Back in January, it was announced by the The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), that applications were being accepted for new generic top-level domain names (gTLDS), which meant that brands could apply to register a new domain name that would be an addition to the existing 22 gTLDS such as '.com' and '.co.uk'.
While the new addresses won't likely be appearing until 2013, it has been reported by the New York Times that New York City is "seeking a contract with a Virginia-based company, which would apply for the domain and operate and market it on the city's behalf. The company would pay the upfront costs, and the city would get a share of revenue; under the five-year contract, it is guaranteed at least $3.6 million.
It's interesting that the company would pay the up-front costs, given that it costs $185,000 to purchase the domain name and the application process takes many months. It suggests that the officials in New York City have neither the time nor the resources to go through with the application themselves. _µ__The company must stand to make a lot of money from the deal if the city is guaranteed a share of at least $3.6 million.
So if this all goes ahead we could be seeing .nyc domain names sometime next year, which could open up a lucrative market of domain name purchases to NYC businesses who wish to own the new domain names. However, it will be interesting to see how they names are sold or distributed, especially if the work is indeed outsourced, as it's likely many NYC organizations will seek to use the names, and it would be unfortunate if they were prevented from doing so because of a high cost.
New York is not the only city that we can expect to see registering, the New York Times also states that Barcelona, Berlin, London and Paris are also seeking domain names. There are only seven days left to register with ICANN for a gTLDS. The new top level domain names look set to transform the internet landscape and open up interesting discussion about who can lay claim to the name of an city online.