June-20-2011-New-TLD-Timetable.jpgJackson Hts., New York, June 20, 2011 - Meeting in Singapore, the Board of Directors of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, today approved a plan to usher in one of the biggest changes ever to the Internet’s Domain Name System. The Board vote was 13 approving, 1 opposed, and 2 abstaining.

Beginning as early as January 2012, an Application Guidebook will be released to enable entities to apply for city and other new Top Level Domains.

Today’s action is the latest milestone on the path toward issuing new TLDs that began during the Clinton Administration with the creation of ICANN in 1998. Ten years later, in June 2008, ICANN approved a New TLD policy that set the groundwork for today’s approval.

Following yesterday’s timeline, domain names using the .nyc TLD could be issued as soon as the first half of 2013. While there’s always the potential for additional delays, see for example our NTIA: Responsibility and Respect for Stakeholders post, this action will assuredly move the city toward more detailed thinking about the role of a TLD, a process that we expect will include public participation. (See our process recommendations.) We’ll post on the process and timeline for preparing and submitting the .nyc application to ICANN soon.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

NTIA-logo.0.JPGJackson Heights, New York, June 15, 2011 - The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) yesterday published a Further Notice of Inquiry (FNOI) concerning the process ICANN must follow in issuing new TLDs. The relevant paragraph for the .nyc TLD reads: 

Responsibility and Respect for Stakeholders — The Contractor shall, in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders for this function, develop a process for documenting the source of the policies and procedures and how it has applied the relevant policies and procedures, such as RFC 1591, to process requests associated with TLDs. In addition, the Contractor shall act in accordance with the relevant national laws of the jurisdiction which the TLD registry serves. For delegation requests for new generic TLDS (gTLDs), the Contractor shall include documentation to demonstrate how the proposed string has received consensus support from relevant stakeholders [highlights ours] and is supported by the global public interest.

The NTIA is accepting comments on the FNOI until July 29, with the full FNOI and the process and address for submitting comments available here.

Our initial thoughts are that it would be good to further define “relevant stakeholders.” And we will be submitting comments to NTIA by July 29 to add our support for the direction they are headed and to suggest some clarity.

But let’s presume for the moment that the final Statement of Work arising from this NTIA review goes through pretty mush as is. Several questions arise.

Who are the “relevant stakeholders” for the .nyc TLD? Internet users? Small businesses using websites? Small businesses planning to use websites? Residents? Residents using the Internet? Registered voters? Tourists? Former residents? Those who love and wish they lived in New York? The city’s big businesses? Businesses selling products in NYC and with a permanent presence? Big businesses selling products in NYC but without a presence? Wall Street? Civic groups? Community Boards? The city of New York? The city council? The Comptroller? The Public Advocate? The office of the mayor? The governor? The state legislature? The city university? Our private universities? Religious institutions? Charities? The homeless? School children? Future generations? And what of the region: do those living a stone’s throw across the Hudson and working in the city have a say? What about those living across the Hudson or in our reservoir supply region, not working in the city, but strongly influenced by city policies, should they have a say? What about the prospective contractors who will operate the computers that maintain the database of .nyc names, and the prospective retailers of these names? Our experience from attending hundreds or meetings and discussing .nyc with thousands of people over the past 10 years is that all of these have an interest in the development of the .nyc TLD and therefore have a stake in its development and continuation.

This raises another question: Should each group have equal weight in determining the consensus policy? Obviously resident views should have more weight than tourist or wannabe views, but coming up with a fair weighting process will be challenging. The experience of the commons community could be of great assistance here. And the multi-stakeholder model that governs the ICANN and the IGF provide other relevant experience.

Next: Who should determine the relevant .nyc TLD stakeholders and coordinate a review and consensus development? Our vote is the Internet Society, in consultation with the mayor and city council. Yesterday’s INET sponsored by the Internet Society and ISOC-NY attracted the top Federal and City government IT policy leaders, a father of the Internet, Vint Cerf, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, and 250 others. It was masterfully organized, lived streamed globally, and demonstrated that ISOC knows the issues and has the wherewithal to undertake such a massive review. (Disclosure: our founder is a member of the ISOC-NY’s board of directors.)

Finally, how long will this review take and how is this convening of stakeholders to be financed? Deciding on the review organization(s) and structure, identifying members, securing a budget, preliminary research, on and off line public hearings, report preparation and distribution requires about two years. But no one’s going to snatch .nyc from the New York Community, so the key is to get this right. It’s a matter of careful preparation so that when the application for .nyc reaches ICANN, it details that a thoughtful evaluation process took place, leading to a consensus by all stakeholders. The Internet Society should provide a start up budget for the local chapter. ICANN should view this as model making for city-TLDs, make a financial contribution and assign staff to coordinate with its ongoing activities. The city should make a contribution, as should a foundation with an interest in New York City, perhaps the Sloan or Rockefeller Foundations. Each of the other organized stakeholder groups should kick in something, and a Kickstart should be initiated to facilitate public participation and civic awareness.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

dotNYC-broken-logo.jpg Jackson Heights, New York, June 13, 2011 - At least one ICANN-accredited registrar, United Domains, is offering what it calls “Free nTLD pre-registration” with .nyc domain names included in the offer. So if you go to that offer page and indicate a desired .nyc domain name - news.nyc, sports.nyc, weather.nyc, etc. - you’ll be able to reserve that name within the United Domain’s database, and when .nyc names become available through a completed ICANN application process, the considerable resources of United will assist you in acquiring the entered name. Several thousand names have already been “reserved.” United estimates the availability of “some” top-level domains by October 2012.

