sunrise-nyc.pngJackson Hts., New York, May 4, 2014 - Starting at noon tomorrow those owning an international trademark will be eligible to select its equivalent .nyc domain name. This “Sunrise Phase” will last for 45 days.

So if you have a globally recognized trademark - one issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office counts, but one issued by NYS doesn’t - you’ll be eligible to register it.

But you’ll need to prove ownership by registering it with the Trademark Clearing House. (You’ll have to pay a $150 fee and receive a SMD File as proof of ownership). For the official details on process and whether you qualify, see http://www.nic.nyc/sunrise-policies.html. To register a name, start here.

While we’re delighted to see the .nyc issuance process move ahead, we have two concerns:

  • Our main concern is that trademarks issued by New York State don’t count. And it’s too late for those with a NYS trademark to get a U.S. Trademark within Sunrise. Those with NYS trademarks and desiring a .nyc domain name will need to submit their applications in August, during the Landrush Phase. And at that point their NYS trademark will provide no special right to use their existing business name. When existing businesses experience the loss of their traditional names we expect an outcry or two.
  • We’re also concerned about the quality of the nexus policy - which seeks to limit .nyc names to city entities. The current policy allows an entity from anywhere to use a mailing service as proof of city nexus. But it only takes 5 minutes to acquire a 5th Avenue address using one of hundreds of re-mailing businesses that operate in the city. Nexus needs strengthening.

But after all these years, things are finally moving ahead. And we’re pleased to see city hall (and its contractor) focused on making the most of this opportunity.

Those planning on registering a trademark within .nyc can access a list of 30 or so registrars at http://nic.nyc/registrars. For those not in the Sunrise category, details on the City Government, Landrush, and General Availability phases are available here, with the latest timeline as follows:  

Registration Periods For the .nyc TLD

Phase

Duration
 Start Date Start Time UTC      End Date     End Time UTC
Sunrise 45 days            
May 5, 2014       15:00:01 
   June 20, 2014
     15:00:00
City Government    
36 days June 25, 2014       15:00:01    July 31, 2014      15:00:00
Landrush Period 60 days August 4, 2014       15:00:01    October 3, 2014      15:00:00
General Availability n/a October 8, 2014 15:00:00     n/a       n/a

 (Creative Commons image courtesy of Bob Jagendorf.)

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

Filed May 4th, 2014 under Domain Names, Oversight

dozen-smile.pngJackson Hts., New York, February 21, 2014 - With the de Blasio Administration reviewing the city’s approach to the .nyc TLD, today we reviewed the Towards City-TLDs In The Public Interest White Paper prepared by Dr. Michael Gurstein and our founding director in 2007 and thought it worthwhile that we promote its findings once again. 

The White Paper detailed 12 advantages that would arise from a thoughtfully planned and executed TLD development plan. While the intervening 7 years revealed other benefits, the original advantages constitute the bulk of the advantages we might anticipate. Here they are:

NOTE: In the following GC-TLD refers to a Global City TLD.

