Advantages of the .nyc TLD
As New York's digital infrastructure, the benefits the .nyc TLD will bring to the city's residents, businesses, institutions, and visitors will be broad and deep. Here we recite those advantages and present others as they are uncovered.
Advantage New York
(Commons photo courtesy of rolerboggie.)
During the 20th century, New York City rose to the top tier of global cities with much of that success attributable to its wondrous transportation and communication systems that enable the rapid movement of goods, people, and ideas around the city and the globe. When the Internet arrived in the mid-1990's, it limited the city's traditional impact in at least two ways:
Some see a analogy between the arrival of the .com Internet and Ford's Model A a century earlier. Today it is generally recognized that highway construction projects that uprooted tens of thousands of city residents mid-century were a direct result of inadequately planning the introduction of a previous era-shaping technology into our city, the automobile.
- Proximity - What was once a key city advantage, proximity, was diminished by the distance-insensitive Internet. With commerce and ideas flowing globally at the blink of an eye, the advantages of local networking and resources seemingly became quaint and unnecessary: Why consult the parish priest when you can instantly connect with the Vatican?
- Invisibility - The Internet's domain name system provided a limited number of options from which city businesses and residents might select. Global domains like .com, .net, .org, and .info were the choice of most, with country domains like .us, .tv, and .la attracting others. As a consequence, the city's vast resources are today scattered over 100,000,000 websites and dozens of TLDs. Tourists and other visitors can't easily find trustworthy information about our city, and worse, residents can't readily locate one another to conduct business, social, and civic affairs. And with 75,000,000 names already taken in the .com TLD, it is near-impossible for new businesses or civic efforts to find meaningful and memorable domain names.
The .nyc TLD provides a fresh opportunity to develop New York City's digital and traditional resources. While in some respects we're late to the TLD game, we do have decades of experience with country code - .us, .uk, .fr, etc., and standard TLDs - .com, .org, .net etc., to help guide its development. After years of listening and learning from Internet users, and participating in Net technical and governance processes, we've uncovered a slew of advantages that could arise from a thoughtfully developed city-TLD. Here are some of them:
The city will realize immense economic benefit from the thoughtful introduction of the .nyc TLD. A detailed review of the low hanging and late ripening fruits is found here. Here's a potpourri.
- City Marketing / Tourism - The city can better market itself globally as a tourist destination and business center by setting aside and managing portal names like hotels.nyc and tours.nyc. An effectively developed .nyc can be a force in improving the global view of the city (see the Anholt City Brands Index).
- City of Trust - New York will experience economic growth as people learn that transactions concluded within a .nyc domain name have the resources of the city's municipal infrastructure assuring their fulfillment. This will transform the city into a trusted center for digital transactions,
- Small Businesses and Organizations - Local businesses and organizations will have access to short, descriptive, and memorable domain names that facilitate their identity and networking needs. Acquiring a good domain name has become a time and budget burden. (See prices paid for good .com names.)
- Domain Name Revenue Retention - Fees for domain name sales and processing will remain in the city.
- Advertising Revenue Control and Retention - Local advertising revenue can stay in our communities as channels such as the dotNeighborhoods - Astoria.nyc, GreenwichVillage.nyc, Harlem.nyc - are effectively developed.
- Others - See Identity and Other Economic Development Benefits and entrepreneur opportunities.
Quality of Life
- Livable City - Daily life in the city will improve with an organized and intuitive Internet presenting city resources. For example, if searching for a school, begin at schools.nyc.
- Improved Community - Community memory and communication will be improved enabling residents to more easily locate and network with one another to identify issues and organize for their resolution.
- Internet Access and Development - Connecting.nyc Inc.'s mission is providing training and education about the .nyc TLD and the Internet. Funds raised through name sales and other revenue opportunities will be used to promote and provide Net services for all New Yorkers.
- The .nyc TLD as spark for Regional Consolidation, and the
- Towards City TLDs in the Public Interest White Paper identifies unique advantages to TLDs operated in the public interest.
When the Commissioners Plan of 1811 created Manhattan’s street grid, it organized and provided ready access to the city’s real estate resources to great economic gain. We see the .nyc TLD as the 1811 Plan's digital parallel, as an organizing platform facilitating access to the city’s Internet resources. The key enabling features provided by the .nyc TLD include:
- Identity - Every .nyc domain name says "Made" or "From" New York City.