While United Domains pre-registration service is free and non-binding, the North American Regional At Large Organization, part of the ICANN governance ecology, is concerned that “the offer of such a service could create artificial demand…” Today it posted a comment for review on its wiki expressing concerns with the process. We concur with those concerns and today added our two cents on that ICANN site as follows:

In the instance of New York City, I can imagine pre-registrations becoming a matter of civic disruption. For example, imagine small businesses predicating their business plans on the availability of .nyc domain names as implied in these pre-registration offers. I start gearing up to offer weather.nyc. And my sister-in-law hears of this new opportunity and “reserves” crochet.nyc. And Andy at Pizza Boy hears us jabbering and says he has a new chain of local pizza shops planned and this would fit in perfectly with his city-wide delivery plan. And on and on into the thousands.

Next the city starts to take a serious look at the social, economic, cultural, and civic impact of .nyc and realizes that such a review will take some time. With cities acting in glacial time rather than Internet time, this could lead to many thousands of disappointed “pre-registrants.”

Now imagine a candidate for mayor, let’s say Anthony Weiner - an advanced Internet user - sees this disgruntled group of pre-registrants as a political resource that can become a plank in his campaign, “Elect me mayor and on the first day in office I’ll sign off on .nyc - NO DELAY!”

With the ICANN having offered zero, zip, nada, guidance for cities looking into this once-in-an-Internet opportunity, I can see this as the winning proposition. “There’s no evidence to show that city TLDs are other than revenue generating.” “Our small businesses need it NOW.” “Jobs, jobs, jobs.” “Other cities are going to get a jump on us.” Etc.

More thoughtful candidates will be left to argue for the benefits of infrastructure. ~ Mayor Weiner.

Thomas Lowenhaupt, Founding Director

Connecting.nyc Inc.

Having presented the broad advantages that can arise from a thoughtfully developed .nyc TLD for over 10 years, we are all too aware of the difficulty of selling .nyc as the city’s new digital infrastructure. (See our 159 wiki chapters.) And with ICANN preparing to approve the Application Guidebook for new TLDs at its Singapore meeting on June 20, immediate action is required.

Unless the city or ICANN act quickly to create a period of reflection and a planning process for .nyc (find our recommendations here), this one opportunity to weave this wonder of modernity to strengthen our 400 year old city will be lost. Our opportunity to create an intuitive city with a sustainable .nyc TLD will be lost. And what could be a force for thought, deliberation and uniting, and for establishing New York as a trustworthy center for digital commerce, as imagined in Queens Community Board 3’s April 2001 Internet Empowerment Resolution, will become a shattered dream.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

Time-Warner-city-officials-Internet-Week-2011.0.jpgNew York, June 8, 2011 - Internet Week brought together top officials guiding the city’s the development of the .nyc TLD at the Time-Warner Center: Carole Post, Commissioner of DoITT, Seth Pincus, President of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, and Rachel Sterne, the city’s Chief Digital Officer. After 45 minutes of presentation, questions were taken, 2 dealing with the .nyc TLD. (See the event’s video here, with the below transcript beginning at 45 minutes into the 50 minute video.)

Question #1 – Hello my name is David Menchome, search marketing consultant for Yodel… A question for Carole. With ICANN set to approve the new TLD process… and assuming success in getting .nyc, can you share specifics on how you plan on leveraging that acquisition.

Carole Post – Like so many things we do this is a joint effort. EDC is a partner with us. We are anxiously awaiting ICANN’s publication of the Application Guidebook. We are ready when they do. We have done an extensive amount of preparation. We feel like we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the .nyc cachet, and the visibility of New York City.

Seth Pincus - We think there is a huge opportunity to allow locally based companies to brand themselves and associate themselves with New York which helps the companies but also helps New York and promotes New York as a center of creativity, center of innovation, which is really what our long term goal is. Not just make New York the center of innovation but to make sure the world understands that New York is a center of innovation and this is one tool in our tool kit.

Rachel Sterne – Just to add to that also, as has been the process to date it will continue to be a collaborative process where we’re seeking community input, because there’s a lot of interest in something that’s such a huge milestone.

Question #2 – Hi. I’m Tom Lowenhaupt … I hear about collaboration and public input into processes. But it seems that the departments have already made decisions as to how the economic development aspect of the .nyc TLD will be done. But there’s been no public input. The entire process is secret to this point. I’m wondering how you’ll change that so we can all get involved with it? What plans are there to engage the public.

Seth Pincus – I think I would just correct the premise of the question. No decisions have been made. We’ve certainly had discussions as we’ve begun to think about this. But as Rachel mentioned we’re going to be looking to the public to help us as we roll this out. As with everything else we’ve talked about today we know there are a lot of good ideas that are out there, if we were to hear them they would help make it more effective. This will certainly be a collaborative process. As we get further down the road as it becomes clearer to how exactly the process will work we’ll be able to speak more specifically about how we will engage with the public on it.

So it would seem by the comments of our city officials that public engagement in .nyc’s development is assured. We hope such engagement is more transparent as we move forward than it has been to date. (Image from the Connecting.nyc Inc. collection.)  

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

Categories