General-Update-b.pngNovember 23, 2013

Hello All,

First, note that next week’s regular Thursday meeting falls on Thanksgiving and is cancelled. December 5th is our next Open Board Meeting.  (For those of you who’ve not been following closely, our weekly meetings are Google Hangouts.)

Good news arrived in author and activist David Bollier’s post The Silent Giveaway of New York City’s Internet Domain: Will De Blasio  Step Up? summarizing the many commons features of the .nyc TLD and urging Mayor-elect de Blasio to examine the possibilities. Here’s a sample:

It is unclear if Mayor De Blasio cares enough about this issue (or understands its implications sufficiently) to intervene.  Does he understand how this seemingly arcane technical matter will have enormous, far-reaching implications for the future of the city?  Does he and his staff appreciate how the .nyc TLD could be a rich tool for empowering the City’s 352 neighborhoods and helping people around the world to interact more intelligibly with the City’s people and resources?

Then, if you missed it, take a look at our Hope.nyc? post (below). It discusses the status of the .nyc TLD application before ICANN. It’s a somewhat bleak report. But several other recent developments might be of interest and cumulatively are good news (in an algebraic, two minuses equal a plus kind of way.)

  • Ken Hanson, the contractor’s lead employee for .nyc, has departed NeuStar for sunnier grounds. The .NYC Advisory Board heard from Ken at its second meeting. He is temporarily being replaced with his boss, Jeff Neuman. I’ve met Jeff on several occasions and he’s competent fellow. But he runs NeuStar’s Registry Team that is managing 300+ TLD applications - one of which is ours. It would be good if Ken’s replacement was a New Yorker, familiar with the needs of our city. (Maybe there’s a job there for a departing Bloomberger or one of our supporters. Contact Jeff Neuman if interested.)
  • At our second meeting Ken reported on a Collision Report about names that are used multiple times within the DNS (domain name system) and may not be used until cleared via an ICANN review. The report listed 17,539 .nyc domain names. While the vast majority of these are of little consequence, some are important to the effective operation of our city, for example, mayor.nyc, council.nyc, youth.nyc, and restaurants.nyc.
  • Because of the Rights Protection Mechanism - developed to protect the rights of Trademark holders - the city will need an “Approved Launch Program” prior to activating .nyc. This program will need to explain that our use of mayor.nyc is vital to our city’s operation, and that we will not use the domain name to sell cigars (the trademark holder for “mayor” is a cigar company). Same for the Corona neighborhood vs. Corona the beer. And on and on. Perhaps a hackathon and/or some social collaboration software might have a role here. Ideas welcome.
  • But there’s good news too. I’ve met with fellow .NYC Advisory Board member Seth Taylor and we’re working toward a “clean” list of domain names for the 100 or so businesses within the 82nd Street Partnership, the BID where Seth’s serves as Executive Director. We’ll look to address problems such as ineligible characters, e.g., spaces and &, and corporate vs. trade names. We hope to work this pilot list through the .nyc/ICANN review processes and spread the experience to the city’s other 80+ BIDs.

Have a great Thanksgiving and hope to see you at our December 5th Hangout. (Oh yes, and apologies for the Generally lame joke.)

Tom Lowenhaupt, Director

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

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Jackson Hts., New York, November 5, 2013 - The Bloomberg Administration’s .NYC Advisory Board held it’s third meeting on October 17th. Advisory Board member Thomas Lowenhaupt recently released a meeting report anticipating an uninspired future for the .nyc Top Level Domain (see report). The following comments on several key reports from the meeting.  

Nexus

If there was any good news it was a smidgen of progress on the nexus issue - the requirement that those using .nyc domain names be connected to the city in some meaningful way. Registrants of a .nyc domain name will now need to “authenticate” their nexus by including a city zip code in their domain name application. While this is an improvement, its deterrence effect on squatters and speculators might be minimal as applicants without a legitimate New York address (the nexus) will be able to do a simple Google search, e.g., zip nyc, copy one of the many zip codes into the application, and bingo, they own a part of New York City. 

