Nat Cohen: Why I Support the ICA
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Nat Cohen: Why I Support the ICA

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This is a guest post about the Internet Commerce Association from domain investor Nat Cohen, President of Telepathy, Inc.

The Lord Giveth and the Lord taketh away.

For the domain industry, the part of the Lord is played by the U.S. Government and ICANN.

In the early days of the Internet, the U.S. Government policy allowed billions of dollars of domains to be registered on a first-come first-served basis for a registration fee per domain of $100 or less.

Those of us who benefited from this “landrush” know how fortunate we’ve been. Even those domainers who weren’t involved in the early days, benefit from the tremendous value inherent in domain names that is still not fully recognized.

But it is a mistake to confuse being lucky with being smart.

Being smart is taking full advantage of the good luck that comes your way and not taking it for granted. That is why I consider it smart to support the Internet Commerce Association (ICA).  The ICA is the only group that is focused on protecting the rights of domain name owners.

Domains provide my family’s livelihood. I’d be an idiot not to do what I could to protect our livelihood.

“But what’s the problem?” you might say. “I’m making good money from domains. Somebody else will watch my back. What could go wrong? Why do we need the ICA?”

Ever since the beginning of the commercial internet there has been a continuous effort to separate domain owners from the value in their domains. Powerful players consider the domain landrush to be a mistake. They see domains containing their trademarks owned by others. They consider these domains rightfully theirs, even if their trademarks are on common word or acronym terms.

Ownership rights in domains have been weakened so that domains can be transferred away from their owners on the basis of a vague, poorly defined “bad faith” standard. The .biz and .info registries tried to gain the power to premium price renewals so that owners of premium .biz and .info domains would have to pay a surcharge to renew their domains.. If the .biz and .info registries had succeeded, the .com registry would have demanded the same power, in the interests of “fairness”.

An ever growing number of UDRP providers cater to trademark holders who are looking for like-minded panelists to order the transfer of domains these trademark holders covet away from the current domain registrants.  These pro-trademark panelists are not hard to find as many panelists are pulled from the ranks of active trademark lawyers who concurrently with serving as UDRP panelists earn their living aggressively advancing the interests of trademark owners.

Domain parking is under attack and considered illegitimate by some UDRP panelists. The same ads that Google displays on its search pages, if they appear on a parked page can result in the loss of a valuable generic domain (see flamingo.com).

Attempts to steal your domain through abuse of the UDRP, called Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, are on the rise (see RDNH.com). Why shouldn’t RDNH cases be on the rise? While an auto-generated ad on a parked page can result in the loss of a valuable domain, the penalty for intentional abuse of the UDRP through an attempt at Reverse Domain Name Hijacking is — nothing.

Now ICANN is finalizing details for the URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension) system. This offers a cheaper, faster way to take down your domains. It is being rolled out on new gTLDs first with the expectation that it will soon be required for dot-com and all other gTLDs. The URS is being sole sourced to the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), the same group that was found to be not trustworthy enough to handle credit card arbitrations.  The NAF assigns nearly half their case load of UDRP disputes to only seven panelists out of 136 total (see dnattorney.com), and relies on cut and paste decisions.

The ICA has been busy fighting these and many other battles on behalf of domain owners. The ICA only exists because some domainers and companies in the domain space have stepped up to give it their financial support. With more resources it could do more to fight on your behalf, particularly in countering the negative image the public has of the domain industry and in pursuing UDRP reform. The ICA needs – and deserves – your support.


About The Contributor: Nat Cohen is President of Telepathy, Inc., a domain portfolio company. Nat is a board member of the Internet Commerce Association. He lives in Washington, DC.

Connect with the ICA: Website | Twitter | Email

Comments (39)

    Jeff Schneider

    Hello Elliot

    You are right on in supporting the ICA, especially as the Ad Industry is being threatened by the ultimate Strategic Marketing Tools in .COM holders Branded and Generic holdings, that are being launched at an ever quickening pace.

    Be prepared to hear from the SEO drones the word Cybersquatters being bantied around. SEO Manipulated Search Engines know the power of Pure Play Generics and the role they are increasingly taking in ruining their party. The Battle For Eyeballs will become even more intense. We are all experiencing a Battle of David against Goliath and we are employing a very large slingshot.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    April 3rd, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Mike

      Wtf are you talking about?

