New York Internet Society Urges Public Hearing on Renewal of .nyc TLD Contract #dotnyc #newgtlds


New York Internet Society Urges Public Hearing on Renewal of .nyc TLD Contract

The Internet Society New York Chapter (ISOC-NY)  is concerned about the future of the .nyc Top Level Domain (TLD). At its January 31, 2017 meeting, the Chapter passed the following resolution:

“The Internet Society’s New York Chapter urges the city of New York to provide robust outreach and engagement opportunities for the city’s Internet stakeholder community prior to renewing the contract that will guide the operation of the .nyc TLD registry for the next 5 years.”

A letter (pdf)  has been sent by ISOC-NY President Joly MacFie to Mayor DiBlasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, and other City officials, demanding a public consultation before the .nyc contract is renewed. 

Borough President Gale Brewer deserves much credit for, as Chair of the City Council’s Technology Committee back in 2008, initiating a public process to manage the acquisition of the .nyc TLD, and continuing to champion it. However, in 2012, as the ICANN deadline approached,  the Bloomberg administration rushed through a contract with minimal public participation. As a sop, when .nyc finally launched in 2014, a ‘Community Advisory Board’ was named. But it was never given any teeth, and it was eventually disbanded.  Nevertheless community pressure had been sufficient to a) ensure neighborhood names were reserved, and b) institute a robust nexus policy. – i.e. only New York City denizens could register domains.

In 2015-2016 the DeBlasio regime, to its credit, made some moves to roll out the neighborhood names, including model websites based on NYC open data. Sadly, these efforts appear to be flagging of late. Meanwhile the contractor Neustar is doing it’s best to recoup its investment by auctioning off ‘premium’ names to the highest bidder. Our research shows that many of these names are just being ‘parked’ by speculators rather than providing a real service to New Yorkers.

Today, in New York City, no direct channels exist to enable our city’s Internet community to participate in shaping the future of this important and vital aspect of the City’s identity. In the wider world it has become accepted practice that Internet Governance succeeds via the multistakeholder governance process. As the initial 5 year operating contract comes to an end, it is vital that the city’s Internet stakeholders  – businesses, government, civic organizations, academia, individual Internet users, and residents – be provided with an opportunity to comment on the quality of service provided under the original 5 year term, and voice their hopes and expectations for .nyc’s operation in the coming years.

In our call for public engagement in a contract review, we’d like to hear community input on issues such as:

  • Should there be a ‘use it or lose it’ policy, especially as applied to premium names?
  • Currently the public has the right to report nexus or whois violations, should they be able to report other abuses?
  • Neustar is being bought. Should the contract be renegotiated? Or put out to competitive bid?
  • How can the neighborhood and other reserved names be used to be improve civic life?
  • Should a portion of the name sales income be dedicated to support those efforts?
  • Can we get clear reporting on just how much money is changing hands?
  • Should there be some proxy system that protects the privacy of individual registrants, while preserving nexus?
  • How can .nyc be integrated into the future Internet of Things and Smart City functions to give them better public accessibility?
  • How do we make nexus enforcement efforts more transparent?
  • How can the .nyc tld best serve immigrant communities, especially those with limited language skills?
  • How can the .nyc tld best serve as a living repository of City communal knowledge/memory?
  • And more!

Only a robust public discussion can ensure that the interests of New York City, and its people, are best served.

Internet Society New York Chapter (ISOC-NY) is one of more than 100 Internet Society Chapters around the world. Founded in 1997 ISOC-NY’s mission to assure the beneficial, open evolution of the global Internet, and to promote local initiatives and maximize the societal benefits which the Internet can bring to the New York community.

The .nyc Top Level Domain or TLD is like .com, .org, .edu, and .gov but just for use by New York City’s residents and organizations. The city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication oversees its operation, via its contractor, Neustar Inc.

Follow-up questions may be addressed to Joly MacFie, President of the New York Internet Society via, (218) 565 9365 or subject matter expert Thomas Lowenhaupt at