Prepare for the (online) land grab.
New York City announced Tuesday afternoon that it has officially been approved for its own top-level domain – the obvious suffix .nyc – making it one of the first cities in the world to stake out space in the new and expanding frontier of online real estate. By the end of this year, and for an unspecified amount, local businesses and residents with a "bona fide presence" in the city will be able to start registering for new web addresses like divebar.nyc or walkingtours.nyc.
The city is offering details at, umm, mydotnyc.com. Mydotnyc.nyc apparently wasn't available in time.
As our Henry Grabar wrote earlier this spring, cities in particular stand to benefit from the decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to dramatically expand the so-called "top-level domains" available on the Internet, beyond the classic .com and .org (and the few less successful outposts like .biz). As Henry wrote:
The geography of the Internet is on the verge of a historic growth spurt, and cities will be presiding over some of its largest new territories. Dozens of municipal governments, from Durban to Taipei, have claimed corresponding top level domains (TLDs) -- even the wordy ones like .amsterdam and .helsinki -- in the hopes that a domain will soon become as important to the global city brand in 2020 as a website was in 2000.
Essentially, each of these cities has a chance to design its own microcosm of the Internet, a miniature network perfectly tailored for city residents, businesses, and services.
ICANN approved New York's request for the name (the application fee to get it was $185,000), and a company called Neustar will handle the technical details and local registrations for the city. To get their hands what will likely be a coveted new address, New Yorkers must have their primary place of residence, with a physical address, in the city, or maintain an office or facility there as a small business (the city also specifies that this means "regularly performing lawful activities within the city," so you may not be able to buy fakecoachbags.nyc). The TLDs will be open to government entities, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and residents.
As the city puts it on its new website promoting the program: "Increasingly, the Internet is not only about what you are, but where you are. A .nyc address tells the world you are located in NYC or that your products and services are for New Yorkers."