In late June, I wrote to the CEO and CIO of Leeds City Council, advocating that the city should invest in the creation of a top-level domain for Leeds. There's nothing particularly sensitive or confidential, so I thought I'd share the letter publicly and whether it's an idea that resonates with the city's other residents…
ICANN, the global body that regulates the Internet's global domain name infrastructure has just announced plans to allow the creation of new top-level domains, such as .google, .bbc and others. I've long been interested in the possibility of city-based domains such as .leeds as platforms for metropolitan culture and commerce… and indeed future revenue. Imagine for a moment…
This possibility is now before us - for an application fee of £114000 (gulp!).
However, I think there's a strong possibility of creating a sustainable component in many future value chains here - for local, international and national brands and organisations - as well as ongoing revenue for the authority that operates .leeds.
With LCC as governing registry, other registrars can be authorised to sell .leeds domains globally, with a portion of those revenues flowing back to LCC on an annual basis. With LCC's position as a broadly-based and non-partisan representative of healthcare, communities, academia, business and government - a local council is a perfect host for governing a metropolitan domain that would be valuable to all parts of society that wish to be digitally addressable.
I imagine this wouldn't be a huge priority for LCC - given cutbacks and other more pressing civic priorities, but for a small investment, the city could accrue a valuable piece of digital real-estate and enable long term, broad-based revenue.
Imagine the commercial and cultural value of a .barcelona or .milan domain to those cities… Do we believe that .leeds is worth something?