ICA Responds to Rick Schwartz Call for Action

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Earlier this morning, Rick Schwartz posted an “Emergency Industry Alert in the form of a tweet to generate awareness for a proposal from an ICANN Working Group that could be problematic for domain investors. In his tweet, Rick issued a call to action to the Internet Commerce Association (ICA):

After reading Rick’s tweet, I reached out to ICA General Counsel Zak Muscovitch, ICA board member Nat Cohen, and ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz to see if the ICA wanted to address Rick’s concern and share how the organization is going to take action. Zak responded to my email with a statement to share with readers:

We couldn’t agree more with Rick’s call to action to participate in important policy issues which directly affect domain name owners. He said “All hands on deck” and that “We have to be united with one voice!”.

These policy deliberations concerning URS and UDRP take place in the ICANN “Rights Protection Mechanisms” Working Group. The ICA is engaged in the Working Group on behalf of domain name registrants, but more help is needed. The majority of the active Working Group Members represent trademark owners and we need more registrant voices.

How do I join a Working Group (WG)?

Send an email to the GNSO Secretariat at gnso-secs@icann.org – specify if you want to join as a Member or as an Observer. As a Member, you will have full posting rights on the WG mailing list and will be able to participate on WG calls and at meetings. As an Observer, you will have read-only rights to the WG mailing list and will not be able to join or participate in WG calls or meetings. Members will have to fill in a Statement of Interest prior to joining the WG.

If you need assistance, contact ICA Executive Director, Kamila Sekiewicz or ICA General Counsel, Zak Muscovitch.

The referenced “Proposal 15” is one of about 33 various individual proposals on a wide variety of topics made by individual WG members. These do not have support of the Working Group as a whole and are in addition to 26 official proposals that are still the subject of deliberation by the community.

Any individual member of the WG has been free to make up their own proposal. The discussion underway now is whether any of these individual proposals have enough support of WG to publish for comment by the public in an interim report. Then the public comments and the whole Working Group must reach some degree of consensus for this and other proposals to be official recommendations of the WG. So far it does not appear that this particular individual proposal and many other individual proposals, including from domain name registrants, enjoy the support of the entire Working Group. We are therefore a very long way from this particular individual proposal and others, ever becoming ICANN policy.

Nevertheless, the involvement of domain name registrants is a key component to ensuring that ICANN policy isn’t harmful to legitimate domain name investors and registrants. ICANN policy making involves give and take, and compromise, in order to ensure that all stakeholder interests, including both intellectual property interests and registrant interests, are adequately and reasonably protected. The ICA works very hard at bridge building, consensus building, and compromise, including with Intellectual Property Interests, all the while responsibly and conscientiously representing domain name registrant rights. We look forward to continuing to work proactively and cooperatively with all ICANN stakeholders in ensuring that the URS and UDRP treats both trademark owners and registrants fairly.

For more information about joining the ICA, please go here: https://www.internetcommerce.org/join/. The ICA relies upon member support to enable it to continue representing domain name registrants. Please consider joining the ICA.

 

 

37 COMMENTS

  1. God bless you for reaching out.Time for all domain investors to join the working group if it doesnt cost anything or much.Better to protect our assets from people who are bent on stealing what does not belong to them to enrich their clients and their pockets first.

  2. Thanks Zak for rapid response!

    I want the ICA to succeed and be flushed with $$$.

    Here is the issue and it has always been the issue. But there is a chance to change that.

    Today I sent in my $145 for my NPPA membership. That’s the National Press Photographer’s Association that I’ve been a member of for nearly 40 years.

    They give me press credentials and negotiate all types of deals and discounts and perks and all types of stuff that makes $145 not a payment but a down payment on benefits that pays dividends.

    I’ve had my AAA card for 45 years. That cost me about $150 a year. But I get 10 times that back in benefits.

    The ICA needs to have benefits. Lots of benefits and lots of members.

    They need to learn how to market and make profit.

    It has to be run like a business not like a charity.

    You make profit by negotiating deals with suppliers that can only be found through the ICA. That gives people a reason to join. Without that you have no spark plug and that’s what the ICA and the industry needs to be effective and have a strong and wide voice.

    Like I said this is an opportunity but the ICA has the spearhead and lead it and I that is the roadmap.

    Zak’s timely statement is a great start!

