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         



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: announces that this is the name of a TAXI, while the cryptic 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

linked-open-data.pngJackson Hts., New York, March 17, 2013 - The city of New York took an historic step last year when it approved of an Open Data Law that will make the preponderance city government data available as a commons. The arrival of the city’s TLD provides an opportunity to further develop city digital resources and extend the data commons.

The range of possibilities is long with the low handing fruit the DNS Data Query Log, a database of inquiries made of the .nyc registry of domain names. Properly anonymized, the Data Query Log provides the potential for a ‘twitter-lite’ data resource providing a pulse of the city.

And perhaps most expansively, if we can educate New Yorkers about the cumulative value of our individual knowledge, train residents to curate and present this knowledge using linked open data and .nyc URIs, there’s an opportunity to thoughtfully organize the sum of city knowledge into a globally trusted TLD. Secondary values can arise from this such as a locally controlled And economic development advantage would follow via local jobs and keeping ad revenue in our city. 

The .NYC Advisory Board, a new entity created by the city administration to provide strategic guidance on the operation of the .nyc TLD, provides a channel for expressing the public will on this issue. Let us know what you think about the above and your ideas about using .nyc data and we’ll pass it through the city’s decision making process. NOTE: Our founding director is a member of the Advisory Board. (Commons graphic courtesy of Wikipedia.)

 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’

And under the current “unofficial” plan we could add to that list, along with sites such as,, The,,,,, 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”

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.

apple-and-orange.jpgJackson Hts., New York, September 14, 2012 - With the 2013 election for mayor and city council 14 months away, civic watchdogs have started identifying issues that will help voters decide those candidate names worth a click (e.g.).

To date the .nyc TLD has been viewed as arcane, complex, and difficult to grasp, with benefits that could be achieved by other means. But with 38 other cities having submitted TLD application this past June, and the probability that all global cities will acquire their TLDs in the coming years, it’s becoming increasingly clear that New York no longer competes with Jersey City and Stanford; and that in a global marketplace, and in a digital age, how we use our TLD could be a defining factor in our city’s future. 

So here we offer 10 reasons the .nyc Top Level Domain’s development should be a factor in making those 2013 election clicks. The first several contrast effective and weak uses of city TLDs, making clear .nyc’s importance in enabling New York to remain a leading global city. So…

  • imagine .Paris optimizes its premier domain names, for example, creating a that guides visitors to that city’s fashion sector. And that New York City sells to the highest bidder, say Macy’s. Which city has the Fashion advantage? Or,
  • imagine visiting .Istanbul and entering english.Istambul and finding a curated guide to everything you need. And that takes you to a hookah in Astoria. Which is a more visitor friendly city? Next,
  • imagine .Paris issues domain names for city street to entities that are required to provide several layers of information. So for example, when someone enters Champs-Elysees into a search engine, or directly type in, a page with a map linked to retail and other establishments on that boulevard is presented. And that in New York remains undeveloped with a message saying “Want to buy this page?” And,
  • imagine .Milano institutes a thorough Internet of Things protocol, giving a domain name to every place and object in the city (in addition to people, ideas, and organizations). And that the resulting digital infrastructure provide operational efficiencies for city government; and they enable programmers to use these digital shortcuts for new media ventures. So imagine a developer dragging all the parking.milano domain names into an app that facilitates shopping. But that New York has sold off its library of “directory names” without civic content and accessibility responsibilities. Then,
  • imagine as a curated collaborative resource that provides residents and visitors with accurate and timely information about that city. And that is owned by Microsoft and subject to the competitive forces of the search market. Finally,
  • imagine that 20 years down the road we’ve run out of good .nyc domain names - those that are short, descriptive, and memorable. That pricing policy dictating minimal annual renewal fees encourages the inefficient use of these limited resources. But that .Amsterdam has high renewal fees dedicated to Net education; that these higher fees encourage resource optimization, with a turnover in names that empowers future generations, and thereby creating a sustainable .Amsterdam TLD. Woe be to us.

And beyond these global considerations, a thoughtfully planned and equitably developed TLD will impact residents’ quality of life.

