Low-Hanging-Fruit.0.png

Jackson Hts., New York, December 8, 2013 - I recently met with a fellow looking to take his talents in a new direction who inquired about opportunities presented by the .nyc TLD. I blabbered for a bit and then, with the time allotted for our meeting running out, I promised to give the question some thought and do a post. Here goes. (Expect additions to this list over time.)

  • Trust For Neighborhood Names - As of last count the city has 355 neighborhoods. Someone needs to start a Trust for Neighborhood Names to oversee the allocation, development, and oversight of the neighborhood domain names, e.g., Harlem.nyc. See dotNeighborhoods for more on this.
  • Regional Consolidation - From an outpost to a village to a city to 5 boroughs, New York has been growing for over 400 years. The TLD provides the opportunity for a second regional consolidation. We need a giant to lead this effort. See here.
  • Data Query Log -  Every request to be connected to a .nyc website results in a notation in a Data Query Log, part of the Internet’s Domain Name System or DNS. These log entries provide raw data for creating a “twitteresque” pulse of the city. Someone needs to make this widely available resource. See more here.
  • Chief Trust Officer - Success with .nyc will involve creating a City of Trust, a place where people locally and globally will feel confident that the .nyc sites they are visiting are trustworthy, respectful of their privacy, and that should something go wrong, there’s recourse. The city needs to appoint a Chief Trust Officer to align the city’s government, civic sector, and residents to achieve a concerted state of awareness and responsiveness. See Chief Trust Officer.      
  • Primary Names - Sports.nyc, news.nyc, weather.nyc, tours.nyc, hotels.nyc, and a few dozen other names will provide opportunities to create significant city resources, and make a decent living in the process.
  • Local Registrars - There’s a need for local name sellers, or registrars, that help residents and organizations learn how to best use .nyc domain names. These registrars might focus on direct sale of names, or as agents that assist web developers, law and accounting firms with name sales. 
  • The Voter Project -  This involves providing every registered voter with a web page that connects them to their neighborhood and the political process. It allows them to feel the pulse of the city and to vote (express an opinion) on the issues before their legislative bodies. See voter.nyc.

All of these opportunities will not necessarily arise. But if you focus on one, develop a plan, and encourage city hall to do its part, success might follow. (P.S. Helping residents transform these possibilities into reality is a key reason for our existence, so don’t hesitate to ask for our assistance.)

This list is by no means comprehensive. Peruse our wiki and blog for others and keep watching as we detail the development of our TLD. Our thanks to Wiki Commons for the Low Hanging Fruit graphic.

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

Filed December 7th, 2013 under Neighborhoods, social network, Domain Names, Education

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Jackson Hts., New York, December 4, 2013 - Last month Nominet, the operator of the .uk registry, announced that it had adopted a new TLD architecture and will begin selling second level domain names in June 2014. To date the .uk TLD, like 60 other country code TLDs, has been structured around contextual 2nd level domain names. So if you wanted a .uk domain name for Wonderful Widgets Ltd., you’d likely have looked for WonderfulWidets.co.uk.  Everyone in the United Kingdom knows that a domain name ending in .co.uk is a company. In addition to .co.uk, they know what to expect from .org.uk, .net.uk, .me.uk, .plc.uk, .ltd.uk and .sch.uk.

Recently I’ve been looking into the pros and cons of third level domains. Might the .uk architecture work in New York? Here’s a summary of what I found (there’s more detail here):

  • Context is my favorite advantage. To Brits a domain name ending in .co.uk is a company, one ending with .sch.uk is a school, etc. Might this lead us to a really intuitive city where people understand they can get useful info at pizza.restaurants.harlem.nyc?
  • Pricing flexibility. The operator of the 2nd level Harlem.nyc “zone” can offer third level names to civic organizations at $5 a pop, or resident names, YourName.Harlem.nyc, for $2. As opposed to the standard industry flat rate of about $15-20.
  • Local economic development arises when you train local web developers, lawyers, accountants, etc. to be name resellers (registrars) to broaden their business while retaining names revenue in the ‘hood.

On the negative side…

  • Contractor and city revenue would likely be reduced in the short term. (But I’d argue localization would foster public buy-in and long term success. A contract renegotiation would be required.)
  • There will be a learning curve and training costs. 
  • To Americans accustomed to the .com world this will initially seem odd, old school, so there’s the fear of the new.

While a change of architecture to mirror that used by the Brits has some ups and downs, I’ve come to support the broad development of the 3rd level. And in support of my position I had the success of our good neighbors to point to (10,0000,000 names registered). UNTIL LAST MONTH. Now I’ll need to argue that Nominet has made a wrong decision. And so my cry “Say it ain’t so .uk.”

