Jackson Hts., New York, July 29, 2014 - With the .london Landrush ending on Thursday, “30 applications for the properties.london address and over 40 for nightlife.london” have been received (see V3.co.uk/) with an auction to decide the recipient. What? Let me try to unbundle that statement.

Over the past 50+ days anyone with $75 to invest (see GoDaddy’s rates) has been able to buy a lottery ticket of sorts for a domain name within the .london TLD. With the July 31 deadline to apply for a .london domain name nearing, 30 people have purchased tickets for the “properties.london” lottery, and 40 for the “nightlife.london” lottery. By midnight on July 31 more than 50,000 different domain names are expected to have been applied for overall, with several thousand names having multiple bidders.

In London

The operator of the .london TLD has established priority rules to sort out those instances of “multiple-applicants for same name?” Here’s how it works.

  • Getting first priority are those with a registered international trademark. If more than one entity has a trademark, for example, Cadillac cars and Cadillac foods, then a high bid auction is held to determine the winner.
  • Second priority goes to ticket holders with a valid London address and an established right to a name. For example, a business can upload “evidence” to demonstrate its current use of a name, and thus right, to a parallel .london domain name. Within this Second Priority several sub-categories have been established: In descending order of priority those are: entities with local trademarks, businesses without trademarks, charities, and those with unregistered trademarks. Again, if more than one entity presents evidence of prior use in a sub-category, for example, cadillac.com and cadillac.net, a high bid auction sorts things out.
  • Third priority goes to those applicants with a valid London address, but no prior use of the name.
  • Final priority (if that’s the right word) goes to applicants without a valid London address, a New Yorker for example who wants to own a piece of digital London. In these last two instances it’s an auction that breaks a tie.

In New York

Here in New York we’re doing things differently. There’s no value to having used a name for years or decades. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve registered it with the state - neither a New York State trademark nor d/b/a counts.

Excepting those with international trademarks, local businesses and non-profits have no more right to a name than anyone else. The Bloomberg Administration, which established the rules, made the decision to start the naming process all over again on a level(ish) playing field.

So between August 4 and October 3, if you like a name, buy a ticket (it will cost you about $80). Then out bid the current owner (and possibly other ticket holders) at auction, and its yours. But you may get lucky. There’s no process to notify current business owners about .nyc’s introduction, so the current owner might not even know the .nyc TLD is being introduced, and not buy a ticket. In that case, no auction, it’s yours. (Sorry mom. Sorry pop.)

So what happens when 30 tickets are sold for a domain name such as properties.nyc? “The auction will be held in accordance with the auction rules… Any auction fees, charges and the final bid price for the domain name will be the responsibility of the Applicant.” A regressive process that promotes the status quo. 

This Bloomberg legacy process is slated to move ahead. For the administration it’s the easy, fast, and cheap allocation process. But if you believe as I do that it’s unfair, call 311 and tell Mayor de Blasio -  è ingiusto.

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


Filed July 29th, 2014 under Auction, Domain Names


Jackson Hts., New York, January 17, 2014 - After more than a decade of stop and go, it seems the .nyc TLD will become a reality later this year. We at Connecting.nyc Inc., having invested years of effort aimed first at encouraging the city to commit to .nyc’s acquisition, and more recently to assure it is used as a public interest resource, are delighted to see this “end of the beginning” approaching.

The above is the December 2013 timeline from the city’s contractor. Delays are possible (if you consider that the original city resolution calling for .nyc’s acquisition was passed on April 19, 2001, maybe that should be likely), but your opportunity for purchasing “yourname.nyc” is getting close. Those gearing up for a new venture might consider waiting a few months. 

For an historic perspective on these “targets” see the .nyc timeline

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

Filed January 17th, 2014 under Inspiration, Auction, Competition, Domain Names

news-nyc-color.jpgJackson Hts., New York, April 28 2012 - One of the important domain names that will arrive with the activation of the .nyc TLD is NEWS.NYC. How is that name going to be assigned? Will it be auctioned off to the highest bidder or carefully assigned via a tender offer? Are there responsibilities that come with its assignment? How will its success be affected by the broader scope of the TLD’s operation? Will it be a traditional news operation or collaborative news? Will if offer just “news” or something more dynamic, e.g., news, reactions, and actions? What news will be presented and how will it be organized? What’s the decision making process in assigning priority to posted information? How will it be assembled and edited? What’s the business model? How is the information licensed?