  • Imagine that neighborhood domain names are allocated under terms that require that they be used to serve the residents of their respective neighborhoods. Assuring that the address serves the civic, resident, and business needs of that neighborhood’s 55,000 residents, rather than those of the global beer conglomerate.
  • Imagine as as place where money doesn’t matter. Where candidates for public office present their case for office, robust discussion takes place, and our city’s Netizens vote candidate ideas up or down.
  • Imagine a regional city unencumbered by today’s plethora of governance structures - 800 within the 90 mile radius of the Empire State Building - simplifying and reducing institutional barriers to business and the cost of government.
  • Finally,  when dog owners are issued their domain name along with their dog license, New York City will have disproved the adage “no one knows you’re a dog on the Internet,” optimized the .nyc TLD, and secured our transition into a digital era.  :)

So if we’re talking about our city’s competitive position amongst global cities, and a digital infrastructure capable of providing an increasingly livable city, how we develop our TLD is an important issue for the 2013 election. And candidates for office should declare  their vision for the .nyc TLD in name allocation, pricing, governance, and access. (Creative Commons image courtesy of

old-bicycle.jpg Jackson Hts., New York, May 9, 2012 - Need some relaxation after Internet Week? We’ve got just what you need. So pump up your bike’s tires, grab you cell, and join us in Mapping City Neighborhoods on Saturday, May 19 between 8 AM and 4 PM - after a busy Internet Week.

To participate you need a neighborhood map, a bike, and a cell phone with the New York Times Labs’ OpenPaths app installed. With those in hand you’ll be ready to bike around the perimeter of your neighborhood and then send us the data file - while getting healthy. See the details here.

Our Mapping City Neighborhoods initiative is a key part of our effort to create media centers in New York City’s neighborhoods upon the arrival of the .nyc TLD in 2013. We’ve big dreams for the new dotNeighborhoods -,,,,,,, and 346 others - and maps are a important part.

We thank Internet Week  for helping us promote the event and the OpenPaths project for helping us gather the digital data. Start here to a healthier you and city.

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

god-from-sistine-chappel.0.jpgJackson Hts., New York, February 12, 2012 - We  first took note of the commons in 2007 when star intern Matt Cooperrider suggested that we include “the commons” in our musings about New York’s TLD. While our early explorations were less than bold, our engagement was emboldened in 2009 when Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in Economics for her work on managing common pool resources. (See the Common Pool Resource chapter on our wiki.)

And when commons expert David Bollier suggested during an October 2011 interview that city-TLDs could be the newest commons, serving as “open greenfields for new local governance structures,” our interest spiked and we sought ways to engage a broader public in our evaluation.

That opportunity will arise this coming week at Making Worlds: A Forum on the Commons, a 3 day event that begins Thursday in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We’re proud to report we had a role in organizing this opportunity for all to learn about the commons and the possible role a thoughtfully developed commons might play in creating a more livable, just, and sustainable world.

While we expect the entire Forum to be illuminating, we’re especially looking forward to Saturday’s 5-7 PM workshop Nurturing the Commons, New and Old. The workshop will look at ways a city-TLD can facilitate “new local governance structures” and how the management and governance lessons provided by the likes of Elinor Ostrom can assist in their realization. (See Making Worlds program.)

Making Worlds is a working conference with food provided to all participants courtesy of Occupy Wall Street. Join us in a most exciting event. (Photo courtesy of Michelangelo and Wikimedia Commons.) 

[See Inc.’s director Thomas Lowenhaupt’s presentation on SlideShare. And read David Bollier’s report on the event.]

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


Jackson Hts., New York, January 23, 2012 - Wink the Penguin is back. After mysteriously vanishing in January 2009, Wink is back atop the boulder on which he stood for 14 years at the intersection of 75th Street and 37th Road, in the Jackson Hts. neighborhood of New York City - home of our corporate HQ.

A global search and retrieve effort by local residents, civic groups, and the Linux community is credited with the return. However, the entire episode remains a mystery: the perpetrators of the chicknapping, his location during the interregnum, and the time and means of his re-installation remain unknowns.

