• Shift Day

last modified May 9, 2014 by tomlowenhaupt

Recall February 2009 and the huge awareness campaign surrounding the transition from traditional analog TV to the new digital TV. Shift Day will celebrate the transition from the first generation .com Internet to the more local, city-friendly .nyc Internet. Here we describe and begin to plan that transition day.


A Glorious Transition

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Or Madcap Land-rush

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 (Commons photo courtesy of Library of congress)

In the rollout of new TLDs, the period after all names and name-sets detailed in the DNAP have been issued or reserved­, is commonly called the land rush. At this moment all remaining names become available on a first-come, first-served basis - a process reminiscent of a 19th century land-rush.

With TLDs, as with the Oklahoma land-rush (see below), it is industry insiders and those with "means" who are typically favored.

A public interest TLD presumes an equitable distribution of names and a policy and process for name-sets such as the 300,000 dictionary-names. A peaceful Shift Day requires a reasonable distribution plan. Let's strive to avoid Oklahoma II.

In 1889 the opening to white settlement of a choice portion of Indian Territory in Oklahoma set off one of the most bizarre and chaotic episodes of town founding in world history...

William Willard Howard
Harper's Weekly 33 (May 18, 1889): 391-94.

Hardly had the train slackened its speed when the impatient boomers began to leap from the cars and run up the slope. Men jumped from the roofs of the moving cars at the risk of their lives. Some were so stunned by the fall that they could not get up for some minutes. The coaches were so crowded that many men were compelled to squeeze through the windows in order to get a fair start at the head of the crowd. Almost before the train had come to a standstill the cars were emptied. In their haste and eagerness, men fell over each other in heaps, others stumbled and fell headlong, while many ran forward so blindly and impetuously that it was not until they had passed the best of the town lots that they came to a realization of their actions.

I ran with the first of the crowd to get a good point of view from which to see the rush. When I had time to look about me I found that I was standing beside a tent, near which a man was leisurely chopping holes in the sod with a new axe.

"Where did you come from, that you have already pitched your tent?" I asked.

"Oh, I was here," said he.

"How was that?"

"Why, I was a deputy United States marshal."

"Did you resign?"

"No; I'm a deputy still."


When deciding to live in a city one agrees to abide by a set of rules. In recent memory there are several instances where city residents joined together to change the rules. For example, in recent years we’ve joined and/or cheered our fellow residents in picking up after dogs, recycling our garbage, and recently under Mayor Bloomberg's watchful eye, abstaining from smoking in bars and restaurants. Each required sacrifice and benefited residents in different ways.

In 2010, with our Flushing Community proposal, the potential reward of civic cooperation are money in our pockets (a $2.3 billion saving) and clean, swimable waters - all delivered at a negligible cost. Time will tell if this latest common effort succeeds, but what all this demonstrates is that if it’s beneficial and relatively easy to do, precedent shows that New Yorkers will join the effort.

In all these instances the challenge is creating awareness and ease of participation, under the umbrella of community. None of this could be done without creating a voluntary and broad community of New Yorkers who recognize and act in the common interest.

When .nyc is activated and accessible to the masses, small businesses, city agencies, transportation resources, the creative community, and specialized "civic names" such as toilets.nyc and neighborhood names will become accessible to all. All will provide a running start on Shift Day - that glorious day when we switch from the old .com Net to the new local .nyc Net. On Shift Day there will be a universal awareness of the great change and of all our roles in making it a success.

Shift Day will see us switch into digital accessibility via our more organized and intuitive .nyc Internet. Within that transition process, New Yorkers will be informed about the size of our .nyc community - we are 1/10th of 1% of the world’s population - and the importance of our working together.

With .nyc thoughtfully introduced, Shift Day will generate civic pride, awareness, and a willingness to participate in a common sacrifice and common good.

Shift Day Preliminaries

Prior to Shift Day and making the .nyc TLD available to the public, some basic name tasks must be completed. In additional to the legal and technical preparations, a body of good domain names must be functioning, these must include the Navigation Names, Standard Portal Names, the Primary Intuitive Names, Neighborhood Names, and the Transportation and Street Names.

The Need To Rush?

When the Internet became broadly accessible in the mid-1990s, and businesses, artists, and organizations began seeking good domain names, the.com TLD was readily available at a reasonable rate, and with few restrictions. Because most country code TLDs (.fr, .uk, .ru, etc.) were unprepared for the onslaught, global organizations and most everyone else sought .com names for several years.

The availability of .com names diminished the utility of country code TLDs as major firms grabbed the readily available .com domain names rather than struggling with unavailable or onerous applications for country code names. This transformed .com into the Net's basic currency to the chagrin of country codes. 

Luckily the .nyc TLD need not be rushed. Our competitors are other global cities. Their city-TLDs will only be activated after years of development. The winning city-TLD will be the one that's most thoughtfully developed, with a versatile and forward looking architecture. So when does .nyc go live? Perhaps the answer should be, When it's ready. 

Key .nyc Pages

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