I Have Very Little On the Line, So The Big Guys Can Foot The Bill

I just read Mike’s post about powerful DC politicians coming to a domain industry conference, and I’ve read quite a few posts he and others have written about supporting the ICA. I’ve also written posts imploring domain investors to support the ICA, in addition to contributing to the ICA.

From my own perspective, I think the general consensus amongst most people in the domain space (which I disagree with) is something along the lines of “I have very little on the line financially compared to others, so I will let the big guys foot the bill for protecting all of our interests.”

It seems that many domain investors aren’t doing this full time, and/or they think their holdings pale in comparison to larger companies. These larger companies, with so much more on the line, should use their vast assets to protect their own holdings and the holdings’ of others by default. I can see this side of the argument, although I don’t agree with it.

In my opinion, one of the wisest “investments” a domain investor can make is in the formation of a business entity to protect personal assets. In a poll I ran on my blog not too long ago, 41% of the people who read the article don’t even have a simple LLC to protect their own assets.

If people aren’t protecting their own assets, does anyone think they are going to financially support organizations or associations that supposedly support their interests?

I can imagine someone thinking that their $100 or $500 donation will result in no recognition or support, even if they need an assist with a UDRP or some other issue that might impact their holdings. Instead, the money will be spent on lobbying or something else that can’t be seen and can be difficult to quantify.

I know that Phil Corwin works hard for the ICA representing the interests of domain owners. I also know that others are working hard to protect domain investors’ interests behind the scenes, but the truth is that we are a very fractured industry. People don’t agree on the smallest things, and in most cases, it’s every person and company for itself.

I really don’t know what can be done to “unite” this industry to support even the most obvious of objectives.  What do you think?

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com 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. I just made a contribution to the election of Todd Rokita. I appreciate his coming to the Traffic conference to learn more about domain investing and to meet with domain investors. Under occupation, I put “domain name investor.”

  2. a few years ago when everyone was making all sorts of noise on the issue I gave either $500 or $1000 (honestly don’t remember). One thing that did stick out was the lack of updates or information about what the money did. And when it came time to ask me for the donation the next year – I got an auto email – nothing more.

    I like the cause but was underwhelmed on all fronts.

  3. *

    No voice, no money.

    It’s just that simple.

    ICA wanted my money but didn’t want to give me voting rights.

    Forget that. Others agreed with me.

    That’s why ICA pretty much shriveled up and died.


  4. The ICA is not dead from what I understand, but it’s not representing the whole industry since the whole industry was not supportive.

    I think a big issue was that it would have cost mid $xx,xxx to hire an administrator just to handle emails, questions, and communications, and that’s probably not the best use of its minimal funds as a small organization. Instead, the funds are used by the one person working at the ICA.

    In my opinion only, a big problem was that most of the small time contributors were the ones who needed the most hand holding, had the most questions, and caused the most issues, and it probably wasn’t feasible to communicate directly with them as much as they wanted/needed.

    The cost of communicating with them may have been more than they actually contributed… LOL.

    @ Ms Domainer

    What kind of voting rights did you think you deserved? What do you think you would have been voting on?

  5. I would gladly support something I believed would help. The issue I have is our ” heros ” having 10’s if not 100’s of milions on the line dont just handle it themself completely it speaks volumes as to the actual threat or lack of the ability to change. I am not saying the biggest guys should flip the whole bill for the industry, just that their inaction speaks volumes. And no Elliot $1000 is not action, when you have millions on the line you would glad cover the bulk for your own sake.

    As for why we are fragmented and why… Id comment but this is a PG blog.

  6. I think you are wrong Ms Domainer. I know a couple ICA board members and they’re more than willing to take a voice or two and listen. I think very few people voiced anything. Besides what exactly are you expecting to vote on ? Like most organizations, the ICA has a board that makes the calls but you sure do have a way to contact them and voice your concerns, imho . . OH and I hear ICA is far from dead. Some very hard working people are willing to keep it alive. Now go call them.

  7. My first comment on your blog.

    I am the one that had many conversations back and forth with Michael on his blog. I did polls on Namepros, Ms.Domainer had the same reply as everyone else. So don’t pick on her.

    Mike started off talking about “What is $400 or something like that.” For many that’s a lot.

    Secondly it makes sense to see where those making a million to tens of millions are putting up.

    If you are not protecting your multi million dollar enterprise then you expect a bunch of hobbyist to put up money ? Foolish IMO.