Locally, the search included officials at the Police, Parks, and Transportation Departments, and then Council Member Helen Sears. (See search results.) Others with local and global connections were brought in to help secure Wink’s return. The Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG), the premier local civic organization, when appraised of the apparent chicknapping, plastered the neighborhood with fliers requesting help.

Additionally we reached out to the Linux community, developers of the Linux operating system, with Tux Linux-Tux-small.JPG the  penguin its mascot, asking that they monitor online channels to help resolve Wink’s whereabouts. The basis for Wink’s return remains a mystery - local posters, global internet, or perhaps Wink just wanted to explore the city - but when Wink returned in February 2010, we and the entire Jackson Hts. neighborhood rejoiced and offered thanks to all who helped enable his return.

Recently, in the bitter cold of a snowy January day, a local resident adorned the neighborhood’s beloved Wink in a custom knitted red and white hat and scarf. The photo at right shows Ed Westly, president of the JHGB, with Wink safely back atop his boulder and in his new garb. (Commons photo courtesy the CnI Library. More on Wink.) 

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


Jackson Hts., New York, January 12, 2012 - Urbanflow, a Finish joint effort with Nordkapp, envisions an operating system for cities. The scenario explored in the 5 minute video revolves around situated urban screens and their potential uses (right). Worth a look. It concludes with “It’s going to happen somewhere, let’s make it happen here” with the “here” being Helsinki.

This is something that should be an integral part of a city-TLD’s development process. But few in the traditional registry-registrar industry that controls the ICANN environment have an inkling as to the potentials, with the possible exception of the Swiss registrar CORE. The industry’s business model, more names = more money, skews creative thinking about urban TLDs.

But with the rise of the Internet of Things and growing awareness of the value of trusted TLDs to decision-making machines like IBM’s Watson, some cities are beginning to look into the possibilities of city-TLDs as the platform. Here in New York we have the initiative of Pachube (meeting tonight!) that offers hope for the home team.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

The-New-York-Times-T.jpgJackson Hts., New York, January 1, 2012 - When I first read the New York Times’ Christmas Day editorial calling for a pilot project in place of ICANN’s current one-size-fits-all new TLD plan, I saw the perfect opportunity to present our proposal for a step-by-step introduction of TLDs: cities first, then corporations, and finally the problematic generic TLDs - .art., .sports, .news etc. Read it here.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page


Jackson Hts., New York, December 22, 2011 - With 21 days remaining before the ICANN’s filing window opens for new TLDs, authoritative city government sources report the following: the new deputy mayor with responsibility for the TLD’s oversight (Robert K. Steel) is being briefed about the opportunity; “everyone in the loop” is being consulted; the city has not decided what to do with the three proposals it received in December 2009 (we presume these are by Verisign, CORE, and a now merged Minds & Machines and NuStar application); the lead agency has yet to be determined; and the role of the public in the decision making process is unclear.

With mere days remaining for the application’s submission, we can’t fathom completing the comprehensive, ground-setting TLD design, planning, and development process, including public education and engagement, which we’ve advocated. With faith that the Bloomberg Administration can come up with a suitable zeitgeist vision waning, earlier this year we petitioned the city council to, minimally, set aside the neighborhood names as local civic and economic development resources.

But without a long-term vision and a strong commitment to using the TLD as digital infrastructure, we fear that our city’s TLD, and the neighborhood names, will be lost among the hundreds of helter-skelter TLDs ICANN is expected to authorize over the next few years. In the new TLD environment, a standard model city-TLD might be suitable for selling tourist tchotchkes, but without adequate planning, it will not serve as the infrastructure we need to enhance our digital future. 

Having worked and waited over 10 years for this opportunity to arise, we find ourselves compelled and saddened to make the following recommendation: Let’s begin now to undertake a comprehensive review of all that a TLD can do for our city. Let’s observe cities receiving TLDs in this first round and learn from their experience. And let’s prepare for ICANN’s next filing opportunity for city-TLDs, expected in perhaps three years - barely enough time to prepare a thoughtful and comprehensive plan.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

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