The new .nyc

Later this year (assuming that everything goes as tech blogs and the City predict) a new TLD will be available, .nyc, which will supposedly be available to businesses and organizations operating in New York City as well as (supposedly) residents of NYC. The City has setup a website claiming to offer information about the city's new TLD (mydotnyc.com) but it doesn't provide much in the way of useful information right now (a pair of press releases and a long list of links to blogs and news sites prefaced by some vague PR/marketing slurry). It is even a bit vague about exactly who would be eligible to apply for a domain under the new TLD or how to actually do so.

As some might remember ICANN's gTLD expansion program has been running for a few years now (about 4 by my last estimate) and there have been many previous discussions about local TLDs for much longer (probably since around when the national TLDs based on two letter ISO country codes were introduced back before the collapse of the USSR). When Neo Amsterdam and I heard about the gTLD expantion program a few years ago, we began cooking up an idea of starting a company to apply for and administer a .nyc TLD, we have these ideas occasionally and being civic minded technologists we come up with ideas for how we can do something of value to the community (previous ideas included starting up a truly independent ISP in Brooklyn which would offer modern FTTP service to areas of the city which are badly served by the incumbent telcos and CATV operators). In our discussions we had decided that one of our best selling points for a proposal was that we were New York City residents and that we could offer competitive costs since it would basically be run by a handful of local hackers who were more interested in making things work and getting by then a business focused on stock prices, big profits, and bigger executive compensation. Of course we have no money and no existing organization or capital so it never got off the ground. Instead of selecting a local organization, or operating the new TLD through part of the city government (like the Department of Informaton Technology [DOIT]which would officially 'own' the .nyc TLD) the city chose Virginia based Neustar, Inc (www.Neustar.biz) which currently operates the .us and .biz TLDs, a company who's only relation to the City of New York appears to be their listing on the NYSE and the fact that they will be operating the .nyc TLD registry.

The selection of a non-New York based private company (or private sector company) to manage the city's soon-to-be TLD seems to be at odds with most of the PR material that the City has been producing to try to talk up the new TLD. There are plenty of companies based in, or operating primarily in the New York City area which should be perfectly capable of operating a TLD but instead it is a company based several states away with no appreciable presence in the city, for a program which is being sold as being for the benefit of the city's population and businesses, or to benefit the city's 'silicon alley' and start-up population, why wasn't the responsibility of operating this TLD given to a company which actually employs some of those people and would be contributing back to the city itself.

As an aside, I have been trying to secure the remaining relevant TLDs for my domain (I have .net and .us just now), maybe, unless I have a sudden change of circumstances, I'll try to secure nite0wl.nyc. Anyone having similar thoughts? Or maybe just some fun ideas for domain name jokes using this new TLD? Put them in the comments.

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