­community-board.JPGSeptember 27, 2008, New York - In June, as part of our Civics Project, we reached out to city employees requesting that they suggest domain names that might be set aside to help city government better perform its multitude of tasks.

This fall we are setting aside an important layer of names to aide the city’s vital civic sector. Variously identified as community, civic, block, resident, neighborhood, youth, and senior associations, groups, or organizations, they connect residents with one another to address local needs, and they connect to government when necessary.

Over the past weeks we’ve communicated with the city’s 59 community boards and the borough presidents asking for their help identifying this civic sector and the names of neighborhoods, parks, monuments, principle streets, squares, historic sites or other geographic areas, parades, and events with the intention of setting aside matching .nyc domain names. Our Civic Names page links to these civic resources by community district.

Many of the civic sector organizations already have domain names, some of them good ones - i.e, short, descriptive, and memorable, and we do not expect them to switch to .nyc names. What we want to accomplish most immediately is to set aside appropriate domain names so that, should a civic organization or resource need a reflective .nyc name,  it will be available to them. 

Beyond these name set-asides, our Civics Project seeks to help those without an existing web presence establish  appropriate spaces within the .nyc Top Level Domain. In 2009 we will facilitate mentoring and other relationships to assist the civic sector in these areas. Updated October 5, 2008. (Commons photo courtesy of Jebb.)

Learn about and contribute to The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed September 27th, 2008 under social network, Domain Names, Civics, Education, City Agency

old-vs-new-2.JPG­September 25, 2008, New York - City TLDs are a “potentially” explosive media development. With the ICANN having approved a New gTLD policy this past June, global cities will soon be sporting sexy Internet names - .paris, .berlin, .ven, and my favorite .nyc. And new ideas about the role of the Internet “might” soon show themselves.

But note the troubling “potentially” and “might” earlier in the preceding  paragraph. We run the risk of this new medium being ineffective or appropriated and consolidated by the old, unless we can get lucky - good luck with that - or get organized to support the concept of a community controlled medium. This post is a beginning thought about why little attention is given to city-TLDs as a medium:

  • A Medium? - Most probably don’t imagine it as a medium. While it clearly meets the classic definition of a communications medium - store and transmit information - in its dominant .com form it has been perceived as merely part of a name.
  • Fighting The Last War - Too many of the really smart media critics have become dedicated, life-long, big media busters and are busy fighting the Industrial Media War, re-imagining and re-building its Maginot line.
  • TLDs are Old Hat - SEO-types think TLDs are old hat. SEO comes from Search Engine Optimization, a huge new business that will probably suck up a lot of the discarded brains from Wall Street. They try to figure out how to sell on the net focusing on the role of Google and its dwindling competitors. The SEO types say - “Who cares about TLDs, just use mini-urls.”
  • Doomed To Failure - At ICANN meetings you’ll find many who want to to see the Verisign Empire crushed, and feel any TLD that won’t dislodge the .com TLD from its dominant position is useless and a failure. 

You agree? (Commons photo courtesy of Erica Marshall.)

Learn and contribute to The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed September 25th, 2008 under City-TLDs, Competition, Media Coverage, Rant, Presentation


onewebday-logo-b.JPGOneWebDay is an annual event to celebrate and to protect the Internet.­­ It’s on September 22 every year. It’s a global event, but New York is its center. Here are some city events you can attend, all free.

Main Event - Monday, 9/22, from 11:45 am to 2 pm, at Washington Square Park - Moderator Sree Sreenivasan (Columbia Journalism & WNBC-TV), City Councilwoman Hon. Gale A. Brewer, plus Tim Westergren (Pandora), Prof. Lawrence Lessig (Stanford), Craig Newmark (craigslist), Dharma Dailey (Ethos Group), John Perry Barlow (EFF), Andrew Baron (Rocketboom), SJ Klein (OLPC), and possibly others.

Educational Workshops - Saturday, 9/20, from 2-4 pm at NYU - Introducing New Users to New Possibilities is the theme. There will be 9 of these. See details at http://www.onewebday.org/base/index.php/2008_Workshops_Planning.

Tech Demos - Saturday9/20, from 7 pm to 9 pm, also at NYU - The Latest Tools for Online Participation in Democracy *See brief demos of exciting new applications that help ordinary folks get more involved in government and politics, and have the chance to meet their creators afterwards.

Party - Saturday, 9/20, from 9 pm - late. Come to one of the events for d­etails on its location. I went last year but learned I was too old for this Internet crowd (I’m 150.) Perhaps you’re not!.

Learn more about The Campaign on our wiki pages.

Filed September 16th, 2008 under City-TLDs, Civics, Education


September 9, 2008, New York - Today I received the following scoping information about auctions and comparative evaluations from the ICANN:

You first asked­ whether there were papers in preparation on other allocation methods for new gTLD strings. You also asked about the process.

The Economic Case paper only describes the case for auctions as a tie-breaking mechanism for resolving contention among competing generic TLD applications (but not for community-based applications if at least one community-based applicant in a contention set opts for comparative evaluation). The paper does not describe the proposed auction model. This is the subject of a paper soon to be released in advance of the considerable work in preparing a draft RFP for community review prior to the ICANN meeting in Cairo. A number of other papers are being prepared, including descriptions of contention set handling and comparative evalu­ation processes. I think once you, and other commenters, have an opportunity to review these papers, you will have a better understanding of the proposed process.

As other commenters on the forum have noted, many applicants applying for a gTLD may never have to go through the proposed auction process, if their application is not in contention with any other proposed string, or because they represent a particular community and opt for comparative evaluation.

I look forward to reviewing these papers upon their publication. 

Learn more about The Campaign on our wiki pages.

Filed September 9th, 2008 under Comparative Evaluation, Auction, ICANN

­auction-today.jpgSeptember 8, 2008, New York - We never received a response to our requests for context information on the Economic Case for Auctions in New gTLDs paper ICANN posted on August 6 despite our Point of Information post, emails, and phone calls. The paper, written by ICANN staff and its “auctions partner” PowerAuctions LLC, concluded that an auction, not comparative evaluation, was the best means for allocating a contested city TLD.

The prevailing view has been that a comparative evaluation would discern a winner between  contesting applicants for a city TLD. And while there’s been no indication of a formal shift in ICANN policy, without an indication from the ICANN as to the paper’s purpose or status, we thought it prudent to post our thoughts on the issue prior to the September 7 posting deadline. The post presented a bleak assessment of the result of an auction between a community focused, slow growth applicant (Connecting.nyc Inc.) and a financial value bidder:

My concern is absolutely fundamental. For if the recipient of
the .nyc TLD is to be decided by auction, we will loose. And
our hope of finally having the opportunity to put the full
capabilities of the Internet - and that includes the DNS - to
address the cities current needs and future growth opportunities,
will be lost.

I concluded my comments with the following suggestions:

What the ICANN needs to do is acknowledge that there are entities
called cities. That the DNS's historic neglect of these
environmentally efficient locals, where more than ½ the earth's
population now live, must end. The ICANN needs to recognize that
cities have special needs that can be addressed by TLDs. And the
ICANN needs to establish criteria and processes for judging the
best application for this important civic resource.

This is a critical issue. And while it’s difficult to imagine that a shift of this magnitude would happen without public input - I’m still hoping the ICANN’s apparent lean toward auctions is just a vacation time, slip-through-the-cracks oversight by staff - we may need to send some enlightenment mojo to ICANN on this. So keep alert. (Commons photo courtesy of Jeremy Becker.)

Read the full comments here.    Learn more about The Campaign on our wiki pages.


Filed September 8th, 2008 under Auction, City-TLDs, Education, ICANN