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Jackson Hts., New York, April 30 2014 - The below excerpt from a commentary in today’s Huffington Post identifies “enabling innovation” as the key component of a successful Net Neutrality policy. While important, we see facilitating public engagement in governance (that process the First Amendment seeks to foster) as the key element of successful Net Neutrality policy. And we see a parallel with city-TLDs: their key benefit arises through facilitating improved governance and a concomitant enhancement to quality of life. Here’s part of the Post’s post:

THE PERFECT AND THE GOOD ON NETWORK NEUTRALITY [SOURCE: Huffington Post, AUTHORS: Kevin Werbach, Phil Weiser]

Network neutrality is in jeopardy — just not in the way you might have heard. In implementing network neutrality, some differentiation of traffic must be allowed on the Internet, even encouraged. The real question is whether Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed rule is so much worse than what came before. Under what we understand the FCC proposal to be, access providers can’t block, can’t degrade, can’t arbitrarily favor certain applications, and can’t favor their own traffic. The major change in the new proposal concerns so-called paid prioritization agreements. In other words, the new rules appear to allow a broadband provider to offer content providers the option of faster or more reliable delivery for a supplemental fee. Under the old rules, the FCC didn’t prohibit such deals, but said it was skeptical they would meet its discrimination test. In the new proposal, the FCC appears to mandate that paid prioritization offerings be “commercially reasonable.” Calling paid prioritization “discrimination” is a matter of semantics. Indeed, the traditional “Title II common carrier” model (which some network neutrality advocates favor) has allowed different levels of service — paid prioritization in other words — as long as the prioritized service level was available to all comers. As for the FCC’s apparent proposal, it does not encourage or require paid prioritization. At most, the proposal would allow some commercial offerings — subject to negotiation between the two firms — to allow for a higher level of service. How to defend and implement network neutrality is not as simple as banning all forms of paid prioritization. What really matters is ensuring that the broadband environment continues to provide space for tomorrow’s innovators to develop new, disruptive offerings. When the FCC releases the proposed rules for comment, we should all focus on that criterion to evaluate whether they are sufficient and effective. [Werbach is Wharton Professor and founder of Supernova Group; Weiser is Dean and Thomson Professor at the University of Colorado Law School]

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

neighborhood-with-dollar-signs.0.JPGJackson Hts., New York, May 31, 2013 - New Yorkers select their neighborhoods with care. I chose mine based on its proximity to the big city, the cultural diversity of its residents, and housing prices. One gripe I have is the quality of local communication. For reasons that a include a lack of local TV, radio, and daily newspapers it’s difficult to find out what’s going on around here. I’ll grant that it’s a bit easier today than before the Net arrived, but checking 12 or so digital sites has its own drawbacks.

That’s the reason I’ve looked forward to activating the neighborhood name-set: Astoria.nyc, Harlem.nyc, ConeyIsland.nyc, SoHo.nyc… and my favorite, JacksonHeights.nyc. Imagine, one site that will connect me with my neighbors, local events, civic issues, and opportunities. That’s been a dream of mine since my first days on the local community board (1992).

Paving the road for this, a few years back we entered into a collaboration with Wikimedia-NY and the New York Internet Society to test out the idea, creating the NYCwiki.org. By checking community board registers we identified 352 city neighborhoods and began advocating for the reservation of these “dotNeighborhood” domain names (see our dotNeighborhoods home page).

One of our plan’s limits was financing the operation of all these dotNeighborhoods. While ‘hoods such as SoHo.nyc and GreenwichVillage.nyc have institutions and lots of retail that can generate huge advertising and sponsorship revenues (or so we hope), others are tiny, poor, or lacking sufficient revenue sources. We included some general thoughts in a Trust for dotNeighborhoods plan.

