• .NYC Advisory Board Meeting #3, October 17, 2013

last modified May 16, 2014 by tomlowenhaupt

A report and comments on the October 17, 2013 meeting of the .NYC Community Advisory Board.


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Board Responsibilities

The Board's role includes:

" Meet four times per year and communicate through email to exchange ideas. Board members are to serve for a one-year term and will work on the following responsibilities:

        • Quarterly Board Meetings

        • Provide feedback on the development of .nyc including strategies for using, delegating and marketing the top level domain

        • Discuss future uses of the domain including public utilities, smart city ideas and future planning uses such as email addresses for residents

        • Act as a community ambassador  to provide updates to your constituency or sector, and relay feedback to the group

        • Provide input into policy and content for community.nyc.

Beyond these fundamentals, the founding documents provide that the board's scope is to be decided by its members.

Board Members

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Advisory Board meeting, Green Room, City Hall, October 17. L to R -  Will Colegrove, Rachel Hoat, Esther Dyson, Thomas Lowenhaupt, Jeff Merritt, Maria Gotsch, and Seth Taylor. Photo by Grace Cheung.

 Pre-Registration of .nyc Names

A Google search presents hundreds of sites offering to pre-register .nyc domain names (search.) Here are a few at the top of the list on October 18.

Comments on the state of the pre-registrations can be found on these sites.

  • NamePros.com - "I did pre-register some .nyc domains, and I realized that most meaningful one-word domains were already grabbed."
  • TechDirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third meeting of the .NYC Advisory Board began at 11:10 AM in City Hall's Green Room. This report was prepared from the notes of Thomas Lowenhaupt, a member of the Advisory Board. [Questions and Comments raised subsequent to the meeting are presented in brackets.]

Meeting Report

  • Attendee Introductions

    Eight .NYC Advisory Board members attended the meeting, 4 in person (Esther Dyson, Maria Gotsch, Thomas Lowenhaupt, and Seth Taylor) and 4 conferenced in (Georgia Bullen, Noel Hildalgo, Jessica Lawrence, and Angelina Ramirez). Jeff Merritt, Sr. Adviser to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, Will Colegrove, Director of Legislation and Budget to City Council Member Gale Brewer, Rachel Hoat, the city's Chief Digital Officer and an associate, Grace Cheung, also attended.

