New York City Cooks Up Annoying Plan That Will Pressure NYC Businesses To Buy .nyc Domains They Don't Want Or Need

from the but...-money dept

New York City officials are apparently all excited about a guaranteed $3.6 million “risk free to taxpayers” after signing a deal with a Virginia company to offer .nyc domains. This is one of those things that sounds good until you think it through, and then you realize it’s effectively a hidden business tax. NYC gets to promote it as a way for more companies in NYC to have domains, and to identify themselves as NYC-based companies. But for companies already based there, they now need to buy up these domains they don’t want or need, just to keep others from buying them up.

To businesses, which only need one website address, new domain names are often a tax they must pay to protect their brand. It’s as if someone printed an alternate copy of the White Pages and asked companies to buy a listing before it was sold to someone else.

In this case, a New York City company like Bloomberg would have to buy or face having to buy it back at a higher price. Other iconic New York City brands will likely watch nervously to see what becomes names like of “” or “”

The company behind this is asking people to pre-register “for free,” but (tellingly) does not share how much the .nyc domains will actually cost once registration opens for real. So while NYC officials can pretend that they’ve “found” money here, the reality is that they’re creating a totally wasteful business tax and a true nuisance for NYC businesses.

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Comments on “New York City Cooks Up Annoying Plan That Will Pressure NYC Businesses To Buy .nyc Domains They Don't Want Or Need”

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John Doe says:

Could be a couple things going on here

Could be that the local government doesn’t have a clue as to what is really going on here. I worked with a small town’s local government years ago when the internet was just catching on and it would not be hard to imagine they don’t understand. But I would expect the people running NYC to be a lot more sophisticated.

On the other hand, they are probably salivating over the money and could care less about the problems they are causing local business.

Dave says:

Re: Could be a couple things going on here

I would say that’s a near certainty (cluelessness). I have yet to see a single politician that understands current technology no matter where they are. Worse, they don’t hire people who do. Or if they do, it’s obvious they’re not following their advice.

I can imagine the meeting. “Hey, I just thought of a way to get free money, and to dress it up as business promotion!” Every city is desperate for cash, and will get excited at things like that.

The problem should solve itself, though. Say some guy does register or the like. Training an thumbing cellphoner to type “.nyc” instead of “.com” will be daunting enough. So if someone does manage to get to, they will notice right away that it’s crap, and they’ll leave.

And Google isn’t going to give good rankings to crappy imitation sites any more than they do now.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Really, this is what you’re reduced to? Poor.

I expect you to ignore every other story that’s not about whatever swamp you dragged yourself out of, else that would just make you a hypocrite. You can’t be from Canada, Finland, China, Brazil, Australia, France, Spain, Italy, New Zealand and all the other places Mike writes about, after all… so pick one place you care about, and keep your idiocy out of the other threads.

Jeremy Lyman (profile) says:

Followed to naturally absurd extremes

Shouldn’t all these web pages be found on the “.internet” TLD since they’re just digital representations of actual businesses? They’re not IN NYC they’re in cyberspaceland.

Or, if you want domains to correlate to geography, NYC should not be a TLD. It should be a subdomain like NYC.NY.US.NA.EARTH.SOL.MILKYWAY

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Trademark?

The issue is one of cost. Trademark does protect them except that trademark can only be enforced by legal action. Legal action that is way more expensive than simply registering the domain in the first place before the infringer can. The legal action is often more expensive than paying what a squatter asks for it which only encourages more squatting.

PaulT (profile) says:

“NYC gets to promote it as a way for more companies in NYC to have domains, and to identify themselves as NYC-based companies.”

These things are pretty much always a scam, but I do wonder how NYC companies honestly aren’t already able to do this. A quick search of available .com domains containing some variation of “newyork”, “nyc” or with an “ny” prefix/suffix returns a huge number of results. On top of that, how many people would really depend on the URL to tell them where the company is rather than using some location-based search tool or the text on the site itself.

I’m yet to see a new TLD that doesn’t stink of being some kind of cash grab by people who don’t really understand what they’re doing. This does nothing to change my mind.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The government is not demanding they buy anything. Did you just read the title of the article and not anything else?

Really, a lot of this is overblown. Buying up “.xxx”, for example, is just stupid unless you actually ARE a porn company, because no sane customer is going to think that’s your address. “.nyc” might be a bit more of a problem for a company, since a customer might reasonably think that’s the correct address… but I would argue that even that is not needed. Customers unsure of the website are going to use Google. Even if “.com” were the ONLY TLD, there’s a near infinite supply of TLD’s that are common misspellings of your website’s name, your website’s name with some extra word on the end, your website’s name with some extra word in front, etc. Say you’re the Rolex company, and want to make sure cusomters get to your site no matter what they type. So you remembered to claim “” and “”… did you also remember”? How about “”? And similar names for every single TYPE of Rolex that exists? The point is, if someone wants to create a website that seems like it *could* be yours, they can, even without new TLD’s.

On the other hand, adding “.nyc” as a TLD is stupid. If we want geography, we already have that “” system that hardly anyone uses, becasue everyone wants “.com”.

Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

“…new domain names are often a tax they must pay to protect their brand…”

Only fools believe they need to buy a domain name extension to “protect” a brand they should have established long before now.

No one’s going to go, “Huh. The Giants are playing this weekend. Time to hit up and replace my web address I’ve been using for years.”

I’d be more upset if this were required by NYC businesses, but as it stands, the only losers are those falsely protecting something which doesn’t exist except in their minds.

Anonymous Coward says:

Businesses don’t buy up ALL domain names (just think of all the country specific domains out there). This isn’t a “hidden tax” it’s a promotional opportunity. If a business doesn’t want to purchase they are not forced to purchase. In fact I seriously doubt people in general will be seeking out this .nyc domain. Most people don’t even bother typing in entire domains. They simply search in Google or just type in the “guts” of the URL like facebook instead of

Anonymous Coward says:

I am not sure how you figure it out to be a tax, as it isn’t obligatory, and in fact, is completely avoidable. If the unified claims against the various TLDs comes into play, trademark holders won’t even have to work hard to protect themselves from false usage, as they will be able to sweep through all these vanity TLDs without issue and blow off any infringement.

Seems like you are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill here.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Seems like you are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill here.”

Seems like someone does not work in corporate America. In corporate America these days the Brand is EVERYTHING. Anything that may tarnish that brand, must be stopped. Especially with family orientated products/brands. Imagine your kid searching for, lets say for arguments sake, Disney. So kid searches for Disney and gets directed to or .NY where another user has set up porn, warez, etc. From Disneys, or any other corporate entity’s perspective, that will tarnish the brand. So yes, companies will run out to protect their brand out of fear. I know the company I work for rushed out to buy the .xxx and will most likely buy the .ny as well.

Calling it a tax, IMHO, is incorrect as it appears to be more like extortion. The commercials advertising this appears to confirm my assumption.

Thomas Ritter (user link) says:

This post is pretty much nonsense.

There is no reason to worry about some douche buying your

If you are an operating business and the domain is your registered business name there is no reason to worry unless you have done nothing to establish your brand.

If your domain is a spammy exact match search term(not your business name) like then Google is going to bitch slap you out of search along with anyway.

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