• The Portals

last modified March 3, 2014 by tomlowenhaupt

The .nyc TLD will offer a variety of "portals" to help users locate city resources. Portals such as hotels.nyc and tours.nyc will be primarily of interest to visitors, with residents interested in pharmacies.nyc and schools.nyc. Pizza.nyc will be of interest to all.

Auction or RFP

Pizza.nyc is a good example of the value a portal name offers. Here's a short story explaining why.

Imagine it's 2015 and a family visiting from Berlin is in Times Square, hungry and decides to experience a slice of New York's renowned pizza. They turn to their phone, say "pizza" and a list from Google flashes onto their screen with several choices. But as they're discussing the choices, the wise mom says "Wait, isn't New York an iCity?" And with that knowledge in mind they enter pizza.nyc and onto their screen pops a most excellent portal about the city pizza. It's got:

  • a map of pizza places in their immediate area
  • an alpha list searchable by distance, reviews, and price
  • adds and coupons
  • restaurant reviews from the public
  • and much more

    "This is great." says the dad. The mom asks, "Is it available in German" and with a click dad says "Indeed." And shortly they’re off for a delightful lunch.

    How do we get to this tourist friendly city?

    Experience demonstrates what to avoid.

    Avoid first-come first-served allocation as it presents the likelihood that the quickest will acquire the resource for virtually nothing - perhaps as little as $50. With that meager investment there's little incentive to further invest, as the resource will be available at the owner's discretion. Thousands of such "limited investment high-value resources"still exist in the .com TLD and plague the .biz and .info TLDs.

    A lottery is another possibility, but with about the same outcome.

    Auction or Request for Proposals

    Both of these options can be beneficial, but with some caution. For example, were it to a no-strings auction, the likelihood would be that Pizza Hut or another giant would win and turn the pizza.nyc website into a big guide to the local Pizza Hut. And local shops would be locked out with the site developed and controlled from Pizza Hut headquarters, wherever that is.

    Contrast that with a requirement that the bidders:

    • List all pizza shops within the .nyc TLD
    • Provide 3rd level names to local entities, e.g., grimaldis.pizza.nyc
    • Provide a map showing all local pizza shops
    • Provide stat-of-the-art security and privacy as required by the .nyc TLD's governance body.
    • Provide advertising space for local entities
    • Link to the latest city health reports for restaurants
    • Be served from a computer within .nyc's geographic region. 
    • In general, make it a smart portal of service to New York's resident and visiting community.


      There are some limits to the extent to which we can use the TLD to facilitate economic development goals by favoring the local. But a contract associated with the acquisition of the pizza.nyc domain name will benefit the local economy in many ways:

      • Providing convenience, options, and informed choice to those seeking a pizza, making New York a pizza, tourist, and resident-friendly city
      • Creating a more efficient market for pizza
      • Creating jobs for local IT, media, and advertising companies













        Locating information on the Internet is frequently difficult with search engines such as Google offering some help. One of our key goals is creating an Internet-friendly city where users quickly find a desired resource.

        In envisioning the .nyc TLD's data architecture, we see a 3-step approach to locating a .nyc resource: portals, intuition, and search.

        The Portals

          Imagine you have a hot cup of coffee in hand and you're desperate for a doughnut. When .nyc opens for business, you'll be able to type or say bakeries.nyc (or bakery.nyc) into your browser and receive a smart portal page about the city’s bakeries.

          On that page you'll be able to find bakeries by geography, alpha search, or clicking a map. If you're unsure about a suitable search term, you'd enter help.nyc, index.nyc, or portals.nyc and locate an alpha listing of an appropriate portal page. These resources would provide synonyms in several languages, for example, - pétrisseuse, pétrisseur, panaderia, enfrente mixed in with English synonyms like pastry shops.

          Managed Portal pages will be set aside with their content following the Portal Page Guidelines. In addition to alpha and map assistance, editorial and advertising will populate Managed Smart Portals, with revenue shared by their operators and the registry.

          A Portal Page Management page addresses economic development aspects - the how, how many, and who of portal pages - with resident and visitor portal examples discussed here.

