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August 9, 2008, New York - Several days ago in our “Update” post, I portrayed us as 95% of the way toward creating a landscape that will allow us to apply for the .nyc TLD. Last night I received an email from ICANN entitled “Updates to New gTLD Program Implementation” that leads me to think that last 5% might not be as easy to achieve as I’d expected.

The email linked to a paper prepared by ICANN and its “auction design consultant” and discusses the options for selecting TLD developers in situations where there’s more than one interested party. The paper, Economic Case for Auctions in New gTLDs, written by PowerAuctions LLC, an auction manager, purports to make the economic case for auctions as the preferred tie-breaking mechanism for resolving contention among identical or confusingly similar applications for new TLDs. I use the word “purports” because of the seeming self-interest of an auction company providing an “authoritative” paper on the efficacy of its core business. I’ve contacted ICANN to determine the status of the paper, whether there will be others reviewing such alternatives as comparative analysis and the lottery methodologies. See my Point of Information message to ICANN.

Whatever the status of this “Auctions” paper, this is an enormously important issue to us for two reasons: The first is the impact it might have on our ability to acquire the .nyc TLD. The paper begins with the premise that names should go to those who can generate the most income from their operation - more is better. And when there is a name dispute between Apple Computer, Apple Records, and the Apple Pie Bakers Association for the .apple TLD, perhaps more is better.

But with the basis for cities acquiring TLDs being their capacity to help deal with far deeper needs - including the social, economic and cultural life of the cities and their people - it becomes apparent that the Economic Case for Auctions’ fundamental premise does not apply in all instances. But we’ll withhold judgment until we hear from ICANN on our Point of Information request .

The second reason the issues discussed in the paper are important to us is that we too need to develop conflict solutions. In our case it’s about second level names: Who gets potentially important names such as astoria, finance, news, and sports .nyc?

We’ve placed resources for examining this issue on our Domain Name Allocation Plan page and look forward to hearing from New Yorkers on the issue. This Fall, as part of our Names for a Livable City project, we’ll be visiting the city’s community boards to gain a greater public perspective on this question. You’ll see a post on this here soon. (Commons photo courtesy of vernhart.)

Learn more about The Campaign on our wiki pages.

­social-network-graph.jpgAugust 8, 2008, New York - I attended a conference on social networks here in New York City yesterday. Social networks are the latest “can’t miss” technology flooding the Internet world with services such as Facebook, Flicker, MySpace, and Twitter the recent headliners. There are more than a hundred of these companies seeking ways to connect like-mined people. According to Wikipedia:

A social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others.

So where does this fit with our mission? Here’s a summary of my presentation during a conference session entitled City-TLDs: Ripe for Social Networking? (Note: The meeting was held at the offices of Sun Microsystems, the “we power the internet” people. No Internet access was available ( ! ) so I had to ditch my planned presentation and wing it.)

By way of background I explained that city-TLDs will arrive in 2010 with their focus on the local. In our case, New York City has 1/10th of 1% of the world’s population living on 400 square miles of the good old earth. And while additional domain names, identity (”made in New York”), and the tourist portals are the obvious features the TLD will offer, the real advantages we hope to achieve will arrive with improved local communication. I backgounded on Connecting.nyc Inc.’s origin at a community board, revealed the sorry state of civic communication, and concluded my intro with, “What would fill the existing local communications gap is what people at this conference call social networks.”

I provided one simple example of a “social network” we here at Connecting.nyc Inc. (CnI) have been considering, the Voter Project. It begins by setting aside domain names for registered voters, e.g., using a name-set such as www.your-name.voter.nyc, and providing residents who choose to participate with tools to better locate one another so as to address opportunities and problems before the community.

At the conclusion I challenged participants to uncover the networking opportunities city-TLD’s will make available using neighborhood names (Astoria.nyc, Bensonhurst.nyc, SoHo.nyc) and issues (e.g., save-the-trees.nyc, help-us-reduce-traffic.nyc) as examples.

As my goal was to get people thinking about city-TLDs as mashable parts for creating social networks, I’d judge by the participants questions and enthusiasm that my presentation should be chalked up as a success. If you’re one of those who sat in on the session, do you agree? (Commons photo courtesy of greenem.)