The .nyc Portals
Advantaged Search Engine Positioning
Today, intuition enables one to enter a Fortune 500 corporate name - say IBM.com - into the address bar and expect a direct connection. But beyond a few giants, 99% of the time people are better off doing a Google search. But as residents become aware of .nyc's intuitive design (and those of other city-TLDs, that will change. As .nyc permeates the city's conscience, people will try entering the name of a local restaurant or clothing store with a .nyc suffix and hope, and later expect, a direct connection.
Eventually people will enter 75th-street.nyc to find very local news, or queensfoundations.nyc to locate a listing of foundations in Queens. Today, you'll receive 1,670,000 Google hits for Queens foundations and www.75thstreet.com will land you in a Kansas City brewery.
A step beyond Intuitive Search is using local sites for global TLDs. For example, coke.nyc or nike.nyc will provide local job info, product distribution points, sponsored events, etc. The public will learn that these glocal (globally-local) intuitive sites provide the results they seek.
If an intuitive search landed on an unassigned domain name, .nyc could take you to a combination directory and "Who Is" page. There one might refine a search or take the opportunity to purchase an available domain name. This contrasts with today's .com world where a wrong guess frequently lands one in a domain of charlatans.
There’s no panacea with .nyc, but we will be dealing within a universe of 8,000,000 people living within 400 square miles, not 8,000,000,000 spread over the globe. Connecting.nyc Inc.'s awareness and education efforts will guide the public to a more intuitive city.
The .nyc Portals
A key feature of the .nyc TLD will be its portal and helper pages.
- Portal Pages - With names like schools.nyc, hotels.nyc, and parks.nyc, these pages will be set aside as search aides. Portal Page Guidelines will establish that alpha and geographical searches be facilitated on directory pages. Editorial and advertising content will also be found on directory pages, with advertising revenue shared between the page maintainer and .nyc. The number of portal pages and the qualifications and responsibilities of their developers - yellow page operator, an industry group, or small businesses - has not yet been made. A Portal Page Management discussion addresses the how, how many, and who of directory pages. And a Portal Page focuses on three elements that will ease navigating the.nyc TLD.
- Helper Pages - Access to portal pages will be facilitated by various helper pages such as index.nyc, directory.nyc, portals.nyc, and help.nyc.
With these features one might enter bakeries.nyc (or bakery.nyc) and receive a portal page, providing alpha and geographic searches - via a clickable map. If you were unsure about your search term, you could enter helper pages like directory.nyc, help.nyc, or index.nyc and peruse an alpha listing of portal pages. In our multi-cultural city, these helper pages would include several languages with pétrisseuse, pétrisseur, panaderia, enfrente mixed in with English synonyms like pastry.
Advantaged Search Engine Positioning
Let’s imagine you try an intuitive entry or two for your local bakery and then look through index.nyc and still can’t find your favorite cruller. So you enter “bakeries New York City” in Google’s search field. What might you expect? Dirk Krischenowski, CEO of .berlin, discussed the impact a new TLD would have on search engines with industry executives and reports the following:
“I had talks with German Google and Yahoo CEO on how the .berlin domain would be handled. They said that search requests which include "berlin" will rank domains which have ".berlin" as their TLD much higher.”
Thus a search "east side bakery in Manhattan" will show www.eastsidebakery.nyc higher in Google’s listing than www.eastsidebakery.com.
Another possible advantage for .nyc domain names arose from the Krischenowski conversations:
“They also said, that if a short domain like office.berlin is among the top search results, the Internet user will probably perceive this as a ‘good = clearly identifiable and trustable’ search result.”
Thus good domain names, i.e., those that are short, descriptive, and memorable, will translate into "findable" on search engines.
This brings to mind the concept of “identifiable and trustable” is another advantage that .nyc will offer. While not approaching the trust and security an FDIC label provides banks, a well managed TLD can provide a measure of comfort in these days of spam and scam. For example, think of the comfort one feels within a more managed TLD like .gov or .edu.
Following this search engine logic, businesses will learn that those located within the .nyc domain will avoid competitors in the larger .com TLD.
In contrast to open TLDs like .com, .net, and .org, we will establish criteria for those seeking to acquire a .nyc domain and provide ongoing oversight. To qualify for a .nyc TLD, we will require some form of presence in the city. While no decision has been made on the criteria, we might adopt a requirement similar to Singapore, where a local postal address is required to purchase a .sg TLD. (Join the discussion on the Nexus Policy page.)
