City-TLD Metrics Checklist
The .nyc TLD is on course to be activated in 2014, and we need a way to judge if it's a success. The standard metric for TLDs is quite simple, the more names sold the better. But with a city-TLD we need city-oriented metrics if were to set goals, assess progress, and assure accountability. Success would comprise a positive impact on the delivery of city services, economic enhancement, and an improved quality of life.
(Commons graphic image courtesy of GrapeCity.)
Qualitative vs. Quantitative
A March 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal touches on the impact quantitative metrics have had on the operation of the NYC Police Department:
NEW YORK — Police brass in the Bronx were not concerned with whether patrol officers were saving lives or helping people, they were focused on one thing: numbers, said a New York City police officer testifying in a federal challenge to some street stops.
Adhyl Polanco said his superiors told him that he needed 20 summonses, five street stops and one arrest per month. It didn't matter whether the stops were done properly, he said Tuesday.
"They will never question the quality. They will question the quantity," Polanco said.
His testimony was one of three department whistleblowers expected to discuss a culture that revolved around numbers and less around actual policing... (See the full article.)
A reminder of possible consequences of an over reliance on the quantitative measures.
In our role as an At Large Structure we've begun work to identify metrics for new TLDs as a member of an ICANN's At Large New TLD Consumer Metrics Task Force. The Task Force's goal is to create metrics to address what some consider deficiencies in the initial GNSO new TLDs guidelines. While the Task Force will focus on the broad range of new gTLDs, we'll look to identify metrics that pertain especially to city-TLDs.
We expect the results of this ICANN effort will be of interest to the .NYC Advisory Board, a new entity created by the city administration to provide strategic guidance on the operation of the .nyc TLD. The exploration and outcome should also be of interest to the other 38 cities developing their TLDs.
As a start, we'll first review the pages and posts on our wiki and blog for metrics that show how well the plan meets the possibilities. It's an ongoing process, please contribute your thoughts.
Here are the initial indicators we've identified.
- Economic Development
- Technology transfer - These would apply to in Internet industry, with the registry and registrars.
- Does the plan provide for the operation of the DNS in the city? How many jobs will be created?
- Does the plan provide for the operation of registrars in the city? How many jobs are created?
- Direct local jobs created - These would be in hosting, name sales, and online advertising.
- Markets - Does the plan call for the creation of local markets? How many and when?
- Does it provide for the creation of local jobs by retailers selling domain names? How many?
- Civic Affairs
- Does the plan provide for neighborhood domain names controlled by local residents? How many?
- Does it provide a path to strong borough sites? What is the schedule?
- Is it used to support local social policies in education, job access, housing, prisoner rehabilitation...
- Does it provide general public education on the civic role a TLD plays in civic and economic life? How may people do such programs reach?
- How many training programs are established for small businesses?
Ad Cops - Shady ads have become such a problem for search engines that hundreds of employees now work round-the-clock to protect users before they're "ripped off." Google has employed hundreds of “ad cops” charged with sniffing out questionable advertisers basically since the search engine began in late 1990s. Does the TLD provide a mechanism for resident reporting of suspicious offerings?