This past week Senator Daniel L. Squadron proposed in a New York Times Op-ed, Can a Tree Grow in the Bronx, a solution to financing maintenance of the city’s parks that seems apropos for the dotNeighborhoods. Here’s the way good senator put it:

How can we level the playing field and help ensure that every neighborhood gets the parks it so desperately needs?

One solution is to provide more financing for parks in the annual city and state budgets.

This can and should be done, but it should be supplemented by an ambitious new program: the creation of a Neighborhood Parks Alliance, which would form partnerships between a well-financed conservancy, a “contributing park” and “member parks” in need of more money and support.

A contributing park would commit 20 percent of its conservancy’s budget to member parks with which it is partnered. A park in need would become a member park by gathering signatures from local residents, establishing its own conservancy group and receiving a city commitment, from the Parks Department and local council members, to maintain current government financing levels.

In addition to money, the “contributing park” conservancies would provide continuing oversight, expertise and programmatic support.

As well, the need for the Alliances adds clarity to the intuitive name set for our city’s parks - trust.park.nyc.

Swapping ‘dotNeighborhood’ for ‘park’ makes this sound like a workable solution to me. Thank you Senator Squadron.

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

Jackson-Heights-balcanized.pngJackson Hts., New York, January 1, 2013 - What impact might our new digital infrastructure have upon our city’s neighborhoods? For the past few years we’ve cataloged some of the benefits that might arise from thoughtfully allocated and locally controlled neighborhood websites on our dotNeighborhoods wiki pages.

But over the past few months, with the city having submitted an application and begun moving toward the activation of the .nyc TLD, we’ve not received the assurances we expected about city hall’s plans for neighborhood networks, i.e., give residents the opportunity to self govern their neighborhoods as they have historically. Indeed, unofficially, we’ve been told that they will not be following our recommendations and the neighborhood domain names will be sold off with a bottom line perspective, not civic betterment.

So let’s explore the impact that action might have on my favorite neighborhood, Jackson Heights. Today there are a dozen or so sites that currently serve our neighborhood’s needs, have served them and are reorganizing, or are preparing to enter the fracas of local media.

The Many Jackson Heights’
 JacksonHeightsLife.com  JHBG.org
 JHGreen.org  jhdogs.ning.com/
 Queens7.com  JacksonHeights.NYDailyNews.com
 NYTimes.com/JacksonHeights  JacksonHeights.Patch.com
 JacksonHeights.Neighborly.com  Google.com/JacksonHeights
 JacksonHeights.EveryBlock.com  JacksonHeights.NewYork.craigslist.com
 YP.com/JacksonHeights  iwantmorefood.com/the-jackson-heights-food-group/

And under the current “unofficial” plan we could add JacksonHeights.nyc to that list, along with sites such as WesternJacksonHeights.nyc, NorthJacksonHeights.nyc, The BetterJacksonHeights.nyc, TouristJacksonHeights.nyc, MyJacksonHeights.nyc, DiversityPlaza.nyc, HistoricJacksonHeights.nyc, etc.

How do residents locate and communicate with one another in such a digitally balkanized neighborhood? Where is the center of our neighborhood when there’s an emergency, an opportunity, or a joyous event we want to share? How do we network over dozens of sites?

It’s long been my view that a central point of contact was critical to the existence of an inclusive and livable neighborhood. Especially in an ethnically and culturally diverse place like Jackson Heights, its vital that we avoid cubbyholes that fester about problems that “they” are causing. We need a central local, a town hall, a public square, a forum, a bulletin board where information is posted and important ideas exchanged.

This is not to imply that all these current sites should not continue as the .nyc TLD comes to life. Indeed, there’s no way to prevent a plethora of sites. And perhaps most importantly, it’s vital that we have a multiplicity of sites to serve our needs. One solution might be a simple blogroll on an “official” JacksonHeights.nyc.