  • Updates
    • Rachel Hoat distributed copies of the final version of the Digital Road Map, a 70 page report that detailed a 100% achievement record by the Bloomberg Administration. Regarding .nyc, the report mentions (page 48) that the city had applied for .nyc with activation expected in 2014, and once again on page 63.
    • Ms. Hoat stated that ICANN actions had forced a change in the original plan for distributing domain names, with Trademark holders gaining preference over city businesses and organizations.
    • The city's contractor is drafting a comment to ICANN on the names collision issue. (Those instances where domain names were allocated  to in-house resources prior to the introduction of new TLDs. For example, a printer might have been named .apple on an in-house network.) One possible solution may be to place the affected names (perhaps 5,000) on a reserved list. Names on this list would remain idle until the cause of the collisions can be resolved.
    • The soonest the TLD will be delegated will be April 2014.
    • The process associated with issuing the premium names - news.nyc, sports.nyc, hotels.nyc, etc. - will be a public one. No time table of when this might begin was made available.
    • Ms. Hoat noted that the original nexus requirements (which determine who is eligible to acquire a .nyc name) are being tightened, thanks to Advisory Board raising the issue. The stricter nexus will require domain name applicants to enter, minimally, a city zip code into the order form as verification of their legitimacy. As to the Board's suggestion that an accurate address also be entered, the contractor has reported resistance by registrars. However, the city is demanding this be enforced as loose nexus will have a negative impact on the city's brand.
    • The contractor has argued that the stricter nexus requirement will have a negative impact on the number of domain names sold and result in reduced revenue. To compensate, the city will move domain names from the reserved list to the Premium Names list. Names on the Premium list are to be auctioned with the the contractor keeping 60% of the auction revenue (less fees). The name sports.nyc was used as an example.
    • A discussion was held on enforcement of the nexus requirement. Esther Dyson pointed out that there is no value to a .nyc name if the purchaser can not be assured of some quality. Loose and unenforced nexus will diminish value. With the contractor required to spot check about 50 names per week - when 10s of thousands will be registered the first day - seems insufficient. Learning from the HealthCare.gov debacle, Esther suggested heaping expertise and testing to the registration processing software.
    • Tom asked about problems that might arise from the resale of names by those who initially did not qualify for nexus. What happens 10 years down the road when someone challenges a thriving online business based on lack of nexus? The answer proffered was that instances of this sort will be handled by the courts.
    • Asked if the list of premium and reserved names would be made available for review by the Advisory Board, Ms. Hoat responded that time and complexities would not allow it.
    •  Access to .nyc domain names will never be open to those outside the city.
    • City domain names cannot redirect to other sites.
    • There will no longer be a early "sunrise" registration period for city businesses and contractors. While the original launch schedule had given preference to 10 categories of organizations, e.g., city government and its contractors, these preferences have been eliminated. [This was presented as a positive development as it removed favoritism and added equality to the allocation process.]
    • Only those businesses with trademarks, that have registered them with a Trademark Clear House will have pre-landrush access to .nyc domain names. [Registration in TCH is $150 per name. While chain stores have trademarks, many small and new businesses will first need to apply and receive a trademark, requiring a $275 filing fee, to qualify for the Trademark Clearing House sunrise access.]
    • Asked about city revenue projections, Ms. Hoat noted that they were in flux.
  •  Outreach
    • Ms. Hoat announced the city will assist the contractor by promoting the .nyc TLD in city produced PSAs (public service announcements). These will be presented on various city channels, with taxis used as an example. The PSA would be general and not focus on any sector - small business, nonprofits, etc. 
    • A Listening Session like that organized for the Roadmap will be done for the .nyc TLD. [With a contract signed to operate and market the TLD, and with the Advisory Board having completed its work for the current administration, some might question the Session's purpose as these outreach endeavors are the first step in a process.]
    • Information sheets about .nyc names will be created and distributed. 
    • Answering a question, Ms. Hoat said the contractor's marketing contacts with the public must be pre-approved by city government. The contractor's website is mydotnyc.com.
  • Other Items 
    • A board member suggested that the city demonstrate a long term commitment to .nyc by announcing its intent to move its website from current nyc.gov to the new TLD. Will it be moved? Ms. Hoat noted that the question of moving nyc.gov to gov.nyc will be addressed by the next administration.
    • Will Colegrove suggested the search.nyc domain name be used to facilitate access to New York City businesses.
    • Georgia Bullen suggested that a platform for small businesses be offered, similar to the one offered in Kansas City (http://bizfriend.ly/).
    • Noel Hidalgo offered his assistance with the Listening Session and to help organize a hackathon aimed at public education.
    • An attendee advised that outreach be done to the non-English speaking communities.
    • Seth Taylor offered to bring the education effort to the association representing the city's BIDs.
    • Jeff Merritt suggested compiling a list of the Top 10 Practices to avoid in issuing domain names. And that we coordinate our effort with other new TLD cities, both to learn and to coordinate protective practices.
    • Will Colegrove asked if revenue from the effort could be dedicated to digital education or similar related endeavor. Ms. Hoat stated that the city charter precluded that type of allocation.
    • It is unknown when the details of the arrangements with the contractor and ICANN will be finalized. Originally it was hoped that a contract would be signed on September 15. ICANN actions required a change to that plan. One hurdle offered by Ms. Hoat was an ICANN requirement that the city sign an open ended contract with details to be filled in later by ICANN.
    • Jeff suggested the city coordinate the development of .nyc with other global cities so as to implement best practices and identify bad players.
    • Maria Gotsch suggested the creation of a list of intermediaries to facilitate reaching out to prospective registrants. 
  • Transition To New Administration
    • The final agenda item dealt with the continuity of the Advisory Board's work into the new administration. Ms. Hoat stated that the .nyc TLD's status would be included in a transition document for the new administration, and as far as the Bloomberg Administration was concerned, this was the final meeting of the Advisory Board.
    • [NOTE: The Board's formative documents describe the Board's role as formed by but independent of the administration, with four meetings planned, taking the Board's life into February 2014 and the new administration.]
    • [While the January 1st occupant of City Hall has not yet been chosen, some meeting attendees suggested that the Board comply with its mandate and offer its services to the new administration.]

The meeting ended at 12:15 PM.

    Progress Report

    Prior to the initial meeting of the .NYC Advisory Board in May 2013, members were asked to submit questions they would like to see addressed. The following lists those questions with answers from the administration (if any) following. 