    The ICA good intention, but look who did not belong Godaddy for one. So the biggest registrar in the world is not apart ? Interesting.

    What about mega domainers like Igal Lichtman/Mrs Jello or a friend of mine Elequa.

    Plenty of other top registrars and parking companies are a no show.

    Now I suggested have a $20 option so you had numbers.
    Any politician wants to talk about big numbers not a few people who like to party in South Beach.

    Does anyone think Rokita or Stearns knows the background of Domainers supporting them. What if some own tm typos or adult domains ? When their opponent finds out and exploits it they will turn on the domain industry in a second.

    This industry starting at the top needs to clean itself up first.

    And as I wrote many times, we are not all on the same team. Would be nice but we are not and never will be. I have spoken to people who told me they would never be on the same team as Berkens because he owns adult names and that appalls them. I have spoken to people who feel Schilling and Ham own too many names, (again not my opinion) They believed in 1000 domain limit.

    So imo I think we will never see unity. This is not a team sport its not football, its golf. You versus the world. Again IMO

    • @ rh

      I am not picking on Ms. Domainer. This isn’t kindergarten. I am stating what I believe to be a fact, which is that the ICA has one employee (a highly regarded lawyer) who shouldn’t have been expected to spend his time replying to people whose contributions would have been less than the cost of his time. This is just my opinion on the subject. Since the organization is/was a lobbying group, I didn’t know what Ms Domainer thinks she would have voted on.

      BTW, glad to hear Thunayan is a mutual friend. He one of the nicer guys you’ll ever meet, and one of the most generous if you ever have the chance to get together with him in person.

      Regarding this comment “Does anyone think Rokita or Stearns knows the background of Domainers supporting them. ”

      I believe he and Chad are friends/acquaintances from way back, and I know that Chad is a good representative of our interests, especially with his company’s holdings.

      I also agree 100% that we aren’t on the same team and never would be. However, no matter how hard companies like Time Warner, Verizon, and Comcast battle, when it comes to telecom regulations, they sit on the same side of the table and support the same causes.

  8. I did not mean you were picking on bad use of the word. My point was many feel that way at the small domainer level.

    I am not just talking about Chad, I meant domain industry as a whole. You know how politicians get and if the other side somehow used “he supports domainers, who own tm’s and adult domains” I think they would do a 180 for political reasons. Not that Chad is not a good person.

  9. I also agree 100% that we aren’t on the same team and never would be. However, no matter how hard companies like Time Warner, Verizon, and Comcast battle, when it comes to telecom regulations, they sit on the same side of the table and support the same causes.

    That is a good point.

  10. Hey do not forget to call i want to finish our conversation
    We are trying to spread the word on dd
    Call me when you get a sec
    Lesson to all sometimes you meet people that you just do not like
    Every now and then you meet a person that you feel you know for a lifetime

  11. I agree 100% Elliot. The fact is people just aren’t going to contribute, while I have a decent amount of money invested in domains, they aren’t my bread and butter. Its up to the few that it is their bread and butter to take care of this. No one who isn’t making a good chunk is going to donate.

    I do appreciate all someone like Berkens does, but its just not going to happen, the other big boys and him should get together and fund this completely themselves if they want it done the right way.

  12. Elliot

    The other person on that Congressman’s panel was former Congressman Mike Ferguson who is now a lobbyist made is that a group needs to have membership as well as money.

    Having a group of the 10 companies half of which don’t even reside in the US is not going to gain much traction in Washington, certainly not anywhere as much as a group of 500 small businessman 95% which live in the US.

    Having said that, this is a 3 year battle for me, and lets face it 99% of domainers wouldn’t cough up $1K to spend 1/2 with the President of the United States.

  13. When I was in law school here in DC, I wrote to Phil asking about interning at the ICA. He said there was no money available, not even enough to cover my metro fees. He said to try back in a year.

    When I was ready to graduate, I wrote to Phil asking about possibly joining as his associate. Again, he said there was no money.

    My current job gives me a daily inside look into lobbying activities on the Hill. When it comes down to it, money is what matters here.

    Phil Corwin is a great lawyer, and an incredibly nice guy. However, he is one man who focuses on other areas of law.

    For the ICA, or a similar organization, to truly make an impact here, it needs to be a dedicated effort. That means it’s own office, with a full-time executive director and staff.


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