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Jackson Hts., New York, December 26, 2013 - I’ve mixed feelings when I hear the “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” announcement on the subway. At first I’m annoyed because my train of thought has been broken. But then an image like Boston’s tragic marathon will pop into my head and I’ll groan, “OK, it’s necessary.”

IYSSSS acknowledges that the public’s participation in our public system safety is vital. It draws upon our common interest, and it invites and engages the public to help avoid a potentially deadly situation. One can hope for a less intrusive way to deliver the message, but maybe it’s just a commons chore. 

We need a similar campaign to protect our city when the .nyc TLD arrives. But because it’s new, it will require some explanation. Here’s a four layered campaign.

  • First, create a vision message that presents .nyc as a commonly owned resource that benefits us all - like the air, the streets, the schools, the libraries, and the parks.
  • Present examples of the benefits residents receive with a thoughtfully developed .nyc TLD; and of the consequences for cities that neglect to do so.
  • Initiate an education effort that preps residents to identify those using .nyc websites to squat on names that belong to others, that scam and swindle, and that infect computers with malware.
  • Most importantly, we need to create a system that effectively responds to abuses. These may be provided by a neighborhood or community; or by the government’s workforce through 311, the NYPD, the Departments of Consumer Affairs and Finance, the Secret Service, etc.
  • And we need an IYSSSS-like slogan to keep the civicly aware on their toes.

In short, we must create a civic culture that engages residents to report those using .nyc domain names in ways that diminish our city’s social and economic order.

At the same time we need to recognize that this is a very, very sensitive task. And as we scope and develop this culture change we need to avoid creating a Nanny or Orwellian state. (Graphic of subway steps courtesy of CnI.)

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

nyc-Neustar-Phased-Launch-12-09-13.pngJackson Hts., New York, December 12, 2013 - On Monday evening I attended the city’s first public meeting on the .nyc TLD. The “.NYC Public Workshop”  provided New Yorkers with their first peek at the soon to arrive TLD. Fifty or so people showed for the event, held at Brooklyn Law School. A recording of the event by the New York Internet Society’s Joly MacFie is now available.

News from the workshop concerned the time frame for its arrival and a first look at pricing. If the the new administration follows the current path, and there are no surprises from ICANN or other fronts, .nyc domain names will become active in October 2014. More detail on timing is available on our Timeline page.

Wholesale prices are announced as $20 for Government Affiliated names; $15 per name for Trademark holders; $30 for names acquired during Landrush; and $20 during General Availability. 

During the workshop several people raised questions about plans for the allocation of neighborhood names. The city responded that, while not finalized, the neighborhood names (as well as the premier names such as news.nyc and sports.nyc) will likely be auctioned off. And that “fairness” precluded showing preference to parties offering to provide city focused values in the operation of these domain names.

Shaping .NYC’s Future

After the presentation and a brief Q&A, three breakout sessions were held. I was invited to moderate one entitled Shaping .NYC’s Future.

                                           “machines, once made, make men” Ralph Waldo Emerson

By way of introduction, I quoted Emerson and raised the specter of the Internet, the largest machine ever built, shaping us in unintended ways. And faced with a complex shaping assignment, I suggested we approach the TLD’s development by keeping our city’s values in mind. For Mayor Bloomberg, these were recently expressed as:

“Personal freedom, economic opportunity, technological innovation, artistic expression: for centuries, these four values defined our city – and for 12 years, they have guided our Administration. But they are not alone. A fifth core value is no less important: We invest in the future.”

Our new administration might want to add other values such as justice and opportunity.

Procedurally, after determining the values, we must assess how .nyc can be shaped to meet the needs of the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the handicapped, immigrants, etc. And how we might shape it to reduce crime and homelessness, improve education and health, and provide business and artistic opportunities.

Robert Pollard did the breakout session report. We were not able to make much progress in the 20 minutes allotted to the session. But if the .nyc TLD is to be shaped to meet the city’s values, these questions await the de Blasio Administration. (Graphic courtesy of Neustar Inc. For all presentation graphics and a video of the Workshop see Slideshare.)

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

Filed December 12th, 2013 under .NYC Advisory Board, At Large, Neighborhoods

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Jackson Hts., New York, December 8, 2013 - I recently met with a fellow looking to take his talents in a new direction who inquired about opportunities presented by the .nyc TLD. I blabbered for a bit and then, with the time allotted for our meeting running out, I promised to give the question some thought and do a post. Here goes. (Expect additions to this list over time.)

