­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­New York City, December 22, 2008 - The first time I heard­ Abbot and Costello do their “Who’s on first?” routine about baseball player names I was 7 years old and delighted at the comedy duo’s banter. Here’s a sampling:

­­­Costello: Look Abbott, if you’re the coach, you must know all the players.

Abbott: I certainly do. 

Costello: Well you know I’ve never met the guys. So you’ll have to tell me their names, and then I’ll know who’s playing on the team.

­Abbott: Oh, I’ll tell you their names, but you know it seems to me they give these ball players now-a-days very peculiar names. Abbot-and-Costello-Field-Image.JPG

Costello: You mean funny names? 

Abbot: Dizzy Dean… 

Costello: His brother Daffy.

Abbott: Daffy Dean 

Costello: And their French cousin.

Abbott: French?

Costello: Goofè.

Abbott: Goofè Dean. Well, let’s see, on the bags we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Dont Know is on third…

Costello: That’s what I want to find out.

Abbott: I say Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Dont Know is on third…

And on and on they went. Sans the above diagram, this classic comedy of confusion demonstrates the importance of appropriate naming.

Some are saying that last week saw another classic as the NTIA & DOJ KO’d ICANN’s gTLD RFP( see the NTIA document here) with many now holding their breath, hoping the Obama Administration intervenes, saving the extant RFP. I don’t think TLDs will be a 100 day priority and that only after there’s a sign of stability in the economy will the new administration’s focus turn to TLDs. (The FDIC also opined caution.)

So after reading the comments filed about the draft RFP, and finding the preponderance of objections directed at business (ab)uses by new TLDs, I began to wonder if perhaps there’s an interim path to issuing TLDs. Can we advance the ICANN’s mission, take advantage of the work the GNSO and others have undertaken, and test the new TLD apparatus without tripping over some possibly meritorious business community objections? To help think through the options, I created the below table differentiating three categories of TLDs and several issues associated with their allocation and introduction.

TLD  Category

Consumer & Brand Protection

Morality & Public Order

ICANN Processing Strain

Excess Auction Revenue

Negation Points




















­­­Negation Points: None = 0, Minor = 1, Moderate = 2, Major = 3

As we enter the new year, perhaps we might consider separating city TLDs (and perhaps cultural groups) from the crowd so that cities may begin using the Net’s DNS to help address their multitude of needs. Perhaps we can encourage Obama’s Office of Urban Affairs to take notice and extricate city-TLDs from the NTIA  & DOJ tar pit. (Updated 12/23/08.) (Commons photo courtesy of Naccarato.)


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


Filed December 23rd, 2008 under Innovation, City-TLDs, Domain Names

­Crushing.JPG­December 20, 2008, New York City - Connecting.nyc Inc. submitted comments to ICANN on the draft RFP (Request for Proposals) for new TLDs on December 15th. While we compliment ICANN for the many positive steps it has taken toward enabling cities to have TLDs, we took issue with several points in the 100+ page draft RFP. Our most significant concern is with the financial requirements suggested in the draft RFP:

  • One-time Application Fee - $185,000
  • Annual Registry Operator Fee - $75,000
  • Financial Stability Assurance - $40,000 surety bond per year (est.)
  • Per-name Fee - $.25

The first three of these will alter the nature of our operation and the type of financing we seek. (And they will have a huge negative impact on small registries, for example, should the Iroquois nation seek a TLD.)

But for New York City the per-name fee is the most troubling. Our comments present several scenarios where per-name fees will crush DNS innovation. Here are a few examples from those comments: 

By way of example consider the way per-name fees will inhibit our experimenting with the DNS’s role in advancing city life. For example, some are suggesting that civic discourse might be enhanced by issuing a second level name to each registered voter. Will we be able to consider such a project with the proposed fees? With 3,944,000 registered voters, and a $.25 fee per name, we’d need an additional $1,000,000 in ICANN fees to explore this possibility.

There are several ways to remedy this, one being that fees for names identifying things, locations, and foundation civic needs - education and health - ­ be excluded from the per-name charges. We will be discussing this alternative with ICANN.

We had several other concerns and suggestions with our full comments available here. (Commons photo courtesy of sam.)

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

Filed December 20th, 2008 under City-TLDs, Innovation, Domain Names, Civics, Education, ICANN