      April 4th, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Domain Investor

    The ICA would get more domations (a play on the word “donations”. Funny right?) if they offered different levels of donations and also offered a monthly donation option.

    They should also team up with Sedo, Afternic, Namejet, domain blogs, the registrars, etc and have them install a “would you like to make a $5/$10/$25/$50 donation to the ICA” button at checkout or on the home page at each of these sites.

    The domain conferences also need to support them better by giving them a free booth at the shows and have an auction where they can sell donated domains and give the proceeds to the ICA. The people who donate the domains should be recognized as well.

    The auction houses should do this on a regular basis as well.

    The ICA should have their own membership drives where they educate people on why they should be supported, instead of relying on good-natured domainers to sporadically ask for money on their behalf.

    People need to see and be educated more about the ICA in general. Like any charity, it needs to be marketed much better than it currently is and it’s not that difficult to do.

    April 3rd, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Elliot Silver

      My guess is they don’t have the funds to hire staff to raise money. If they did hire staff to raise money, the funds raised would go towards paying those people.

      April 3rd, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Domain Investor

      That is a grossly-overused excuse used by just about everyone at one time or another. If they can’t figure out how to pay for one part-time person to market their cause like any other successful charity, then Sedo, Afternic, Namejet, the domain blogs, domain conferences, registrars, etc. need to do it for them.

      This can be done by simply including a blurb next to the donate button, explaining why it is so important for this industry to support them.

      Maybe the bloggers could be the ones to get this ball rolling.

      April 3rd, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Maybe, but we’re in a relatively small industry.

      In any case, I believe they had someone working on this a while back. Not sure what happened.

      April 3rd, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Nat Cohen

      The ICA had an executive director for several years, and appeared at trade shows and did outreach, but due to lack of support from the domain industry the funds raised this way did not even cover the executive director’s salary.

      We are now trying to get the word out about the ICA through the domain blogs, such as this one. Thanks to Elliot for publishing this post. Others are helping spread the word through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc.

      Michael Cyger recently interviewed the ICA’s lobbyist, Phil Corwin, on Domain Sherpa-
      http://www.domainsherpa.com/phil-corwin-ica-interview/

      Michael Berkens, a big supporter of the ICA, regularly posts about the ICA on TheDomains.com. Andrew Allemann covers UDRP and Internet policy issues closely on DNW.com. Reading his posts would give one a good education as to why there is a need for the ICA.

      Phil Corwin posts regularly on the InternetCommerce.org web site about ICA’s activities and the policy issues it is addressing.

      In short, we are trying to spread the word without incurring the cost of an executive director.

      There is now plenty of information about the ICA out there. What we need now is people to stop pointing the figure and telling other people what they should be doing to support the ICA, and to step up with some support themselves.

      April 3rd, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Adam

      They should do this and his and this and this and this
      Who is going to do all this and pay for it?
      They’ve done auctions.
      How about joining in and being involved instead of criticism from the peanut gallery

      April 3rd, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Dave Zan

      That is a grossly-overused excuse used by just about everyone at one time or another.

      I doubt anyone wants to give so-called excuses, knowing that little to nobody wants to hear them anyway. Still, did that make you feel better or at least do something about what’s at stake here?

      April 4th, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    john andrews

    Wow… first comment on a thoughtful post is a rant bashing “SEO”. Sad.

    That aside, someone should do a “round up” campaign to support ICA. Implemented at registrars at the time of registration or renewal, the “round up” option is a one-click donation of a “round up to the nearest dollar” amount on the purchase. So a $8.79 charge becomes $9 and $0.21 is “donated”.

    Registrars could get 50% of the round up as a service fee for implementing the program… if they would not otherwise go along. Hosting companies and other domain-related purchases could make a difference.

    Surely there are some ICA friendly players doing transactions with domains(privacy, etc). This extends the reach beyond commercial domainers (although a “nearest $10 or $100″ roundup would be cool on domain auctions of adequate value as well.

    The NRA raised millions very quickly with this approach on outdoor and shooting sports purchases in participating stores.

    April 3rd, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      Adam

      John watch out for the Metal Tiger. He is a savvy marketer, by his own words, and he bites

      April 3rd, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      john

      duly noted, thanks for the tip.

      April 3rd, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Anon

      John, don’t worry about ‘that particular commenter’.

      Schneider is the domain blog equivalent of the mysterious, lone boot on the side of the highway. Nobody knows how it got there, nobody cares. Just avoid it and keep going.