So let me start 2013 with a plea to our officials in city hall: We’re reaching out to the 38 other global cities that have applied for their TLDs to determine how they are using their historic neighborhood names. We suspect our research will steer the city toward empowering our historic neighborhoods, making them a key building block of our new digital civic infrastructure. City hall should wait for our research results before adopting an allocation policy for our dotNeighborhoods.

Wikimedia-DC-July-2012a.jpg Washington D.C., July 12, 2012 - Connecting.nyc Inc. (CnI) today announced the start of a pilot project supporting the organization’s dotNeighborhoods initiative. The pilot will focus on the development of a local media center serving the Jackson Heights neighborhood of New York City. With an active, civicly engaged population, perhaps the most culturally diverse population in the city, as well as the location of the organization’s home, the neighborhood is seen as providing a rich opportunity to discover the capacity of a locally controlled and operated media center to address the needs of a typical city neighborhood.

The announcement was made on a Local Wikis panel at Wikimania 2012, the annual meeting of the Wikimedia Foundation, publisher of Wikipedia, Wiktionary and other collaborative resources. The panel, organized and moderated by the U.S. Department of State, had representatives from several innovative local wiki projects: CnI’s director, Thomas Lowenhaupt, John Cummings of the U.K.’s Monmouthpedia, Richard Knipel of Wikimedia-NY, Philip Neustrom of Local Wiki, and Frank Muraca of Fairfaxpedia.

During his presentation Mr. Lowenhaupt described the experience gained from the NYCwiki.org project, a collaboration with the New York Internet Society and Wikimedia-NY. He described how 322 of the city’s 354 neighborhoods had been activated by users entering local information, wiki style.  

Mr. Lowenhaupt’s presentation outlined a pilot project for the Jackson Heights neighborhood that would offer four resource layers:  

  • Wiki - The great lesson from NYCwiki.org, the collaboration between CnI, Wikimedia-NY, and the New York Internet Society was that the public can be a willing contributor to local media projects. The neighborhood wiki will provide residents with the opportunity to preserve a community memory of events, resources, problems, opportunities, etc., providing a history to guide discussions about the neighborhood’s future.
  • Official Information - Information about the physical and institutional neighborhood: population, government services, places, maps, education and cultural resources, etc.
  • Communications - Providing a capacity to reach out and connect with neighbors using the latest digital media. In addition to an evolving stat-of-the-art Internet presence, this is to include outreach, education on the use of the wiki, computer recycling, and the location of public access points at libraries, schools, Wi-Fi hotspots, etc.
  • Decision Making - A capacity to facilitate discussions, guide decisions and engagement with the neighborhood’s future.

The project’s initial outreach effort will take place on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at a Town Hall Meeting on 78th Street in Jackson Heights (between Northern Boulevard and 34th Avenue). Staff and volunteers from Connecting.nyc will explain the goals and purposes of the project to Town Hall participants, and request that residents begin to load information on the projects site.

Over the next several months CnI will be selecting resources, including a domain name, to facilitate a transition from the NYCwiki.org site to the JacksonHeights.nyc address, expected to be released in 2014. Information about the dotNeighborhood initiative is available on our wiki. Those interested in following or contributing to the minute by minute development of the JacksonHeights.nyc pilot should watch here.  (Image by Patti: L to R, John Cummings, Richard Knipel, Thomas Lowenhaupt, Philip Neustrom, and Frank Muraca.)

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

pizza-nyc-with-hat-1.jpgJackson Hts., New York, June 27, 2012 - The formal announcement of city hall’s support for the .nyc TLD was made by City Council Speaker Chris Quinn in her 2009 State-Of-The-City address:

“A local business won’t have to outbid a guy in Kansas to get Tony’s Pizza dot com. They’ll be able to get Tony’s Pizza dot NYC, a name associated with the greatest city – and home of the greatest pizza – in the world.”

With .nyc’s arrival expected in 2014, we’d like to take a look at where Tony and the city’s other pizza parlors might end up when the city’s digital grid is activated.

