I am not a native New Yorker. I have only lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for six and a half years, but I feel like a New Yorker. I hate crowds of tourists, I try my hardest not to pass through Times Square, I love running/rollerblading/playing tennis/walking in Central Park, I know I will never make it on time if I need to take the W train, and I keep my elbows out when walking past people meandering on the sidewalk during rush hour. The only way you could tell I am not a native New Yorker is my Sox and Pats gear. I am also a domain investor.
When I was in graduate school at NYU, the reason I moved to New York, the director of the program challenged us to think like marketers and like consumers. It was critical that if we were going to develop direct marketing strategies for brands, we couldn’t just think about ways to market products. We had to put ourselves in the minds of the consumers who would buy our products, and we needed to think about whether our marketing efforts would appeal to them.
In the case of the .nyc extension, I am able to think like a domain investor and like a consumer, and I have a pretty good idea about how the .nyc extension will be successful. I can also imagine how it could struggle.
Several years ago, the city of New York rolled out its 311 phone line. This is the number you can call for just about anything and everything related to New York that isn’t an emergency. If you need information about paying taxes, call 311. If there’s a car alarm going off at 2am outside of your building, call 311. If you see a rodent in a restaurant, call 311. This is the phone number to connect you with the city, and most people who live hear know about it through a variety of television, subway, billboard, and other advertising efforts.
For consumers to adopt .nyc as they adopted 311, I think a few things need to happen:
I think every government organization, entity, office and program will need to use .nyc for their website. Whether this is forwarded to the existing .gov or not, we, the people of New York, need to know that .nyc means connecting to New York City, it’s government, businesses and everything else related to the city.
Every city marketing effort needs to be branded .nyc. Mayor.nyc should go to to the mayor’s office, FDNY.nyc should go to the Fire Department, 311.nyc should go to the 311 system, CentralPark.nyc should go to the Central Park Conservancy, and Weiner.nyc should not go to Gray’s Papaya, but should go to State Representative Anthony Weiner who represents the city.
If the city adopts .nyc as their extension, consumers will begin to adjust to it, and they will adopt it as well. However, it can’t just end at the city government. The .nyc extension will not be commercially viable if the businesses in New York don’t buy their domain names, which is where the revenue generation steps in to the picture. I am all for capitalism, but the people running the .nyc extension need to do something to ensure legitimate New York City business get their domain names so New Yorkers use the extension to find their favorite businesses.
If AtlanticGrill.nyc, PerSe.nyc, Bloomingdales.nyc, and MenuPages.nyc end up with PPC links on them or go to a Sedo for sale page, I will probably never type in a .nyc domain name to find a local business. When I am on my Blackberry, I never type in a .mobi, because I know the chance is good that the brands I want to find don’t even own their .mobi name! Two immediate cases in point are JetBlue.mobi and YouTube.mobi. In my own humble opinion, I would say that the consumer marketing effort of .mobi has not been good, and I the registrations of .mobi domain names have stalled (846,994 registered as of February 1, 2009 vs. 956,412 on October 1, 2008 – source: 2009 and 2008). Out of the 14 extensions on that list, .mobi is the only one to have lost registrations between October and February.
The .nyc extension isn’t a new technology that stands out from other extensions and would give it a unique selling point. The extension is a marketing effort that needs to be branded and sold to consumers in addition to businesses. I think it will take a big effort to make it work, but I certainly think it is possible.
I should also add that I think this will be a boon for the owners of NYC.com. No matter how much effort is done people will still add the .com after .nyc, which will take them to a NYC.com subdomain.
Thanks for this (as usual) informative and thoughtful post. The dotNYC team (I’m the CEO) has been working with the City Council and the Mayor’s office for over a year to get this going. And, in various incarnations, we’ve been working to get a .NYC domain name since 2000, when we first put in an application to ICANN.
While we’re not accepting applications from the public yet (that will require a formal endorsement from the City and ICANN approval), things are looking very positive at this point.
Those who want to keep up with the news can subscribe to the dotNYC blog.
– An edit to my last comment — your link style for comments doesn’t show the link I embedded, so for anyone interested in the dotNYC blog, the actual link is dotnyc.net/category/blog. Thanks.
@Antony – Link is there…
Elliot – it’s there, but you can’t see it – the styling of your links is such that it looks the same as surrounding text – so I thought I’d include the link separately. Thanks.
