Join the ICA Already
Mike Berkens has a great post that I think everyone who has invested in domain names should read. Large corporations have been trying to take our generic domain names for us for some time via UDRP, and the Snowe legislation will make it much, much easier and even less expensive. Just to reiterate the most potentially damaging section of the Snowe legislation in case you might have missed it:
“…such domain name is or contains the identical name or brand name of, or is confusingly similar to the name or brand name of a government office, nonprofit organization, business, or other entity;”
In short, this is considerably more broad than the Lanham Act, which targets cybersquatters from owning trademark-related domain names. The bill was presented as a “Anti-Phishing” bill, but you wouldn’t have to be involved in phishing or anything nefarious to have your domain name taken under this provision.
A company can claim that your generic domain name is confusingly similar to their name, and they can ask the Attorney General to go after the domain name owner. The owner can be liable for up to $6,000,000 (yes, SIX MILLION DOLLARS) in damages. The threat of a lawsuit like this will have a severe impact on domain values. Who would spend $10k on a domain name if a larger company can poach it?
As I see it, the Internet Commerce Association is the only group standing up for domain investors. Sure, other large domain companies have much to lose, but we can’t rely on them to lobby for us. Most will lobby for their own purposes. When a large company files a UDRP against a trademark domain name that is making good PPC revenue, do you see the parking company help the owner defend his name so they can continue monetizing it? NO. So why should you rely on large companies to foot the bill?
The funny thing is that domain owners are mostly entrepreneurs trying to start their own business online. They are real go-getters. From the looks of Mike’s post, it seems that most domain owners are sitting on their hands. Why? Please tell me why you aren’t joining the ICA.
This isn’t a fund to pay for Rick’s next floral shirt or another addition to Frank’s palace. THIS IS TO PREVENT THE SNOWE BILL FROM BEING PASSED TO SAVE THE DOMAIN INDUSTRY!
If you have no good reason not to do it, please join the ICA or make a donation – it’s 80% tax deductible. The industry needs everyone to help.
I will also match contributions – up to $1,000. In the comment box, mention Elliot’s Blog, and they will let me know how much I need to send.
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