Oversight will include processes to assure the public that websites operating under the .nyc umbrella are accountable. At the same time, we’ll provide a certain openness to enable business to launch rapidly, to facilitate proposing new ideas, and to provide breathing room that enables the First Amendment to live within the .nyc TLD. We will offer an advantage over the .open TLDs in this regard. Not FDIC secure, but more trusted than a .com.
Providing trust and accountability will start with selecting our board of directors. This will be composed of ex-officio seats for representatives of respected city institutions (city government, libraries, tourist bureau, chamber of commerce…), and representatives of civic organizations, users, and the Internet community. See and contribute to our board of directors page.
Another search benefit of .nyc will arise with increased availability of local TLDs, or what might be called the local trademark issue. Trademarks were traditionally local in scope. And there are thousands of local businesses (bakeries, copy shops, delis, hair cutters etc.) who use generic business identifiers like Star, Blue, York, Cook, Magic, Link, Finest, Sun etc. Having a .nyc will enable more local identity for companies using the same name used in other cities. While Chicago's Fresh Bakery may use freshbakery.com and Toronto has freshbakery.biz, with the .nyc TLD, New York can have a freshbakery.nyc. With city-TLDs we can return a bit to the traditions and quality of time, as judged by local residents.
Life Without a TLD
Acquiring .nyc is a difficult task and some ask, "Why go through the effort? What's to lose?"
Most obvious is the advantages cited above. But there's also the city's competitive position vis a vis cities that already have TLDs now and in the future. Hong Kong and Singapore are two global cities that secured TLDs through their status as nation-state. With ICANN's finalization of its new TLD application process, Paris, Berlin, and Barcelona will acquire city-TLDs. Quality-of-life and tourism will flourish as cities make a place for themselves on the Internet.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the .nyc TLD
The world is going mobile and tomorrow's inviting cities will be those that cater to the information needs of those on the go. GIS technology will be central to planning the .nyc TLD. Join a discussion on this subject.
It's important to point out that what's been presented here responds to today’s "youthful" Internet. The long term benefits of a local TLD can be better appreciated by understanding the Internet’s size today and tomorrow.
Today’s Internet runs on IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) with 32 bits in each address, allowing about 4 billion combinations. We are now in a transition to IPv6 (there never really was an IPv5) expanding the address space to 128 bits. It's said that’s enough addresses to provide a name every atom on the planet’s surface, 340282366920938463463374607431768211456 names to be exact.
It's hard to imagine why we’ll need that many addresses. But the Net’s little more than two decades old, and if every person, business, and thing on the planet needs a domain name and an address for their digital life, the Internet’s name space becomes huge.
Avoiding Name Nightmares
How is a new enterprise or community organization to find a domain name that reflects its operation? With choice domain name prices skyrocketing, domain names no longer reflect an organization's function. This disadvantages new businesses and serves as a detriment to the free market.
The name space is getting very crowded with 90,000,000+ names jammed into the .com TLD. Short, descriptive, memorable names - good domain names - are difficult and expensive to come by. If you know a story of how someone settled for an inferior name or was damaged by the DNS system, detail it at right.
See the "Advantages of .museum TLD" page for thoughts on this topic as applied to another TLD.
Finally, Regional Consolidation might be facilitated by the reservation or New York City metropolitan area geographic domain names.
There are several perspectives from which one might view the impact of the .nyc TLD.
- Visitors - Portal pages will draw the attention of different groups: students might peruse clubs.nyc, tourists will flock to tours.nyc, business people will seek out copies.nyc, and prospective residents will search schools.nyc.
- Small Business - With 115,000,000 .com names taken, finding one with a short, descriptive, and memorable name for one's business is near-impossible. The .nyc TLD will masterfully eliminate this problem. New local businesses will find good names, and older ones will huddle under the .nyc umbrella when they learn that search engines place them higher in listings of local resources than those using global .com names.
- Big Business - Firms like Chase, Citibank, and Coke have invested millions in their domain names and will not switch to .nyc. However, some will use a local TLD for more focused communication. For example, Coke might develop coke.nyc to let residents know about community activities they sponsor, local distributors, and job opportunities.
- Community and Justice - If neighbors can't locate one another and discuss the issues of the day, the prospects for a civil and just society diminish. Local communication in New York City has always been difficult. The globalizing impact of generic TLDs like .com and .org has made it even more so. The .nyc TLD will provide new venues for local civic discourse.