• Taxi! Taxi!

last modified August 29, 2013 by tomlowenhaupt

New York City has licensed 13,237 yellow taxicabs. Each has a unique medallion number using the numbering sequence 1A01, 1A02...1A99, 2A01... 2A99, etc. Here we compare the impact of developing taxi as second level vs. third level domain name.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Where Does Name Registration Money Go?

Let's suppose that you pay $20 to a registrar for a domain name. Where does that money go?

In general, there's a three way split of name sales revenue.

  • A portion is kept by the registrar - that is, the name reseller such as GoDaddy. If it's just a simple name purchase, the registrar would keep $12 and pass $8 on to the registry. But the selling price of a name can vary, depending on ancillary services that might be bundled with the name. For example, imagine you also agree to host the website at GoDaddy for two years, in which case the cost of the domain name might be nominal or "free."
  • The registry typically receives about $8.
  • The registry passes on a small portion ($.35) to ICANN to help defray its technical oversight expenses.
  • In the instance of .nyc there's a fourth partner - the city of New York. The city receives 40% of the registries gross revenue ($3.20).




















Taxis provide a good example of how TLD Architecture will impact our city. Let's assume industry self-interest or regulatory requirement drives taxi owners  to make use of the .nyc domain names. And let's look at running .nyc under Horizontal and Vertical architectural scenarios and project their impact on the taxi industry.

Scenario 1: The Horizontal TLD: focusing on second level domain names 

In Scenario 1 we presume the architecture for .nyc is similar to that of .com, with second level domain names dominating. In such an environment every cab would purchase a .nyc domain name closely matching their medallion number. Thus the city 13,237 yellow cabs would have domain names like this: 

Medallion #  --> Domain Name
 1A01 1A01.nyc
 1A02 1A02.nyc
 1A03 1A03.nyc
 1A99 1A99.nyc
 1B01 1B01.nyc

With 13,237 medallion domain names, and let's presume (as rates have not yet been set) an annual registration fee of $25. That totals out to $330,925 in domain name fees per year. (See the "Where Does Name Registration Money Go?" sidebar for the disposition of this money.)

Scenario 2: The Vertical TLD: making use of third Level domain names

In Scenario 2, we assume that one second level domain name, "Taxi," is purchased and 13,237 third level names issued from it. Thus taxi domain names would look like these:

Medallion   -->  Domain Name
 1A01 1A01.taxi.nyc
 1A02 1A02.taxi.nyc
 1A03 1A03.taxi.nyc
 1A99 1A99.taxi.nyc
 1B01 1B01.taxi.nyc

At first glance there's a $330,900 saving by using the third level names (the gross from Scenario 1, $330,925  minus the $25 fee for the "taxi.nyc" domain name.) But there needs to be an entity to oversee the issuance of these third level domain names. This could be done through a negotiated fee with the existing registry operator or another organization could be assigned to operate the name server and oversee the operation of taxi.nyc.

The mission of taxi.nyc and the individual taxi names will determine the staffing, organization, and resource requirements. This could be done on the cheap (registry operation is computer science not rocket science), saving the industry money every year. But with digital competition arriving (think Uber.com) the future of the taxi industry is in flux and having control of an intuitive digital resource like taxi.nyc makes for a power position.

We've presented elsewhere on the advantages of choosing a third level system as used in the United Kingdom's .uk TLD. Two of them are worth noting here.

  • The goal of an intuitive city is fostered by using "taxi" as part of all the taxi domain names: 1A01.taxi.nyc clearly says TAXI; the cryptic 1A01.nyc doesn't.
  • The economic development advantage of creating local jobs and keeping name registration revenue in the city is significant.

    Key .nyc Pages