I recently received an email from Nat Cohen that is worth sharing with my readers.
Thank you for using NeusNews.com to help spread the word about this scary new trend in UDRP decisions.
Now CADNA is calling for the UDRP language to be changed to eliminate the registration in bad faith requirement entirely (http://www.thedomains.com/2013/11/11/fairwinds-time-for-udrp-reform-to-change-bad-faith-requirement-from-registration-date-to-renewals/). We certainly have a battle on our hands.
Danny cited a comment that you made about the ICA needing to open up to smaller investors. As you know, I am a board member of the ICA and am looking to the ICA as the best means to fight these battles on behalf of the domain industry.
The perception that the ICA is closed to small investors is, I think, based on outdated information.
A contribution of as little as $1000 per year will earn you an ICA Supporter designation and web badge, as well as participation in the ICA internal mailing list where Phil Corwin gives us advance notice of ICANN and legislative issues that we need to be aware of, and where ICA policies and positions are discussed. The benefits of participating in the mailing list can be worth $1000 alone.
Details on contribution levels are at: http://internetcommerce.org/donate
Full membership starts at $5000. Donations of any amount can be made via PayPal. At as little as $500, the contributor is entitled to place an ICA Donor web badge on their site.
We certainly want to include as many small investors in the ICA as possible.
A few years ago the ICA eliminated the executive director position to cut operating overhead. We are entirely volunteer run.
For a few years, the ICA relied on those who were willing to step up with sizable contributions, without needing any hand-holding or marketing efforts. Simply those who saw the need and stepped up to fill it.
A couple of years ago, we made the decision to open up the membership to smaller investors. We still have no executive director. The challenge in opening up the memberships is that it risks putting the burden of providing support to our membership on our already overburdened volunteer board members. We appreciate that our new members recognize that the ICA is fighting for the domain industry as a whole and aren’t requesting special treatment.
My personal goal is to have 100 domain investors as supporters at an annual contribution level of $1000 each. This will put the ICA on a stable financial footing where we would not be overly dependent on any one contributor.
My reasons for supporting the ICA are in a guest blog post here- http://www.domaininvesting.com/nat-cohen-support-the-ica/ There is a lengthy back and forth in the comments that addresses many of the concerns and questions that people have about the ICA.
I’m happy to discuss this further and would welcome your feedback.
The Neu Facebook
Dear Mr. Neu,
Your reference to CADNA in the above blog post is incorrect.
CADNA has not advocated for or against any type of UDRP language change.
Your correspondent appears to be referring to a blog post produced by Internet consultancy FairWinds Partners. Please read the original post at domainnamestrategy.com. You will see that it invites an open debate on various interpretations of UDRP language exemplified by the Big5.com decision. Thank you.
Dear Mr. Neu,
The above blog post regarding a change in UDRP language is incorrect.
CADNA has not advocated for or against any type of UDRP language change.
You appear to be referring to a blog post produced by Internet consultancy FairWinds Partners. Please read the original post at domainnamestrategy.com. You will see that it invites an open debate on various interpretations of UDRP language exemplified by the Big5.com decision.
I’m paying $75 a year for DNF membership, I could pay $100 a year for ICA, but not $1,000. And I could use an ICA badge on my domain showcasing website.
I believe ICA needs to have several members, if they want to have a strong voice.
Sorry, Nat, but $1,000.00 is not such a small amount of money for small businesses, and $5,000.00 to become a full member is just a ridiculous proposal. It suggests the ICA is only for wealthier investors.
I would refuse to contribute to any organization that sets up a tiered membership structure that excludes so many people with such a pricing platform.
What Phil Corwin does is nothing short of miraculous, given the exhorbitant time it takes to remain actively aware of all the elements that impact domain investments.
Further, it blows my mind that so many board members of ICA honestly think there’s no problem with the existing price structure. Did it every occur to you that an Exec could be hired if you opened membership (not just contributions, mind you) to more people.