    It’s also an opportunity for other companies that benefit from domain investors to step up and help protect their own customers. Some have their own legal departments. Their STRONG and VISIBLE support would be welcome.

    Let’s ROLL!!

  3. Many thanks, Rick! Agree we need more members, visability, and funding. Your suggestions are very helpful and I really appreciate your call to action and marketing ideas. When Rick speaks, I listen.

      • Isn’t protecting your domain names enough? It’s all very well and good to issue emergency alerts for the ICA to step in. But if the domain community doesn’t support the ICA, then there is no one to step in.

        Do you expect your fire department to give you free movie tickets? Or is stopping your house from burning down enough of a benefit?

        This idea that the ICA needs to offer people tangible benefits before it deserves support is nonsense. Maybe some people will only contribute if it is immediately profitable for them, but that means that they are free riding on those members who do contribute for the benefit of themselves and the entire domain industry.

      • (It begins with “And speaking of which, if anyone is not inclined to hear it from me, then listen to Rick Schwartz because he’s right about it here too” November 16, 2019 at 2:55 pm.)

  4. Can anyone provide an example of a situation where someone had two losses?

    What is their justification for the rule?

    I’d there a chance that the types of folks with two losses really are bad for rights holders?

    Just asking.

      • Thanks Elliot and Mark. In both those cases NameFind didn’t respond and so the 3 parts of the UDRP (including bad faith) were assumed true.

        Do you know if when a UDRP is initiated and the respondent immediately sacrifices the domain name (transfers it to the complainant) is that seen as a UDRP loss, or could it just be incomplete for the purposes of the two loss rule?

        I think this is important because if folks who have names being used/registered in bad faith, if pressed with a UDRP maybe this could be additional motivation to have them surrender the domain without dragging out the process, responding (or not) and having a UDRP loss, and then risking the two strikes for risk to a portfolio.

        Other issues here are some names can be registered to the person’s name, others to their business – how is that seen – only one of the two portfolios at risk. Also what happens to domains in one person’s name that is part owned by another person? Or even when two registrants are listed on the registrant line of the whois?

        Or what happens if at the point of losing the second UDRP the person transfers all their domains to a wife or colleague? And what if they transfer them all back in 3 months later?

        How would those edge cases be worked out?

  5. Would love to see how many domainers actually sign up for the working group and try to protect their interests.

    Seems like a lot of people like to yell and scream from the sidelines , but will never get in the game .

    That is why domainers get steamrolled all the time , they are never in the mix , unlike President Trump you cannot create policy by tweeting about it. Sorry

  6. As long as you pay your bill the electric/cable/whoever company doesn’t bother you, ICANN has gone rogue, all these oversea characters probably used to look the other way deals, within their corrupt governments.

    ICANN needs to clean house, ICANN has become a self governed dicatorship.

  7. ICANN and the registries are in bed together and want to take domainers out of the equation and have the money domainers made go into their pockets. its war people..

    • Domainers are not in the equation , they are on the sidelines, probably not even thought about.
      Nobody considers domainers as they are not at the table when this is being discussed . Registries, Registrars, ICANN and Trademark folks are all there hustling to get theirs.

  8. ICA members support the ICA out of enlightened self-interest. Not all benefits are direct or tangible. Having a group fighting hard to ensure that I can continue to earn my livelihood from domain names is a very important benefit to me.

    The ICA is neither a charity nor a business. It is a trade association representing the interests of the domain industry.

    I’m grateful to all those ICA members who have joined together to help protect the viability of the domain name industry.

    Here are the ICA members – 80 plus strong: https://www.internetcommerce.org/directory/

    To anyone reading this, when you see an ICA member at NamesCon, thank them for doing their part to help protect our industry.

    Here are profiles of some of the ICA members, smart, successful people who recognize that an investment in the ICA is an investment in their future success – https://www.internetcommerce.org/category/member-profiles/

    • Thank you Nat Cohen and all the other ICA members.More members are needed and also things that help keep domainers strong in association.

  9. the current membership-fee is just too high.
    It should be 100 bucks a year and many many domainers ALL OVER THE WORLD will join.

    Rick should be the president and the FACE of this organization.
    ONLY THEN it will work.

  10. Agree with Rick and Mark.

    Price could be $49 – $199

    For example: Basic Membership = $49, Mid Level = $99, Executive (Most Membership Benefits/Perks) = $149 to $199.