NYC’s Pizza Industry

For starters, let’s take a tour of the city’s pizza industry. According to a search of the Department of Health’s database, there are 1,644 restaurants with the words Pizza or Pizzeria in their name. And a sampling in our immediate vicinity found as many stores selling pizza without either “P” word in their name as with it. So, using round numbers, we estimate there are about 3,000 city establishments selling pizza. Or we can take Answers.com’s  estimate on the number of pizza parlors - kajillions!

Beyond providing a healthful, tasty, and affordable meal, these restaurants provide lots of jobs. A tiny shop in our neighborhood, Pizza Boy, employs 4. And based on our local sampling, we’ll assume that the average shop has twice that, so we have 3,000 restaurants @ 8 jobs per = 24,000 jobs.

And most important, they provide some of that uniqueness that visitors love about our city, and they provide residents with the gist for the never settled question: Who’s got the best pizza in the neighborhood?

Pizza.nyc - going once… going twice… sold to the company with the cheese filled crust.

The city’s current plan for allocating primary intuitive domain names - names such as Hotels.nyc, News.nyc, Sports.nyc, and Pizza.nyc - is via high-bid auction or a negotiated arrangement that has its guiding directive “optimizing revenues.”

Projecting from interest shown in the .pizza TLD, where 4 companies each paid an $185,000 application fee to ICANN for the opportunity to control .pizza, we anticipate a good deal of interest in pizza.nyc. And if there’s an auction for the name, we presume that Pizza Hut, or another industry giant, would outbid the likes of Tony’s Pizza (with a few thousand dollars and flyers their principle marketing tool) and purchase the right to use the pizza.nyc domain name.

Top U.S. Pizza Chains and Revenue 2011
 Pizza Hut 13,432 $11,000,000,000
 Domino’s Pizza   9,400   $6,700,000,000
 Papa John’s   3,646   $2,390,172,000
 Little Caesars Pizza   2,960   $1,345,000,000

If that’s its outcome, we fear that Tony’s Pizza and the city’s other mom and pop pizza stores will see a decline in their business, especially those located in tourist areas. Because if you’re a tourist in Times Square, and you’re getting hungry, and you type into Google or you ask Siri, “Where’s pizza?,” search engines like Google are likely to direct you Pizza Hut, not mom and pop operations. Here’s why.

  • Google’s search rules (its ‘algorithm’) say things like: “If the request is for information about a scientific issue, give preference to websites ending with the .edu TLD.” And, “If the search is for a U.S. government document, give preference to documents listed in .gov sites.” So the tourist’s cell phone will send its location, “I’m located in New York City” and the search engine will give preference to websites located within the .nyc TLD.
  • Other search rules say: “Give preference in the results listing to domain names with the key word in a prominent position.” In this instance the key word is pizza, so a good domain name like pizza.nyc will receive preference in the listing to http://www.rjcaffe.com/ and numero28.com, web addresses of fine pizza restaurants but without pizza in their domain name.
  • It’s estimated there are 400+ rules governing the decisions of Google’s search engine (see here). And firms such as Pizza Hut pay Search Engine Optimization experts $100,000+ per year to match wits with Google’s rule writers to keep their stores at the top of the search results. Our city’s mom and pop pizzerias stand little chance of being found within the increasingly advertiser controlled Internet.

Our Transparent Search page presents more on the importance of creating a level playing field for local business, including the mom and pop businesses.

What About Tony?

