The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) recently developed and announced a Voluntary ICA Broker Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is a voluntary set of guidelines created with the input of ICA members to help establish best practices for professional conduct expected from domain brokers.
Yesterday afternoon, the ICA invited domain name brokers, who are Bronze-level members or higher, to commit to abide by the Voluntary Broker Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct covers topics like working with a client’s best interests in mind, using a brokerage agreement that lists all terms and fees, disclosing any conflicts of interests, and quite a few other expectations and best practices that professional domain brokers should maintain.
Brokers who make this commitment will be sent the badge above to display on their website, email signature, or ICA profile. Brokers who agree to abide by the Code of Conduct are not required to display the badge, but they will be given the option to do so.
Notably, there isn’t an investigative or enforcement process to ensure brokers abide by the Code of Conduct. The ICA has a set of terms and conditions brokers must agree to and sign in order to participate in this program. I presume the ICA can revoke its permission to display the badge if the organization learns a broker is not abiding by the Code of Conduct.
The ICA will evaluate the program’s performance and gauge members’ interest over time, determining whether to expand it, perhaps by exploring the feasibility and desirability of incorporating enforcement mechanisms in the future, revise it, or cancel it.
I think this is a good incentive for domain brokers to pledge to adhere to the Code of Conduct. While some people may express concern that a broker could display the badge while violating the ICA’s Code, I hope the risk of shame by being called out by the ICA or its members for violating the Code would be enough to prevent abuse of this.