True… BTW, I am organizing another domain get together in .NYC for the middle of March. I will keep you posted.
The first day for mobi registration was September 26, 2006 and initially only two year registrations were available. So a large amount of first renewals started coming due on Sept 26, 2008….and if you factor in the registrar periods (often 90 days) in which names are held before they drop, in the case of names that were not renewed, then you can see that the initial drop period for the extension fell right in the time period which you were analyzing. In that respect, looking at that time period many not be representative of what is happening with mobi. It may represent a ‘to be expected’ washout of initial regs. The mobi scene may in fact be more positive then your numbers might suggest.
@Bob – I haven’t seen a television advertisement, direct mail collateral, magazine advertisement, billboard or any other marketing materials recently touting .mobi. A while ago, I saw Bank of America and Zagat advertising .mobi websites, but more recently I saw similar advertising from these companies with .com. This really isn’t about .mobi though.
Unless they make you show your new York city i.d. How could they control anyone owning the names of NYC businesses?
Seems most likely most of the names won’t end up in the most logical hands which will wreck the extension.
Individual advertising will work but you can do that with any domain
Will they have a mobi-like auction for names like taxi.NYC and pizza.nyc?
Will be a fun show to watch!
Tim – our plan has a “New Yorker sunrise” after the required trademark sunrise period. The way it works is that residents (and businesses) of New York City will have to prove they are located in NYC by one of several means (utility bills, drivers license, etc.), to be verified by the same verification agents that validate trademarks for corporates. So New Yorkers would get first dibs on the names.
Subsequently, it would be like .us, where registrants have to have a nexus to NYC. We wouldn’t check it (that would drive up the cost of the names beyond what people would pay), but name ownership would be subject to challenge if people suspected there was no nexus, and you could lose the name if you didn’t have the required nexus. And no, I don’t have the compete details of the nexus requirement yet 😉
‘The .nyc extension will not be commercially viable if the businesses in New York don’t buy their domain names.”
…and this of course has been the crux of the problem for all new TLDS. Most marquee businesses are already operating their .com websites. Why would Bloomingdales abandon Bloomingdales.com for .nyc – an extension that will take millions of dollars and years to promote just to gain niche status.
Existing organizations are not likely to abandon their .org sites for .nyc either. That leaves a pool of primarily small businessess that missed the .com they wanted (and some of these already went on the web with a previous niche extension that is still struggling 7 years after it was introduced – .biz). The potential pool would also inlcude small businesses that are going online for the first time – but they don’t have the kind of massive marketing budgets required to burn .nyc into main street’s psyche.
I wish the best for the city’s effort, but I’ve seen the same movie too many times now to expect a different ending this time.
@ Ron “Why would Bloomingdales abandon Bloomingdales.com for .nyc – an extension that will take millions of dollars and years to promote just to gain niche status.”
I don;t think they would need to abandon it at all. As long as Bloomingdales.nyc would forward to Bloomingdales.com, it won’t cause consumer frustration. If you want to watch movies on your iPhone and navigate to YouTube.mobi you would be annoyed. If YouTube/Google owned the .mobi and seamlessly forwarded it to whatever mobile site they want, it wouldn’t necessarily build the brand, but it wouldn’t harm it either.
“New Yorker sunrise”
So could someone like Elliot register “any” name as long as he shows he lives in new york?
If so he could jump on thousands of them, right?
“We wouldn’t check it”
yikes…I dont have the space to list all the problems this will cause.
@Tim – there’s a long way to go before this is approved, and I am sure there are going to be parameters to address all of this.
you wrote: “keep my elbows out when walking past people meandering on the sidewalk during rush hour”.
what are you, a soccer hooligan?
“it wouldn’t necessarily build the brand, but it wouldn’t harm it either.”
Simple forwarding to a .com brand will only reinforce the importance of the .com in people’s minds, As you stated, .nyc will to have to be used by real websites that people want to visit if it is to have any impact. Every one of its forerunners has been afflicted with the same problem – names parked or forwarded and not enough real websites on them to gain traction.
I personally hope that if it becomes part of the root it is a big hit as that would open people’s eyes to the possibilities in other extensions and perhaps help some of those finally break into the mainstream. I think it would be healthier for the domain industry if more extensions broke out of the niche category and people looked at them as viable alternatives – but past history does not leave one optimistic.
