civitas.0.JPG

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.

search.JPGJackson Heights, New York, April 12, 2014 - Vital to the operation of a livable city are its public spaces: parks, plazas, streets, schools, libraries, etc. Over the centuries we’ve established standards for such spaces, including where they are best located and how they are used and governed. 

Today we’re faced with identifying public spaces within the .nyc TLD. According to .nyc’s Launch Program, we’ve only until 11 AM on August 4th to identify and set aside our digital public spaces. At that moment the Landrush period begins and within a few minutes all names of public spaces that have not been set aside will be purchased for private purposes. Thereafter their public use will be through condemnation and eviction procedures.

Why is this important? Some background will help.

38 cities applied for their TLDs in 2012, including 4 from the U.S. - New York, Boston, Miami and Vegas. In 2018, when the next window of opportunity to acquire a city-TLD will arise, we expect several hundred to apply for the capacity to develop this digital infrastructure. 

New York City has been a leader is development this resource. And just last month, after a 13 year gestation, it was delegated the .nyc TLD by ICANN a global licensing entity. The city is now in the process of deciding who gets what name for what purpose and when. (See http://nic.nyc for highlights on .nyc’s rollout or Launch Policies for a detailed look.)

One of the challenges the city faces is looking over the horizon and discerning digital spaces (domain names) that should be reserved for public use. There’s little guidance on this as traditional TLDs (think .com and .org) don’t have public spaces.

The last time the city faced such a challenge was in the early 1800’s when it set about carving up Manhattan into real estate parcels. What became known as “The Commissioners’ Plan of 1811″ created our street grid that has served our city well. But one of the “over the horizon” needs we missed back then was parks. And in the 1840s, when the need for public recreation spaces became apparent, the city was forced to evict several thousand people who were living in what is now Central Park. (According to Wikipedia “The earliest purpose built public park, although financed privately, was Princes Park in the Liverpool suburb of Toxteth” in 1842. So prior to that humanity lived in a world without public parks!)

Today’s challenge is identifying public spaces within the .nyc TLD, be they for public assembly, discourse, recreation, or some new “digital” purpose. Hopefully we’ll avoid the need to resort to eviction to create a more livable city.

In addition to acquiring the digital property, one of the advantages that will arise from this exercise is the development of a descriptive vocabulary. So today, if I visit any U.S. city and feel the need for a moment of restful meditation, I can ask anyone “Where’s the nearest park?” with my need being easily understood.

So my question dear reader is, What needs and opportunities are there within a city, be it the digital or traditional, that a city-TLD can address? What are these public spaces called? And how are they funded, governed, and operated? This last question need not be answered immediately - we only figured out how to properly fund Central Park in the 1980, 140 years after setting it aside. 

So… what are our digital public spaces?

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

Jackson Hts., New York, March 8, 2014 - The below paper was submitted by Connecting.nyc Inc. to the NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance to be held April 23-24 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We recommend reading our submission below as some formatting was removed in the version posted at NETmundial.

————      ————      ————      ————      ————      ————      ————

Summary

Most of netmundial.1.pngus live in cities that are only now beginning to take advantage of that critical Internet infrastructure, the Top Level Domain. While our lives are increasingly affected by digital developments enabled by the Internet, city residents have scant access to the governance structures that establish the policies, standards, and practices that guide the Net’s operation. This submission suggests ways cities and their residents can better participate in Internet governance at the local and global levels.

Background

When ICANN earnestly activated its new TLD issuance responsibilities in 2005, its initial inclination was to view cities as outside the scope of entities eligible for Top Level Domains. After a persuasive campaign by representatives from Berlin, Barcelona, New York, Paris, Tokyo and other global cities, that viewpoint changed and cities were included within ICANN’s 2008 resolution authorizing a new TLD program.

As the ICANN community struggled through the long process of developing an Applicant Guidebook, many in the city-TLD community noted that the needs of cities and their probable use of TLDs differed in significant ways from those of generic and business TLDs. And they urged that a different set of requisites for city-TLDs be established. Additionally, these proponents urged that cities be forewarned about the implications of a TLD, enabling cities to better prepare for the responsibilities entailed in their planning and operation.

