New York isn’t a modest place at the best of times, but now Gotham has a new reason to crow: it will be one of the first cities in the world to offer citizens and local businesses their very own “.nyc” domain name. The result is likely to be an onslaught of websites with names like cupcakes.nyc or hipster.nyc or lenadunham.nyc.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg today confirmed that ICANN, the agency responsible for assigning top level domains like “.com” and “.org,” had formally approved the new New York City Suffix, which will go on sale near the end of 2013 for a price yet to be announced.
In a release announcing the domain name, Bloomberg’s aspiring successor, Christine Quinn, said New York will now “also be the greatest city on the internet.” City officials boasted that the domain name will be a boon for small businesses and a revenue generator for the city.
But before other New Yorkers start patting themselves on the back, they may want to ask their leaders how the city will protect famous trademarks — Magnolia Bakery, Katz’s, FAO Schwartz and so on.
When ICANN has approved previous top level domains, the business community has vociferously opposed them — complaining they are forced to buy them or see them fall into the hands of domain squatters, who then demand more money for the real owners to buy them back. This is what occurred when ICANN launched the “.xxx” domain — businesses said it amounted to “domain extortion.” ICANN has also botched other parts of the new domain name process.
Bloomberg and other city officials have so far been silent about how it will protect its businesses from squatters, only noting that registrants must have a “bona fide presence” in New York City, but not explaining how they will verify that.