  • Good Domain Names - If issued equitably and at affordable rates, a public interest GC-TLD will facilitate the fundamental benefit that derives from a new TLD, that is, good names, those that are short, descriptive, and memorable.
  • Equitable Distribution of Domain Names – A public interest GC-TLD can establish allocation policies that avoid pitfalls such as hoarding and typo-squatting. Policy decisions can be made on price and nexus requirements (a legal term indicating a required city connection such as a residency or operating a business), and can reserve domain names for unbiased public interest directories, government, civic, and issue usage.
  • Affordable Domain Names – By eliminating the profit requirement, public interest GC-TLDs can keep prices low and set rates that maximize community benefit. It can provide affordable names for the young entering the business world, for the community and civic worlds, for recent immigrants, small businesses, and for use in the public realm. Where appropriate and feasible, a GC-TLD operated in the public interest can provide free names to individuals, organizations, start-ups, etc.
  • Name Set-Asides - With an improved community a key part of its mission, a public interest GC-TLD can set aside second level names for neighborhoods or civic benefit activities and issues, e.g., “www.elections.nyc” or “www.sante.paris” Also, it can experiment with allocation plans that facilitate shared name usage for civic, community, and issues. e.g., developing a reusable public access name bank that facilitates a time-based allocation of names like “www.save-the-tree.nyc.”
  • The New Proximity – While the Internet excels by connecting on a global scale, a public interest GC-TLD can establish discussion, issue, geographic, and opportunity name spaces where residents can locate one another. Combining the Internet’s global reach and local face-to-face contacts will optimize the exchange of ideas and revivify the traditional role of cities.
  • Civic Tools for Collaboration – The New Proximity will be facilitated by making available public access civic tools such as calendars, maps, listserves, polling, and organizers. These may be adapted from those currently providing web widgets such as Google or custom developed if needed.
  • More Secure Experience – With a focus on a limited and fixed geographic area, a nexus requirement for acquiring a city domain name (i.e., a demonstrated residency or business interest in the city), and working in close cooperation with the extant institutions, public interest GC-TLD operators can approximate the expectation and experience found with TLDs such as .gov and .edu.
  • Unbiased Directories – A public interest TLD can create directories of selected second level domain names like www.hotels.nyc and www.schools.nyc, making city resources far more accessible. For example, a carefully designed and managed www.hotels.nyc directory would provide global access to a small directory page presenting the city’s hotels using alpha and geographic links to sites of the hotel’s choice. Or a directory might make a city’s schools accessible by organizing them by public vs. private, and primary, secondary, and university.
  • Intuitive Design - A well planned and organized TLD will be intuitive and provide confidence that “guesses” will be effective. For example, today one might imagine success by directly entering www.ibm.com or www.coke.com into a browsers address space. With a fresh GC-TLD name space residents might presume that the entry www.jacquescafe.paris would reach its target. Intuitive design will also play a role in encouraging directory searches of the likes of www.bookstores.london or www.restaurants.nyc.
  • Search Engine Transparency – Whether one is searching for a hotel or issues surrounding a local election, the trustworthiness of the responses is vital. Developers of GC-TLDs will find advantage by presenting search engines with transparent heuristics.
  • Identity – While any city-TLD will say for example, Made in Berlin or From Mumbai, a GC-TLD operated in the public interest will assure the long term preservation of the TLD as a symbol of a city’s character. And with public participation in its design and development, it will provide that point of civic pride around which a population will rally to protect its brand.
  • Shrink Digital Divide – A public interest GC-TLD could (and should be expected to) commit a portion of funds received from name sales and other sources to facilitate the provision of civic collaboration tools, education, training and eradicating digital divides.

 Read the White Paper here. Commons image courtesy of  J. Star.

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

Filed February 21st, 2014 under .NYC Advisory Board, Oversight, Governance

if-you-see-something-say-something.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
    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.

    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.

    rod-bergstoms-scream.jpgUPDATE: See details on the city’s application for the .nyc TLD as submitted to ICANN and its contract with vendor NeuStar here.

    Jackson Hts., New York, March 23, 2012 - Below are the rough notes from my visit to DoITT’s office yesterday, March 22, 2012. Apologies for the lack of detail, but I was not provided with a copy of the document and was forbidden by city officials from using any recording devices, e.g., taking a picture of the pages with my cell phone. See details on this here.

    The city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) held a “public hearing” on the proposed contract today. See my written statement here.

    [Note: The city’s “transparency period” ended on March 23 and City Hall’s door has slammed shut without any meaningful public engagement on the TLD development process. And the city’s application for the .nyc TLD will be submitted on April 12 without having received any meaningful public review. This sad situation is reflected in an imagined response of ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom upon learning of the lack of public review.]

    Editors Note: This report was originally made by CnI’s director, Thomas Lowenhaupt, based on  a brief viewing of city documents. With the arrival of a copy of some of the documents, we’ve provided this link to a more complete report on the .nyc TLD documents.

    (Image of  ICANN’s CEO Rod Beckstrom reacting to practices that enabled cities to enter the complex realm of the TLD sans guidance.)

    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

    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

    measuring-success.jpgJackson Hts., New York, October 7, 2011 - Today, more than 1/2 the world’s population lives in urban areas. That is expected to rise to 75% by mid-century. With the ICANN having approved a new TLD process, more than 20 cities have already expressed an interest in acquiring Top Level Domains. Thirteen of those are Global Cities, the engines of growth for their countries, the gateways to the resources of their regions, and important nodes on the global economic system. More than 25% of Global Cities have expressed an interest in a TLD.

    We are moving to a world where city TLDs have an impact on the future of humanity and we need measurements to discern their impact. 

    Moving From Tradition to the New Reality

    Entities that traditionally sell domain names as their business are currently leading cities to accept their “the-more-names-sold-the-better” business model. We see a more appropriate model for cities being indicators of social and economic benefit. These are the measurements that count for cities, not the number of domain names sold.

    The following are the first success indicators we’ve identified.

    • # city’s businesses on the TLD
    • # government services available on the TLD
    • # smart portals
    • % civic organizations using the TLD
    • % improvement in digital literacy
    • % properties (block and lots) using their city domain name
    • % public transportation resources with active domain names
    • % streets with active domain names 
    • # TLD registrar jobs created in city
    • # TLD registry jobs created in city
    • Registry revenue remaining in city from domain names switched to .nyc from .com, .net, etc.

    We expect there to be dozens of these indicators. Add your thoughts on what we should measure and how to do so to our Measuring Success wiki page. (Commons photo courtesy of Steven Harris.)

    Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

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