Considering a Membership in Domain Name Association

The DNAThe Domain Name Association (DNA) is described as a “new non-profit global business association that represents the interests of the domain name industry.” Major companies like Demand Media, Donuts, GoDaddy, Google, and Amazon are listed as members of the DNA. I think it’s great that a major trade organization exists to promote domain names and the domain name industry.

The mission statement of the organization seems to be fairly broad:

Promote the interest of the domain name industry by advocating the use, adoption, and expansion of domain names as the primary tool for users to navigate the Internet.

Our first priority is to educate Internet users around the world about the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that will be released through ICANN’s New gTLD Program. The Internet landscape is changing, and research shows that Internet users are unaware of these changes and may be confused by new gTLDs. We are working together to develop educational resources and campaigns to prepare users for these changes and support the success of these new top-level domains.

I am considering signing up for a membership in the DNA, and as a domain name investor, I am curious how a membership in this organization will benefit or assist my domain investment and monetization business.  It seems like the main focus of the DNA is on the new gTLD domain names rather than the existing extensions, and domain name investors are probably more interested in currently used TLDs rather than the new TLDs (although that focus may change over time).

It’s nice to see an organization that wants to help promote domain names, especially one that counts some of the largest companies in the space as members. I hope the DNA will let domain name investors know how it supports our rights to own domain portfolios as investments and how the DNA sees domain investors in the domain name ecosystem.

There are a number of issues domain investors face, and I’d like to know how it will support domain investors before I write a check.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. On the surface it sounds like big businesses wanting to control the direction of the domain industry instead of helping out in any way.

  2. Careful.

    Whenever a new advocacy group pops up, I always recall the “American Hunters and Shooters Association” that was founded as a front group with a swell sounding name, solely to provide ‘credible sounding’ endorsements to anti gun rights candidates in swing states where that’s a major voting issue. Deep in the fine print, they were advancing an agenda very incongruous with their name. They weren’t even a ‘group’ really as much as a they were a ‘political tactic’ with a PO Box.

    A “domain name association” founded by interests exterior to the domain name speculation community may not share the same values. Or maybe they do.

  3. Their statement on their website says –

    “The Domain Name Association aims to play a key role in helping consumers, business, public-benefit organisations, and others understand the benefits and take advantage of the upcoming expansion of the Internet name space.”

    This seems like an organization that represents a handful of the largest gTLD proponents who have a financial self interest in promoting the new gTLD.


  4. The DNA is a weird one. Its mission (my emphasis) is to promote “the use, adoption, and expansion of domain names as *the primary tool* for users to navigate the Internet” and yet it was kickstarted by Google and counts Google as a founder member. There’s no way that mission statement can be consistent with Google’s goals.

  5. Elliot,

    Although .CLUB did initially join DNA for the purpose of promoting the new gTLDs, I quickly learned that all top level domains including “.com” need an organization (independent of ICANN) to promote this industry. Domains like .CLUB, .WIKI, and others compliment domains like .COM. Yet many companies in the industry see domains as a cost and fail to see the benefits of them.

    I believe DNA can help to educate the market the benefits of using domains.


  6. Elliot

    As you know I’m a member of the ICA to the tune of $10K per year.

    As you know I’m a partner in which is a founding member of DNA.

    Although they are both trade organizations in the same industry you might think they have the same mission statement but they don’t.

    So the short answer is the DNA represents the entire domain industry but not the rights of the registrants.

    The ICA pretty much only represents the domain holders rights.

    As a member of both, knowing you and your business you would be better off as a member of the ICA.

  7. I laugh every time someone says their objective is to promote the domain industry, DON’T believe a word of it, There is ALWAYS a much bigger motive and it usually amounts to a heap of money going into their own pockets.

    These people are Magicians, they draw your attention to one hand while robbing you with the other.. No different than a politician as L pointed out.

  8. I think DNA already knows GTLD’s will EVENTUALLY flop, The longer they can keep a TLD alive the more money their going to earn, it’s a numbers game to the investors, the money they invested to approve a GTLD is a fraction of what their going to earn on their return, and the majority of revenue won’t be coming from end users, it will come from idiot domainers like us who over pay and sell amongst each other. Sure end users WILL register GTLD’s, (many of which will be small businesses that don’t require a large web presence) but the number of registrations will pale in comparison to what resellers register, History has proven it time and time again and that’s what investors are banking on.

    Some domain “experts” with deep pockets and high testosterone levels have already announced they will invest in a 100 or more GTLD’s, these fools would speculate on their own mothers name if given the chance, Come to think of it I’m willing to bet they already did with .name.

  9. “I think it’s great that a major trade organization exists to promote domain names and the domain name industry.”

    Come on, I just stopped my reading here.

    They exist to promote Google’s interests, nothing more. Of course they will have a good return for this, but they are only Google’s friends/slaves

  10. Like I said its to promote every business inside the domain space except for registrants.

    So registries, registrars, new gTLD operators, ccTLD operators, trademark holders

    Part of that is getting John Q. Public to understand what a new gTLD is how to use them, but the organization is more than just about new gTLD’s but is not the right organization for domain registrants worrying about UDRP reform and their rights

    Its a trade organization like almost every industry has which is to promote their business interests Big Founders which will get the Board seats include Google, Donuts, Demand Media, Aus Registry, Fariwinds, we are just supporting members at You should also know that unlike the ICA you have to be allowed to join the DNA its not opened to anyone with a checkbook

    • Mr. Berkens, you make it sound so much worse than it initially seemed.

      So you are saying you have a closed off, elite group in which you have to apply to be a member of, who’s goal is to push the industry interests but not registrant’s interests (By the way, you can’t separate the two. They are inherently fused together), and who’s focus is to push the new TLDs, plus some other unclear and undefined interests?

      I’m sorry but I’m not buying into any of your explanation of the group’s purpose.

  11. (By the way, you can’t separate the two. They are inherently fused together)

    At the very least, domain registrants are “owners” or “renters” of domain names. Individual consumers, small businesses, Fortune 500 corporations, even non-profits can be registrants.

    If one only considers one of those groups (like individual consumers) as registrants, then perhaps that’s why one can’t “separate the two”.

    Even if one doesn’t maybe appreciate Mike B’s explanation, at least it honestly clarified the different interests between DNA and ICA.

    (And nope, I’m not with either one or anyone. Standard disclaimer applies, he he.)


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