In the Battle for .NYC Domains, Money Talks

The NYC GoDaddy barge told people about the town's new domain names. And, of course, not to tell NJ.
The NYC GoDaddy barge told people about the town's new domain names. And, of course, not to tell NJ.
Courtesy GoDaddy

The race for the first round of .nyc domain names was a pretty feisty one.

More than 1,000 proposed domain extensions ending in .nyc received multiple applications, according to information from Web analytics company Neustar, which handles tech and registration issues for the city's domain.

It's probably no surprise there are so many names facing stiff competition -- .nyc is the ninth most popular new top-level domain, or website suffix like .com, .org, or .net.

Now, potential .nyc owners vying for the most hotly contested domain names are slugging it out using the most fitting weapon here in the global nexus of financial capital: money.

See Also: Lost Out on Will Soon Be Available at a Domain Auction Near You

It's been a battle-in-waiting since the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, which controls all domain names and IP addresses on the Web, decided in the mid 2000s to open up the internet's set of top-level domains and add to the boring old extensions like .com and .net.

So starting in February of this year and through to 2015, about 700 of these new, exciting top-level domains are being released to the public "to give customers more choice," said Nick Fuller, a spokesperson for domain name company GoDaddy, which, in October, launched a massive campaign for the .nyc sweepstakes via a massive floating barge in the Hudson River.

And in New York, the hustle for this new segment of geo-specific domain names has essentially taken place in three phases. First, trademark holders and government-related entities were invited to stake out sites for themselves. Then there was a process called the "landrush," which allowed those who desperately wanted a domain name for which they thought there might be stiff competition to pre-register, but with a catch. "If there was only one application for the name, then yes, you got it," says Neustar spokesperson Jeff Neuman. "If there were multiple applicants, it proceeded to the auction phase," which is the final stage of the process.

The landrush ended on October 4. Those names are currently being auctioned off, in alphabetically organized batches, between the applicants who vied for the names. The first batch of auctions began on October 23. The last batch will end on November 6.

The online auction process isn't too different from what we've come to experience on eBay. Bids start at $10. If someone makes a bid five minutes before the auction closes, then the auction is extended for five more minutes, so no bidders can play dirty and try to swipe the site at the last minute.

"The auction helps determine who the name's more viable for," Fuller says.

A total of 1,093 domains had multiple applications, and some sparked big cash battles. CarService.NYC was sold for more than $11,000, reported Michael Berkens of internet trade blog MedicalMarijuana.NYC was sold for $5,000; Cannabis.NYC went for around $4,000, Berkens reported.

And Bitcoin.NYC sparked a bidding war, too, according to Berkens:

Bitcoin.NYC was the 2nd highest domain sale we had reported to us with a winning big [sic] of $11k. I have no idea how Bitcoin has any special value in a .NYC extension but obviously more than 1 person did.

The other 90 percent of domain names picked out during the landrush had only single applicants, which meant they went straight to the people who wanted to buy them.

See Also: .NYC to NJ: Get Your Own Damn Dot!

But if you didn't pony up the cash, or you were just too late to the game to get the .NYC domain you were hoping for, don't fret. There are still plenty out there to choose from on a first-come, first-served basis.

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