• Trust for Neighborhood Names

last modified February 24, 2014 by tomlowenhaupt

Here we discuss the Trust for Neighborhood Names, the legal entity that will oversee the neighborhood names.

 Oversight Models


(Commons Photo courtesy of sporkwrapper.)

Neighborhood Domain Name Allocation Flow


Questions in need of resolution include:

  • What would be the structure of this mechanism,
  • what functions will it perform,
  • what would be its outcomes,
  • how will they be implemented,
  • how would it address the public policy imperatives in the various Internet governance fora,
  • what would be its relationship with the current governance system. 









Our research indicates a "commons trust" as a legal structure that could provides support for the long term oversight and development of the neighborhood names. A "commons trust" is a legal entity responsible for protecting a shared asset that is inherited from past generations, or in our case, is being created on behalf of current and future generations. Viewed as common property — held in trust and not owned by anyone — the dotNeighborhood names will be insulated from any claims.

A business model is also vitally important. For an indication of the potential to asserting such control, think about the expectations that arise from this one in Fast Company's: "Can Anyone Tap the $100 Billion Potential of Hyperlocal News?". In it, Michael Glunkstadt details the experimental plans of AOL and the New York Times to capture local advertising revenue in Maplewood, New Jersey - part of that nation-wide $100 billion.There's a potential for large sums of revenue to be generated by these neighborhood sites, and if we can keep that revenue local, mom an d pop and and all neighborhood residents will benefit.

In the face of such huge profit expectations, there will be enormous pressure for privatizing neighborhood domain names, perhaps by auction. Therefore a viable business model is essential. Here we present a governance plan and business model.


The following presumes a joint city/state application for New York's TLD, and the assignment of the 352 dotNeighborhood names to a Trust for Neighborhood Names.

Revenue Sources

Start up and operating revenue will come from several sources.

Name Sales

See Business Models for more on the potential revenue sources including domain name sales.

Revenue Balancing

One key role for the Trust will be to assure suitable operating revenue for all the dotNeighborhoods. While names such as SoHo.nyc, GreenwichVillage.nyc, and TimesSquare.nyc will provide the potential for significant revenue, others such as Longwood.nyc have little local retail and little likelihood of economic viability.

If we look for a parallel to the world of baseball we find that the leading team in terms of value is the New York Yankees, valued at $1,700 million with the least valuable the Pittsburgh Pirates at $304 million. As per Forbes:

"Thanks to more than $400 million sent from high-revenue to low-revenue teams, several teams with low attendance were able to post operating profits of at least $10 million." 

And we might add, the revenue balancing provided the Yankees with teams to play in a competitive environment.

We need a similar revenue balancing plan for the dotNeighborhoods.

Related Resources


    Key .nyc Pages