I would agree that NYC is a special acronym and has a better shot than a lot of other extensions that may get trotted out there. If the ICANN process moves forward and .nyc gets aproved I will want to see it succeed. It that actually happens, it could open up a whole new world of opptunity in our industry.
@Ron – “Simple forwarding to a .com brand will only reinforce the importance of the .com in people’s minds,”
On your Blackberry, you can’t really see the URL, so if you type in a .nyc and get to the correct website, you will be happy.
“On your Blackberry, you can’t really see the URL, so if you type in a .nyc and get to the correct website, you will be happy.”
I don’t have a Blackberry. 🙂
However if the .nyc registry gives out a free Blackberry with every registration that would cut down on the problem (though a lot of people like me would still use their iPhones instead). 🙂
I don’t see it.
.LA has been around for years and no one uses that here in Los Angeles.
However, New Yorkers often think they are the center of the universe so with their own extention they may adopt it quicker – anyway to elevate their self-proclaimed ‘exclusive’ status
I disagree with you. We are the center of the universe 🙂
.LA is a repurposed domain (it’s the country code for Laos) and, like just about every TLD out there, it had crappy marketing. I think it’s meaningless to look at other TLD launches for comparison, because none of them did much at all to increase awareness in their target market, if indeed they had even identified a target market.
Here in New York City, by contrast, we have the city government promoting the TLD, we have the press interested, and we plan to do quite a bit to increase awareness among New Yorkers.
Most failed TLDs (.jobs anyone?) seem to have assumed that the registrars would market it for them, which they don’t, and even when they try they don’t do a very good job. .NYC, because of the small geographical footprint, can be marketed in traditional ways (sides of bus-stops, New York-specific magazines, etc.) as well as on the Internet.
Elliot’s correct when he assumes that we have policy plans that we haven’t announced yet. In my mind it’s important for the brand (of both New York City and .NYC) to make sure that we don’t have too many squatted (i.e., undeveloped) names, that spam and phishing don’t become issues that get associated with the brand, that name allocation is perceived as fair, etc. So we do have ideas on how to achieve those goals, but we’re not going to go public with them yet. It’s a long 18 months before the TLD opens for general registration…
The domainer community is an especially valuable place to float these ideas, because domainers know all the tricks and will let us know if/how our policies could be gamed. So you can be sure that Elliot’s readers will know about them before they get baked, because we will need that input.
It’s good to see an Industry face behind .nyc and I’m sure that will go a long way to allaying some of the initial fears of glorified lottery/pyramid scheme many will have when they see new gTLDs.
A couple of questions we were wondering about
How many registered domains and live websites would you consider are needed to make .nyc to be considered a success?
Do you hope/expect .nyc to be bigger than .us? And if so how long do you think it will take to surpass .us?
Great post, lots of good responses. But something also needs to be noted that when are talking about NYC we in general mean manhattan. Those of us who live and own businesses in Queens, Brooklyn or the boroughs we are generally not categorized as part of new york city. I have a summer home in Monticello and businesses in Sullivan county will be reluctant to buy the Dot NYC extensions. My point is I’m not sure if the right extension should dot NYC or dot NY.
well enough said. Hope to see in March.
If Tonys pizza on 10th and Tonys pizza on broadway both want tonyspizza.NYC which one has “squatted”?
What would happen if 3 years from now someone starts .nyny or .newyork
Sorry to beat on this but it just seems not needed
-gpm the US is a much bigger marketplace than NYC of course, and new geoTLDs will all highlight the hierarchy of geography anyways, strengthening ccTLDs. .US is level up from .NYC, like with other cities, regions etc.
The drop in the .mobi figures from October 2008 onwards is due to the Junk Dump Phase when the highly speculative registrations from the Landrush Period that could not be sold and could not be monetised get dropped. This blip affects all newly launched TLDs just after their Landrush anniversary. The .mobi TLD is still getting significant numbers of new registrations and over the period 01/January/2009 to 01/February/2009, the number of new registrations in the zone was 29283. The number of deletions from the zone was 49062. The stats on the pages are based on the zonefiles as of the first of each month. The .mobi new:deleted ratio is improving.
.NYC? D.O.A. R.I.P.
“Weiner.nyc should not go to Gray’s Papaya, but should go to State Representative Anthony Weiner who represents the city.”
Isn’t he the guy that show his weiner on twitter and was pressure to resign????