Speaker Quinn was rightly concerned about Tony being thrown into a global pool and requiring him “to outbid a guy in Kansas to get Tony’s Pizza dot com.” And the arrival of the .nyc TLD will presents some good news for the city’s many Tonys. According to the Health Department, there are at least 8 of them: 

TONY’S FAMOUS PIZZA 547 FULTON STREET BROOKLYN, 11201
TONY’S ORIGINAL 11 CORSON AVENUE STATEN ISLAND, 10301
TONY’S PIZZA II 1107 RUTLAND ROAD BROOKLYN, 11212
TONY’S PIZZERIA 336 KNICKERBOCKER AVE BROOKLYN, 11237
TONY’S PIZZERIA 1412 ST JOHNS PLACE BROOKLYN, 11213
TONY’S PIZZERIA & RESTAURANT 1622 RALPH AVENUE BROOKLYN, 11236
TONYS PIZZERIA AND RESTAUARANT 443 KNICKERBOCKER AVENUE BROOKLYN, 11237
TONY’S PIZZERIA & RESTAURANT 45-18 104 STREET QUEENS, 11368

 

During .nyc’s Launch, all will have an early opportunity to claim a good domain name. (A “good domain name” is short, descriptive, and memorable.)

Phase 1 of the names distribution process provides 45 days for the city’s Food Service Licensees to make a name selection. While there are sure to be some hurdles, each Tony should find a good domain name available. [Hurdles: (a) It’s a first-come, first-served registration, so if there are two identically named Tonys, the first to claim a name gets to use it. (b) Before a name is activated, the city will check the claimant’s eligibility (e.g., “Got a license?”), and (c) that the selected domain name matches the business name of record.]

I’m sure Speaker Quinn will be surprised that there’s no licensed “Tonys Pizza” in the city. So what happens to TonysPizza.nyc if an eligible entity can’t claim it during Launch’s Phase 1? It becomes available during Phase 2’s Landrush Process. During Landrush, anyone can make a claim to it on a first-come, first-served basis, and use the domain name for whatever purpose they choose - no mozzarella needed.

TonysPizza.nyc

This can all get a bit complex, so let me try to recap by providing a concrete example. (I present the following knowing Speaker Quinn has a good sense of humor.)

Let’s imagine that City Council Speaker Chris Quinn wakes up on New Year’s Day 2013 and decides that she doesn’t want to be mayor, “No more politics for me, I’m a married lady and need to earn an honest living.” She decides on a career change that will have her open a fancy Irish/Italian restaurant, Tony’s Pizza - with Guinness on tap. She knows the .nyc Launch process from sitting in on city council hearings, and rushes off to the Department of Health to secure her license to operate Tonys Pizza.

As she’s searching out a chef, designer, and that ideal location, DoITT and ICANN continue on their paths toward activating the .nyc TLD. Phase 1 of .nyc’s launch arrives in January 2014 and the now former-Speaker, Health Department license for Tonys in hand, claims the TonysPizza.nyc domain name. And she aims for TonysPizza.nyc’s opening to coincide with the .nyc TLD’s activation in January 2015.

Mid-year she hires a chef, locates a storefront in Hell’s Kitchen, and turns her attention to a digital marketing strategy. She recalls that the council’s public hearings had drawn out the city’s mom and pop shop owners who demanded that the city’s primary intuitive domain names - bars.nyc, bookstores.nyc, cleaners.nyc, drugstores.nyc, hotels.nyc, news.nyc, restaurants.nyc, pizza.nyc, etc. - provide an opportunity for their establishments to be found. She checks on the roll-out process for these names and learns that a start-up media company from the Bronx, PizzaServices.nyc, had negotiated the rights to the pizza.nyc domain name, based in part on their commitment to provide a level playing field for all the city’s pizza restaurants. She calls PizzaServices to ask where her place will be found in pizza.nyc.

Mario answers the phone and delights her by saying that, as the owner of a second level pizza domain name - TonysPizza.nyc, she’s entitled to:

  • A free listing in the alpha, neighborhoods, and map directories on the Pizza.nyc site.
  • And that she’s entitled to a free listing under restaurants in the HellsKitchen.nyc neighborhood site.

