.US live Town Hall

The annual .US live Town Hall webcast is being held next week. This is the first town hall since GoDaddy acquired Neustar that is the .us registry so it would be interesting to see if any of the important topics come up. The removal of Nexus requirements and whois privacy are a couple of the issues I would like to discuss.

“The usTLD Stakeholder Council will hold one annual usTLD Public Stakeholder Town Hall to allow the broader community of stakeholders to provide input and feedback on .US Policies and other initiatives. Participation in the usTLD Public Stakeholder Town Hall will permit remote participation. The Town Hall will be open to the Public.”

Here is what the general description of the webcast is:

What to expect during the Town Hall:
“A rundown of the current state of the domain industry and .US specifically. Plus policy considerations for domain growth and community outreach to establish top civic priorities for future direction.”

Featured Speakers:

Dustin Phillips
Host, Chair .US Stakeholder Council

Crystal Peterson
Director, Registry Services

Kristin Johnson
Council Secretariat, Registry Services Global Marketing and Brand

The annual .US live Town Hall webcast will be on Thursday, November 12 at 12pm ET. You can register here.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and now living in Athens, Greece. Love domains and building websites. Went online in 1995, learned about HTML in 1996 and about domains in 2002. Started publishing the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

12 comments

  1. Zoom.us has done more for .US then these townhalls ever will. 😄

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      You are right.

    • Zoom.us is not alone in that regard now. Also these:

      technologyweekblog.us

      healthweather.us

      And this site, while not necessarily experiencing as much public awareness and interest as those two, is truly spectacular:

      Represent.us

  2. For review, this comment I made in 2019 is “the truth about .US”:

    https://domainnamewire.com/2019/07/18/marketing-a-teenage-tld/#comment-2255828

    Konstantinos I hope you will not remove this comment. Please note that I have also linked to your blog here from the other domain blogs many times over the years. I’m extremely “equal opportunity” when it comes to linking from one blog to another when it seems useful to do that, and I would think they all benefit more or less equally. Otherwise if you prefer that I simply copy and paste that big comment here I will do that.

  3. I hope someone asks them if they plan to passively allow (or worse?) .usa without actively opposing and addressing it (see my 2019 comment linked to above). That would be quite a travesty.

  4. I have decided that it’s best if I actually do post a copy of my 2019 comment here after all.

    I call this comment “the truth about .US.”

    It’s from July 18, 2019 at Domain Name Wire, responding to a sponsored post by Lori Anne Wardi of Neustar, “Marketing a Teenage TLD.” Here is the text of my July 18, 2019 main comment following by a short supplemental one. Konstantinos is actually quoted near the end re the 2017 .US Townhall and related whois privacy issue. (Some minor corrections are applied to this copy):

    “Well Lori, if you get too good at this they may need to get rid of you.

    > “So exactly how does a teenage TLD, like .US, stand out in a marketplace with more than 1,000 shiny new competitors?”

    One of the greatest ironies of .US is that it was released for public use – under a rock, that is – at the very pinnacle of the greatest resurgence of US patriotism virtually every living person in America has ever seen in our lifetime and quite possibly will ever see. The only rival period for such patriotic renewal would doubtless be WW II.

    In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy struggled through the entire movie just to make her way home. We struggled with her through all her wild and dangerous adventures. Finally she and all of us discovered the ironic revelation, that she was carrying the answer herself entire time.

    .US is exactly like that famous story we all grew up with here in the USA. From Day 1 in April 2002 – and every single day since to this day – there has never been any mystery or riddle about what could have and would have lit the flame of public awareness, popularity and passion – virtually without even costing a single penny, and scarcely even having to lift a finger.

    For Dorothy it was the ruby slippers and the homeward incantation.

    For US it has been a no-brainer the size of the USA itself. For us it is and has always been, and for the sake of efficiency in phraseology, the “PTB.” In a manner of speaking, virtually a single word, and virtually a single use by example is all it would have ever taken. Even Christian Zouzas, the most famous .us domain “investor” of them all, sees it and has been saying more or less the same thing on his Twitter page in recent months.

    Had the “PTB” of the USA not wanted to release .us under a rock as it was in April of 2002, and had really wanted it to go anywhere, they would have done and could always still have done the exact opposite of what they all have done ever since. The President and other prominent US government figures would have said even just a single word to the American public, and begun using it in various ways. Most ironically, and tellingly, of all – would have begun transitioning certain prominent US entities to the ultimate no-brainer patriotic TLD instead of keeping them on .com.

