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Email to My Domain Partners

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I am in the process of reaching out to the companies with whom I do the most business. I am thinking about only doing business with companies who are members of the Internet Commerce Association. Is this a drastic measure? Perhaps, but if we don’t stand up for our rights, do you think anyone else will?
This is the email I am sending to my partners:
“Is xxxxxx a member of the Internet Commerce Association? The recent Anti Phishing Act proposal has some scary language for domain investors, and I think the ICA is our best chance at making sure it isn’t passed as is. I am toying with only doing business with members of the ICA. Please let me know if xxxxxxxx is a member of the ICA, and if not, when they might become a member.
Thanks,
Elliot”

Domain Auction for ICA

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I am auctioning PuertoRicanVacation.com on my blog with ALL funds going to the ICA. Highest bid submitted to my blog by this coming Wednesday, March 5th at 3pm EST will get the name. Bidding will start at $1.00 and there will be $10 increments. Buyer will send payment to me and I will send funds to ICA.
Some recent sales:
CanadianVacation.com – $4,126
CaribbeanVacations.com – $130,000
EuropeanVacations.com – $85,000
IrelandVacations.com – $17,250
AustraliaVacations.com – $16,000
AsianVacations.com – $15,000
BudgetVacations.com – $10,300
CanadaVacations.com – $9,600

ICA Response to APCPA

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I am in Florida for an extended weekend and a meeting, but I wanted to post a couple of links for you to see while I am away.
From DNJournal:

There are parties searching for a way to change laws so they can more easily take domain assets they have no right to away from their current owners. The easiest way to do that is to get language favoring their agenda slipped into an otherwise well-intentioned bill like this that would normally sail through the legislative process with little scrutiny. The dangerous language gets inserted in such a bill through lobbying efforts by people who want to remove current barriers that keep them from grabbing domains they are not entitled to. Combating this sort of legislative sleight of hand is exactly why the Internet Commerce Association was formed and why we think it is critical for domain owners to support the organization. Your very livelihood could be at stake in the legal battles over your assets that are just now getting underway.

Also, Mike Berkens posted the ICA response to the proposed Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008. As stated above, the language in the Act could pose a very serious and very real threat to the health of the domain industry. I am not one for blowing smoke or taking political action, but this is something we should all take seriously.
Whether you have great generic domain names or average domain names it doesn’t matter. If super generic domain names become a target – as many people believe will happen if this bill is passed as is – the value of all domain names will drop significantly due to the risk of owning them. The problem I see is that this language is lumped into a consumer and election-friendly bill that will surely be passed. Who doesn’t want to stop phishing? HOWEVER, we need to make sure this bill is changed before it is passed. We need to protect our assets. If some of the big chips fall, you better believe this will impact your business (assuming you own domain names).
I am a Professional Member of the ICA and I will continue to give what I can. I am still selling my two Australian beach domain names with the $5,000 margin going entirely to the ICA from the buyer (who can get a deduction for it). No matter whether you can contribute $100 or $25,000, you need to join the ICA and help protect your domain ownership rights.

Wire: Threats to the Domain Industry

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This morning’s article in Domain Name Wire is an important read for anyone who has money invested in domain names. There are many serious threats to our industry, and if we don’t take some sort of action, the threats could be detrimental to the survival of this industry. When significant money is being made in an industry, there will always be outsiders who want to get their hands on some of the money, and if we don’t get together as an industry, it will be much easier for them to do it.
On a personal note, I am a Professional Member of the Internet Commerce Association, and I encourage everyone with the financial means to join at a level that is comfortable. I’ve met Michael Collins, the Director of the ICA, and I know he is working tirelessly to help protect the industry. The sooner we band together and protect our assets, the better it will be for everyone in the industry.

Domain for Sale: All Proceeds Benefit ICA

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Extracurriculars.com is for sale with all proceeds going to the ICA. A Buy it Now price has not been set, so please make offers in the comment section of this thread or send me an email. The highest offer received by 8pm EST today will get the name.

The term “extracurriculars” has 343,000 references in Google.

The domain name is registered at Moniker.

CADNA Responds to ICA’s Code

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CADNA Responds to ICA’s Adoption of a Member Code of Conduct

The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), a non-profit association created to stop various domain name abuses, has responded to the Internet Commerce Association’s (ICA) 8 point member Code of Conduct. The code was created to promote industry best practices to all domain owners in order to maintain ethical business practices. CADNA is most concerned with the points related to infringement upon other companies’ trademarks, as their membership is comprised of some of the largest companies in the world, including, AIG, Dell, Marriott, Yahoo, Verizon, and several others.

CADNA’s response includes three additions to help enhance the code of conduct. Their suggestions include:

“First, ICA members should oppose domain name tasting (not just kiting), and using a third party’s brand, or other trademark misuses, without permission. Such actions should be avoided altogether, even if the name is registered for less than five days.Secondly, ICA members will not monetize (serve ads) on behalf of their third party customers’ domains that infringe upon brand names without explicit permission of the trademark holder. This commitment includes agreeing not to register domains that are confusingly similar to brands.

Lastly, ICA members who are registrars will not taste domain names themselves, and they will not wait for ICANN to establish a policy to uphold their fiduciary obligations to the public.”(Source: CADNA Press Release)

As a Professional Member of the ICA, I agree with all of their points. In the past, I bought non-infringing names before dropping them within the 5 days, but that wasn’t to test traffic. I did it when I first started in the business to try and take a $7 registration to flip it for $25 a couple of days later. I don’t think this is particularly harmful, but since many people use the loophole to quickly test traffic on potential trademark names, I don’t see the harm in closing it.

I don’t believe a domain owner should have the right to own a clear and undisputed trademark domain name. In my opinion, nobody except Verizon has the right to own a domain name like VerizonMobilePhones.com except for Verizon.

The most difficult situation is determining when a domain name clearly infringes upon someone else’s trademark. Just because a domain name happens to have the letters “aig” and “insurance” in them, doesn’t necessarily mean it is infringing on AIG’s brand trademark. For example, AIGInsurance.com would clearly be an infringing domain name; however, PaigeInsurance.com, a NH-based insurance company run by the Paige Family, would not infringe simply because it has “aig” and “insurance” in its domain name.

One point of interest related to this press release is the lack of actual press it seems to have received. When CADNA was created a couple of months ago, I read news articles everywhere. My Google Reader sent me PR notices from tens of news outlets throughout the world. For this press release, I didn’t hear about it until 4 days after the release, and had someone not posted it in one of the forums, I wouldn’t have seen it at all (Thanks to Josh Melamed for posting it on Rick’s Forum!)

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