March 19, 2008 - We’re still in our formative days and need to settle a few governance issues before we’re ready to decide on which of the many opportunities before us we’ll focus our attention (see the wiki). But I don’t think it’s too early to make a decision on what we’re “not” going to do.

facebook-head.jpgOne such banished idea emerged from my seeing the picture at left as I opened my Facebook page today - I’ve named it Facebook Head.

As posted on Facebook, the original bald head image had the “You hair loss?” text above it, with the “Our products for you!” string below. Those who know me might think this an actual summit photo. And I will admit that on first glimpse something looked familiar (though I’ve rarely if ever seen myself from that perspective), but I immediately knew “that’s not one of my posted pictures.” And I almost turned my head upward to see if some monstrous privacy violation was in play. But within a second I realized it was an ad of some type, probably for some magic juice or rug to cover.

As my Facebook visit was a quick in-n-out to respond to a message, I assumed it was not to be seen again. An hour later I returned for another quick visit. And there was Facebook Head again. Poking me in the left eye. And now, two hours later, it appears that Facebook Head is to be my official, personalized, Facebook companion-advertisement for awhile.

So, I’m thinking it’s time we make a commitment: We Won’t place insensitive ads on anything we publish, be that our wiki, our website, an index…

While seemingly a no-brainer, it will be helpful to publish a set of Community Sensitivity Guidelines for the days ahead.

Tom Lowenhaupt

Filed March 19th, 2008 under Rant, Civics, Governance

On Monday, March 3, 2008 I presented comments before the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee. Created in 2006 at the behest of Council Member Gale Brewer, the Committee “shall review the ways and methods of using municipal resources to accelerate the build-out of current, emerging and any newly developed broadband technologies and other advanced telecommunications and information services…within the city of New York..”

The comments painted a dark future for our city if we don’t create a telecommunications system competitive with those operating in other major cities. In making these comments I outlined the complimentary role the .nyc TLD can play in providing domain names, identity, and networking for city’s residents and organizations.

Tom Lowenhaupt

nyc-grassroots-media-2008-flipped.jpgI learned a lot today at the 5th Grassroots Media Conference at Hunter College where I led a workshop entitled “A Platform for Community Media. ” The lessons came from participants grilling me on the methods I advanced for allocating .nyc domain names.

By way of background, the stated mission of the Grassroots Media Coalition includes:

“The coalition will work to create both physical and virtual spaces where local media makers are accountable to and inclusive of the diverse communities of New York City, and provide spaces for organizations, artists and individuals to share experiences and resources, collectively develop projects and avoid duplicating efforts.”

The presentation about .nyc and its utility to the grassroots was going smoothly until I started presenting historic allocation processes for distributing names for newly minted TLDs and the lessons we’d drawn for these “learning experiences.” The first challenge came from Will who wanted to know why we were prepared to roll over and give names like to trademark holders. After a brief back ‘n forth I think he agreed that, with our limited resources to challenge the status quo and the consequent delay in activating .nyc, it might be acceptable for us to kowtow in this instance.

I resumed sailing through my 124 slide presentation until I again touched on another aspect of our proposed domain name allocation plan (DNAP), the assumption that we’d use auctions as part of the process. Will, joined by Liza, objected that this method unfairly advantaged the haves and that lotteries or comparative value might be alternative means for “sharing the wealth”. We were lucky at that point to draw upon the expertise of Antony Van Couvering, who advised on negative experiences from previous lotteries and the potential for endless delay in activating .nyc that might result from comparative value. After agreeing to keep an open mind and look for an improved share the wealth methodology, the participants allowed me to move on.

But before I could do so, Liza suggested that one method to achieve more equity in the distribution process might be by assuring broad awareness throughout all communities as to the opportunities provided by the new TLD, and educating the public on ways to participate in the TLD allocation process. With our charter as an educational organization, I readily agreed that much merit could be found in this suggestion. At workshop’s end, Liza provided a list of organizations that have experience eliciting community opinion on media matters:,, and

Bottom up, worked for me.

Filed March 2nd, 2008 under Domain Names, Governance