She’s starting to feel good about her time spent as a civil servant. She’s about to hang up when Mario asks if she’d like to advertize on the site. She inquires about the rates and learns that they’re within her budget. But she’s concerned about the difficulty and cost of creating the ad. “No problem,” says Mario, “My partner can create the ad for you. She’s a whiz, an ITP graduate.” adding “And if you want, she’ll do your restaurant’s entire website. At a reasonable rate.”

Mario’s got Chris’ ear at this point and adds “And the third level domain name - TonysPizza.HellsKitchen.nyc  - is available or $20 per year. “It’ll make you distinct from the other Tonys around the city.” And he finishes off with “And if you buy it, you’ll get a free listing in Pizza.HellsKitchen.nyc.”

With that, she hangs up, her head spinning at the many possibilities. But it rings again and its Mario, “And don’t forget, check with restaurants.nyc, you’re entitled to a free listing there too. Ask for Danny, he runs that commons.” After hanging up she thinks “Wow, this is going to a lot more edgy than being mayor. Maybe I can be the Princess of Pizza? Better yet, The Pizza Queen?” (Image by Patti.)

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

King-Charles-II.jpgJackson Hts., New York, January 16, 2012 - When King Charles II and the Duke of York (later to be King James II) granted the land west of the Hudson to two loyal friends, they established the Hudson River as the boundary between New York and New Jersey. This legacy from the colonial era continues to plague our region with infrastructure, environment, and business planning taking place within myopic “state” views. The most recent instance of this, according to the New York Times, arose when New Jersey officials tried to lure the Fresh Direct from Queens to Jersey City with a $100 million package of tax breaks, land, and other subsidies.

Since 1921 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has administered many common harbor and development interests – bridges, tunnels, rail, water, air, and teleports. But strategic planners declare that if the region is to grow and maintain its role in an increasingly globalized market, it must solve regional integration problems caused by the colonial era action.

A regional TLD provides an opportunity to begin repairing the damage of 1665. Our Regional Consolidation wiki page looks at this, as does the scenario raised in our dotNeighborhoods initiative about handling the hoboken.nyc domain name.

Around the globe, especially in Canada and Europe, cities are far ahead of the U.S. in creating regional entities. Let’s make the most of this digital opportunity. (Commons image of King Charles II, from Wikipedia.) 

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

David-Bollier-at-Hangout-10-20-11.jpgJackson Hts., New York, October 20, 2011 - It’s been suggested that city-TLDs, such as .nyc, .london, .mumbai, and .paris, are “open greenfields for new local governance structures.” And that they would most effectively serve the public interest if developed as digital commons. 

To explore the idea we invited David Bollier (http://bollier.org/) an important voice for the commons to our October 20 Tea & TLDs roundtable to help imagine a governance structure that best assures a city-TLD’s long term vitality. 

Summary Report

After the market and government, the commons are a third sector of social and economic production. Traditional accounting systems fail to report its historic and continuing contributions to society and its unpinning the market sector. Elinor Ostrom’s winning the 2009 Noble Prize in Economics - for her work detailing how self organizing communities can avoid the Tragedy of the Commons and sustainably manage collective resources - brought new interest to the commons.

David indicated that a commons is a sustainable regime for both natural resources (oceans, forests…) and also, perhaps more so, for digital resources, which are not finite. (Wikipedia, Creative Commons, and open source are examples of digital commons.)

Thomas Lowenhaupt reviewed possible governance mechanisms for a city-TLD: government, the multi-stakeholder model used by ICANN, the IETF, and IGF (civic society, government, and industry), the public access cable model, and that of public broadcast media, and asked David if a city-TLD might be governed as a common pool resource: either parts of it - such as the neighborhood or category portals, or in its entirety.