But even here there was giveback by the city. The contractor argued that the zip code requirement will reduce the number of registrants - and its revenue - and thus alternative compensation was warranted. The city agreed and will compensate the contractor with additional premium names - high value names such as hotels.nyc, tours.nyc, news.nyc - that the contractor can auction off, keeping 60% of the revenue.

As to the Advisory Board’s suggestion that a valid street address also be required, the city said it is negotiating for this, but did not express a “nothing less” attitude. And even if it achieves success here, there’s still no acknowledgement that enforcement needs to be beefed up. As it stands, the contractor will not review any applications prior to registration, only doing a post registration audit of 50 or so registrations per week. With 25,000 names expected to be registered on the first day, this seems ineffective at best.

Traditional and Intuitive Names

There was only bad news when it came to maintaining access to our existing government, business, civic, and portal names. ICANN, ignorant still of the needs of cities, issued a new Rights Protection Mechanism providing the city with the ability to reserve 100 domain names “for the purposes of promoting the TLD.” So the city’s 352 neighborhood names will be made available to those with the swiftest Internet connection, not to responsible residents from neighborhoods around the city. Small businesses will face the prospect of having their treasured names ransomed back to them by sharp eyed speculators. And intuitive names such as arts.nyc, BeautyParlors.nyc, hardware.nyc, libraries.nyc and LittleLeague.nyc will go to insiders, with no concomitant need to provide local content, foster civic responsibility, or help build a city-friendly Internet.

Stumbling To Finish Line

While the Nexus and Names policies remain defective, and with a multitude of opportunities proffered by a city-TLD in need of evaluation and perhaps development, the administration is forging ahead seeking to chalk up another “success” before January 1. There’s to be something called a “Listening Session” that sounds more like promotion than 21st century public engagement. And the administration is producing a Public Service Announcement to be shown in taxis to hype the sale of .nyc domain names.

Asked about plans to move the nyc.gov website to the new TLD, the administration’s spokesperson responded, “That’s a decision for the new administration.” But if city government is not sold on moving to the new TLD, why would anyone else? What does .nyc offer that’s different from the 1,000 other new TLDs that will come online in the next year? Sadly the answer seems to be nothing. Rolled out as is, we’ll not have a guiding framework like the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 which mapped Manhattan’s street grid. Instead of a thoughtfully organized digital grid, .nyc will bring a chaotic mean-streets, a digital reincarnation of the 1980’s Times Square.

Hope.nyc

As mayor-elect de Blasio takes the pulse of the city, we hope he looks afresh at the opportunities a thoughtfully planned and developed .nyc TLD offers both for government administration and the city’s businesses, organizations, residents and visitors. And that he engages the public in an inclusive planning process.

Filed November 4th, 2013 under .NYC Advisory Board, Civics, Governance

­Tom-and-Richard-Kniple-at-Nathans.pngConey Island, October 13, 2012 - ­­­­­The 2013 Hippodamus of Miletus Prize.nyc has been awarded to Wikimedia-NY and the New York Internet Society for their assistance in organizing the NYCwiki.org, an initiative which attracted wiki-style information about New York’s neighborhoods from hundreds of New Yorkers. Accepting on behalf of Wikimedia-NY was Richard Knipel.

Prize.nyc was named after the father of planning Hippodamus of Miletus, is given annually to the person or organization that has contributed most to the concept or technology that facilitated the .nyc TLD’s advancement over the past year.

Connecting.nyc Inc. envisions the city’s dotNeighborhoods engaging New Yorkers in the potential of the .nyc TLD to create a more prosperous and livable city.

The photo above shows the Prize.nyc award feast at Nathans in Coney Island. Shown are Richard Knipel, president of Wikimedia-NY and Connecting.nyc Inc.’s founding director Tom Lowenhaupt. The consensus among the celebrants was that the hot dogs were best, with the fries a close second.

See the Prize.nyc for previous winners and for the process to submit a nomination for Prize.nyc 2014.(Photo by Patti Lowenhaupt) 

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

Filed October 13th, 2013 under NYCWiki, Prize .nyc

Jackson Hts., New York, October 13, 2013 - Here’s a quick treatment we did for a friend living in Manhattan who asked us for an example of how the concept of a digital grid - a concept borrowed from the Manhattan’s street grid - might contribute to the creation of a more intuitive and navigable city. Note: Our apologies to Staten Islanders with their wonderful borough getting cut off here - nothing personal, the software and the alphabet conspired against you. You can see the missing Staten Island names and learn more on the use of third level domain names on our wiki’s TLD Architecture page.

