Why I Joined the ICA Yesterday

Yesterday afternoon, Nat Cohen explained why the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) adopted a lower tier for individual memberships. I had not attended the ICA event at NamesCon in Las Vegas, and this was the first time I had learned about the lower cost to join the ICA.

After reading Nat’s article, I signed up to join the ICA and paid the $600 membership fee.  Now that I am once again a member of the ICA, I want to share the reasons why I decided to join on behalf of my company, Top Notch Domains, LLC.

The main reason is that I think the ICA does important work on behalf of domain name owners, especially people who own portfolios of domain names. When there are issues that pose threats to domain owners, Phil Corwin, the ICA’s counsel, takes action to protect the interests of domain owners. I understand that sometimes involves lobbying and it sometimes involves spreading the news about something that could be harmful to our business. I think this is important work done on behalf of all of us, and it costs quite a bit of money to do.

I understand that a lot of people may be of the opinion that the biggest players in the space should bear the main burden of supporting the ICA. They seem to have the most to lose in the event of an adverse legal decision or a proposed law that could impact domain holdings. While I do think these bigger players would likely take their own actions, not all of them support the ICA. I think the ICA does meaningful work, and I think the “smaller” people in this business should consider supporting the ICA. I have always thought the ICA was helpful to people like myself, and I am going to support the organization as a member.

Another reason I joined is so that I can stay informed of issues that may impact my business. As a blogger in the domain space, I generally hear about major issues that are brewing, but now I will have a better look at what may be coming and what can be done. This can help me share information with others in the business and may give me the opportunity to take further action if necessary.

My membership fee may be a drop in the bucket compared to the largest members, but I want to be involved. It is important for me to support an organization that is looking after the interests of people who own domain portfolios and those who own domain names as investments. I understand that I am responsible for managing my company’s business and IP risks, and that isn’t something I expect the ICA to do on my behalf. However, there are always outside organizations that would be happy to see domain owners have less rights, and the ICA helps the domain name industry.

I  am happy to be a member of the ICA, and it’s something that people who make a living in the domain name industry should consider.

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. Nat Cohen deserves a warm pat on the back from everyone in the industry as the ICA’s executive director. Phil Corwin has become the Jack Valenti of the domain industry tirelessly speaking for those who can’t. I co-founded this organization with Rick Schwartz and the operators of (the now defunct) iReit. The ICA has grown into so much more and I am very proud of the way it has blossomed and of its efforts on behalf of all domainers.

    • Well said Frank. ICA has come a long way over the years and has been a big part of our industry in helping to protect everyone in the domain marketplace. We all should be involved at some level of advancing ICA policies be it in donations or word of mouth. What’s good for the ICA is good for all of us.

    • Frank, the domain industry owes you and the other founders of the ICA a huge debt of gratitude for having the initiative and vision to form an association to work collectively for the benefit of the entire industry on the challenges we face. In Phil Corwin you found a tireless advocate who has worked for a decade to give the industry an effective voice in shaping the policies that affect our future.

      To clarify one point- the ICA has no executive director. I and the other board members, Jeremiah Johnston of Sedo and Daniel Law of Rook Media, share the responsibility of leading the ICA.

      Thanks for your strong support!

  2. Yes, it’s a must to have an association of domainers like ICA to represent registrants for their concerns, but at the same time, the cost to join, see expensive, is high. ICA does a great job to keep you inform, but it s the same as a lobbyist or an union representing a minority of registrants. Phil Corwin do put a lot of efforts on behalf of their members who are also registries, accredited registrars and a few fortunate domainers. I couldn’t say totally on behalf of all domainers directly at least. I think that 1cent/domain registered should be put in the creation of an “office of the commissar” who will see on behalf of all registrants concerns. With , 300,000,000 domains, you can put an easy $3M for operations a year and built a team of experts. Everyone contribute. everyone is cover. I also suggest that 1 seat on the board of ICANN to be giving to this association. All registrants should be represent and have a voice. Registrants are the major part of the community of the web. Anyhow, ICA is a great initiative.

  3. Elliot… you wrote:

    “there are always outside organizations that would be happy to see domain owners have less rights”…

    no doubt… Names? and why would they want this?

    • for sure. but, that is another issue. they should be a database of trademarks to avoid the cybersquatters to buy those domain names in the first place. Registries can blocked certains words. So, it s an easy task. the aftermarket… most of them will go with a UDRP to get the domain names who are violating their rights.

      I think it is the responsability of the trademark owner to registered his trademarks into a database of a “clearinghouse” to block and protect someone in buying a certain names, unless able to provide rights to the use of the trademark.

    • Ben – there are many trademarks on common words and acronyms. Trademarks are limited to a specific product/service and geographical area. While it is a violation of the registration agreement to register and use a domain in bad faith to target a trademark owner, it is entirely legitimate to register a generic term or an acronym so long as it not used in bad faith to target a trademark owner.

      A system that allows trademark owners to block any domains that match a trademark would allow trademark owners on common words and acronyms to have a monopoly on all commercial uses of words that belong to society at large. While some trademark owners may wish they have exclusive ownership of everyday words, that is not actually the case.

  4. Thanks for the article Elliot.

    Not sure if you mentioned it but is this an annual fee or one time? I’ve never heard of this organization but if it helps the domain name industry I will be interested to join.

    Thank you.


  5. I met Phil Corwin very briefly at The Domain Conference in Florida and told him I would signup when I returned home. I finally had a chance to get on the site today and joined this organization for it really is the only one of its kind domainers have to represent their interests. Followed your testimonial on the site and see that I am good company. I think anyone who genuinely interested and concerned for the future of this great industry we’re in should contribute to the ICA.


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