Jackson Hts., New York, October 20, 2014 – The MentalHealth.nyc domain name was not reserved as a public interest resource in the review processes leading up to the activation of the .nyc TLD. As a result it was offered for sale during the Landrush period and two or more entities filed an application to use the domain name. A high-bid auction will begin on October 28 and select between the bidders. Development rights go to the winner. This will be a closed auction with the number and identity of the bidders remaining secret – unknown to the potential developers.
While other important public interest names were reserved, e.g., health.nyc, the city’s review process did not identify this name as worthy of special treatment. (See city’s reserved domain name list.) Wary of MentalHealth.nyc being squandered on a non public health use, (others have pointed out that the name could be fruitfully used to market a comedy club, a magic elixir of some sort…) Connecting.nyc Inc. mimicked the ICANN model for resolving name disputes and created a virtual meeting space, Resolution Hall. There the bidders might locate one another and discuss collaborations or in other ways amicably resolve development rights.
We’re now days away from the October 28 start of the auction and Resolution Hall remains empty. The likelihood seems to be that a high bid auction will assign the development rights for MentalHealth.nyc. How many other names might have slipped through the review process remains unknown. 1,000 other names with multiple bidders are headed to Landrush auctions. Crazy isn’t it.
With Resolution Hall faltering we urge city hall take the following steps with regard to the 1,000 Landrush domain names set to go to auction beginning October 23:
- Promptly publish the list of Landrush names that are set to go to auction.
- Invite and enable city departments, the city council, the .NYC Community Advisory Board, and the public, to identify domain names that should be set aside as public interest resources.
- Remove the identified public interest names from the October 23 and subsequent Landrush auctions.
- Establish a process (perhaps Resolution Hall-like space) that facilitates their being developed in the public interest.
With regard to MentalHealth.nyc: as an officer of a not-for-profit mental health facility that submitted an application for that domain name, I offer the following as a possible solution, (perhaps a prototype for other names):
- Send an email to all the applicants for MentalHealth.nyc asking them to declare their intent to use the name as a public interest resource.
- Put those entities with a declared public interest use in touch with one another to discuss possible collaborations.
- If no compromise is reached by the various public interest applicants, a high-bid auction might be one method of resolving disagreement.
- Organizations without a public interest goal for the names should be instructed to seek an alternative name.
The auctions begin on October 23 so action by city hall is needed within a few days.