• Premium Domain Names

last modified June 6, 2014 by tomlowenhaupt

Here we focus on the identification, allocation, and operation of valuable .nyc domain names such as hotels.nyc, news.nyc, sports.nyc, tours.nyc, and weather.nyc.


 Public Interest Commitments

Public Interest Commitments provide standards about the use of a particular .nyc domain name. Elements might include:

  • A requirement for the timely offering of the Name.
  • Site content pre and proscriptions. For example, the pizza.nyc PIC might require that Alpha and geographic listings of all relevant restaurants be presented. Advertising limits by size and location might be included.
  • Site feature prescriptions or proscriptions. Public comments and recommendations should be accommodated.
Candidate Premium Domain Names

 Domain names that might be reserved.

  • fashion.nyc
  • finance.nyc
  • hotels.nyc
  • See more here.
Tasks planned and completed...



  • Identify sports business publications for notification about opportunities presented by sports.nyc.


  • Identify weather business publications / societies for opportunities presented by weather.nyc.

















The city's contract for the marketing and operation of the .nyc TLD calls for using high-bid auctions to determine the operators of certain valuable and important Premium Domain Names. Here we explore alternatives to the planned high-bid auctions.


First a few axioms about Premium Domain Names:

  • Premium Domain Names are vital to the success of the .nyc TLD. They might be thought of as our TLD's book covers or "Open For Business" signs. These are domain names people will visit for a sample or preview of our TLD.
  • Premium Domain Names must be operational and provide a slick and effective information backbone from day one. If visitors enter news.nyc and receive a blank page, stale news, or a "buy the page" offer, they'll depart with a negative view of the entire .nyc TLD.
  • Premium Domain Names have no obvious owner. They are part of a common pool, owned by all New Yorkers.
  • Premium Domain Names have great financial value. Many would like to own them.

A few cautions about Premium Domain Names:

  • In most instances it would be wise to avoid the transfer of an existing Premium .com names to the .nyc TLD. For example, if hotels.com was to buy hotels.nyc, and merely point hotels.nyc to the New York City hotels section in hotels.com, innovation would be lost  In such an instance one must ask: How does this promote our TLD? And why go to hotels.nyc when hotels.com provides the same service?
  • A single entity, e.g., a hotel or national pizza chain, should be precluded from "cornering" the New York market and presenting only its properties. For visitors this would diminish the diversity of our offerings. How un-NYC! For New Yorkers it would damage our local stores limit our ability to discuss our local stores. And where's the innovation and our city's uniqueness? 
  • Given that the high-bid Premium Domain Name auction revenue (or even a surcharge on that revenue) could fund the entire .nyc TLD's education and on-ramp efforts, the city must endeavor to publicize and optimize the revenue from them.

Progressive Options To High-Bid Auctions

There are 2 options to the regressive high-bid auction that we're advancing for consideration.

  • RFP Review Panels - The first option involves issuing a Request For Proposals for each Premium Domain Name. Each RFP should include detailed requirements and aspiration statements. A review panel should the winner  based on clearly presented review criteria. While effectively run RFP Panels this might provide for the best outcome, they suffer from two limitations: the difficulty of finding competent review panels, and the prospect of "corruption" charges by losing bidders and concomitant delays in activating the Names.
  • PIC (Public Interest Commitment) Auctions - These involve high-bid auctions on names that have detailed  Public Interest Commitments associated with their operation. This option is faster than the RFP Review Panels option and avoids the concern about corruption. PIC auctions are our choice.

Additional Considerations

  • Public Interest Commitments standards need to be developed with clear requirements for each Premium Domain Name. These requirements should be crowdsourced on a name by name basis.
  • The city administration should create an open a transparent process for guiding the identification and distribution of the Premium Domain Names. Residents should be invited to engage in the name identification through a "Our City Our Names" recommendation site.
  • The city should initiate an awareness campaign to provide those interested in developing these names with the opportunity and resources to innovate. Hackathons should be organized with each PIC promoted through the relevant trade press - e.g., pizza.nyc in the Pizza News. BigApps provides a model that might be followed.
  • The TLD should not be promoted until the preponderance of Premium Domain Names are fully functional.
  • The city has signed a 5 year contract with an entity to market and operate our TLD. That agreement calls for high-bidder auctions with the revenue split 60% for contractor and 40% for the city's general fund. PIC auctions might lead to lower bids. In that circumstance an accommodation will need to be made with the contractor.


    • This is a wiki and your thoughts are most welcomed.
    • See the sidebar for tasks that will improve awareness of the Premium Domain Names role in creating an intuitive city. 
    • There's a working "google doc" on this "Public Interest Commitment/Licensed Premium .nyc Domains" here.

    Key .nyc Pages