Answers to questions like these will clarify how NEWS.NYC and the .nyc TLD can best serve our city. We’ve begun a conversation about these questions at a variety of locations with background and responses consolidated on our “A Tale of Two Cities” wiki page. Join in. (Commons image courtesy of Patti.)

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

news-sports-weather-nyc-c.jpgJackson Hts., New York, January 1, 2011 - This first post of 2011 proposes a process for distributing key .nyc names such as news.nyc, weather.nyc, and sports.nyc. But for insight into the experience behind the suggested process, let me tell a story about how a neighborhood school got built.

In June 1992 I was part of a civic campaign advocating that a new school be built in our neighborhood. There was a clear path to success: our schools were massively overcrowded, a local teacher cohort had developed an innovative curriculum for a new school, and best of all, the city had created a fund for new innovative schools.

But the neighborhood was completely built, without a single vacant parcel of land. And when the teacher cohort began looking outside the neighborhood for a school venue, parents became frantic. Desperate, local parents focused on a seemingly underutilized department store in the center of the neighborhood’s commercial strip. But soon after advancing the venue we learned that the owner had refused an offer from the Board of Education.

To advance our cause, a group of parents met with the building owner to inform him of the many benefits the school would provide for both he and the neighborhood and to ask his support. We detailed the advantages of improved education, how it would increase the value of his nearby properties, and even how we’d advocate having the school named in his honor. But after listening politely Carlo became agitated, and after a deep breadth told us how the Board of Education had the temerity to offer him a measly $6 a square foot for his prime space. He was obviously insulted by the offer and stated that he would “not take a nickel less than $9.”

Thereafter we rallied the parents, pressured our elected representatives, and generally raised cane demanding that the city up its offer, condemn the property, do whatever it took to acquire the site. With the neighborhood in the dark as to the occasionally rumored “privileged negotiation,” a poisoned situation arose that had the neighborhood, in effect, working on behalf of the landlord, to the detriment of our school budget.

After a year an a half of rabble rousing the deal was sealed - for $21 a square foot! And two years later the Renaissance School opened to spectacular results. Today we have a wonderful school and a very happy landlord.

There are lessons from this experience that can be applied to the allocation of Primary Intuitive Names such as news.nyc, weather.nyc, and sports.nyc. Before detailing them, let me present a few axioms about them: 

  • Primary Intuitive Names have no obvious owner. Everyone would like to own them, but there are no actionable links for anyone. Perhaps they might be considered part of a common pool.
  • Primary Intuitive Names  are vital to the success of the .nyc TLD. They are the TLDs book covers, domain names people will visit first for a sample or preview. (Standard Portal Names and Navigation Names are also vital resources, but subjects for later posts.)
  • Primary Intuitive Names must be operational and provide a slick and effective information backbone from day one (Shift Day). If those entering a domain name such as news.nyc receive an advert or stale news, they will develop a negative view of the entire .nyc TLD.

Given these, how are we to allocate Primary Intuitive Names?

We can’t risk a simplistic high bid auction that might enable a speculator to acquire the name for resale a few years hence. Or put it into the hands of someone seeking to protect a competitive domain. And given the prospect that, thoughtfully developed, several Primary Intuitive Names can fund the entire .nyc TLD’s start-up budget and significant public education and access efforts, we must make the most of them. 

So here’s a New Year’s proposal based on that Renaissance School experience. Let’s rouse the public, pressure our elected representatives, and raise cane to demand that we1  create a competitive field that maximizes advantage from these public resources through this four step project: 

  1. Create an open and transparent process for guiding the identification and distribution of the Primary Intuitive Names.
  2. Begin an awareness campaign providing all those interested in developing these names with the opportunity to get their eggs in a row, initially via communication through relevant trade press. Consider this post an initial step.
  3. Develop minimum standards about content requirements within each Primary Intuitive Name with crowdsourced input used to reward excellence of concept.
  4. Advocate for a Shift Day that begins only when the Primary Intuitive Names are fully functional. 

