Larry-Strickling-CITI-2013.pngColumbia University, New York City, June 20, 2013 - At the Future of Internet Governance conference at Columbia University’s Institute for Tele-Information, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling stated that applicants for city-TLDs should be prepared to demonstrate a willingness “to operate according to a true multistakeholder process” and that this should be a factor in evaluating their applications.

The statement was made in response to a question from Connecting.nyc Inc.’s Thomas Lowenhaupt, who, reflecting on his 16 year experience as a member of a multistakeholder governance entity in New York City, and on the U.S. government’s broad support for the governance model, asked Mr. Strickling if he thought the model should extend to city top level domains.

Administrator Strickling’s answer also spoke of the NTIA’s intent to require the entity managing the .us TLD to follow the model as it would “set a good example … that others might want to emulate.” Here is the Administrator’s statement in more detail:

I think certainly, as part of the application process … the demonstration of the willingness … to operate according to a true multistakeholder process should be an important factor. I do know that … we’ll be going out for the .us contract, and this issue has been squarely presented to us, in the sense that the current operator of that domain Neustar doesn’t operate as a true multistakeholder way, and that’s one of the requirements we’re going to put on this new round of people who want to come in and do this [We want to] … bring these ideas in and actually show that we can do them on a day to day basis. Beyond that I don’t have a suggestion today for how we expand that to the rest of the world and these other Top Level Domains but maybe we can set a good example … that others might want to emulate.

The full Q&A is available at the conference video. The image is courtesy of New York Internet Society.

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

Filed June 29th, 2013 under Internet Governance, City-TLDs, NTIA, Governance

founding-fathers-w-border.jpgJackson Hts., New York, June 2, 2013 - As we approach the conclusion of the long development process for the .nyc TLD, we’re faced with the typical question in allocating a scarce resource: Who gets what? At this point we’re calling it a contest between ‘We the people…’ and the Sooners and Boomers. With the ink dry on a city contract, the Sooners and Boomers are clearly ahead, with ‘We the people…’ struggling for an equitable distribution of the city’s digital land.

So who are the Sooners and Boomers? Historically the Sooners were the participants in the 1889 Oklahoma Land Run (a.k.a. Land Rush) that snuck into the “unassigned lands” before the official start of the Run. And the Boomers were those who claimed the 1862 Holmstead Act made the Oklahoma land available to the first settler, invalidating the need for an organized Run.

Take a look at the city’s official Launch Schedule for the .nyc TLD and you’ll see how the Sooners were written into a privileged position in the 2012 contract, with 10 groups are given first dibs on the .nyc domain names.

  1. Government (City, State and Federal offices providing services in the City);

  1. City-Based Non-Profits (entities that provide services within the City and that are registered with the State of New York as not-for-profit corporations);

  1. City Concessionaires (private entities using City-owned property under contract with a City agency)

  1. City Franchisees (private entities using inalienable City-owned property to provide a public service under contract with a City agency);

  1. Retail Service Licensees (private retail establishments licensed by a City agency to conduct such business);

  1. Food Service Licensees (private establishments licensed by the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to provide food service);

  1. NYC & Co. Members (members of NYC & Company (a not-for-profit membership organization that serves as the City’s promotional arm and which operates under a concession agreement with the City));

  1. Business Improvement Districts (a/k/a BIDS) (entities formed by local property owners and tenants to promote business development and quality of life and which operate pursuant to the General Municipal Law and local laws authorizing private not-for-profit corporations to provide supplemental services to particular geographic areas of the City and which operate under contract with the City’s Department of Small Business Services for such purpose); 

  1. City Digital Startups (private entities satisfying the following criteria: (a) their primary business objective is to bring to market products or services that are built from or whose functionalities are fulfilled using digital technology; (b) they have a physical presence in the City; and (c) they have registered with NYC Digital as a New York City digital company); and

  2. City Vendors (private entities from whom the City procures goods and/or services and are registered with the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services).

We don’t disagree with all the Sooners choices. Indeed, we advocate for thoughtful and inclusive planning. But we know that the public has not yet had a say in selection process. And we question why, for example, “City Digital Startups” should have priority over businesses that have operated here for decades. 

The contemporary Boomers are another privileged class that will have priority access to premium domain names such as news.nyc, hotels.nyc, tours.nyc, sports.nyc, etc. Who the Boomers are and what domain names they’ll have access to remains cloaked in a bureaucratic haze. The selection process of the Boomer names lacks transparency and has also been diminished by a lack of public engagement.

At this point the best hope for ‘We the people…’ lies in a .NYC Advisory Board that had its first meeting in city hall last month. But the administration’s support for the Board is questionable according to one Board member. More on that soon.

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

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