farm-roof-film.jpgBrooklyn Grange, Long Island City, August 7, 2011 - I’m writing this from a most pleasant film event at a farm in Long Island City. Those outside the city (and most in it as well) will do a blink/flinch at the thought of farms in New York City, but rooftop farms are the latest-greatest. Brooklyn Grange runs the one I’m at, sitting with my feet carefully avoiding trampling the lettuce surrounding them, waiting for the films to start. (Check with Rooftop Films about tonight’s and other films they sponsor.)

Waiting for the films to start my mind wondered to the domain name farms.nyc. Does it have a value? If so to whom? How is it allocated? etc.

It’s not a new topic, actually pretty central to the entire development of our TLD (see our DNAP), but I figured a post about farms.nyc would be an interesting way to raise these questions anew. As well, we’re making farms.nyc the start off point for Thursday’s Tea and TLDs conference call. To participate, see the invite on Meetup, or just go to our Google+ Hangout on Thursday morning between 10 and 11.

Hope to see you Thursday.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

Time-Warner-city-officials-Internet-Week-2011.0.jpgNew York, June 8, 2011 - Internet Week brought together top officials guiding the city’s the development of the .nyc TLD at the Time-Warner Center: Carole Post, Commissioner of DoITT, Seth Pincus, President of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, and Rachel Sterne, the city’s Chief Digital Officer. After 45 minutes of presentation, questions were taken, 2 dealing with the .nyc TLD. (See the event’s video here, with the below transcript beginning at 45 minutes into the 50 minute video.)

Question #1 – Hello my name is David Menchome, search marketing consultant for Yodel… A question for Carole. With ICANN set to approve the new TLD process… and assuming success in getting .nyc, can you share specifics on how you plan on leveraging that acquisition.

Carole Post – Like so many things we do this is a joint effort. EDC is a partner with us. We are anxiously awaiting ICANN’s publication of the Application Guidebook. We are ready when they do. We have done an extensive amount of preparation. We feel like we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the .nyc cachet, and the visibility of New York City.

Seth Pincus - We think there is a huge opportunity to allow locally based companies to brand themselves and associate themselves with New York which helps the companies but also helps New York and promotes New York as a center of creativity, center of innovation, which is really what our long term goal is. Not just make New York the center of innovation but to make sure the world understands that New York is a center of innovation and this is one tool in our tool kit.

Rachel Sterne – Just to add to that also, as has been the process to date it will continue to be a collaborative process where we’re seeking community input, because there’s a lot of interest in something that’s such a huge milestone.

Question #2 – Hi. I’m Tom Lowenhaupt … I hear about collaboration and public input into processes. But it seems that the departments have already made decisions as to how the economic development aspect of the .nyc TLD will be done. But there’s been no public input. The entire process is secret to this point. I’m wondering how you’ll change that so we can all get involved with it? What plans are there to engage the public.

Seth Pincus – I think I would just correct the premise of the question. No decisions have been made. We’ve certainly had discussions as we’ve begun to think about this. But as Rachel mentioned we’re going to be looking to the public to help us as we roll this out. As with everything else we’ve talked about today we know there are a lot of good ideas that are out there, if we were to hear them they would help make it more effective. This will certainly be a collaborative process. As we get further down the road as it becomes clearer to how exactly the process will work we’ll be able to speak more specifically about how we will engage with the public on it.

So it would seem by the comments of our city officials that public engagement in .nyc’s development is assured. We hope such engagement is more transparent as we move forward than it has been to date. (Image from the Connecting.nyc Inc. collection.)  

Learn more about our overall effort from 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.^

          sustainable-dot-nyc-with-daisys.JPG­­ New York, June 27, 2010 - When the .nyc TLD arrives it will provide a seemingly endless set of domain names to draw upon. But while virtually unlimited in number, we’re mostly interested in good domain names - those that are short, descriptive, and me­morable - and those that serve the residents and their city. And the supply of these can diminish very rapidly if consumption oriented domain name distribution policies are adopted.

          New York is a young city, founded 400 years ago. We need to take a “city view” of the .nyc TLD, planning for how it will serve the needs of residents 10, 20, and 100 years from now.  ­How do we plan and create policies that will assure that the .nyc TLD serves us for the life of the TLD? Doing so takes us into the realm of sustainability.

          The desirability and necessity of creating sustainable cities and a sustainable planet are acknowledged by everyone these days. While we’ve given some thought to the role of a .city TLD in sustaining a city, we now need to think about how we might create a sustainable city TLD. The .com TLD, stretched to the breaking point, provides excellent examples of  “recycling” that enables limited name reuse via pricing (non-renewals), wait lists, auctions, and of course, the magic of the market.  But are these mechanisms adequate for a city view?

          Join us as we begin a conversation about developing policies to assure .nyc effectively serves our city for the life of the DNS. (Image courtesy of Patti Lowenhaupt.)

          Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

          ­­­google-in-parade.JPGNew York, December 29, 2009 - Adam Raff’s recent  New York Times Op-Ed Search, But You May Not Find paralleled an issue we have been concerned about for some time - search transparency. While Adam focused on the damage from corporate shenanigans, our concerns have centered more on the impact the Google search engine’s lack of transparency might have on civic affairs. For example, we’re likely to see Google confronting city zoning regula­tions for a variance to build inspirational office space for its expanding enterprises: How would Google rank the activities of organizations leading the opposition? Would individual opponents be able to locate the opposition? Or would the opposition be custom coded to screen land on page 13? Transparency = trust.

          And imagine if Google “winner$” begin running for public office, how are we to trust its opaque search algorithm during the rough and tumble of an election campaign? Then we’d clearly see the relationship between link and ballot voting.

          Transparent search - a far easier metric than Raff’s search neutrality - is vital to our city’s having level commercial and civic playing fields. We’re looking for resources that foster the creation and assessment of transparent search engines for the .nyc TLD. Follow developments on this via our Transparent Search wiki page. ­ ­(Commons photo courtesy of http://aiblsuki.blog122.fc2.com/blog-entry-95.html.)

          Learn about .nyc on our wiki pages.

          Statue-of-Liberty-Paris.JPGNew York, December 13, 2009 - Connecting.nyc Inc. was a sponsor of the OpenNY Summit held at the offices of The Open Planning Project in New York City on December 11-12. One of OpenNY’s tracks focused on making city government’s raw digital information accessible to programmers. The benefits of making standards compliant data accessible became apparent after Washington D.C.’s experiment with mashups resulted in many helpful programs being developed for city residents and visitors.

          Standards are a key element enabling the effective release of data and several Summit discussions touched on the issue. The standards discussion inspired Tom Lowenhaupt, Connecting.nyc Inc.’s founder, to present an impromptu talk on the opportunity standards offer for the efficient and effective development of city TLDs. There’s the 2 minute recording of the presentation on AOL Video.

          Mr. Lowenhaupt became familiar with city TLD standards through his role as key drafter of the Paris Understanding, a document that would guide global cities in the direction of standards for the development and operation of city-TLDs. ­(Commons photo of Statue of Liberty being assembled in Paris from NYPL collection.)

          Learn about .nyc on our wiki pages.

          Filed December 14th, 2009 under Standards, Barcelona, City-TLDs, .paris, .berlin

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