And I’ve got more news for you: If I contribute so much as $1.00 to the ICA, I can tell people I’m a contributor. I don’t need permission from anyone to do that, and I certainly would challenge anyone on the ICA’s board to object to that, regardless of whether I choose to display the ICA badge.
This is more serious an issue for small investors than you realize. You’re saying we have to have big money to have a voice. Frankly, I find that offensive.
Thanks for taking the time to discuss the ICA with me this morning. It was helpful to me to hear your perspective that the ICA is excluding smaller investors with its membership structure.
As we both agreed, the ICA works for the benefit of all domain owners – large and small. Anyone who owns a domain, especially as an investment, benefits from the work that the ICA does.
Also anyone can contribute to the ICA, in any amount they choose. The membership structure is not set up to exclude anyone.
It is not like the ICA is some secret, exclusive club and we’re having fabulous parties and we want to exclude smaller domain investors from the party. In fact it is the opposite. The members of the ICA receive very little in tangible benefit from belonging. Instead we are carrying the financial burden for the whole domain industry. We support the ICA not because we are receiving some special benefits but because we feel it is a worthwhile investment to protect our livelihood and preserve the value of our investment into the future.
I think your comment that it is offensive that “we have to have big money to have a voice” is misguided. The fact is that it takes six-figures each year to do what the ICA does and that money has to come from somewhere. The reality for the domain industry as a whole is that it takes big money for the domain industry to have a voice.
The ICA is more like your public radio station than an exclusive club. As I said there is very little tangible benefit to joining. Supporters and members join because they like what the ICA is doing and they want to help the effort.
The $1000 level is, as you mentioned in our conversation, more like a ‘suggested contribution’. Any amount is welcome. If you make a $1000 contribution you get on our mailing list and you can put a web badge on your site saying that you are a supporter. Setting $1000 as the suggested contribution, and offering these relatively modest benefits in return, does not in my view make the ICA a voice only for those with big money.
We need to separate two issues. Who benefits from the ICA and who provides the financial resources to the ICA.
Every domain investor benefits from the ICA. Yet very few contribute to the ICA.
As a board member for the ICA, I feel pressure to ensure that the ICA remains fully funded each year.
You and I discussed making the membership level $100 or $250. We tried that in the past and we got very little response. That’s why I recommended setting $1000 as the suggested contribution level – the level where we offer whatever small benefits we can.
Doesn’t it make sense that the ICA should seek support from those who benefit most from its activities?
If you make the majority of your livelihood from the domain industry, and if you are pulling in high five-figures or more, then you are someone who is enjoying the benefits of the work that the ICA does to protect your livelihood. The lobbying work that the ICA does on the URS, on the UDRP, on trademark rules for the new gTLD, on successfully advocating that Verisign can’t increase prices on .com domains for the next several years, and so on — all these are issues that hit a domainer’s bottom line.
If you are one of those who are enjoying success in the domain industry, in part because of the work of the ICA, then it may be worth $1000 per year to support the ICA.
I think there are plenty of people who fit into that category. We only need 100 of them to step up with support.
As we discussed, I’d rather have 400 supporters at the $250 level, and I’d be happy then to make $250 the suggested contribution level. Or 1000 supporters at the $100 level. But most people in the domain industry are much better at coming up with excuses for not financially supporting the work of the ICA, then they are at actually making a contribution to support the organization that is working to help them.
So until there is a wave of contributions at the $250 level, I’ll likely continue to view the $1000 level as the sweet spot where those who have had some success in the domain industry would feel comfortable contributing.
By contributing to the ICA you are helping the domain industry have a voice in its future. A contribution of any amount would be gratefully appreciated.
No vote, no join.
It’s just that simple.
$1,000 is a lot of money for small investors.
Every domain owner should send ICA at least $100 annually. Phil Corwin is a Savior for domain investors. Domainers must send at least $100 to ICA or we might as well lay down and play dead.