Help! I’m going to lose my business name.

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Oklahoma LandrushToday I sent the below to the Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, City Council Members, and Borough Presidents. It details two significant problems with the .nyc Landrush process and changes that can fix them.

August 8, 2014

I need your help.

For the past 7 years I’ve operated a small business here in Jackson Heights, Queens. We do research and develop technologies that facilitate urban governance. The firm, which I helped establish, Connecting.nyc Inc., is a NYS not-for-profit holding 501(C)(3) status at the IRS.

My concern has to do with the policies the city has established setting forth the order of distribution of domain names within the .nyc TLD.

As you might be aware…

  • The city of New York recently acquired the right to develop the .nyc TLD in 2012. (It’s like .com and .org but just for city residents and organizations.)
  • We’re now in day 5 of a 60 day “Landrush” period, August 4 to October 3. See this City Hall press release.
  • During Landrush any New Yorker can go online and purchase an available .nyc domain name: JerrysBakery.ny, RickysCafe.nyc, CoronaCivicAssociation.nyc, etc.
  • Some names were set aside for government use, so names such as Manhattan.nyc and BrooklynBoroughPresident.nyc are probably reserved.
  • But no names have been reserved for local businesses and organizations.

Our interest…

  • We want a good .nyc domain name for our business. The best would be “connecting.nyc” – the name we choose 7 years ago.
  • But because of a technicality, “connecting.nyc” will not be available until the end of the year – at the earliest.
  • In the interim, we’d like to use the .nyc version of the “Connectingnyc.org” domain name we’ve using for 7 years, i.e.,”Connectingnyc.nyc.”

Here’s the problem…

  • Earlier today I went online and sought to register the “connectingnyc.nyc” domain name with with Network Solutions: https://newtlds.networksolutions.com/Home/Browse/nyc?inputSld, one of the 21 official registrars selling .nyc domain names.
  • There I was told it would cost me $79.98 to submit an application ($39.98 for the Application Fee and $39.98 for the one year name registration) for the domain name.
  • I learned that there’s no way to register and begin using that name now. I must wait until after October 3 to see if others might also have applied for the domain name.
  • If by October 3 no one else submits an application for the name, it’s ours. We will then be able to use it immediately.
  • But… if someone else puts in a bid on the name by October 3, we must participate in and win a high-bid auction if we hope to use the name within the .nyc TLD.
  • That auction might not be too difficult for connectingnyc.nyc – it’s a confusing and a lousy domain name (IMHO). But for a domain name such as “connecting.nyc” this auction could cost us thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. (Which we don’t have.)

Two recommended improvements…

There are two ways this system can be improved to aide us and all city businesses and organizations.

1. London Priority Period Rules – Adopt the process London is using in allocating their .london domain names. London’s Local Priority Period Rules (LPP) gives preference to existing entities. In our case, if the city adopted LPP-like rules, we’d be able to upload a copy of our NYS business certificate and get preference over someone without such prior use documentation. That seems fair. (We’ve put together a draft of a New York Landrush Priority Rules here.)

2. Open Auction – There will still be instances where two entities have equal historic rights to a name – i.e., perhaps there’s another business using “connecting” in their name here in the city. In that instance the current plan is to hold a high-bid auction to choose among multiple bidders for who gets the right to use the name. But rather than the current blind auction – where the bidding entities are not put in contact with one another – we propose public auctions.

Public auctions are a method ICANN used in choosing between multiple bidders for TLDs (e.g., there were 6 bidders for .music). This will enable discussions and possible collaborations between the interested parties, potentially saving thousands of businesses thousands of dollars.

Your assistance in advocating for these changes will be greatly appreciated by Connecting.nyc Inc. and our city’s hundreds of thousands of small mom and pop businesses, civic organizations, artists, and others in danger of loosing their traditional names.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Thomas Lowenhaupt

———————————————–
Thomas Lowenhaupt, Founder & Chair
Connecting.nyc Inc.

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About the Author:

Thomas thinks about technology and its impact on the quality of urban life.
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