How much “prosperity” might be raised from using our Renaissance experience to up the value of the Primary names? More than enough to finance the .nyc TLD’s planning and start-up, and to advance local control of this public interest resource. But its real potency lies in its ability to empower us all, providing for the all important Happy and Healthy referred to at top. But I’ve gone on too long here and will address these soon in a recommendation on ways we might use the initial and continuing .nyc TLD revenue streams. 

Learn more about the Primary Intuitive Names and our Domain Name Allocation Plan which deals with all .nyc names. (Commons photo courtesy of Stock Photo.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

  1. By “we” I refer to the residents and organizations of New York City.^


­Top Selling .com Names
­­­­­­­ 1.  sex.com $14,000,000
 2.  fund.com     9,999,950
 3.  ­porn.com     9,500,000
 4.  business.com     7,500,000
 5.  diamonds.com     7,500,000
 6.  beer.com     7,000,000
 7.  AsSeenOnTV.com 
 8.  Korea.com     5,000,000
 9.  casino.com     5,000,000
 10.  seo.com     5,000,000­

­­­­­­New York, April 19, 2010 - 9 years ago ­today Queens Community Board 3 passed the Internet Empowerment Resolution calling for the acquisition of the .nyc TLD and its development as a public interest resource. Back then, the world was aware of the value of domain names as marketing tools. Our Resolution initiated thinking about the potential of city-TLDs within the realms of community building, civic governance, and economic development.

Today, in the commercial realm, the value of good marketing names - those that are short, descriptive, and memorable - continues to rise. There’s no S.E.C. overseeing name sales, and many question the “truthiness” of some claimed prices, but the Top 10 List at right, from shoutmeloud.com, is representative of similar domain name sale lists. The lottery-like increase in name sale prices, from an original $10 to $100 paid in the mid-1990s to millions today, have speculators drooling over city-TLDs. And I’m often asked about the prices I expect to see for .nyc names: Will there be big winners like in .com?

When and how much?­

Within the realm of city-TLDs we’re just on the cusp of learning their utility and value and will only know for sure when city-TLDs go live. The issuance process has moved at the speed of a pitch drop, but we’re getting close. My estimate is that ICANN finalizes the new TLD application process by year’s end, receives new TLD applications in 2011, with some city-TLDs going live in 2012.

So what will .nyc names be worth? There’s potentially bad news for the gambling types in that our Domain Name Allocation Plan points the way to a name distribution process that might avoid a .com-like speculative boom, and put most speculative wins into education and other digital inclusion projects. And there’s growing recognition amongst city leaders of its utility.

But there is reason to believe that some quite valuable domain names will arrive with the .nyc TLD. We stumbled upon the first of these through an odd turn of events that led us to participate in the Minds in the Gutter competition. To understand this, I need to provide some background.

The Clean Water Act of 1972

Every time it rains in New York City, our combined sewer system gobbles up stormwater running off hard surfaces - roadways, sidewalks, rooftops, and parking lots - and directs it into the same network of pipes that carry our raw (toilet) sewage. When it rains the processing plants quickly reach capacity and the stormwater and raw sewage flow untreated into local waterways on the order of 27 billion gallons per year. This limits how New Yorkers can safely access the waterfront, and impairs our estuary ecosystem. The Clean Water Act of 1972 solidified the nation’s commitment to clean its river, bay, and ocean waters and New York has sought to comply with the law and find solutions to its stormwater problem ever since.

But while we’ve made progress, we’ve not been able to meet the Act’s requirements and the city faces stiff fines and the prospect of building two huge stormwater holding tanks to meet the clean water standards. Minds in the Gutter was one of many efforts seeking  civil engineering solutions to this problem. Its focus was on ways to stop stormwater from reaching the sewers via solutions like porous streets that would enable rain to become ground water.

In my years on Community Board 3 I’d participated on its Flushing Bay Committee which sought solutions to the stormwater and other bay problems. When I saw the Minds in the Gutter announcement the gray matter bubbled and I thought - Might the .nyc TLD play a role in solving this problem? Is there a software engineering solution that might match or better traditional civil engineering solutions?

So I tried to imagine a solution that would use the Net and civic spirit - the core of the advances we hope to achieve with a city-TLD. What we submitted was a proposal that uses crowdsourcing to connect residents, their toilets, and the weather to stop this pollution at its source. It was built around a mundane domain name that describes something universal in our city: toilets.nyc. For the proposal’s raw details see The Flushing Community wiki page. And to get a first look at the summary presentation of our software / social / community engineering plan, come to its unveiling at the Museum of the City of New York on Thursday, April 22, 6:30 PM.