However, the challenges surrounding the completion of an Applicant Guidebook and pressure from eager applicants did not allow for applicant categories. And the only significant interventions  were those proffered by ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) on behalf of the integrity of geographic names.

As of March 2014 it seems likely that approximately 35 cities will receive TLDs in the coming year.

This submission advances two topics for consideration by NETmundial. The first involves changes to the city-TLD issuance and development process and for the inclusion of cities in Internet governance processes. The second suggests a means for cities and individual Internet users to better participate in Internet governance processes.

Cities and Top Level Domains

Cities are amongst the oldest and most complex entities we encounter in our daily lives. They house more than half our planet’s population, with U.N. estimates projecting that will rise to 75% by mid-century. Cities are the places from which a preponderance of ideas and economic development emerge. And there’s growing acceptance that a sustainable planet is likely to arise from the efficiencies of urban areas.

To date, the digital needs of cities have been given short shrift by Internet technologists and the Net’s governance ecology. As remedy, we offer the following suggestions.

  • The Roadmap should recommend a more robust process for issuing city-TLDs. This should include a recommendation that the TLD issuing entity provide an informative and enlightening application process for cities considering TLD acquisition. While the “letter of non-objection’” required of the 2012 city-TLD applicants held the spirit of informed consent, the inclusion of a detailed scoping of a city-TLDs utility to residents, local businesses, quality of life, government operation, and global identity would better contribute to their efficacious planning and development.

  • Cities do not have a formal place in the Internet governance ecology. While a City-TLD Governance and Best Practices workshop was held at the 2010 IGF in Vilnius, follow-up has been scant. At ICANN, there’s a move to include city-TLDs within the Registry Constituency of the GNSO, but only as part of a broader geographic representation. However, considering their size, their unique needs, and their importance to the global economy and a sustainable planet, we urge that cities be considered a full stakeholder within any multistakeholder regime.

A Message From The Bottom

Our lives are increasingly affected by digital activities enabled by the Internet. Yet Internet users have modest access to the “bottom-up” governance structures that establish the policies, standards, and practices that guide the Net’s operation.

Here in New York City we’ve experienced a small inkling of the potential of bottom-up participation in Internet oversight and management through two At-Large Structures. One is operated by the New York Internet Society, a chapter of the global Internet Society, and another by Connecting.nyc Inc., an advocacy and education organization focused on the development of the .nyc TLD. For those not familiar with the role of the At-Large Structures within ICANN, here’s a brief history.

In its early days ICANN provided for strong representation of individual Internet users in its decision making processes. It did so by allocating 5 seats on its board of directors to be filled by Internet users, with each of ICANN’s regions selecting one member via a direct election. One such election was held and, for a time, 5 ICANN board members were selected by individual Internet users.

The corporation found fault with the selection process and replaced the user-selected members with an appointed At-Large Advisory Committee and a Nominating Committee charged with selecting several board members.

In recent years the At-Large was reconstituted and now participates in selecting one (1) voting member to ICANN’s board of directors. This member is selected via a multi-staged process that provides for each At-Large Structure (organizations with membership and other structures) casting a vote for its preferred board member.

While one board member is better than none, by any measure, under today’s governance formation, the world’s 2+ billion individual Internet users and the At-Large Structure’s impact on ICANN’s governance decisions remains tenuous.

In our role as an At-Large Structure Connecting.nyc Inc. has observed a significant improvement of the At-Large’s operation over the past several years. As one example, this past year the At-Large made significant contributions more than a dozen ICANN policy considerations.

But far more can be achieved by expanding and enhancing user engagement the through the following actions.

  • The number of seats selected by individual Internet users on ICANN’s board of directors should be increased. Reverting to the original 5 seats seems a reasonable short term target.

  • The new board seats should be allocated as of old, one per ICANN region.

  • The new seats should be selected by direct vote of each region’s At-Large Structures. (There are currently 180 At-Large Structures in the 5 regions.)

  • The number of At-Large Structures should to be increased with additional resources provided to facilitate their operation.

  • Care should be taken to assure that participation by the poor and the marginalized is facilitated.

  • Concomitant with this resource allocation there needs to be improved transparency and accountability measures for the At-Large.

