[NA-Discuss] Statement on Pre-Registration: Draft for discussion

Thomas Lowenhaupt toml at communisphere.com
Wed Jun 15 20:32:09 UTC 2011


Please accept my apologies as I must have been unclear in my earlier email.

When I attempted to post a comment I received this message:

    "The following error(s) occurred: 


          This installation of Confluence is not set up to permit public
          signup. Please contact the site administrators
          <https://community.icann.org/administrators.action> for more

Being impatient, I did not contact the site administrator and opted to 
ask Eric to make the post (Thanks Eric). Taking that shortcut has come 
back to bite me. Sorry for the transgression.

But there was a larger error in assuming that all NARLO members would be 
aware of the utility of a TLD for a large global city like New York. Had 
I been a more active participant in NARLO over the years, I'd have had 
the opportunity to make that case. But with that case presented in 158 
“chapters” on our wiki <http://bit.ly/OurWiki>, I certainly will not 
attempt to do so now. And with it taking 158 chapters to present .nyc, 
I'm obviously not very good at concise and cogent presentations.

Be that as it may, I am a bit surprised to find you think so little 
about the role of a TLD in city life. New York is neither a hell hole 
nor heaven, but most all here agree that a thoughtfully developed TLD 
can have a positive role on a variety of aspects of city life in the 
social, cultural, civic, and economic spheres to name a few; and that 
the decision to develop the TLD following a Standard Model (e.g, .com) 
or Community Model (e.g., .nyc, and you gotta read those 158 chapters to 
fully understand) will have an impact on each of these areas.

But as you object to my use of the word "disruption" to describe the 
impact of using the Standard vs. Community Model, I see I must 
elaborate. A few of the differences I see from the two models include 
equitable vs. inequitable distribution of domain names. For example, 
I've heard it suggested that Rupert Murdock, who has been buying up 
local community newspapers, is interested in the 352 neighborhood names 
<http://NYCwiki.org/>. With our civic histories and lives tied into 
these names, would it be disruptive if those names went to Newscorp? 
Same with small business, government, tourism, education, community and 
civic organization names, etc. One can see we are surviving without 
.nyc, and imagine a greater capacity to influence our future with it. 
And getting this idea through is hard to put one's finger on. It's tough 
to say no having improved civic community is disruptive. But I suspect 
the people who were influenced books such as Bowling Alone 
<http://bowlingalone.com/> might use a term stronger than disruptive.

Grabbing a last example from another of those chapters, there's the not 
yet fully formed concept of a sustainable TLD. How long must the .nyc 
TLD serve the needs of our city - 5, 10, or 50 years? I've no idea. But 
prudence says we should think of .nyc as a sustainable resource. A 
community plan does that while a standard doesn't. Disruption? Maybe 
disruptive? Perhaps disasterous.

Most importantly, there's a sum of the parts opportunity that might 
enable us to create a community of 8 million. Several years ago I was in 
Venice and asked a fellow at a hotel desk if he spoke Italian (my intent 
was to ask if he spoke English, and I'm uncertain what he gather from my 
less than well formed question). He stood up, stuck his chest out, fire 
shot out of his ears, and he declared "I am a Venetian." I'm not clear 
that we New Yorkers need to spout fire, but not having the critical 
Internet infrastructure that would enable us to create a more engaged 
community would be a disappointment.

And would New York's being a less intuitive city, a less programmer 
friendly city (tied into universal tagging 
with residents not having a stake in its development and maintenance be 
more of a civic disruptive (perhaps forever) than a single snowstorm? I 
think so.

But I greatly appreciate the NARLO discussion over Pre-Registrations.

Other comments at found below.


Tom Lowenhaupt

On 6/13/2011 12:30 PM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:
> Hi Thomas
> On 13 June 2011 10:54, Thomas Lowenhaupt <toml at communisphere.com 
> <mailto:toml at communisphere.com>> wrote:
>     NARLO,
>     I tried to comment on this "Pre-Registration" post but apparently
>     am not
>     registered (and there's no registration button?).
> Have you indeed applied as an At-Large Structure?
> Have you applied as an individual member of NARALO?
> Do you know how to click "add comment" at the bottom of a wiki page? 
> Doing so doesn't require registration.
>     In the instance of New York City, I can imagine
>     pre-registrations becoming a matter of civic disruption.

 >see above
> I know that the .nyc application is important to you, but I don't 
> think you're helping your cause by engaging in hyperbole.
> When I think "civic disruption" I think of garbage strikes, bomb 
> scares, massive public rallies or weather so bad as to cancel air and 
> train travel.
> I'm thinking "Die Hard with a Vengence".
> I'm not thinking the delayed rollout of a New York TLD.
>     For example, imagine small businesses predicating their business
>     plans on the availability of .nyc domain names as implied in these
>     pre-registration offers.
> I would put to you that predicating one's business plan on a specific 
> Internet domain is inherently foolish for reasons that have zero to do 
> with the ICANN launch process, let along pre-registrations. It's like 
> saying "I might was well close my dress shop down if I can't get my ad 
> on page 19 of next month's Vogue".

 >I bet there will be strong interest in primary names such as 
sports.nyc., weather.nyc, and news.nyc and that a successfully 
introduced TLD and a imaginative and thoughtfully executed business plan 
could move its developer from a Queens co-op to a Manhattan townhouse.

 >But I agree that in general, one should not predicate a business plan 
on a particular domain name. And that's one of the faults of the current 
pre-registrations: ICANN and the city's acquiescence says something. But 
with one of the state's businesses today being to influence the public, 
and especially the poor, to purchase lottery tickets, it seems we've 
(the state / the people) abdicated on social responsibility. Now its: if 
you're not smart enough to know that a domain name doesn't buy success, 
screw you. (But perhaps some of the domain name money will go to education.)