The Intuitive City

arts.manhattan.nyc
arts.brooklyn.nyc arts.bronx.nyc arts.queens.nyc arts.StatenIsland.nyc
bars.manhattan.nyc bars.brooklyn.nyc bars.bronx.nyc bars.queens.nyc bars.StatenIsland.nyc
culture.manhattan.nyc culture.brooklyn.nyc culture.bronx.nyc culture.queens.nyc culture.StatenIsland.nyc
dining.manhattan.nyc dining.brooklyn.nyc dining.bronx.nyc dining.queens.nyc dining.StatenIsland.nyc
education.manhattan.nyc education.brooklyn.nyc education.bronx.nyc education.queens.nyc education.StatenIsland.nyc
free.manhattan.nyc free.brooklyn.nyc free.bronx.nyc free.queens.nyc free.StatenIsland.nyc
GreenwichVillage.manhattan.nyc Gowanus.brooklyn.nyc Gottafakethisone.bronx.nyc Glendale.queens.nyc Granitville.StatenIsland.nyc
hotels.manhattan.nyc hotels.brooklyn.nyc hotels.bronx.nyc hotels.queens.nyc hotels.StatenIsland.nyc
icecream.manhattan.nyc icecream.brooklyn.nyc icecream.bronx.nyc icecream.queens.nyc icecream.StatenIsland.nyc
jewelrystores.manhattan.nyc jewelrystores.brooklyn.nyc jewelrystores.bronx.nyc jewelrystores.queens.nyc jewelrystores.StatenIsland.nyc

See if you can find the equivalent of Lexington Avenue - one of several grid breakers in the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 - in the above. 

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

Filed October 11th, 2013 under Infrastructure, Domain Names, COPIC

icann-logo.pngJackson Hts., New York, September 3, 2013 - Connecting.nyc Inc. filed comments with ICANN on its inquiry into trademark rights protection mechanisms and the new TLDs on August 27. The comments, “On TLDs & Building A Great City,” spoke of the role TLDs can play in creating great cities, and of the limitations expansive trademark rights can have of their realization. The comments began: 

Historically, cities were places where people gathered for safety and opportunity. Today cities are increasingly communication centers that facilitate and harness creativity for economic and social development.

Cities harbor the entire range of competing and collaborating cultural actors in tight proximity. To manage these congested spaces, complex administrative and social orders are agreed upon and enforced by residents in cooperation with their governments.

The Internet’s arrival in cities was unplanned. It grew organically to connect and advantage some, but disconnected others. Today it’s recognized that universal service and education are needed to effectively deliver city services. Here in New York those without access and training are increasingly outcasts, unable to find work or gain access to city services.

The first opportunity that cities will have to thoughtfully utilize the Net to address the plethora of issues they confront arrives with their TLDs. Here in New York City the Bloomberg Administration appointed an 11 member advisory board to sort through the opportunities presented… See the full comment here.

Thirty other comments were filed with ICANN on the “Rights Protection Mechanism” issue. (See them here.) Two used New York City domain names to make their point. CORE, the leading European registry and registrar, noted the impact a tobacco company’s trademark on “mayor” might have on the operation of city government if it acquired the mayor.nyc domain name. And Google made note of the rights to the subway.nyc domain name: sandwich shop or underground railroad?

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

Filed September 3rd, 2013 under Infrastructure, City-TLDs, Domain Names, Oversight, ICANN

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Jackson Hts., New York, August 23, 2013 - The Bloomberg Administration’s .NYC Advisory Board held it’s second meeting in City Hall’s Outer Ceremonial Room on August 14th. A meeting report was released today by board member Thomas Lowenhaupt - see it here.

The good news is that the Advisory Board has been expanded with 3 new members appointed to represent the city’s small businesses and Business Improvement Districts. Other good news is that an ICANN initiated a “Name Collision” study that might delay the implementation of the .nyc TLD for several months. You’re probably asking “Is a delay good news?”