      April 3rd, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Jeff Schneider

    R. E. = ” Wow… first comment on a thoughtful post is a rant bashing “SEO”. Sad. ”

    Rant??? This is a very savvy Marketing Analyst Observation. I guess you cannot handle the truth, its coming. JAS 4/3/13

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    April 3rd, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Domain Investor

    “There is now plenty of information about the ICA out there. What we need now is people to stop pointing the figure and telling other people what they should be doing to support the ICA, and to step up with some support themselves.”

    “They should do this and his and this and this and this
    Who is going to do all this and pay for it?
    They’ve done auctions.
    How about joining in and being involved instead of criticism from the peanut gallery.”

    I and others have joined in but its not enough. You can bang your head against the wall all day saying enough has been done and wonder why people aren’t supporting the ICA, or you can implement changes to make things happen.

    Some great ideas have been posted on how to do that. How about everyone start sending emails to Sedo, Afternic, Namejet, bloggers, domain conferences, registrars, etc. and ask them to implement some of these ideas? It will benefit everyone in the industry, including them.

    Or you can continue to say “enough has been done”, “who is going to do this?” “if only people would…”, etc and continue to get the same dismal results.

    April 3rd, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      john

      The thing about “grass roots” is… it has to be grass roots.

      Whoever creates and promotes a central authority (like ICA) is tasked with doing the leg work to make it happen.. including getting it past threshold (critical mass) to self-sustaining status. Like it or not, that takes “marketing”.

      If you don’t have the resources to make it that far, you never should have started. INSTEAD you go grass roots, and put all of your energy into moving the masses to proclaim the message of the ICA, without the ICA.

      Of course if you go that route, you don’t get the glory (nor a job running it), unless freely elected by the ensuing mob after the fact. In fact, the way humans seem to work, you often can’t even solicit donations (for anyone) at that stage.. you simply have to rile everyone up around the issues and keep the flame growing.

      I like the ICA but I’ve never been moved to pay into it, mostly because the value of my EFFORT to support such a cause is worth so much more than the $1000 or whatever would be a reasonable contribution. Like everyone else, if I knew it would help solve the problem I’d donate…. but I don’t…yet… and until then… no critical mass?

      Obviously I don’t jump in and work for the cause because I am too busy working and chasing goals.I am not one of those “here I am enjoying life at the beach” Internet entrepreneurs, lol.

      There appears to be a “savvy marketing analyst” here in this very discussion… she should be able to describe how a successful grass roots effort to raise awareness of the key issues that justify the need for ICA, can propel the ICA moniker into the broader public eye… the eye of the public that is concerned with those specific issues (iow the people sometimes referred to as “supporters”). But it takes work.

      Marketers know that. Savvy marketers know how to make that happen. The central leadership entity should only step in to fill the void that is defined by the issue framing work… not before. When there is widespread agreement that “someone needs to do something!”.

      Of course, properly prepared, no one would be better suited to step up than.. the ones who organized the grass roots effort?

      Without such support on the ground, the ICA looks like a tool of the 1% (the guys who got premiums by hook or crook, or were funded to invest in portfolios, made big profits, etc) and not something suitable for significant contributions from the average domainer or domain-based business person.

      It’s sort of like watching reports of BigDomainLawyer winning against offensive challenges/disputes. We’re all grateful SOMEONE is paying him $1500/hr to defend against ridiculous domain challenges, but we’re not going to chip in to pay his bill.

      April 3rd, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Domain Investor

    How about a yearly online “telethon” as well, where people can donate money, challenge other in the industry to match donations etc. Let egos get involved as there are no shortage of those in this industry :-)

    Maybe do it at one of the conferences. Email Rick Schwartz to get it done.

    April 3rd, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Francois

    Hi Nat,

    Until last week I still thought it was this Sedo guy who was the president of the association. Apparently he changed but you did not told me who replaced him.

    My feeling is there is a lack of transaparency in this association from the begining, in fact I have no clue who is behind after so many years and if me who read news almost everyday for years ignore it then I imagine it’s the case of almost everyone.

    So maybe you could enumerate who is working at ICA and what are their role.
    I allways thought it’s an association with no interlocutor and that was their main problem.

    April 3rd, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Nat Cohen

      Hi Francois,

      Good question.