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

Filed December 4th, 2013 under search.nyc, Competition, Domain Names

General-Update-b.pngNovember 23, 2013

Hello All,

First, note that next week’s regular Thursday meeting falls on Thanksgiving and is cancelled. December 5th is our next Open Board Meeting.  (For those of you who’ve not been following closely, our weekly meetings are Google Hangouts.)

Good news arrived in author and activist David Bollier’s post The Silent Giveaway of New York City’s Internet Domain: Will De Blasio  Step Up? summarizing the many commons features of the .nyc TLD and urging Mayor-elect de Blasio to examine the possibilities. Here’s a sample:

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?

Then, if you missed it, take a look at our Hope.nyc? post (below). It discusses the status of the .nyc TLD application before ICANN. It’s a somewhat bleak report. But several other recent developments might be of interest and cumulatively are good news (in an algebraic, two minuses equal a plus kind of way.)

  • Ken Hanson, the contractor’s lead employee for .nyc, has departed NeuStar for sunnier grounds. The .NYC Advisory Board heard from Ken at its second meeting. He is temporarily being replaced with his boss, Jeff Neuman. I’ve met Jeff on several occasions and he’s competent fellow. But he runs NeuStar’s Registry Team that is managing 300+ TLD applications - one of which is ours. It would be good if Ken’s replacement was a New Yorker, familiar with the needs of our city. (Maybe there’s a job there for a departing Bloomberger or one of our supporters. Contact Jeff Neuman if interested.)
  • At our second meeting Ken reported on a Collision Report about names that are used multiple times within the DNS (domain name system) and may not be used until cleared via an ICANN review. The report listed 17,539 .nyc domain names. While the vast majority of these are of little consequence, some are important to the effective operation of our city, for example, mayor.nyc, council.nyc, youth.nyc, and restaurants.nyc.
  • Because of the Rights Protection Mechanism - developed to protect the rights of Trademark holders - the city will need an “Approved Launch Program” prior to activating .nyc. This program will need to explain that our use of mayor.nyc is vital to our city’s operation, and that we will not use the domain name to sell cigars (the trademark holder for “mayor” is a cigar company). Same for the Corona neighborhood vs. Corona the beer. And on and on. Perhaps a hackathon and/or some social collaboration software might have a role here. Ideas welcome.
  • But there’s good news too. I’ve met with fellow .NYC Advisory Board member Seth Taylor and we’re working toward a “clean” list of domain names for the 100 or so businesses within the 82nd Street Partnership, the BID where Seth’s serves as Executive Director. We’ll look to address problems such as ineligible characters, e.g., spaces and &, and corporate vs. trade names. We hope to work this pilot list through the .nyc/ICANN review processes and spread the experience to the city’s other 80+ BIDs.

Have a great Thanksgiving and hope to see you at our December 5th Hangout. (Oh yes, and apologies for the Generally lame joke.)

Tom Lowenhaupt, Director

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

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Jackson Hts., New York, November 5, 2013 - The Bloomberg Administration’s .NYC Advisory Board held it’s third meeting on October 17th. Advisory Board member Thomas Lowenhaupt recently released a meeting report anticipating an uninspired future for the .nyc Top Level Domain (see report). The following comments on several key reports from the meeting.  

Nexus

If there was any good news it was a smidgen of progress on the nexus issue - the requirement that those using .nyc domain names be connected to the city in some meaningful way. Registrants of a .nyc domain name will now need to “authenticate” their nexus by including a city zip code in their domain name application. While this is an improvement, its deterrence effect on squatters and speculators might be minimal as applicants without a legitimate New York address (the nexus) will be able to do a simple Google search, e.g., zip nyc, copy one of the many zip codes into the application, and bingo, they own a part of New York City. 

But even here there was giveback by the city. The contractor argued that the zip code requirement will reduce the number of registrants - and its revenue - and thus alternative compensation was warranted. The city agreed and will compensate the contractor with additional premium names - high value names such as hotels.nyc, tours.nyc, news.nyc - that the contractor can auction off, keeping 60% of the revenue.

As to the Advisory Board’s suggestion that a valid street address also be required, the city said it is negotiating for this, but did not express a “nothing less” attitude. And even if it achieves success here, there’s still no acknowledgement that enforcement needs to be beefed up. As it stands, the contractor will not review any applications prior to registration, only doing a post registration audit of 50 or so registrations per week. With 25,000 names expected to be registered on the first day, this seems ineffective at best.

Traditional and Intuitive Names

There was only bad news when it came to maintaining access to our existing government, business, civic, and portal names. ICANN, ignorant still of the needs of cities, issued a new Rights Protection Mechanism providing the city with the ability to reserve 100 domain names “for the purposes of promoting the TLD.” So the city’s 352 neighborhood names will be made available to those with the swiftest Internet connection, not to responsible residents from neighborhoods around the city. Small businesses will face the prospect of having their treasured names ransomed back to them by sharp eyed speculators. And intuitive names such as arts.nyc, BeautyParlors.nyc, hardware.nyc, libraries.nyc and LittleLeague.nyc will go to insiders, with no concomitant need to provide local content, foster civic responsibility, or help build a city-friendly Internet.

