The Mayor of New York City recently announced that .NYC had been approved as a new, geographic top-level domain (TLD) by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). As Mayor Bloomberg explained in a press release, “Having our own unique, top-level domain – .NYC – puts New York City at the front of the digital landscape and creates new opportunities for our small businesses.”
Consulting firm NYC & Company subsequently released a report on the economic significance of the tourism industry in New York City. As Newsday reported, “George Fertitta, NYC & Company’s CEO, said his team created the report not only to show the candidates how important tourism is for the city’s economy — it got a boost of $55.3 billion last year from the industry — but also to cultivate ideas for how to expand it.”
Good timing? I think so.
As a hotbed of creativity and productivity, the setting of countless novels, plays, and movies, home to the United Nations, not to mention the world’s financial, publishing, art, dance, theater, and fashion centers, New York City is more than a city – it’s a brand (as the I ♥ NY campaign by Milton Glaser has both proved and solidified). Or, as E.B. White puts it in his classic 1949 essay “Here is New York”, the Big Apple is “nothing like Paris; it is nothing like London; and its not Spokane multiplied by sixty, or Detroit multiplied by four. It is by all odds the loftiest of cities.”
New York City is famous for its Chinatown, but also boasts communities of immigrants from all over the world. Now a range of communities and ethnic groups – from Jamaicans in Brooklyn to Greeks in Queens to Orthodox Jews in the Bronx – can establish space within the cyber melting pot of .NYC. In terms of the impact on tourism, according to Newsday’s article, “The largest increase in tourists came from international visitors, with 11 million non-Americans coming into the city last year versus 7.26 million in 2006.” Within .NYC, the city has endless opportunities to tailor websites to specific nationalities of both residents and visitors.
Then, of course, there are the various districts and streets of Manhattan, each associated with its own industry:
MADISON AVENUE: ADVERTISING
GARMENT DISTRICT: FASHION
TIMES SQUARE: THEATER
MEATPACKING DISTRICT: CLUBS, GALLERIES
SOHO: RESTAURANT WEEK
And, finally, there are the institutions, from the United Nations to New York University, the 92nd Street Y to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. For .NYC, the possibilities for innovative communication, promotion, and community engagement are endless. Perhaps best of all, though, with the open frontier of .NYC comes extra assurance that Internet users will reach legitimate New York City-related content.
In order to receive a .NYC domain name, organizations and businesses will need to have a New York City address and individuals must be residents; in addition, .NYC has trademark and cybersquatting safeguards in place. The Mets, Yankees, and Knicks could redirect their existing .COM domains to .NYC, where fans could be sure that they’re reaching legitimate content and purchasing original gear (and anyone who’s walked around near Canal Street knows that consumers in the city could use some extra protection when it comes to trademarks).
Again, E.B. White summed up the city best: “New York is the concentrate of art and commerce and sport and religion and entertainment and finance, bringing to a single compact arena the gladiator, the evangelist, the promoter, the actor, the trader and the merchant.” The .NYC TLD has the potential to – and very likely will – become the cyber concentrate of White’s New York City.