      Some of the ICA members are listed on the Members page-

      http://internetcommerce.org/sponsors

      As you see, it has support from many of the leading companies in the domain name space, including Sedo, Oversee, ThoughtConvergence, PPX and Escrow.com.

      Well known domainers such as Mike Berkens of WorldWide Media, Eric Grant of Reflex and Jim and William Blackwood of First Place Internet are also members.

      Frank Schilling’s Name Administration, Kevin Ham’s Reinvent and Tucows are members.

      Several other supporters are relatively new to the industry and/or don’t have large portfolios but care about the future of the industry and want to protect their businesses for the long term and so have stepped up to support the ICA.

      Copied below are statements from some of our member as to why they support the ICA.

      Thanks,

      Nat

      —-

      “Escrow.com chose to join the Internet Commerce Association because their goals are aligned with ours and with many of our customers. The Internet is constantly evolving and the rules and regulations that support commerce need to be looked at very closely. ICA is doing their part to increase awareness of where the Internet commerce platform is headed in addition to protecting the rights of intellectual property owners.”

      Brandon Abbey
      President
      Escrow.com

      —-

      “It’s very easy to sleepwalk through life thinking others will contribute to worthy causes. It’s convenient to lull yourself into believing that a small contribution won’t make a difference, but I can assure you that’s not the case. We have a terrific organized public voice that speaks to rights of domain registrants and that is the ICA. I encourage you all to make a small donation to the organization, as I do, so that your children will have a great name industry to prosper in – as you have.”

      Frank Schilling
      President
      Name Administration
      InternetTraffic.com
      DomainNameSales.com

      “I support the ICA because they do important work standing up for our rights as domain registrants. I feel confident giving to a cause supported by such respected colleagues as Frank Schilling, Nat Cohen, and Mike Berkens.”

      Alex Lerman

      “I support the ICA because the ICA helps protect my livelihood.

      Over time I have come to realize that my rights to the domains I own and the business I built on these domains is not built on as solid a foundation as I originally thought. ICANN sets the rules for owning domains, and they can, and do, change those rules. If domain owners don’t engage with ICANN to help shape the future of our industry, then we have no one but ourselves to blame if our businesses are harmed due to bad policies coming out of ICANN.

      ICA has been effective in preventing damaging policies from seeing the light of day. It advocates on behalf on businesses in the domain industry at ICANN, before Congress, through the judicial system and in the media. I fully believe that our industry would be in much worse shape today were it not for the efforts of Phil Corwin and the ICA. We all benefit from the work of the ICA and I am glad to give it my support.”

      Nat Cohen
      President
      Telepathy, Inc.

      —-

      “We joined the ICA because we firmly believe in protecting the rights of domain registrants. Whether you own one domain or thousands of domains, you deserve to have your rights as a domain owner respected and protected. We live in a world where there are a number of well-funded, well-connected stakeholder groups with a lot of influence who don’t always understand or value individual domain registrant rights. Despite sometimes even the best of intentions on their part, these stakeholder groups can and will trample all over you and your domains. The only organization that is actively watching out and fighting for the best interests of domain owners is the ICA. If you want to protect your valuable domain assets now and in the future, you should seriously consider joining the ICA.”

      Bill Sweetman, Vice President, Domain Portfolio, Tucows

      “I joined the ICA because us domainers need an advocate to battle for us when the time comes and that time is constant.

      We need someone who understands ICANN policies and can help shape them to protect our rights as domain owners.

      Most domain owners don’t think they need the help of the ICA until that day comes when they find themselves in a costly lawsuit wondering why their generic domain is at risk of being lost to some bully.

      Join the ICA so we can keep laws and policies in our favor and not in favor of bullies and thieves.”

      Chad Wright
      WebQuest

      “Sedo.com joined the Internet Commerce Association as a founding member in 2006 because we felt that a thriving, active marketplace for domains could only exist if the web was operated under a transparent and predictable set of rules that respected the rights and investments made by domain registrants. Protecting the due process rights of registrants protects the foundation of an open market where domains can be bought and sold between responsible owners. Fighting to establish clear and predictable rules that apply fairly to all stakeholders on the web is a fundamental part of the ICA’s mission and something Sedo proudly supports. But it takes a grassroots effort to create and sustain change, and the ICA needs your support to keep working on your behalf.”