Stumbling To Finish Line

While the Nexus and Names policies remain defective, and with a multitude of opportunities proffered by a city-TLD in need of evaluation and perhaps development, the administration is forging ahead seeking to chalk up another “success” before January 1. There’s to be something called a “Listening Session” that sounds more like promotion than 21st century public engagement. And the administration is producing a Public Service Announcement to be shown in taxis to hype the sale of .nyc domain names.

Asked about plans to move the nyc.gov website to the new TLD, the administration’s spokesperson responded, “That’s a decision for the new administration.” But if city government is not sold on moving to the new TLD, why would anyone else? What does .nyc offer that’s different from the 1,000 other new TLDs that will come online in the next year? Sadly the answer seems to be nothing. Rolled out as is, 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.

Hope.nyc

As mayor-elect de Blasio takes the pulse of the city, we hope he looks afresh at the opportunities a thoughtfully planned and developed .nyc TLD offers both for government administration and the city’s businesses, organizations, residents and visitors. And that he engages the public in an inclusive planning process.

Filed November 4th, 2013 under .NYC Advisory Board, Civics, Governance

­Tom-and-Richard-Kniple-at-Nathans.pngConey Island, October 13, 2012 - ­­­­­The 2013 Hippodamus of Miletus Prize.nyc has been awarded to Wikimedia-NY and the New York Internet Society for their assistance in organizing the NYCwiki.org, an initiative which attracted wiki-style information about New York’s neighborhoods from hundreds of New Yorkers. Accepting on behalf of Wikimedia-NY was Richard Knipel.

Prize.nyc was named after the father of planning Hippodamus of Miletus, is given annually to the person or organization that has contributed most to the concept or technology that facilitated the .nyc TLD’s advancement over the past year.

Connecting.nyc Inc. envisions the city’s dotNeighborhoods engaging New Yorkers in the potential of the .nyc TLD to create a more prosperous and livable city.

The photo above shows the Prize.nyc award feast at Nathans in Coney Island. Shown are Richard Knipel, president of Wikimedia-NY and Connecting.nyc Inc.’s founding director Tom Lowenhaupt. The consensus among the celebrants was that the hot dogs were best, with the fries a close second.

See the Prize.nyc for previous winners and for the process to submit a nomination for Prize.nyc 2014.(Photo by Patti Lowenhaupt) 

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

Filed October 13th, 2013 under NYCWiki, Prize .nyc

Jackson Hts., New York, October 13, 2013 - Here’s a quick treatment we did for a friend living in Manhattan who asked us for an example of how the concept of a digital grid - a concept borrowed from the Manhattan’s street grid - might contribute to the creation of a more intuitive and navigable city. Note: Our apologies to Staten Islanders with their wonderful borough getting cut off here - nothing personal, the software and the alphabet conspired against you. You can see the missing Staten Island names and learn more on the use of third level domain names on our wiki’s TLD Architecture page.

The Intuitive City

arts.manhattan.nyc
arts.brooklyn.nyc arts.bronx.nyc arts.queens.nyc arts.StatenIsland.nyc
bars.manhattan.nyc bars.brooklyn.nyc bars.bronx.nyc bars.queens.nyc bars.StatenIsland.nyc
culture.manhattan.nyc culture.brooklyn.nyc culture.bronx.nyc culture.queens.nyc culture.StatenIsland.nyc
dining.manhattan.nyc dining.brooklyn.nyc dining.bronx.nyc dining.queens.nyc dining.StatenIsland.nyc
education.manhattan.nyc education.brooklyn.nyc education.bronx.nyc education.queens.nyc education.StatenIsland.nyc
free.manhattan.nyc free.brooklyn.nyc free.bronx.nyc free.queens.nyc free.StatenIsland.nyc
GreenwichVillage.manhattan.nyc Gowanus.brooklyn.nyc Gottafakethisone.bronx.nyc Glendale.queens.nyc Granitville.StatenIsland.nyc
hotels.manhattan.nyc hotels.brooklyn.nyc hotels.bronx.nyc hotels.queens.nyc hotels.StatenIsland.nyc
icecream.manhattan.nyc icecream.brooklyn.nyc icecream.bronx.nyc icecream.queens.nyc icecream.StatenIsland.nyc
jewelrystores.manhattan.nyc jewelrystores.brooklyn.nyc jewelrystores.bronx.nyc jewelrystores.queens.nyc jewelrystores.StatenIsland.nyc

See if you can find the equivalent of Lexington Avenue - one of several grid breakers in the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 - in the above. 