  11. We are in the hotel business and we have this same similar problem. We are trying to get people to join our hotel group to help fight against stuff that happens to our hotels…and hotel owners do not join for one reason…which is…they do not need any help right now and are not in any trouble.
    They come running to our group when they need help and are in trouble and when we ask…are u a member of our hotel group…they say no but are ready to join.
    Same thing with domains…domainers will only join ica when they personally need help and are in trouble…otherwise, they are not interested in joining even if it cost only $1/month.

  12. Here is an edited quote from Proposal #15 on ICANN’s website:

    “The definition of a ‘repeat offender’ should be any domain name registrant who loses two or more separate URS proceedings”…

    …“the penalties should include”…

    …”(ii) a universal blocking of all domain registrations for a set period for the registrant (i.e. “blacklisting” the registrant on a temporary basis). There may be other possible enhanced penalties that would also be appropriate.”

    PDF link:

    https://mm.icann.org/pipermail/gnso-rpm-wg/attachments/20191102/58e5d24c/URSIndividualProposalSurveyResult-0001.pdf

    In my reading of this, the proposed penalty (though not written very clearly) is for the registrant to be banned from new registrations for an undefined period. That does not seem to include renewals. (?)

    The proposal makes no specific or unequivocal mention of cancelling or confiscating a registrant’s existing portfolio. (Though it isn’t excluded either.)

    Moreover, a URS applies only to new gTLDs, it does not seem to apply to dot coms and other legacy TLDs.

    “URS is a rights protection mechanism for new gTLDs that facilitates rapid suspension of domain names in clear-cut cases of trademark infringement.”

    https://newgtlds.icann.org/en/announcements-and-media/announcement-2-20feb13-en

    Where is the original source justifying the claim that Proposal #15 would result in “the suspension of an entire portfolio”?

    That has a different meaning to:

    “a universal blocking of all domain registrations for a set period” (explained as temporary blacklisting). That seems to imply new registrations, not renewals, to me.

  13. This is what I just wrote as a comment to one of Rick Schwartz or Domain king’s proposals in his blog.

    I find it incredible that you do not agree to pay a $ 99 membership for the first year to ICA and a $ 199 renewal.
    If I or you have 100 domains and must renew at the new price as an example a (.com) to $ 100 per year x 100 domains = $ 10,000 me and the vast majority Domainer prefer to pay $ 99 to ICA than to pay the renewal at the new exorbitant price.

    I also believe that domain registrars have to put money on their part for ICA.

    Actually if we do not do so, without the unity of all of us there is no future for the domain market and Domaining.

    Those who wish to go with lawyers are at their right and risk.

    https://www.ricksblog.com/2019/11/emergency-industry-alert-icann-wants-to-seize-all-your-domains/#comment-108564

  14. Guys design a downloadable PDF certificate with your emblem, and create a $99 annual associate membership, you might raise about $50K like this, and engage an army at the same time.

  15. But how many people will show up if a $99 annual membership level is offered? How many can you guarantee will show up.

    Plus, wouldn’t there be administrative costs in overseeing all those low-cost memberships, handling renewals, administering benefits, troubleshooting, handling inquiries from that army.

    So basically a new full time employee is need to oversee the influx of new members.

    And can you guarantee that those members will write letters to ICANN or join working groups or do actively support ICA initiatives when they are asked to do so?

    Because one might reasonably conclude that trying to give as little as possible to become a member of ICA despite being asked to give more might also strongly correlate with doing as little as possible once becoming a member.

    Further, isn’t it possible that all existing members would immediately trade down from their $600 and above memberships to the new bargain $99 ones, depriving the ICA of the vital funding base it has built?

    All these wise suggestions don’t address any of the potential or likely downsides of a sub-$100 membership level.

    If you support ICA’s efforts to protect domainers rights, you don’t even need to pay up for a $600 membership, or the $50 a month option they created to help people address affordability issues. You can just click contribute on the join page of their website and send $50 or $5 or $1 right now. Nothing is stopping anyone from doing that. So why not go do it?

  16. Alright so revise the membership plans. Not unheard of right. Create a support membership that is not a hurdle for the representational bulk of domain investors, that grant the option to participate. Being exclusive and alienating is clearly the wrong strategy when it comes to sheer numbers influence.

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