      Jeremiah Johnston
      Sedo

      —-

      “Oversee.net is proud to be a founding member of the ICA, educating constituencies about the value that the domain name industry brings to the Internet ecosystem. Responsible domain investors and service providers help protect the foundation of an open market, establishing and sharing e-commerce best practices. The benefits of supporting the ICA should not be underestimated. Our collective voice needs to be heard as policies and laws are considered which affect our livelihood and free enterprise in America. ICA is that voice.”

      Todd Greene
      Chief Legal Officer
      Oversee.net

      April 3rd, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Francois

    Here you tell me who are the members.

    My question is who run this association, who is responsable?

    Who run the site? Who decide? Who….

    April 3rd, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      Nat Cohen

      Francois,

      The ICA is run by the board, each of whom gets a vote. Most matters, however, are decided by consensus and no vote is needed.

      Each major contributor receives a board seat. There is also a board seat allocated to the smaller contributors as a group. I am their representative on the board.

      Thank you for including the ICA’s site on Domaining.com and for helping spread awareness of the ICA’s activities throughout the domain community.

      Nat

      April 4th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Chad Wright

    I’ve been a full time domainer for 13 years and just started supporting the ICA, financially, about 3 years ago.

    One of the best choices I have ever made as a domainer.

    Thanks to Phil Corwin and the ICA team for all the work you put in. Much appreciated!

    April 4th, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Middle Tear Domainer

    Francois brings up so many valid points and I keep going back and forth on this with support. The mindset of a middle tear domainer. Chad is a big domainer, awesome portfolio. Nat, A lot of other people.

    I always have thought ICA is very disorganized and a cluster fuck some. Where are the big domainers and there donations? Big companies and whats the break down by there millions they make?

    I dont mean to sound harsh, but I am still not convinced on things.. Until I see an improvement in the organization, I am on the sidelines.

    I have a lot of respect with Nat, done a deal for him. Great guy. But the flip side is until I see a clear picture of ICA still observing. 500 donation, or 50 bucks. I also have my personal challenges and in growing in the domain space.

    April 4th, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Chad Wright

    >>Where are the big domainers and there donations?<<

    There are several big domainers making large contributions behind the scenes.

    You don't hear about it because they aren't looking for a pat on the back, just trying to protect the industry they make a living from.

    April 4th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    middle tear domainer

    @Chad

    Understand where that is coming from. I’m looking at confirmation on things.

    If the domain industry sees behind the scenes ica would be a lot better off as well.

    Confirmation on things. Facts. No bullshit. No hidden agendas. No rumors. Just like dnjournal and reported documented sales.

    Until I see facts its all noise. Don’t think its about pat on the back approach in my eyes.

    But in the meantime until I see facts and an organized organization I will be donating my hard earned money to other causes.

    Don’t mean to sound harsh. But ica needs to be revamped in a major way. convince me. No fan boy shit. No cheerleader shit.

    Just facts. Ica needs 100 nat Cohen involved. Revamp image. Facts. No behind the scenes chatter or be part of VIP who u know bragging rights.

    Convince me. I just came off a large sale. Ready cut a check out today. But nothing I see has me convinced. Simple as that.

    April 4th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      Nat Cohen

      If you’d like to talk, I’d be happy to talk with you.

      I don’t think there are any hidden agendas. It is simply Phil Corwin engaging in policy issues at ICANN, before Congress, in the legal system, and in the press to try to fight back policies that hurt our industry and to advocate for policies that help protect the rights of domain owners.

      ICA’s activities are publicly available at internetcommerce.org.

      April 4th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Nat Cohen

      BTW, the ICA’s members and supporters are currently paying for Phil Corwin to attend the ICANN meeting in Beijing. It’s an important meeting where a lot of issues involving trademark protections for new gTLDs are on the table.

      These include issues around implementing the URS and the new Trademark Clearing House. ICANN recently announced that trademark holders would not only be able to protect their trademarks but 50 variations of their trademarks as well. This opens up a worrying expansion of trademark rights, and could be potentially damaging to domain owners.

      Phil’s comments on this issue are here:

      http://internetcommerce.org/ICANN_Amnesia

      Phil also wrote a very effective letter to the Department of Commerce in support of limiting Verisign’s ability to increase dot-com prices. While it didn’t single-handedly result in the DOC’s decision to cap further price increases, it did get the DOC’s attention and appeared to factor into their decision.

      http://internetcommerce.org/SlashDotComPricing

      These are just a couple of examples of the ways that the ICA, though supported by only a few, is benefiting all members of the domain industry.

      We’d welcome more support.