About that $2.3 billion

If our Flushing Community proposal proves totally successful, that is, residents city-wide participate in the “Flushing Community,” and this succeeds cleansing our sewerage system enough to comply with Clean Water Act standards, constructing those two huge stormwater retention tanks would not be necessary. And thus, the toilets.nyc domain name would save the city the expense of building them - that’s a $2,300,000,000 saving. See the city’s Stormwater Management Plan here.

The challenge is creating a city-wide Flushing Community. How do we do that?

Shift Day

There are many instances where city residents have joined to make significant change. In the past few decades I’ve joined and/or cheered my fellow residents in picking up after our dogs, recycling garbage, and most recently, not smoking in bars and restaurants. In the instance of the Flushing Community, the rewards are money in our pockets (that $2.3 billion) and clean swimmable waters. And the cost are negligible. If it’s beneficial and relatively easy to do, precedent says we’ll do it.

The trick is creating awareness, simplicity of participation,  and community. (And a down side is that in this instance we won’t have an effective force of law behind the effort, as we did in the developments cited above.) We can’t do it without creating a voluntary and broad community of Flushing New Yorkers who recognize and act in the common interest.

The beauty of toilets.nyc is that it would be part of Shift Day - that glorious day when we switch from the old .com Net to the new local .nyc Net. It will be a day when there’s universal awareness of the great change. On that day neighborhood names, small business names, subway station names, street names, government service names, and hundreds of other aspects of our existence will suddenly shift into digital accessibility via our more organized and intuitive .nyc Internet. Within that Shift, New Yorkers will be enlightened to the size and connectivity of our .nyc community (we’re only 1/10th of 1% of the world’s population and we need to work together to thrive). If the .nyc TLD is thoughtfully introduced, on Shift Day we’ll be able to generate civic pride, awareness, and a willingness to participate in a common sacrifice and common good, such as the Flushing Community.

[Alternately, we might just buy a name like toilets.com for a few hundred K and build the Flushing Community upon it. But the cost of building civic spirit around that single effort would be substantial, and drawn out. And it would eliminate one building block of Shift Day, which will happen for better or for worse. The more and firmer the blocks the better the foundation.]

If toilets.nyc is worth $2.3 billion, what’s the value of the .nyc TLD?

Within the realm of Internet of Things there are a few hundred possibilities for other valuable names. However, the value is only realized when woven into the city’s social or infrastructure fabric, and no one’s yet evaluated these names.

And the value realized from using .nyc to create a trusted economic zone, where the world feels safe doing business, is totally unknown. So too is the value of the neighborhood names, which will provide good local communication for the first time; and my favorite, voters.nyc. How do you put a dollar value on improved community and governance? I’ve not calculated that, other than to say - a whole lot. But I promise to return 9 years from now (Pitchdrop is my middle name) with a more definitive answer.

The key point we’d like to make on this 9th anniversary of the Internet Empowerment Resolution is that toilets.nyc is just one domain name. Let’s ponder, dream, think, study, explore, and research about the entire set of domain names that will arrive with the .nyc TLD and make sure Shift Day is one we will all benefit from in a thousand ways.

Learn more about our overall effort. Start at our Wiki Home Page.



September 9, 2008, New York - Today I received the following scoping information about auctions and comparative evaluations from the ICANN:

You first asked­ whether there were papers in preparation on other allocation methods for new gTLD strings. You also asked about the process.

The Economic Case paper only describes the case for auctions as a tie-breaking mechanism for resolving contention among competing generic TLD applications (but not for community-based applications if at least one community-based applicant in a contention set opts for comparative evaluation). The paper does not describe the proposed auction model. This is the subject of a paper soon to be released in advance of the considerable work in preparing a draft RFP for community review prior to the ICANN meeting in Cairo. A number of other papers are being prepared, including descriptions of contention set handling and comparative evalu­ation processes. I think once you, and other commenters, have an opportunity to review these papers, you will have a better understanding of the proposed process.

As other commenters on the forum have noted, many applicants applying for a gTLD may never have to go through the proposed auction process, if their application is not in contention with any other proposed string, or because they represent a particular community and opt for comparative evaluation.