Bollier responded:

  • city-TLDs provided a rich opportunity for creating a new type of governance,
  • the big issue of our times is a collision between bottom up, transparent, merit driven, and participatory network culture and 20th century institutions that tend to be bureaucratic, hierarchical, and too often co-opted and corrupted,
  • in today’s society, government holds too narrow a view of value, with markets being viewed as the only value producers. This leads government to give public assets to the large players, ignoring the value of a more diverse market,
  • non-market interests have a role in bettering society, but that value is not properly accounted for in our market centered economic model,
  • to the extent that we can create a governance structure that represents and reflects a broader array of players and is bottom-up driven, like much of the Net, and more flexible than sometimes stodgy or inflexible government structures, there’s the potential of gain for all,
  • a common pool regiment, traditional non-profit, city government and other options should be looked at.

David suggested that the Open Wall Street movement might offer an opportunity to explore governance options and to bring the opportunities city-TLDs present to cities globally.

Policy issues and experiences with open data were also discussed with Robert Pollard suggesting the importance of bringing open data to a more fruitful location. David mention the policy of Lentz, Austria as a possible guide. 

A wiki page with the complete meeting materials - summary, minutes, and video - is available here

For more on this topic see our Common Pool Resource wiki page and David Bollier’s posting on the meeting.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

dotnyc-logo-3-11-07.jpgJackson Hts., New York, August 22, 2011 - We preach and practice open and transparent. From our earliest days in 2005 the vast majority of our activities have been accessible on our wiki and blog. Today 66 people have editing rights on our wiki. Edit access is easy to come by: click the Join CoActivate button on the top right, and upon responding to an email, you’ll have edit capabilities. (We originally didn’t have email verification, but spammers drove us to lower our openness a notch.) The reversible nature of the wiki technology facilitates openness as real damage from errors or mischief is near impossible. (Please don’t take this as a challenge to  prove me wrong.)

The wiki has become huge over those years with our newest page, iCity, our 184th. Some are quite short, perhaps a 1/2 page of text, with the largest requiring 25 single spaced typed pages.

Following all this can be challenging. The blog notifies about big changes - we’ve made 197 posts - but if you want to follow the nitty-gritty about recently created and updated pages, click the green Contents tab up top for a list of all the pages. The “Last Modified” tab will show what’s been changed in time order. (It’s a bit klutzy and we’re hoping for a one click “Recent Changes” button from our most gracious host, CoActivate.) And to see the page changes, click the History button on top right.

So what’s new? Here are the 11 most recently edited pages: one is a new page, and the others have a mix of minor to major changes:

We’ve listed 11 instead of the typical 10 to draw your attention to our Governance Ecology pages. We’re going to be making some major changes to them over the next few weeks and we’d like more people to join us. They’ll provide the basis for our recommendations for governance of the TLD - perhaps the most critical issue. We’re going to include the latest wrinkles from ICANN on qualifications for a city-TLD as well as a look at the expected “consensus” demonstration criteria expected of IANA.

The .nyc TLD’s future is up to you. Join our resident led endeavor, and contribute your ideas to this most important civic enterprise.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

dotNYC-broken-logo.jpg Jackson Heights, New York, June 13, 2011 - At least one ICANN-accredited registrar, United Domains, is offering what it calls “Free nTLD pre-registration” with .nyc domain names included in the offer. So if you go to that offer page and indicate a desired .nyc domain name - news.nyc, sports.nyc, weather.nyc, etc. - you’ll be able to reserve that name within the United Domain’s database, and when .nyc names become available through a completed ICANN application process, the considerable resources of United will assist you in acquiring the entered name. Several thousand names have already been “reserved.” United estimates the availability of “some” top-level domains by October 2012.

While United Domains pre-registration service is free and non-binding, the North American Regional At Large Organization, part of the ICANN governance ecology, is concerned that “the offer of such a service could create artificial demand…” Today it posted a comment for review on its wiki expressing concerns with the process. We concur with those concerns and today added our two cents on that ICANN site as follows:

In the instance of New York City, I can imagine pre-registrations becoming a matter of civic disruption. For example, imagine small businesses predicating their business plans on the availability of .nyc domain names as implied in these pre-registration offers. I start gearing up to offer weather.nyc. And my sister-in-law hears of this new opportunity and “reserves” crochet.nyc. And Andy at Pizza Boy hears us jabbering and says he has a new chain of local pizza shops planned and this would fit in perfectly with his city-wide delivery plan. And on and on into the thousands.

