Jackson Hts., New York, January 18, 2015 – One of the unheralded achievements of the de Blasio administration’s first year was saving the neighborhood domain names – Astoria.nyc, Bensonhurst.nyc, Chelsea.nyc, etc. from the auction block. Under Bloomberg, these historic names were slotted to be sold off during the Landrush period to whoever had the biggest bank account. But under the guidance of Mayor de Blasio’s Sr. Adviser Jeff Merritt, the names were reserved:
The City of New York has reserved roughly 400 neighborhood names for use by community groups to develop new online hubs for civic engagement, online organizing and information-sharing. Neighborhood names will be available beginning in Fall 2014 and will be licensed to community groups through a competitive application process.
In order to be eligible for a .nyc neighborhood name, the lead organization must meet the following minimum qualifications: (a) registered as a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation or local development corporation, and (b) located within the neighborhood for which a .nyc domain name is sought.
Neighborhoods have been a long-time focus of ours. (See our dotNeighborhood wiki pages.) We’ve imagined vast unrealized social and civic potential, hamstrung by inadequate communication. Our most noticeable involvements with them was a collaboration with the New York Internet Society and Wikimedia-NY that explored the potential of neighborhood wikis. (See NYCwiki.org). So we were delighted by this development.
Over the next year a considerable part of our efforts will focus on making the most of these dotNeighborhoods. We hope to plan a pilot project with the following components:
We invite the many who’ve indicated supported for our dotNeighborhoods initiative to limber up their minds and/or fingers and get ready for a most exciting year. Those who do not receive our dotNeighborhood notices should sign-up using the form at the lower left below.
Jackson Hts., New York, January 3, 2014 – The New York Internet Society and Connecting.nyc Inc. convened a panel on December 18 to explore the prospect and impact of requiring Public Interest Commitments (PICs) for some of the unallocated .nyc domain names – names such as news.nyc, sports.nyc, and hotels.nyc.
Internet thought leader Avri Doria kicked off the panel with a most informative and reflective history on the origin of ICANN’s new TLD program and the evolving role of PICs. She expressed a mixed viewpoint on the role of PICs, but was dubious about domain names being considered “magic words” – leaning toward the “there’s always a viable alternative” viewpoint.
Avri was followed by Thomas Lowenhaupt, founding director of Connecting.nyc Inc., who suggested that 21,000 unallocated .nyc domain names be mined for those that might be shaped to benefit the public interest; and that those names have PICs attached to their development rights. To achieve this goal he suggested city hall establish a PIC Oversight Board to facilitate the identification and development of names that might benefit the public interest.
Finally, Gabriel Levitt, commenting on the .pharmacy TLD, provided insight into the role domain names can play in shaping a market and the public’s interest. Timothy McGinnis provided additional commentary on that topic. A full report on the presentations, a Q&A, and links to panelist videos and slides can be found on the meeting report page.
[Subsequent to the panel, member Thomas Lowenhaupt realized that he’d neglected to mention an important policy consideration relating to premium names and PICs – equity. His concern is that with high-bid auctions the sole criteria determining premium name allocation, new New Yorkers with new visions will find it difficult to participate in the .nyc marketplace. He requested that equity be noted here for inclusion in the ongoing conversation.]
Jackson Hts., New York, December 3, 2014 – The existing term of the members of the mayor’s .NYC Community Advisory Board expires on December 31. What’s next?
At a recent New York meeting before key participants in the city’s Internet industry, ICANN’s CEO Fadi Chehade suggested that CGI.br, the Brazilian governance body overseeing the .br TLD, might provide a good lesson for cities looking at governance models. For background on CGI.br we put this page together. Additionally, our wiki has several background pages on the Internet Governance Ecology.
To address the issue, a December 17 meeting of the .NYC Community Advisory Board has been scheduled. The preliminary call set the following parameters:
We would like to propose a facilitated discussion on best practices in internet governance. The hope is that this discussion will provide us with a clear set of priorities and goals for 2015, thereby allowing us to set a specific course of action for the coming year.
Sounds like the right move.
Jackson Hts., New York, November 27, 2014 – ICANN’s CEO Fadi Chehade met Monday with a group of New Yorkers from city government, civil society, and business in the offices of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
After introductions and an update on .nyc’s status, Fadi told the attendees that in his travels he is often asked by mayors “What is New York doing about .nyc?” To the mayors, he noted, “New York is the reference city.”
(The inside joke is that most new things are tried and tested elsewhere and then adopted in New York. But they receive their first wide publicity only after the city’s mass of media gives notice. The city’s pols sometimes shine their innovator credentials with new developments and feed the originality myth. In this instance however, the idea of a city-TLD did originate here. And now, as Fadi said, the whole world is watching.)
So how do we make .nyc a positive reference for the hundreds of cities that will be be acquiring their TLDs over the next few years? Fadi was very interested in the city’s nexus policy and suggested it fit with one of the unique development’s he’s seen for new TLDs – authentication. As an example he noted that the Catholic Church has a 10 year plan to replace its centuries old Red Book, the current authoritative listing of Catholic organizations, with the .catholic TLD. Message #1, make nexus work and build upon it.
Fadi also encouraged the city to find a good model for public participation in our TLD’s governance. He pointed to the success Brazil has experienced with its “multistakeholder” governance structure for the .br TLD. Most interesting, the governance entity has 21 members with the government appointing 9 – a minority. Fadi, turning to the government officials present suggested that “ceding a little bit of the city’s power creates a community which is very powerful.” As a resident it seems a gamble worth taking. But government loosening its grip on power is indeed a rare event. More on the .br oversight by CGI.br can be found here.
For the meeting’s full recording which, in addition to the above, touched on global Internet governance issues, see here. Commons Graphic shows Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade.