cowboys.JPGCartagena de Indias, Colombia, December 8, 2010 - In April 2001 a local governance unit in New York City passed an Internet Empowerment Resolution requesting the issuance of the .nyc TLD to enable the city to keep pace with the times. Noting the massive innovation enabled by the Internet, New York essentially said “Why not us?”

9 years later no one questions the right of cities to have TLDs but applications for city TLDs are caught in a logjam caused by the ICANN’s one-application-fits-all approach to issuing new TLDs. While laudable, the process continues to plod along, grappling with one barrier after another.

Cities offer the optimum test of the application process:

  • For those concerned about intellectual property, city TLDs reduce the likelihood of trademark confusion. The .cat experience attests to this. Additionally, cities are responsible players with ready recourse through nation-state structures.
  • The thoughtful development of city TLDs using a standardized Internet of Things nomenclature, will provide an infrastructure for innovation in fields from global rescue operations to locating the nearest movie theater.
  • City TLDs will provide a test for those concerned about the human and technical readiness of the ICANN and the route. 
  • There are 476 cities with million + populations. If the ICANN’s global outreach project initially focuses on reaching these entities, offering financial and technical assistance to several of the less-able, a manageable batch of applications will work their way through the process. 
  • For those concerned about the encroachment of government into the realm of business, qualification for city-TLD processing should be tied to agreement to the standards presented in Public Interest City-TLD Definition.

Once this city batch has worked its way through the human and technical processes, and as the issues of concern on another TLD category are worked out, that next group will proceed using Application Process B.  (Photo courtesy Library of Congress.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

Filed December 8th, 2010 under Inspiration, City-TLDs, NTIA, ICANN
  1. Tom,

    As you know from my prior posts, I fully support the concept of City TLDs. With that said, how do you propose to deal with the issue of city names that are used in multiple countries and states? Do you take the approach of Dot-Berlin? And, if cities with the same name come together to share a City TLD, who gets the rights to certain premium names, i.e. 911, directory, city hall, etc.? For instance, do you design the use of into sections for each instance that Paris is used in a country/state and then allow users to navigate accordingly thereafter so all cities with the name “Paris” can share in the use of I believe we are far enough in the process where these issues need to be addressed, and quickly.

    Best Regards,

    Ray Marshall

    Comment by Ray Marshall on December 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

  2. Ray,

    One approach I’ve heard suggested is what might be called the trademark approach.

    With the purpose of trademarks being to aide consumers in the selection of products, one might consider the level of assistance the DNS offers in selecting the correct city. For example, in the instance of Berlin Germany vs. Berlin Maryland, which offers the most value to those seeking guidance on the Net?

    If two cities have similar populations, the first one to take the name gets preference.

    There are probably going to be problem names and I agree, that these need to be addressed. Let’s identify a problem city name and work it through.



    Comment by Thomas Lowenhaupt on December 16, 2010 at 6:58 pm

  3. Tom,

    I agree with your perspective that cities with the greatest association to their name should have the respective City TLD. Most people that think of Berlin will associate that name with Berlin, Germany. But, maybe this approach doesn’t have to be winner take all. Perhaps the winning city could set aside subdomains for other cities that share the same name, i.e. or In addition, the winning city could also have a directory for these subdomains so individuals and businesses located in the respective cities would have a way to find these subdomains. The winning city could also share in the sale of the subdomains in order to cover its costs for such efforts. Just a thought.

    Happy New Year!


    Comment by Ray Marshall on December 31, 2010 at 1:03 pm

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