5th, 2014 under Uncategorized


Jackson Hts., New York City, August 2, 2013 - Enter any retail store in New York City and you’ll see a number of signs posted, like the one at right, that are intended to provide assurance and recourse should something go wrong. Depending upon the activities being undertaken in the store, these might reference a variety of Federal, State, and City agencies. The existence of these posting requirements reflects the city’s long experience with possible abuses.

We just created a new wiki page exploring the creation of digital “Trust Buttons” for websites that use a .nyc domain name. Like their paper predecessors, these would provide avenues for recourse and the building of trust in the city’s products, services, institutions, and its people. See the Trust Buttons wiki page.

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed August 2nd, 2013 under Uncategorized

founding-fathers-w-border.jpgJackson Hts., New York, June 2, 2013 - As we approach the conclusion of the long development process for the .nyc TLD, we’re faced with the typical question in allocating a scarce resource: Who gets what? At this point we’re calling it a contest between ‘We the people…’ and the Sooners and Boomers. With the ink dry on a city contract, the Sooners and Boomers are clearly ahead, with ‘We the people…’ struggling for an equitable distribution of the city’s digital land.

So who are the Sooners and Boomers? Historically the Sooners were the participants in the 1889 Oklahoma Land Run (a.k.a. Land Rush) that snuck into the “unassigned lands” before the official start of the Run. And the Boomers were those who claimed the 1862 Holmstead Act made the Oklahoma land available to the first settler, invalidating the need for an organized Run.

Take a look at the city’s official Launch Schedule for the .nyc TLD and you’ll see how the Sooners were written into a privileged position in the 2012 contract, with 10 groups are given first dibs on the .nyc domain names.

  1. Government (City, State and Federal offices providing services in the City);

  1. City-Based Non-Profits (entities that provide services within the City and that are registered with the State of New York as not-for-profit corporations);

  1. City Concessionaires (private entities using City-owned property under contract with a City agency)

  1. City Franchisees (private entities using inalienable City-owned property to provide a public service under contract with a City agency);

  1. Retail Service Licensees (private retail establishments licensed by a City agency to conduct such business);

  1. Food Service Licensees (private establishments licensed by the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to provide food service);

  1. NYC & Co. Members (members of NYC & Company (a not-for-profit membership organization that serves as the City’s promotional arm and which operates under a concession agreement with the City));

  1. Business Improvement Districts (a/k/a BIDS) (entities formed by local property owners and tenants to promote business development and quality of life and which operate pursuant to the General Municipal Law and local laws authorizing private not-for-profit corporations to provide supplemental services to particular geographic areas of the City and which operate under contract with the City’s Department of Small Business Services for such purpose); 

  1. City Digital Startups (private entities satisfying the following criteria: (a) their primary business objective is to bring to market products or services that are built from or whose functionalities are fulfilled using digital technology; (b) they have a physical presence in the City; and (c) they have registered with NYC Digital as a New York City digital company); and

  2. City Vendors (private entities from whom the City procures goods and/or services and are registered with the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services).

We don’t disagree with all the Sooners choices. Indeed, we advocate for thoughtful and inclusive planning. But we know that the public has not yet had a say in selection process. And we question why, for example, “City Digital Startups” should have priority over businesses that have operated here for decades. 

The contemporary Boomers are another privileged class that will have priority access to premium domain names such as news.nyc, hotels.nyc, tours.nyc, sports.nyc, etc. Who the Boomers are and what domain names they’ll have access to remains cloaked in a bureaucratic haze. The selection process of the Boomer names lacks transparency and has also been diminished by a lack of public engagement.

At this point the best hope for ‘We the people…’ lies in a .NYC Advisory Board that had its first meeting in city hall last month. But the administration’s support for the Board is questionable according to one Board member. More on that soon.

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.


Jackson Hts., NY, October 1, 2012 - This past June the city of New York applied to ICANN for the right to develop the .nyc Top Level Domain. Its application requested the right to issue millions of .nyc domain names that will guide residents, visitors, and businesses to our city’s resources. With 38 other cities having applied for their TLDs, how well New York weaves its domain names into its digital infrastructure might will determine our city’s fate in the upcoming competition between global cities.