          Intuitive Search

            Today, using intuition, one can frequently locate a Fortune 500 company by typing its name into the browser’s address space, e.g., ibm.com or coke.com. But 99% of the time it's easier to do a Google search.

            That will change when new TLDs start arriving as people experience that entering a local restaurant's traditional real name with a .nyc suffix frequently delivers a direct hit - annasbakery.nyc. Or you might enter 75thstreet.nyc to find news about your local street, or queensfoundations.nyc to locate a listing of Queens foundations.

            Existing intuitive .com’s - for example, ibm.com and coke.com - might also benefit from .nyc listings of their local events within the .nyc TLD, for example, Coke could list its distributors, jobs, and local events it sponsors in coke.nyc.

            If nothing is found via an intuitive search, i.e., if nobody owned the named page, .nyc would take the use to help.nyc to help refine your search. The help system would also offer the opportunity to purchase available domain names.

            Search Engine

              If intuition and the portals don't provide the desired result, a search engine is the final step. We advocate providing access to a search engine with transparent search rules. Of course, traditional search engines like Yahoo and Google will search and report on .nyc domains. But at a civic level, it's vital that we have transparent search.

              It's vital that we know why a search presents one site higher than another. For example, think of search within the governance realm: We can not have ourselves dependent on a opaque, behind the scenes, search supplier to set our priorities in issue and candidate listings. Same for creating a level business environment. But you might imagine that the big engines will find it difficult to operate under today's shadow of suspicion, and choose to open up. With suitable transparency they might be trustworthy for civic use and connecting.nyc's role relegated to one of testing and assurance. See the Hits Algorithm for a start on thinking about engine design; and Google Custom offers a directory tool that warrants review.

              Registry Shortcuts

                With the opportunity to work with a new TLD, we might experiment with registry shortcuts. For example, imagine you're looking for your friend Jimmy Smith and you know there are oodles of Smiths out there. Might we introduce mechanisms like smith-portal.nyc taking one directly to a disambiguation page for smith?

                Other Portal Issues

                Creating a Trusted TLD

                In contrast to generic TLDs like .com, .net, and .org, an effective community TLD has the advantage of establishing base security and privacy criteria for acquiring a .nyc domain name. To qualify for a .nyc TLD, one will require some form of presence in the city - see Nexus. While no decision has been made on the criteria, we might adopt a requirement similar to Singapore, where a local postal address is required to purchase a .sg TLD.

                Effective oversight requires a processes that assures the public that those operating under the .nyc umbrella will be responsive to community standards, to a greater extent than under .com and the other generic TLDs. At the same time, we’ll provide a certain openness to enable business to launch rapidly, to facilitate proposing new ideas, and to enable the first amendment to live under .nyc. The balance is difficult, with a clear advantage to community TLDs over the standard TLDs in this regard.

                Providing trust demands accountability and this starts with effective governance. This should represent all stakeholders: ex-officio seats for representatives of respected city institutions (city government, libraries, tourist bureau, chamber of commerce…), business, representatives of civic organizations, users, and the traditional Internet community.

                Reclaiming Local “Trademark”

                  Another benefit of .nyc will arise with increased availability of "local trademark." There are thousands of local businesses (bakeries, copy shops, delis, hair cutters etc.) who use generic business identifiers like Blue, Cook, Finest, Link, Magic, Park, Star, Sun, York  etc. in their names. Having a .nyc will enable more local identity for companies using the same name used in other cities. While Chicago's Fresh Bakery may own freshbakery.com and Toronto has freshbakery.biz, with the initiation of the .nyc TLD, New York can have a freshbakery.nyc.

                  Research on Finding Things

                  Today we spend too much time searching the Internet. Searching can be fun, especially for Easter eggs, but most of time when people go to the Net they want to find something, not search. Many believe that with the arrival of new TLDs, we'll be far less dependent on search; that an intuitive net with smart portals will reduce search and improve finding.

                  • In the hotels.nyc portal, hotels that purchase their hotel's domain .nyc name will be listed. Does excluding local hotels that do not purchase a .nyc name reduce the effectiveness of the portal?
                  • See the star.directory concept.
                  • Examine the semantic web  for linking portal content with the semantic web on Wikipedia  a starting point.

                  Related .nyc Pages

                  Key .nyc Pages