I look forward to reviewing these papers upon their publication. 

Learn more about The Campaign on our wiki pages.

Filed September 9th, 2008 under Comparative Evaluation, Auction, ICANN

­auction-today.jpgSeptember 8, 2008, New York - We never received a response to our requests for context information on the Economic Case for Auctions in New gTLDs paper ICANN posted on August 6 despite our Point of Information post, emails, and phone calls. The paper, written by ICANN staff and its “auctions partner” PowerAuctions LLC, concluded that an auction, not comparative evaluation, was the best means for allocating a contested city TLD.

The prevailing view has been that a comparative evaluation would discern a winner between  contesting applicants for a city TLD. And while there’s been no indication of a formal shift in ICANN policy, without an indication from the ICANN as to the paper’s purpose or status, we thought it prudent to post our thoughts on the issue prior to the September 7 posting deadline. The post presented a bleak assessment of the result of an auction between a community focused, slow growth applicant (Connecting.nyc Inc.) and a financial value bidder:

My concern is absolutely fundamental. For if the recipient of
the .nyc TLD is to be decided by auction, we will loose. And
our hope of finally having the opportunity to put the full
capabilities of the Internet - and that includes the DNS - to
address the cities current needs and future growth opportunities,
will be lost.

I concluded my comments with the following suggestions:

What the ICANN needs to do is acknowledge that there are entities
called cities. That the DNS's historic neglect of these
environmentally efficient locals, where more than ½ the earth's
population now live, must end. The ICANN needs to recognize that
cities have special needs that can be addressed by TLDs. And the
ICANN needs to establish criteria and processes for judging the
best application for this important civic resource.

This is a critical issue. And while it’s difficult to imagine that a shift of this magnitude would happen without public input - I’m still hoping the ICANN’s apparent lean toward auctions is just a vacation time, slip-through-the-cracks oversight by staff - we may need to send some enlightenment mojo to ICANN on this. So keep alert. (Commons photo courtesy of Jeremy Becker.)

Read the full comments here.    Learn more about The Campaign on our wiki pages.


Filed September 8th, 2008 under Auction, City-TLDs, Education, ICANN


August 9, 2008, New York - Several days ago in our “Update” post, I portrayed us as 95% of the way toward creating a landscape that will allow us to apply for the .nyc TLD. Last night I received an email from ICANN entitled “Updates to New gTLD Program Implementation” that leads me to think that last 5% might not be as easy to achieve as I’d expected.

The email linked to a paper prepared by ICANN and its “auction design consultant” and discusses the options for selecting TLD developers in situations where there’s more than one interested party. The paper, Economic Case for Auctions in New gTLDs, written by PowerAuctions LLC, an auction manager, purports to make the economic case for auctions as the preferred tie-breaking mechanism for resolving contention among identical or confusingly similar applications for new TLDs. I use the word “purports” because of the seeming self-interest of an auction company providing an “authoritative” paper on the efficacy of its core business. I’ve contacted ICANN to determine the status of the paper, whether there will be others reviewing such alternatives as comparative analysis and the lottery methodologies. See my Point of Information message to ICANN.

Whatever the status of this “Auctions” paper, this is an enormously important issue to us for two reasons: The first is the impact it might have on our ability to acquire the .nyc TLD. The paper begins with the premise that names should go to those who can generate the most income from their operation - more is better. And when there is a name dispute between Apple Computer, Apple Records, and the Apple Pie Bakers Association for the .apple TLD, perhaps more is better.

But with the basis for cities acquiring TLDs being their capacity to help deal with far deeper needs - including the social, economic and cultural life of the cities and their people - it becomes apparent that the Economic Case for Auctions’ fundamental premise does not apply in all instances. But we’ll withhold judgment until we hear from ICANN on our Point of Information request .

The second reason the issues discussed in the paper are important to us is that we too need to develop conflict solutions. In our case it’s about second level names: Who gets potentially important names such as astoria, finance, news, and sports .nyc?

We’ve placed resources for examining this issue on our Domain Name Allocation Plan page and look forward to hearing from New Yorkers on the issue. This Fall, as part of our Names for a Livable City project, we’ll be visiting the city’s community boards to gain a greater public perspective on this question. You’ll see a post on this here soon. (Commons photo courtesy of vernhart.)

Learn more about The Campaign on our wiki pages.