    One of the most incredibly glaring and astronomical examples of .US-avoidance has always even amazed me.

    I don’t watch much television anymore, hardly any really, but in the years since April 2002 there was a period of time in which I used to watch a fair amount. One of the most captivating and patriotic marketing campaigns – and one of the greatest platforms one could ever imagine for getting the American public to even know that .US exists at all, as well as ignite the fire of interest – has always been the television ad campaigns of the US military. Genuinely engaging and spectacularly engrossing examples of patriotic captivation for anyone and everyone with even a streak of the red, white and blue in them, even those who only wished they could have served some time in the US military but for various reasons they could not. And every single time, at the great and final climax of these presentations – the viewer is solemnly presented with “.com” instead of “.us.”

    How incalculably ironic.

    One of the greatest spectacles you could possibly even imagine to demonstrate American patriotism on the Internet aside from statements and actions of the “PTB” to begin with about .US, yet nothing. Nothing but the “.com” establishment and status quo glaring brightly like the noonday sun.

    And that is only one such example. As it is, these 17+ years later the American public still for all intents and purposes practically doesn’t even know that .us exists at all, period.

    And the idea some have that the burden lies with the Neustar registry itself to bring about incrementalism over decades and decades is disingenuous at best, and much worse than that at worst. If whoever has occupied the relevant positions of authority had ever wanted the American public to be substantially aware of America’s own online country code and for it to go anywhere at all since Day 1 in 2002, things would and could – and should – have been very different.

    > “I mean, I read all the domain blogs too!”

    Well perhaps you’ll like my other recent related comments too. Especially the one where I mentioned I had worked in both US federal law enforcement and IT before.

    > “As investors, we want to know that the TLDs we invest in are being well managed and marketed, and are building”

    > “As the country code domain extension for the United States of America, our most obvious end-user target market is, you guessed it, American businesses, organizations and individuals.”

    > “Instead, our team has developed a ‘micro-targeting’ approach; essentially, breaking our audience down into niche segments that each have unique and interesting motivations for using .US domains – and then building creative, relevant campaigns for each of these groups.”

    Sounds great, doesn’t it? And some of the activity even looks pretty nice. But piecemeal incrementalism is a nowhere strategy, and certainly not appropriate for something as significant as .US.

    A blogger named Caitlin Johnstone, probably not known to most in the domain industry, is one of the great “truth seeking truth tellers” of our time. She wrote a great blog post only days ago about “Why “Incremental Change” Is Worse Than No Change At All,” and people should take a look at that post and then contemplate this very issue in comparison to that (https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/07/15/why-incremental-change-is-worse-than-no-change-at-all/). Other truth tellers and truth seekers have recently covered very well the same idea as well.

    > “It has been an honor for the Neustar team to launch, build, grow and shape the .US namespace, from inception to today. But we’ve never rested on our laurels and we certainly don’t plan to do so now. In the years ahead, we are committed to continue refining our marketing strategy, innovating on new and unique marketing campaigns, engaging our community of brand ambassadors and supporting ongoing growth and success of the .US TLD.”

    And as mentioned above, the American public still scarcely even knows that .US exists at all. Practically speaking, despite a little bit of progress since 2002 – they still don’t know.

    > “Ultimately our goal is to ensure that the millions […] are building their future on .US – as well as those who invest in the .US namespace – can rest assured knowing that .US is one of the most trusted, dynamic and in demand TLDs in the world.”

    Well Lori perhaps even you can agree that ending assessment of the current state of things there is getting a bit carried away, but frankly we know that it’s your job, and we all understand the idea of commercial puffery and the like, so it can certainly be overlooked.

    But that is not the main reason why I quoted that.

    The main reason why I quoted that resides with this: “as well as those who invest in the .US namespace.”

    Many have invested over 17 years of their time, money and life in .US now, but aside from all the other issues, which are huge, there is also looming a practical “existential threat” to .US and to all that nearly 20 years of such investment of time, money and life already. And it remains to be seen whether Neustar and the “PTB” are going to allow (or worse) this practical existential threat to have its merry way.

    And that practical “existential threat” is .USA.