But the city’s application for the .nyc TLD was submitted without drawing upon our city’s innovative digital culture: its entrepreneurs, universities, technologists, and financial sector. Not did the city assess how these domain names will affect digital activists, or its civic, community, and cultural life prior to its submission.

With a professed goal of being a state-of-the-art digital city and global hub of digital development, it’s vital that the city carefully plan for .nyc’s arrival. Policy decisions on who gets what name, under what conditions, for how long, and for how much will determine the effectiveness of the New York City’s digital infrastructure. Ideally it would initiate planning processes that are inclusive, participatory, with lateral sharing in online and face-to-face venues.

We’ve created a Community Advisory Board wiki page to follow this important development. Comments are most welcomed. (Commons photo courtesy of avistadecerdo.)

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed October 1st, 2012 under Uncategorized

­­­icann-paris-2008.jpg­­June 25, 2008, Paris - CnI’s Tom Lowenhaupt today presented the following before the ICANN board of directors.

I’ve been an observer and occasional participant in the Internet governance process for a little over 10 years now. During that time I’ve seen the concepts such as open & transparent, stakeholder, and multi-stakeholder flower here. The role and responsibilities of civic society are being shaped by the effort to establish a viable governance structure for the Internet. Today, Internet governance innovations are seeping into the UN via the IGF.

The organization for which I work, Connecting.nyc Inc., is a New York State not-for-profit corporation. As such it is bound by the U.S. and New York State constitutions and by statutes enacted by our legislatures. Those guidelines did not imagine an Internet or a .nyc Top Level Domain.

Much of my time these days is spent in research and discussions seeking an effective governance structure for the .nyc TLD. New York City is a baby in terms of global cities having been formed a mere 400 years ago. Our governance structure will be shaped by those years and the unique needs of merging the Internet into our complex society. And our governance structure will be different from that of every other city TLD.

The ICANN is a treasure of governance experiences. From the decisions that shaped the initial incorporation under the laws of the State of California; that then elected Ester Dyson as its first chair; to the process that elected Karl Auerbach and several others to the board of directors, to this week’s many meetings which explored its future.

I’d like to request that a new section be created on the ICANN’s website that presents the ICANN’s governance experiences. This would be of immense help to the cities such as New York, Berlin, and Paris as they seek their counterparts to ALAC, NCUC, the constituencies and advisory boards that will guide those TLDs development. And our pioneering experiences should be cataloged there for the many cities that will soon integrate that amazing tool, the Internet, into their cultures in new and exciting ways. 

Cities are the grassroots, the bottom-up, and they will increasingly play a role in Internet governance. Please provide some resources to assist our efforts.

Thank you all for staying to the end of the meeting and for your attention.

At the conclusion of his presentation ICANN Chair Peter Thrust thanked Mr. Lowenhaupt for his comments and indicated that such a body of knowledge was a reasonable request and should be developed. Mr. Thrush further indicated that other international organizations were using the ICANN experiences in their operation processes.

Filed June 26th, 2008 under Uncategorized

jefferson-market-library.jpgMay 2, 2008 - Connecting.nyc Inc. is scheduled to make three public presentations during May. The first will be May 7th at the Third Annual New Media Day Conference at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens. The 10:15 AM presentation will focus how a new set of domain names will help students as they start businesses, initiate civic projects, or publish their thoughts to the world. See event details.

The next CnI contact opportunity is Tuesday, May 13, 7 PM at the offices of The Open Planning Project. Here we will explore the ways organizing and decision-making software can be used to develop resident support for the .nyc TLD and begin to imagine its ongoing planning role in our communities and city. TOPP is located at 347 West 12th Street. Seating is limited with access organized through our Meetup link.

Finally, on May 21 we will make a general ’scope of project’ presentation at the Jefferson Market Library. Sponsored by the Internet Society, the presentation will start from the project’s roots as expressed in a 2001 Internet Empowerment Resolution passed by a local community board, through the long path to acquisition, and review the many opportunities that arise with .nyc’s arrival. It will tell the .nyc story from the perspective of how a TLD can address the everyday challenges of city life. Jefferson Market is located at 425 6th Avenue, at 10th Street, picture at right. (Commons photo courtesy of shelly blogger.)

Filed May 3rd, 2008 under Uncategorized