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

Filed October 11th, 2013 under Infrastructure, Domain Names, COPIC

icann-logo.pngJackson Hts., New York, September 3, 2013 - Connecting.nyc Inc. filed comments with ICANN on its inquiry into trademark rights protection mechanisms and the new TLDs on August 27. The comments, “On TLDs & Building A Great City,” spoke of the role TLDs can play in creating great cities, and of the limitations expansive trademark rights can have of their realization. The comments began: 

Historically, cities were places where people gathered for safety and opportunity. Today cities are increasingly communication centers that facilitate and harness creativity for economic and social development.

Cities harbor the entire range of competing and collaborating cultural actors in tight proximity. To manage these congested spaces, complex administrative and social orders are agreed upon and enforced by residents in cooperation with their governments.

The Internet’s arrival in cities was unplanned. It grew organically to connect and advantage some, but disconnected others. Today it’s recognized that universal service and education are needed to effectively deliver city services. Here in New York those without access and training are increasingly outcasts, unable to find work or gain access to city services.

The first opportunity that cities will have to thoughtfully utilize the Net to address the plethora of issues they confront arrives with their TLDs. Here in New York City the Bloomberg Administration appointed an 11 member advisory board to sort through the opportunities presented… See the full comment here.

Thirty other comments were filed with ICANN on the “Rights Protection Mechanism” issue. (See them here.) Two used New York City domain names to make their point. CORE, the leading European registry and registrar, noted the impact a tobacco company’s trademark on “mayor” might have on the operation of city government if it acquired the mayor.nyc domain name. And Google made note of the rights to the subway.nyc domain name: sandwich shop or underground railroad?

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

    Filed September 3rd, 2013 under Infrastructure, City-TLDs, Domain Names, Oversight, ICANN

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    Jackson Hts., New York, August 23, 2013 - The Bloomberg Administration’s .NYC Advisory Board held it’s second meeting in City Hall’s Outer Ceremonial Room on August 14th. A meeting report was released today by board member Thomas Lowenhaupt - see it here.

    The good news is that the Advisory Board has been expanded with 3 new members appointed to represent the city’s small businesses and Business Improvement Districts. Other good news is that an ICANN initiated a “Name Collision” study that might delay the implementation of the .nyc TLD for several months. You’re probably asking “Is a delay good news?”

    With several problems remaining, it is. Consider this one. Trademark interests are pushing to the head of the line, demanding that they get first dibs on picking .nyc domain names. By some counts there are 25,000,000 trademarks globally, many of which collide with our civic interests. For example: police is a trademark for an insect repellant. Corona and Rugby are beer and clothes trademarks as well as neighborhood names. And mayor.nyc could go to the cigar manufacture holding the “mayor” trademark in the tobacco category. Some trademark proponents are even fighting a suggestion that a 100 domain names be set aside for civic purposes.

    Tobacco-Party-mayor-2.png

    But the most critical unresolved issue relates to establishing an effective Nexus Policy. Nexus defines who is a New Yorker and entitled to use .nyc names, and the current policy has an enforcement crack in it that might enable tens of thousands of squatters, spammers, phishers and other Internet undesirables to slip through.

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    Jackson Hts, New York, August 22, 2013 - New York City has 13,237 yellow taxicabs. Each has a unique medallion using the numbering sequence 1A01, 1A02…1A99, 2A01… 2A99, etc. In Taxi! Taxi! we compare the impact of developing “TAXI” as second level vs. third level domain name and explore that decision’s impact on the public, the industry, and the goal of an intuitive city.

    The TAXI domain name-set provides a good example of the impact of using 3rd Level domain names rather than the typical 2nd level names.

       Medallion #        2nd Level                     3rd Level         

      1A01  1A01.nyc  1A01.taxi.nyc
      1A02  1A02.nyc  1A02.taxi.nyc
      1A03  1A03.nyc  1A03.taxi.nyc
      1A99  1A99.nyc  1A99.taxi.nyc
      1B01  1B01.nyc  1B01.taxi.nyc

     

    We’ve presented elsewhere on the advantages to a broadly based 3rd level system like that used with the United Kingdom’s .uk TLD. Two of them are discussed in Taxi! Taxi! First, the goal of an intuitive city is fostered by using “TAXI” as part of every the taxi domain name: 1A01.taxi.nyc announces that this is the name of a TAXI, while the cryptic 1A01.nyc doesn’t. Also discussed is the economic development advantage of creating local jobs and keeping domain name registration revenue in the city.

    See the more detailed presentation on our Taxi! Taxi! wiki pageImage courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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

        Filed August 22nd, 2013 under Internet of Things, Domain Name, Civics

        sign-nyc-dept-of-consumer-affairs.0.png

        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
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