    The push for .USA apart from .US is one of the greatest travesties and mockeries in TLDs and specifically of .US one could ever even imagine, and directly and completely threatens all of the years of time, money and life others have already invested in .US. Not to mention Neustar’s own interests if it is indeed true that Neustar has any interests at all.

    And don’t misunderstand me: I am a patriotic American, bounding the Internet super highway in shades of red, white and blue. Nothing would please me more than to see a .USA alongside .US – but only if it is done properly and right – only if it is done in a genuinely American way. So what does this mean?

    The only way of .USA existing and being released to the public at all that treats the investment of time, money and life people have already spent on .US these 17 plus years now with justice and fairness is to: 1. recognize what it really is, i.e. a country designation, in this case an alternative to the first .us iteration. Say what one will about how ccTLDs can only be two letters – either an exception should made for .USA or it should not exist at all, unless and only unless its existence conforms to: 2. The fair and right thing to do if .USA is even to be allowed to exist and be released at all is if it is done exactly as has already just been done in the case of .UK. Yes, that means:

    1. First right of registration for .US holders of corresponding SLDs.

    2. NO public gouging premium costs, no matter how good the domain is – just as .US was released originally and still is and should be. Simple basic “reg fee” for all domains, especially for those who already have the corresponding .US.

    Anything less makes a total mockery of .US itself and all the people who have spent and invested so much into it all the way since 2002 to this very day.

    I’m sure there is more I could address, but for now I will close with this:

    PRIVACY – whois

    As I mentioned before, not only did I once work in US federal law enforcement, but in the reinventing of oneself many of us experience in our lives, I also worked professionally in IT, and especially with data and database technology.

    There is NO excuse – none, zero, zilch, nada – for American citizens and American businesses still not having the right and option of engaging in whois privacy after all these nearly 20 years. This was *already* the case in April 2002, is even more so now in 2019, and has been increasing in significance and importance every year in between. It is nothing but data in a database, and there is both no practical excuse and no other excuse of any kind. While I’m sure exceptions may exist for instance, even the nexus requirement itself for all intents and purposes doesn’t get enforced no less, but there is no meaningful practical impediment to data access to begin with for issues anyone in appropriate positions might actually really care about – nor has there ever been.

    The entire world no less has continued to increasingly recognize and even expand the importance and right of privacy since 2002, particularly and especially for domain TLD whois, while .US has continued to preserve the undesirable status quo. It should go without even mentioning that it is obvious to anyone this lack of such a privacy option also works against the very kind of adoption and use people purport to want and work for and support. Not allowing Americans to engage in this in today’s world is even nothing less than appropriately called obscene.

    According to Konstantinos Zournas at OnlineDomain.com, who attended the 2017 .US Town Hall –

    “Neustar said that they are working on the whois privacy implementation for .us domain names. That was never allowed up to now, mainly because of the Nexus requirements. Only US residents and US organizations and companies that have a bona fide presence in the United States of America can own a .us domain name.

    According to Neustar that has been their biggest policy issue to date. The Council formed subcommittees, solicited public comment and worked with law enforcement (?) and other stakeholders to build a consensus recommendation. It seems that .us whois privacy may be introduced in 2018.”

    2018 came and went, and here we are with half of 2019 already spilling into 2020. I think the time for talking about it is over, don’t you think?

    So Dorothy could have made her way home in an instant any time she wanted, but she never knew. In this case, however, we do know, and have always known. Incrementalism is often a counterproductive and even harmful path. The burden is *not* on the registry, contrary to the misguided public narrative and misconception about that. .USA should not be allowed to exist unless and only unless it is done fairly and equitably with regard to the many who have invested so much for so many years in .US. And in a no-brainer the size of the .US itself, American citizens of all people and American businesses must have the right of .us whois privacy to use or not use at their discretion in today’s society.”

    Afterward I added this:

    (July 18, 2019 at 11:40 pm)

    “Supplemental items re the above, the approaching .USA behemoth that would eat up .US and everyone’s near 20 [year] investment in it:

    1. Main site: http://www.dot-usa.info

    2. FB: facebook (dot) com/dotusa/

    3. T: twitter (dot) com/dot_usa”

  5. Hi Konstantinos – I felt it was best to post a copy of my original comment here after all, but now it went into “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Seems probably only because it’s fairly long.

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