    • Q. The Internet is the dominant enabling force of our time. How well our city utilizes this technology might well determine the quality of life for residents and its competitive place among global cities in the coming decade. How are we ensuring that .nyc maximizes benefits for our city as compared to other TLD cities? That is, how is .nyc better than .berlin, .paris, .barcelona, etc? 
      • See TLD Cities map for the beginnings of a comprehensive review begun by Connecting.nyc Inc.
    • Q. How are we ensuring that this is a sustainable TLD? That good names are reused and not hoarded? That they are available for our children and their children? (See sustainable.nyc.)
      • This question not yet addressed.
    • Q. What is the process by which reserved names are identified, selected, and allocated police.nyc, mayor.nyc, TimesSquare.nyc, etc.? (See city’s initial list at sidebar here.)
      • Administration will not share with Advisory Board.
    • Q. What is the process by which premium names are selected and allocated - news.nyc, sports.nyc, search.nyc, hotels.nyc, etc.? What civic responsibilities come with the names, e.g., must sports.nyc present links to the city’s high school and college sports?
      • It will be a public process. Administration has not shared process with Advisory Board.
    • Q. Can revenue generated by the .nyc TLD be dedicated for digital development and divide issues rather than being put into the general fund?
      • City Charter precludes such activity.
    • Q. What is the long term plan for governance of the TLD? The .NYC Advisory Board is for one year, what’s next?
      • Question not addressed.
    • Q. What plans are afoot to create direct TLD jobs in the city - for registrars, for registries, etc?
      • Hope expressed in Meeting #2, but no details have been provided.
    • Q. What plans are there to encourage the offering of inexpensive third level domain names (third.second.nyc) to civic groups, students, small businesses, etc.?
      • Opportunity not addressed.
    • Q. What channels are being made available for the .NYC Advisory Board to connect with the public? Digital and otherwise?
      • Email between members was the only channel provided.
    • Q. What is the relationship of the .NYC Advisory Board with the contractor, DoITT and other TLD related entities?
      • No channels exist for communication between these parties.
    • Q. What processes are being implemented to tie city operations into the TLD? For example, assuring that domain names such as John-and-MaryDoe.marriage.license.nyc and  QueensPower.electric.license.nyc are made available.
      • There was no indication that such tie-ins are contemplated.
    • Q. What processes are being followed to assure that civic, institutional, and small business entities are appraised of the opportunity to select their domain names and have suitable time to respond? (See launch schedule timeline.)
      • PSAs were discussed in meeting #3.
    • Q. How are existing entities going to select their “equivalent” domain names - thus Bob&Mary’sBoutique.nyc does not work with the DNS (the “&” and “ ‘ “ characters are not allowed)? How do they are they to be provided with an opportunity to select a resolvable name, e.g., BobandMarysBoutique.nyc.
      • Discussed, but still in negotiation. ICANN action precluded an early sunrise for local entities.
    • Q. How are  sensitive issues of community concern to be addressed: sex.nyc, nigg*r.nyc, childporn.nyc, f*ck.nyc, etc.? As a government controlled resource, are there first amendment implications?
      • Ms. Hoat said that First Amendment limits city's ability to address this issue. The suggestion (see meeting #2) that a fund be created to purchase troublesome names is apparently not pursued by the administration.
    • Q. The fundamental question of which TLD to apply for - .nyc or .newyork - was settled with .nyc TLD. Has thought been given to applying for both as is being done in Barcelona?
      • The question was asked in meeting #2 but an answer has not been presented to the Board.
    • Q. Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid are following an allocation plan called Namespace Mandates. Does New York have something equivalent?
      • No.
    • Q. Will an anonymized access to the DNS Data Log be provided to developers as open data?
      • There are no plans to do so.
    • Q. What city outreach channels will be made available for the .NYC Advisory Board to communicate with residents?
      • No channels beyond member email will be provided.
    • Q. Where does the TLD fit within the planning of the Digital Roadmap? 
      • The activation of the .nyc TLD was mentioned as one of the city's successful Roadmap activities in version 3 along with a pointer to the contractor's website. No information on the Advisory Board or other avenues of public participation in its planning was presented.

    Additional Inquiries 

    After providing these 19 inquiries, other questions arose. 
    • Q. What is the governance structure and process within which the .NYC Advisory Board operates? (See preliminary thoughts above in Organization Structure sidebar.) 
      • This was anticipated as an agenda item for meeting #3, but not addressed as the Board was advised that as per the current administration, the Board's work had ended.
    • Q. What opportunities does name leasing present?
      • This question was was not explored.