  • Trust For Neighborhood Names - As of last count the city has 355 neighborhoods. Someone needs to start a Trust for Neighborhood Names to oversee the allocation, development, and oversight of the neighborhood domain names, e.g., Harlem.nyc. See dotNeighborhoods for more on this.
  • Regional Consolidation - From an outpost to a village to a city to 5 boroughs, New York has been growing for over 400 years. The TLD provides the opportunity for a second regional consolidation. We need a giant to lead this effort. See here.
  • Data Query Log -  Every request to be connected to a .nyc website results in a notation in a Data Query Log, part of the Internet’s Domain Name System or DNS. These log entries provide raw data for creating a “twitteresque” pulse of the city. Someone needs to make this widely available resource. See more here.
  • Chief Trust Officer - Success with .nyc will involve creating a City of Trust, a place where people locally and globally will feel confident that the .nyc sites they are visiting are trustworthy, respectful of their privacy, and that should something go wrong, there’s recourse. The city needs to appoint a Chief Trust Officer to align the city’s government, civic sector, and residents to achieve a concerted state of awareness and responsiveness. See Chief Trust Officer.      
  • Primary Names - Sports.nyc, news.nyc, weather.nyc, tours.nyc, hotels.nyc, and a few dozen other names will provide opportunities to create significant city resources, and make a decent living in the process.
  • Local Registrars - There’s a need for local name sellers, or registrars, that help residents and organizations learn how to best use .nyc domain names. These registrars might focus on direct sale of names, or as agents that assist web developers, law and accounting firms with name sales. 
  • The Voter Project -  This involves providing every registered voter with a web page that connects them to their neighborhood and the political process. It allows them to feel the pulse of the city and to vote (express an opinion) on the issues before their legislative bodies. See voter.nyc.

All of these opportunities will not necessarily arise. But if you focus on one, develop a plan, and encourage city hall to do its part, success might follow. (P.S. Helping residents transform these possibilities into reality is a key reason for our existence, so don’t hesitate to ask for our assistance.)

This list is by no means comprehensive. Peruse our wiki and blog for others and keep watching as we detail the development of our TLD. Our thanks to Wiki Commons for the Low Hanging Fruit graphic.

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

Filed December 7th, 2013 under Neighborhoods, social network, Domain Names, Education

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Jackson Hts., New York, December 4, 2013 - Last month Nominet, the operator of the .uk registry, announced that it had adopted a new TLD architecture and will begin selling second level domain names in June 2014. To date the .uk TLD, like 60 other country code TLDs, has been structured around contextual 2nd level domain names. So if you wanted a .uk domain name for Wonderful Widgets Ltd., you’d likely have looked for WonderfulWidets.co.uk.  Everyone in the United Kingdom knows that a domain name ending in .co.uk is a company. In addition to .co.uk, they know what to expect from .org.uk, .net.uk, .me.uk, .plc.uk, .ltd.uk and .sch.uk.

Recently I’ve been looking into the pros and cons of third level domains. Might the .uk architecture work in New York? Here’s a summary of what I found (there’s more detail here):

  • Context is my favorite advantage. To Brits a domain name ending in .co.uk is a company, one ending with .sch.uk is a school, etc. Might this lead us to a really intuitive city where people understand they can get useful info at pizza.restaurants.harlem.nyc?
  • Pricing flexibility. The operator of the 2nd level Harlem.nyc “zone” can offer third level names to civic organizations at $5 a pop, or resident names, YourName.Harlem.nyc, for $2. As opposed to the standard industry flat rate of about $15-20.
  • Local economic development arises when you train local web developers, lawyers, accountants, etc. to be name resellers (registrars) to broaden their business while retaining names revenue in the ‘hood.

On the negative side…

  • Contractor and city revenue would likely be reduced in the short term. (But I’d argue localization would foster public buy-in and long term success. A contract renegotiation would be required.)
  • There will be a learning curve and training costs. 
  • To Americans accustomed to the .com world this will initially seem odd, old school, so there’s the fear of the new.

While a change of architecture to mirror that used by the Brits has some ups and downs, I’ve come to support the broad development of the 3rd level. And in support of my position I had the success of our good neighbors to point to (10,0000,000 names registered). UNTIL LAST MONTH. Now I’ll need to argue that Nominet has made a wrong decision. And so my cry “Say it ain’t so .uk.”

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

Filed December 4th, 2013 under search.nyc, Competition, Domain Names

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