With several problems remaining, it is. Consider this one. Trademark interests are pushing to the head of the line, demanding that they get first dibs on picking .nyc domain names. By some counts there are 25,000,000 trademarks globally, many of which collide with our civic interests. For example: police is a trademark for an insect repellant. Corona and Rugby are beer and clothes trademarks as well as neighborhood names. And mayor.nyc could go to the cigar manufacture holding the “mayor” trademark in the tobacco category. Some trademark proponents are even fighting a suggestion that a 100 domain names be set aside for civic purposes.

Tobacco-Party-mayor-2.png

But the most critical unresolved issue relates to establishing an effective Nexus Policy. Nexus defines who is a New Yorker and entitled to use .nyc names, and the current policy has an enforcement crack in it that might enable tens of thousands of squatters, spammers, phishers and other Internet undesirables to slip through.

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Jackson Hts, New York, August 22, 2013 - New York City has 13,237 yellow taxicabs. Each has a unique medallion using the numbering sequence 1A01, 1A02…1A99, 2A01… 2A99, etc. In Taxi! Taxi! we compare the impact of developing “TAXI” as second level vs. third level domain name and explore that decision’s impact on the public, the industry, and the goal of an intuitive city.

The TAXI domain name-set provides a good example of the impact of using 3rd Level domain names rather than the typical 2nd level names.

   Medallion #        2nd Level                     3rd Level         

  1A01  1A01.nyc  1A01.taxi.nyc
  1A02  1A02.nyc  1A02.taxi.nyc
  1A03  1A03.nyc  1A03.taxi.nyc
  1A99  1A99.nyc  1A99.taxi.nyc
  1B01  1B01.nyc  1B01.taxi.nyc

 

We’ve presented elsewhere on the advantages to a broadly based 3rd level system like that used with the United Kingdom’s .uk TLD. Two of them are discussed in Taxi! Taxi! First, the goal of an intuitive city is fostered by using “TAXI” as part of every the taxi domain name: 1A01.taxi.nyc announces that this is the name of a TAXI, while the cryptic 1A01.nyc doesn’t. Also discussed is the economic development advantage of creating local jobs and keeping domain name registration revenue in the city.

See the more detailed presentation on our Taxi! Taxi! wiki pageImage courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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

Filed August 22nd, 2013 under Internet of Things, Domain Name, Civics

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Jackson Hts., New York City, August 2, 2013 - Enter any retail store in New York City and you’ll see a number of signs posted, like the one at right, that are intended to provide assurance and recourse should something go wrong. Depending upon the activities being undertaken in the store, these might reference a variety of Federal, State, and City agencies. The existence of these posting requirements reflects the city’s long experience with possible abuses.

We just created a new wiki page exploring the creation of digital “Trust Buttons” for websites that use a .nyc domain name. Like their paper predecessors, these would provide avenues for recourse and the building of trust in the city’s products, services, institutions, and its people. See the Trust Buttons wiki page.

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

Filed August 2nd, 2013 under Uncategorized

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Jackson Hts., New York City, July 27, 2013 - The architectural design of the .nyc TLD will have a significant impact on its economic viability and its capacity to serve city residents, organizations, and visitors. To help explain that impact we’ve created a wiki page using a  “TLD is land” analogy to discuss the plus and minus of several TLD architectures.

Two elements of city-TLD architecture - name structure and useability - are discussed in detail. Name structure is presented as the TLD’s supporting steel and concrete. And useability the features that facilitate access: finding tools - index.nyc, contents.nyc, search.nyc, etc., Trust Buttons, and the consistency of the TLD’s look and feel. Building upon the experience with the United Kingdom’s .uk TLD, we’ve suggested a first draft of a generic second level name-set.

In discussing usability we note the advantages that arise with an intuitive city-TLD, enabling New Yorkers to cut through search engine clutter, using domain names such as:

  • search.french.restaurants.nyc
  • reviews.schools.nyc
  • map.hardware.stores.nyc

Finally, we discuss the opportunities a vertical TLD provides to circumvent the exclusions necessitated by a strict nexus policy.

See the TLD Architecture wiki page and let us know what you think. 

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

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
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