      April 4th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    middle tear domainer

    Great. Thanks Nat.

    Email sent to you. Let’s talk tomorrow and looking forward to it.

    Sorry sound a bit harsh.

    April 4th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Andee Hill

    I will be at DomainingSpain at the end of April and TRAFFIC in May. I would be happy to set up a meeting with any current members of the ICA and anyone that is interested in learning more about the organization.

    Please let me know if you are interested and I will schedule a meeting time at each of the events.

    April 4th, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Bill Sweetman

    My two cents, after watching this thread for a while:

    The domain investing industry, as wonderful and exciting as it is, is pretty small compared to other industries and consists of a relatively small number of individuals, companies, and related service providers. It is very easy for our eclectic little group of domain enthusiasts to be outgunned by deep-pocketed interests from other industry groups who don’t know or care about domain investors and have no qualms about crushing our industry. Remember, most people wrongly equate domainers with cybersquatters.

    Not to sound alarmist, but many of the *basic* things that you take for granted, such as the right to own lots of domains, park (or lease) a domain, even just re-sell a domain name, are all things that could disappear in the coming years if some of the more extreme ‘anti-domainer’ and ‘anti-commercial’ forces out there get their way. I am not kidding here.

    The only organization that is actively monitoring ICANN and various government entities on behalf of domain investors is the ICA. And not just monitoring, either. Phil Corwin is right there, in the trenches so to speak, often the only person speaking up when a policy or rule is proposed that is not in the best interest of domainers as well as everyday domain owners. Phil is a tireless crusader for domain investors and we are all very lucky to have him on our side.

    If you make a living buying and selling domain names, and you want to continue to enjoy the unique domainer lifestyle, I strongly encourage you to consider supporting the ICA. No amount is too small, and you can donate right on the ICA Website at http://internetcommerce.org/donate

    There is no other, and no better, organization out there fighting for your rights as a domainer. But ICA can’t continue doing so without your support.

    Thanks for listening.

    Bill Sweetman (ICA Board Member)

    April 4th, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Gregg McNair

    Many years ago we became aware of the formidable forces pitted against domain owners and we joined ICA and have supported and extolled the value of membership since then.

    Like every industry association ICA is not perfect, but I can personally vouch for the dedication of the board and especially that of Phil Corwin who goes the extra mile in an effort to protect the livelihoods of all domain owners. Every dollar contributed is accounted for and we get good value all the way! No egos or vested interests are promoted … except that of protecting our domain assets.

    Regrettably not all who today benefit from ICA contribute to the cost of that work … even more sad is the fact that many do not appreciate it and some choose to criticize often without understanding the great work ICA does.

    Its high time that we all recognise the increasing seriousness of the threats and the fact that no other body at all is doing anything at all for us and that ICA is making a real difference. It’s time to help out …please
    ggg

    April 4th, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Francois

    You still not tell me who replace the sedo guy who use to be the boss and who care of the web site and who is the person who collect money and dispatch it? Is Phil Corwin the person who handle all this now? i doubt…

    April 4th, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Nat Cohen

      Francois,

      The ICA doesn’t have a ‘boss’ and never did. Sedo’s representative served as a volunteer President, which is largely an administrative role coordinating the ICA’s activities and soliciting input from the membership on which issues to tackle. We currently don’t have anyone serving in the President’s role. As I mentioned before, the ICA usually works on consensus. Board members each have a vote if we need a vote to decide a matter, which we rarely do.

      Escrow.com is now serving as the ICA treasurer. We have requested volunteers to help us with the web site in the past if we need to make changes to it, which does not happen often as the website is mainly used by Phil to post updates on the ICA’s activities. We are keeping administrative costs to a minimum so that we can focus our resources on Phil’s lobbying efforts.

      Thanks for your questions,

      Nat

      April 5th, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Middle Tear Domainer

    Had a great talk with Nat and a better understanding of ICA and its really scary what could be happening off our generic domains.

    I going be donating to the ICA and feel I have too. Wish other domainers will be joining as well.

    Thanks in the talk Nat, now is the time for other domainers to steep in and help. 50 bucks, 500 bucks. Any help will help us all out. This is coming from a middle tear domainer who is abl(always be learning) and I am protecting my investment. Passion on domains and I will be around for many years to come. Its cost of doing business and if laws get in place, imagine your domains being stolen off you. Taken away.