> Having a choice domain name -- in .nyc or anywhere else -- is a 
> marketing tactic, that's all. Pretending that it's more than that is a 
> recipe for sadness. And I would absolutely refuse to support -- indeed 
> I might try to undermine -- any effort that advances domains as 
> something they are not.

 >I don't quite understand. Do you also advocate for corporate and 
nation-state domains being used for marketing only? Why? Yesterday at 
INET Tim Berners-Lee also said he was opposed to new TLDs. But I see W3C 
uses second and third level .org domains, so I'm not clear on his 
objection either. But he's Royalty and, being a commoner, I should not 
hope to comprehend. But why our 8 million residents, 300,000 
organizatins, and multitude of ideas should be limited to using .nyc for 
marketing is something I'd like to better understand.

>     Next the city starts to take a serious look at the social, economic,
>     cultural, and civic impact of .nyc and realizes that such a review
>     will
>     take some time. With cities acting in glacial time rather than
>     Internet
>     time, this could lead to many thousands of disappointed
>     "pre-registrants."
> Thus the perfectly reasonable call in the NARALO statement for 
> sufficient warning given to anyone using the service.
> IE, "If you bet your whole business on getting this name in the next 
> 12 months, you're an idiot.."

 >We agree.

>     Now imagine a candidate for mayor, let's say Anthony Weiner -
>     an advanced Internet use - sees this disgruntled group of
>     pre-registrants as a political resource that can become a plank in
>     his campaign, "Elect
>     me mayor and on the first day in office I'll sign off on .nyc - NO
>     DELAY!"
> With all due respect, Mr. Wiener may be grasping at any topic that 
> will divert attention away from recent personal issues 
> <http://online.wsj.com/article/AP07b39f36f817432aa1f77c7c78472276.html>.
> (Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, CNN and Fox ought to be sending him him 
> royalty cheques...)

 >I could have used any of the apparent candidates for the example, as 
any would grasp at any straw to get elected. And the pool of those who 
have been either fooled, or who believe they have or will get a 
favorable back room deal, will be advocating for the candidate favoring 
a quick decision. They will use any excuse they can pump up their "TLDs 
now" plank: "the city needs the money now," "jobs, jobs, jobs," "we must 
do it today or other cities will do it before us" ...

> Of course, most components of delay are beyond the control of even the 
> Mayor of New York. So the Mayor-elect would be simply compounding a 
> problem of promising things that are as yet undeliverable.
> Then again, Wierner is a politician, so an ability to promise the 
> undeliverable may be an asset.

 >Careful what you say about Anthony, he's buff and fast on his feet.

>     With the ICANN having offered zero, zip, nada, guidance for
>     cities looking into this once-in-an-Internet opportunity,
> ICANN owes city-TLDs nothing that isn't given to any other gTLD 
> applicant, except the right of city government to have final signoff 
> on implementation.

 >Well, maybe not ICANN, but the Internet community should make an 
effort to provide some assistance to cities (and others). I know that 
one industry stakeholder segment that hopes to profit from selling 
registry services is making big "education" contributions.  (Last night 
in a conversation with a city official I mentioned the 40k lobbying fee 
one prospective registry provider "invested" in our city's "education" 
about a TLD's potential, and I was corrected with - "it's a lot more 
than that Tom" and a look that said "Poor man doesn't know the shark-pit 
he's in.") So those who will profit from a corrupted TLD corrupt the 
decision making process and ICANN has no responsibility. The NTIA told 
me there's no budget. Civil society has no money. I do see something 
special about cities. Certainly they will be able to meliorate the 
diaspora that resulted from the inadequately planned release of the DNS. 
And cities are more in need than .ibm, .google, or .sport.

> And please spare the continued hyperbole ("once in an Internet" -- 
> Really? REALLY?)

I gather you're Really? REALLY? not a fan of hyperbole.

>     I can see this as the winning proposition. "There's no evidence to
>     show that city TLDs are other than revenue generating." "Our small
>     businesses need it NOW." "Jobs, jobs, jobs." "Other cities are
>     going to get a jump on us." Etc.
> For every small business that needs an .nyc domain, there's another 
> one that looks at .nyc as just another way for the Internet to bleed 
> money from them without adding value.
> (Case in point. "nathans.com <http://nathans.com>" already exists and 
> is doing quite well where it is. The existence of .nyc may force 
> Nathan's to take out a defensive registration that it doesn't really 
> need, or to get into a needless bidding war with speculators over 
> "hotdog.nyc". I'm not a native New Yorker and I can think of many, 
> many other examples.)

 >We're a big fan of Nathans, with our annual "prize.nyc" party there 
The way we see them using it is as follows: Nathan's has stores in about 
10 states, and perhaps they'd like to use nathans.nyc for their local 
stores, for marketing (OK?), for jobs, special events... I'm not sure of 
the rules on such things, but they might choose to spend $25 a year just 
to point to the .com, to keep it idle, or some other use.

 >But you're broader concern is one we share and we're seeking policy 
and process to avoid as much disruption as possible, perhaps housed 
within a plan for a sustainable TLD 
Thoughts appreciated.

>     More thoughtful candidates will be left arguing the benefits
>     of infrastructure. ~ Mayor Weiner.
> If the .nyc actually becomes a municipal election issue, the TLD 
> itself is the least of the city's problems, IMO.

But why add another. We've got more than our share, IMHO.

> - Evan

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