Next the city starts to take a serious look at the social, economic, cultural, and civic impact of .nyc and realizes that such a review will take some time. With cities acting in glacial time rather than Internet time, this could lead to many thousands of disappointed “pre-registrants.”

Now imagine a candidate for mayor, let’s say Anthony Weiner - an advanced Internet user - sees this disgruntled group of pre-registrants as a political resource that can become a plank in his campaign, “Elect me mayor and on the first day in office I’ll sign off on .nyc - NO DELAY!”

With the ICANN having offered zero, zip, nada, guidance for cities looking into this once-in-an-Internet opportunity, I can see this as the winning proposition. “There’s no evidence to show that city TLDs are other than revenue generating.” “Our small businesses need it NOW.” “Jobs, jobs, jobs.” “Other cities are going to get a jump on us.” Etc.

More thoughtful candidates will be left to argue for the benefits of infrastructure. ~ Mayor Weiner.

Thomas Lowenhaupt, Founding Director

Connecting.nyc Inc.

Having presented the broad advantages that can arise from a thoughtfully developed .nyc TLD for over 10 years, we are all too aware of the difficulty of selling .nyc as the city’s new digital infrastructure. (See our 159 wiki chapters.) And with ICANN preparing to approve the Application Guidebook for new TLDs at its Singapore meeting on June 20, immediate action is required.

Unless the city or ICANN act quickly to create a period of reflection and a planning process for .nyc (find our recommendations here), this one opportunity to weave this wonder of modernity to strengthen our 400 year old city will be lost. Our opportunity to create an intuitive city with a sustainable .nyc TLD will be lost. And what could be a force for thought, deliberation and uniting, and for establishing New York as a trustworthy center for digital commerce, as imagined in Queens Community Board 3’s April 2001 Internet Empowerment Resolution, will become a shattered dream.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

Hyper-Public-conference-logo.0.jpgJackson Heights, New York, May 25, 2011 - On June 10 we’ll be participating in a most important conference: Hyper-Public: A Symposium on Designing Privacy and Public Space in the Connected World. For a glimmer into the corporate world’s concerns about the issues to be addressed, read this email  responding to an inquiry by Google’s founder Larry Page:

“I cannot stress enough how important Google’s wifi location database is to our Android and mobile product strategy,” Google location service product manager Steve Lee wrote. “We absolutely do care about this … because we need wifi data collection in order to maintain and improve our wifi location service.”

Or imagine - as Google and Apple and Microsoft and Verizon and AT&T and VISA and Master Card are doing - what it will be like as we are identified in public spaces, with our mobile buzzing and beeping us about nearby marketing “deals.” And beyond marketing, there are a multitude of civic and livability issues necessitating our corralling this new technology, as hinted at in the event’s official description:

Hyper-Public: A Symposium on Designing Privacy and Public Space, hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, will bring together computer scientists, ethnographers, architects, historians, artists and legal scholars to discuss how design influences privacy and public space, how it shapes and is shaped by human behavior and experience, and how it can cultivate norms such as tolerance and diversity. (See conference details here.)

One can fantasize about rejecting the new tech, but to do so will have consequence equivalent to rejecting credit cards or EZPass. (See Opt-Out Google.) But the reality is that our primary communication device is moving into our pockets, and if we don’t get involved with that object’s design, we’ll be little more than an audience.

There’s no indication the conference will be streamed, but if you’ve got questions or suggestions, post them below or email our director. In the days after the conference we’ll conduct a long overdue update of our wiki’s privacy and security and community and trust pages. Stay connected.

[NOTE: Circumstances precluded our attendance at the event.]

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

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