    So many cases. Pure geo.com domains gone. Being bullied around. We need ICA and I will support Phil. The cause.

    Now is the time for every domainer, big or small to step in and help protect our investments. Our assets. Our rights to names. Simple as that and ICA. Tell these bullies and after our assets to go fuck themselves as well. Not right!

    Go ICA now lets get more members to join!

    April 5th, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Nat Cohen

      Thanks for taking the time to talk, and for caring enough to want to learn more.

      I learned a lot from our call, as you raised questions that may be questions that other domainers have as well.

      You asked, for instance, how many paid staff the ICA has. The answer is one – Phil Corwin. Everyone else volunteers their time despite all of us having demanding jobs and businesses to run.

      All the funds raised go to supporting the lobbying efforts and some incidental expenses that go along with that.

      These are dollars coming out of my pocket and others. I’m not happy that I feel the need to contribute money to support the ICA. But after fighting many UDRPs and a few court cases to protect the rights to my domains, and after seeing many of the policies that are being proposed at ICANN to make it even easier to take our domains away, I know I need to pay now or pay later. And if I pay later, the tab is going to be much higher if valuable domains are lost, or if the volume of abusive UDRP complaints increases.

      There are a lot of battles being fought on many fronts to protect the rights to our domains. The time to fight those battles is now, not after the battles are lost, along with our domains.

      April 5th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    craig

    Count me IN!!!

    April 5th, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Francois

    Nat,

    It has been long you decide to respond to my initial question but it’s done… Thanks!

    My personal thoughts on how to improve ICA:

    a) I will stop to categorize members like platinum, regulars, … it’s maybe unfair.
    Because when a domainer makes less than $2K/year domaining (and it’s the majority) and gives $100 to ICA then he’s giving 5% of his benefice, the percentage is probably more than any of these platinum members.
    What I will do is ask if the member want to be listed in the donator list, in this case he should accept his annual donation be also displayed in front his name, this way everyone could really appreciate the effort each member is doing.

    b) I will also list persons or companies who help with their time or skills:
    The web designer who maintain the site, a graphist wo created this year a free nice logo, this one who organized an auction where profit goes for the association, …

    c) The association needs at minimum one responsable, call it as you want: boss, president, director, …
    To which one can dicuss to bring ideas, propose changes , offer his help, … if there is no representative?

    d) What I see for years in Domaining.com is when bloggers talk about ICA theree is a lack of interest from our audience (+95% are domainers).
    To try to help a little I force the inclusion in our newsletter of these headlines but even if it generates more exposure you cannot force people to read what he doesn’t want.
    My feeling is this come to the fact these themes are often put on the table in a writting style that is too “techie” so difficult to understand to not say annoying!
    The attorney employed by the association is certainly doing a good job but as an attorney it’s extremelly difficult to understand when he blogs…
    It’s critical the association get the help of someone with better communication skills to inform about the problems and what the association is doing to try to resolve them.
    In a side note, I liked a lot in this thread how Bill Sweetman found the words to introduce ICA in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

    If the association find a “boss” and list members for the money/help provided in a fair way then I am sure they will wake up vocations.
    And they should quickly find people with communication skills willing to communicate about and for the association.

    April 6th, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Nat Cohen

      Hi Francois,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

      I agree with you that the ICA needs to do a better job communicating to the domain community about what we are doing and how we are doing it.

      This guest post, and others that will follow, is one way we are trying to do this outreach.

      I also agree with you that Bill Sweetman made an excellent comment that clearly states the ICA’s purpose and the need to support the ICA. We’d liked it so much that it is now its own guest post on TheDomains.com!

      We would be happy to publish a list of contributors to the ICA on the ICA website – if we first had permission from each contributor to do so. We would also like to recognize people who help with the time and talents and offer supporting services – such as Domaining.com. I will follow up with other members of the ICA to see how we can best make this happen, as we don’t have a webmaster on staff.

      Thanks,

      Nat

      April 6th, 2013 at 9:33 am

    owen frager

    “SEO Manipulated Search Engines know the power of Pure Play Generics and the role they are increasingly taking in ruining their party.”

    The only power that matters is that which we all hold in our two hands. All you need to do is go to the ICA website hit a button marked PayPal and donate as little as $5 or $10. You won’t get cancer, you won’t go without food or shelter or medicine and maybe together we can make a difference instead of just a bunch of noise.

    April 6th, 2013 at 9:45 pm

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