Jackson Hts., New York, March 9, 2012 - I was at City Hall on Wednesday for Mayor Bloomberg’s signing of the Open Data Law. Having testified to the city council on a draft of the measure in 2010, I affirmed my support for the legislation. After concluding my remarks I passed on a copy of our award winning The Flushing Community poster to the mayor, saying I hoped it would help the city prepare for its next digital task - planning for the arrival of the .nyc TLD.

After the signing, a prominent expert and practitioner of all things digital, Beth Noveck, a professor at New York Law School and former Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the Obama Administration, said “You’re next.” and I was doubly cheered.

But then a conversation with Carole Post, commissioner of the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication (DoITT), darkened my day. With Inc. the first and primary advocate for the TLD’s acquisition, I’d hoped that our December 22 recommendation, that New York wait for ICANN’s second filing round, had provided the city with a basis and latitude for postponing the filing. (That statement’s essence said “no research, no outreach, no real deadline - let’s wait”.) But the Commissioner stated that they were on a path to submit an application to ICANN by the April 12 deadline.

I then asked the commissioner about the missing research and public engagement and she said “We’ll do that afterward.” I tried again, reiterating that there’s no rush, our TLD has been, in essence (see comment below), reserved for when we’re ready, and that ICANN has announced that it’s preparing to reopen the filing window. “We’re on a path to file by April.” she again stated. I tried a third time, stating that the filing required serious commitments on the part of the city, but she was sticking to her path.

I left city hall disappointed but thinking, “Afterward might not be that bad, at least they’re going to do it.” But I returned home to think about the situation, ponder her statements, and to look over the level of commitment required in the New TLD Guidebook. Beginning on page 99 it spells out 50 questions, many concluding with “A complete answer is expected to be no more than 10 pages.” And as one might imagine, there are many potential devils in the details that must be spelled out: Who qualifies to apply for a domain name, who gets what name, how is it decided, for how much, for how long, are there restrictions on name use, how are the needs of local businesses addressed, what about civic organizations, neighborhoods, schools, churches, how are our cultural resources preserved, what is the sustainability plan…

I was left wondering how they were completing the application without public outreach or expert assistance. Maybe they were going to fill it in after filing as the Commissioner indicated? But the Guidebook seemed clear that changes were the exception not the rule, and that ICANN would base its decision on the April submission.

Today I decided to prod DoITT and asked “What about the neighborhood names -,,, etc. - what are the plans for their allocation.” I await an answer. 

So here I am, one month shy of an 11 year effort to bring this important resource to the city, and I find myself arguing against doing so. A sad situation indeed. (Commons Photo of Thomas Lowenhaupt at City Hall - courtesy of CnI Library.) 

Tom Lowenhaupt

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

  1. As per the above, I received a comment from a city official as follows:

    “One thing that seems incorrect to me is your assertion that ‘there’s no rush, our TLD has been reserved for when we’re ready’ The TLD has certainly not been reserved, and I’m wondering what gave you that impression.”

    A reading of the New TLD Guidebook (, will relieve any qualms about New York City’s TLD being available when the city is ready for it. Perhaps I should have used an “in-essence” modifier for my reserved statement, but ICANN’s Guidebook clearly precludes someone snatching the .newyork or .nyc TLD from us.

    See the Guidebook section Geographic Names Review (pages 2-16 to 2-18), where it states:

    “Applications for gTLD strings must ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the interests of governments or public authorities in geographic names.”

    Section Geographic Names Requiring Government Support states,

    “An application for a city name will be subject to the geographic names requirements (i.e., will require documentation of support or non-objection from the relevant governments or public authorities)”
    Further, in section Geographic Names Requiring Government Support, sub section 3, the New York name is listed as a reserved name,

    “An application for any string that is an exact match of a sub-national place name, such as a county, province, or state, listed in the ISO 3166-2 standard.”

    And there are other protections for geographic names.

    One could argue I suppose that an entity named something like National Youth Council could apply for .nyc and claim that it’s not associated with the interests of a geographic territory or city or the people of New York. But I suspect the city, ICANN or the GAC (the Government Advisory Council that represents government interests at ICANN, and is the force behind the multitude of rules prohibiting such shenanigans) would readily coalesce and reject such a claim as bogus.

    Tom Lowenhaupt

    Comment by Thomas Lowenhaupt on March 13, 2012 at 10:16 am

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