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3/22/2012
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NYC To Apply For .nyc Domain

Aims to generate revenue and bolster city’s profile for business, tourism, and other activities.

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New York City next month will apply for the .nyc domain, now that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved the use of a number of new "top-level" domains (TLDs).

The city--which aims to use the domain to generate revenue, among other benefits-- will apply to ICANN for the domain by April 12 through proposed vendor Neustar, who will handle and manage the transaction, according to Nicholas Sbordone, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). ICANN oversees the Internet’s domain address system.

Virginia-based Neustar, which already handles the .us, .biz, and .co TLDs, will pay the application fee of $185,000 for the domain for the city and will also pay post-application fees, including the $25,000 annual fee.

New York City initially is seeking a five-year option for .nyc, with two five-year renewal options, Sbordone said. However, the city won’t be able to use the domain immediately, since it will take at least several months and possibly up to a year for the TLD application to be granted.

[ Could ICANN's approval of new vanity domains spell trouble? See ICANN's Vanity Top-Level Domain Names: Fraud Magnet? ]

New York City officials said in 2009 they were seeking a partner to acquire, administer, and promote the .nyc domain to help the city generate revenue as well as help residents locate government services. The use of the domain also is expected to bolster local businesses and New York City’s global profile as well as promote and market tourism to the area.

"Through .nyc, we hope to make the search for New York City-related content easier than ever by providing individuals, organizations, non-profits, and others a chance to own a virtual piece of the greatest city in the world," said then-DoITT Commissioner Paul J. Cosgrave at the time. Carole Post is now the city’s DoITT commissioner.

Not everyone will be able to use the .nyc domain. The city is reserving its use for individuals, businesses, or organizations with "a substantive and lawful connection to the city" and with a primary address or genuine presence there, according to Sbordone.

Criteria for proving a presence in New York City include regularly performing lawful activities such as selling goods or services; maintaining an office or other facility in the city for lawful business, noncommercial, educational, or governmental purposes; and/or performing lawful activities outside of the New York City that are primarily directed toward residents, tourists, businesses, or organizations within the city.

New York City will receive 40% of revenues yearly from .nyc, which include not only the use of the domain or domain names, but also click-thru fees and advertising sales, according to Sbordone.

The city will receive a minimum revenue of $3.6 million the initial five-year contract period, with set yearly minimums of $300,000 for the first year; $650,000 for the second year; $750,000 for the third year; $850,000 for the fourth year; and $1,050,000 for the fifth year.

If the gross yearly revenue for the domain exceeds the minimum for that year, Neustar will pay the city the difference to compensate, Sbordone said. New York officials plan to hold a hearing on the Neustar contract on Friday, he added.

InformationWeek's 2012 Government IT Innovators program will feature the most innovative government IT organizations in the 2012 InformationWeek 500 issue and on InformationWeek.com. Does your organization have what it takes? The nomination period for? 2012 Government IT Innovators closes April 27.

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