Cities could cash in by selling domain names

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers may have given city governments a potential gusher of new money with its recent decision to open the door to new Internet extensions.
Cities could capitalize by registering their names as top-level domains and the selling second level domains to businesses, Rachel Roubein writes in USA Today. 
Here's an example: Tulsa could register .tulsa and then sell the rights to pizzeria.tulsa, fitnessfreaks.tulsa, or anythingelse.tulsa.
The move would require some investment. An application to register a new generic Top Level Domain, or gTLD, will cost $185,000 and involves a long form and a detailed, six-stage process in which applicants make their case for operating a domain.
Getting through the process, which will open in January 2012, could take as long as 20 months.
Some have wondered whether the benefits are worth the time and money, but a New York City councilwoman told USA Today that the sales could be an instant source of much new revenue.
ICANN’s decision in June came after three years of negotiations with other Internet and government groups. In addition to allowing up to 1,000 new gTLDs a year, it also decided to allow domain names in any other script, such as Arabic or Chinese.


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Reader Comments

Thu, Jul 14, 2011

.. or the cities could spend nothing and leave domain names to the private sector. Every agency already has a free domain name. Tulsa uses theirs -- Why any agency feels they need to diverge from this is beyond me. Simple and structured.

Thu, Jul 14, 2011 earth

The problem with this is the number of cities that have the same name. Take “Medina”, a somewhat unusual name in the US one might think if one knows the origin of the word. But there is a Medina ND, Medina NY, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. And that’s just within the US. Look at Medina_(disambiguation) on Wikipedia. A logical method would be multilevel geopolitical names that could be looked up efficiently. This might take a secondary DNS mechanism that allowed each political entity to run its own registration and lookup service. Local machines would catch the IPv6’s of the name server for each level of hierarchy. Each level only servicing the level directly below it to minimize the total mass of entries. Given that these servers aren’t going to come and go, the local machines catch entries could have long retention times for the hierarchy they are local to and a retention time that grows longer the higher on the hierarchy some other IPv6 belongs to. The existing DNS system assumes entries will come and go, hopefully geopolitical entities aren’t that ephemeral.

Thu, Jul 14, 2011 Dashworlds

Playing the TLD Game Without Spending $185,000 (plus potentially unlimited annual expenses) Anyone can create their own set of Top Level Domains at no cost and without reference to ICANN, simply by registering new Dashcom (instead of Dotcom) Domains. Dashcoms are memorable and relevant web addresses such as "sports-com", "live-music" and "social-network”. Available at sites like and in any language or text, you can also use Facebook Emoticons (like musical notes "♫♫-♫♫") Totally outside ICANN's control and with users in over 90 countries worldwide, resolution is via an APP; although new ISP links are coming online to make that unnecessary. It’s only a matter of time before other new options surface, and none of them will have anything to do with ICANN.

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