See more on our social network efforts here.   Learn more about The Campaign on our wiki pages.

August 6, 2008, New York - With the ICANN having approved a New TLD Policy in June, we thought it helpful that we issue a Key Task Completion Report showing the progress made and the road ahead. This chart summarizes the status of The Campaign’s major tasks with brief explanations following. To learn how you can become part of our effort, see The Acquisition Campaign wiki page.

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  1. Gain ICANN Support for City-TLDs - Seven years after the Internet Empowerment Resolution and a four year development effort, the ICANN has approved a New TLD Policy that allows cities to apply for TLDs. The remaining task for ICANN is to issue a RFP, expected in early 2009.
  2. Generate Community Support - This is the primary focus of our efforts these days. In the Fall we will be continuing our outreach to city entities - people and organizations - for their thoughts on how we might best develop this vital Internet resource.
  3. Develop ICANN Application - The ICANN has spent over $15 million creating its New TLD Policy and the application process. It promises to be an online filing with significant thought and preparation required. And then there’s the application fee, estimated to be “in the low 6 figures” at this point.
  4. Gain ICANN Application Approval - If we’ve done our community outreach in a comprehensive manner and presented the community’s will in a detailed and responsive application, approval should be nearly automatic. Getting that approval implemented, i.e., making .nyc a live TLD, could prove challenging if many applications are offered.
Filed August 6th, 2008 under City-TLDs, Civics, ICANN

resolution.jpg June 30, 2008, New York - A resolution supportive of the .nyc TLD was introduced into the city council on June 29. The Reso. reads:

Reso. No. 1495

Resolution supporting the local efforts to acquire the .nyc Top Level Domain and urging The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to approve the City’s application in order to meet the needs of city residents via the Internet.

By Council Members Brewer, Comrie, Jackson, James, Liu, Palma, Seabrook and White Jr.

Whereas, The Internet has revolutionized the dynamics by which society interacts on social, economic, and political levels, both globally and locally, by expanding the opportunity for an exchange of ideas and by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness with which information is managed and disseminated; and

Whereas, In 1984, Top Level Domains (TLD) for countries were first issued, such as “.us” and “.uk” yet, cities have historically been ineligible for TLDs and thereby excluded from developing full featured web spaces; and

Whereas, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a globally recognized not-for-profit that is responsible for the coordination of domain names world wide, is currently developing policy recommendations and implementation guidelines to allow for the introduction of new TLDs to augment those already available including, .com, .edu, .org, and .gov; and

Whereas, The new TLD process that is being introduced by ICANN will issue TLDs to cities for the first time in 2009 from which, cities like New York will be able to receive a .nyc domain name; and

Whereas, The recognizable benefits that a .nyc TLD can bring to New York City include, a directory of resources; improved global visibility; benefits for city businesses through increased access to better domain names; revenue from new domain names; and increased civic and community networking; and

Whereas, Since 2001 there has been an emergence of a grassroots effort within New York City to secure a .nyc TLD in order to benefit city residents and visitors; and

Whereas, This community-based effort has participated in various international forums, including both ICANN and the United Nations sponsored International Governance Forum, extolling the potential benefits of a .nyc TLD for the New York City community; and

Whereas, Many proponents of the .nyc TLD believe that the domain should be operated in the public interest with excess proceeds from the operation of the TLD to be reinvested back into the local community; and

Whereas, The governance structure for the .nyc TLD should ensure that the policies and practices implemented within the TLD take into account the appropriate balance of public and private sectors;

Whereas, Other global cities are now actively pursuing their own city-based TLD initiatives, and if New York City seeks to maintain its historic role as a global pioneer in both commerce and culture, prompt action should be taken; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York supports the local efforts to acquire the .nyc Top Level Domain and urges The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to approve the City’s application in order to meet the needs of city residents via the Internet.

This is the first step in the council’s legislative process with hearings and a vote by the council to come. Hearings will be scheduled in September or October. (Commons photo courtesy of Aldon Hynes.)

Filed August 1st, 2008 under City Council, ICANN, City Agency

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