  • In those instances where At-Large Structures exist in cities with TLDs, city government should be provided with ex officio participation.

For those interested in learning more about the At-Large, an At-Large Summit is to be held during ICANN’s June 2014 London meeting, with a representative from each of the At-Large Structures in attendance.

It is our belief that engaging cities as stakeholders and expanding the At-Large will democratize and enhance the ICANN’s operation.

—–

Connecting.nyc Inc. is a New York State not-for-profit formed in 2006 to advocate and facilitate the development of the .nyc TLD as a public interest resource. In 2012 it was recognized as an At-Large Structure by ICANN. 

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

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 fashion.paris that guides visitors to that city’s fashion sector. And that New York City sells fashion.nyc 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 turkish.nyc 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 Champs-Elysees.paris, a page with a map linked to retail and other establishments on that boulevard is presented. And that in New York GreenwichAvenue.nyc 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 search.barcelona as a curated collaborative resource that provides residents and visitors with accurate and timely information about that city. And that search.nyc 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 Corona.nyc address serves the civic, resident, and business needs of that neighborhood’s 55,000 residents, rather than those of the global beer conglomerate.
    • Imagine Voter.nyc 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 fido.dog.nyc 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 dimland.blogspot.com.)

        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.

        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.

        March-7-2012-City-Hall-Bill-signing-open-data.jpg

        Jackson Hts., New York, March 9, 2012 - I was at City Hall on Wednesday for Mayor Bloomberg’s signing of the Open Data Law. Having testified to the city council on a draft of the measure in 2010, I affirmed my support for the legislation. After concluding my remarks I passed on a copy of our award winning The Flushing Community poster to the mayor, saying I hoped it would help the city prepare for its next digital task - planning for the arrival of the .nyc TLD.

        After the signing, a prominent expert and practitioner of all things digital, Beth Noveck, a professor at New York Law School and former Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the Obama Administration, said “You’re next.” and I was doubly cheered.

        But then a conversation with Carole Post, commissioner of the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication (DoITT), darkened my day. With Connecting.nyc Inc. the first and primary advocate for the TLD’s acquisition, I’d hoped that our December 22 recommendation, that New York wait for ICANN’s second filing round, had provided the city with a basis and latitude for postponing the filing. (That statement’s essence said “no research, no outreach, no real deadline - let’s wait”.) But the Commissioner stated that they were on a path to submit an application to ICANN by the April 12 deadline.

        I then asked the commissioner about the missing research and public engagement and she said “We’ll do that afterward.” I tried again, reiterating that there’s no rush, our TLD has been, in essence (see comment below), reserved for when we’re ready, and that ICANN has announced that it’s preparing to reopen the filing window. “We’re on a path to file by April.” she again stated. I tried a third time, stating that the filing required serious commitments on the part of the city, but she was sticking to her path.

        I left city hall disappointed but thinking, “Afterward might not be that bad, at least they’re going to do it.” But I returned home to think about the situation, ponder her statements, and to look over the level of commitment required in the New TLD Guidebook. Beginning on page 99 it spells out 50 questions, many concluding with “A complete answer is expected to be no more than 10 pages.” And as one might imagine, there are many potential devils in the details that must be spelled out: Who qualifies to apply for a domain name, who gets what name, how is it decided, for how much, for how long, are there restrictions on name use, how are the needs of local businesses addressed, what about civic organizations, neighborhoods, schools, churches, how are our cultural resources preserved, what is the sustainability plan…

        I was left wondering how they were completing the application without public outreach or expert assistance. Maybe they were going to fill it in after filing as the Commissioner indicated? But the Guidebook seemed clear that changes were the exception not the rule, and that ICANN would base its decision on the April submission.

        Today I decided to prod DoITT and asked “What about the neighborhood names - JacksonHeights.nyc, Harlem.nyc, ParkSlope.nyc, etc. - what are the plans for their allocation.” I await an answer. 

        So here I am, one month shy of an 11 year effort to bring this important resource to the city, and I find myself arguing against doing so. A sad situation indeed. (Commons Photo of Thomas Lowenhaupt at City Hall - courtesy of CnI Library.) 

        Tom Lowenhaupt

        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 Connecting.nyc 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.

        Next Page »

        Categories