Escrow.com Joins The Internet Commerce Association (ICA)

Escrow.com, has just become a member of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA).

Escrow.com is the world’s leading Internet escrow company and in  announcing it was the newest member of the ICA said that it “continues to take a stance on protecting Internet commerce and the domain name industry and marketplace by recently supporting leading Internet trade organizations such as the Internet Commerce Association (ICA). ”

“The ICA is made up of responsible businesses and individuals who have joined together to improve public confidence in Internet commerce and the domaining sector”.

“Since 2006, the ICA has brought together a diverse group of individuals and companies that own, buy, sell and develop domain names, the backbone to anyone’s online presence. The ICA promotes the value and benefits of online business by advocating for laws and policy that respect and protect the interests of domain registrants and the companies that provide them with essential services. ICA maintains an active presence in Washington, DC and is an influential participant in ICANN policymaking. Earlier this year ICA helped stop the controversial SOPA legislation and was the only trade group to advise Congress that the bill’s trademark-related provisions would have an unfair and devastating impact on such domain-related sectors as registrars, secondary markets and auctions, and parking and development services. ICA is currently actively involved in assuring that new ICANN-mandated rights protection measures maintain a reasonable balance between registrants and trademark owners and preserve essential registrant due process rights, and will be weighing in with the US government as it conducts an extended review of the .com registry agreement’s pricing provisions.”

“Sponsoring organizations like the ICA is a natural fit for us.” said Brandon Abbey, President and Managing Director at Escrow.com. “We’ve been involved in domain transactions since our origination and we look forward to working with the ICA, and its Members, for many years to come. It has become clear that the ICA plays a unique and essential role in protecting the value of domain portfolios and the rights of everyone involved in the domain industry.” Philip Corwin, Counsel to the ICA, says, “It would be impossible to perform my work on behalf of the domain industry without strong support from its leading participants. I am delighted that Escrow.com has decided to back our efforts and make its customers aware of the vital role we play in defending domain portfolio valuations and the overall industry.”

Through advocacy for clear rules and regulations, the ICA helps protect the investment made by any online business owner by helping provide a predictable business environment. Visit InternetCommerce.org for current information on ICA’s activities as well as how to join and support the ICA, and follow the ICA’s Twitter feed @ICADomains.

Disclaimer:  The company the owns this blog, TheDomains.com, Worldwide Media, Inc. has been a silver sponsor of the ICA for many years.

You can search using the Category list of the blog to see some of the work that the ICA has been involved with.

Also Another company the author of this blog is involved in RightoftheDot.com, recently announced that Escrow.com was the exclusive partner to hold funds  for its contention resolution service.

Thanks to Escrow.com for help joining the fight.

Comments

  1. says

    I’m just wondering how a person, a smaller investor or developer, might join the ICA without spending at the same level as a larger company. Let’s face it, this organization could be representative of a broader range of web professionals if the introductory level was a bit less costly, and benefits were more clearly delineated for members.

    The work Phil Corwin is doing is invaluable, and he is among our best-informed advocates on Capitol Hill, but there is strength in membership numbers, too. At this point, there’s not even a membership sign-up on the ICA site. That’s been removed.

    So, how does this organization plan to represent the industry, the support industries related to domains, as well as the smaller companies and individuals connected thereto, going forward. Equally, if not more, important, who besides Mr. Corwin is working to represent the industry in Washington, to promote the goals of the industry, domain investors, web developers and smaller business types working to homestead online?

    There’s a fusillade of trademark-holders’ assaults on domain holders and regular internet users, and that’s one of the issues that really frightens the principles in a small company (I’m really small, compared with the standard definition of “small”) such as mine. Hell, trademark holders are even targeting condo associations that provide free wi-fi to their residents, if the residents download a copyrighted song. SOPA and PIPA be damned! It’s enough to make you miss the days of the mix tape; you remember them. Those were days when sharing a song without getting permission actually could help a musician or video producer sell more copies. Of course, generational loss on that old magnetic medium may have contributed. Digital is a different story.

    But, I digress! The domain industry, as a whole, is very small; but the broader industries it serves also have a very critical interest in how the domain owners and investors fare in their legal tangles and travails with the much larger trademark associations. Look at what’s happened with Kim Dotcom. I mean, seriously? It was like invading a small country, all because the trademark holders claim he provided cloud lockers for the pirates. Give … me … a … break!

    We have, in our time, the opportunity to open the ICA to a wide swath of interested parties, and no doubt, it would potentially muddle the mission of ICA; however, there is an old saying in broadcasting: “Super serve the core, and you can still attract the broader audience.” The idea is that ICA’s mission is attractive to smaller investors who might come in the door at $100 or $200 per year. Even individuals could come in at, say, $50 year. Explain the range of benefits; give them a badge for their site or card for the wallet, and then the strength of numbers could become the very watershed that drowns the vociferous, and oft-distorted voice, of the publishing industry.

    By the way, I am a publisher and a developer and a trademark holder. But I don’t usually sweat the small stuff, which seems to be vogue in Hollywood, these days.

    As Howard might write, “Thanks for ‘listening’”.

  2. Nat Cohen says

    Hi Danny,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I’m a long time ICA supporter along with Mike Berkens and am currently serving on the board.

    I’m glad that you recognize the importance of the work that the ICA is doing. You are right – it is critical to the industry. Phil is often the only voice that is looking out for the domain industry when policies that affect our future are being discussed. He makes a difference.

    Often it isn’t that the brand owners are out to “get us” when they propose new policies, it is just that they don’t realize the consequences of some of their proposals. Phil is very effective in making sure that misguided policies are changed to protect the rights of domain owners and businesses in the domain industry.

    One good example was a policy that would have allowed a domain owner to cancel a domain transfer for six-months after the domain transferred if the owner claimed that the transfer was fraudulent. That one policy, although it was well-intentioned, would have wreaked havoc on the domain aftermarket. Thanks the Phil’s efforts, the ICA stopped that policy from being adopted.

    A more recent example is Phil’s work as part of a working group within ICANN’s Business Constituency on adopting policies for the new Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) process that will be rolled out for all new gTLDs. The ICA, through Phil’s efforts, effectively advocated against a policy that would have allowed Complainants to automatically win a URS if the domain owner didn’t respond. Instead the Business Constituency adopted a consensus position that all URS complaints must be reviewed by an independent panelist to determine that a bone-fide case is made, whether or not the domain owner responds.

    There are countless policy battles being fought in the trenches at ICANN, on Capitol Hill and in the courts. The ICA is engaged on all these fronts protecting the domain industry. If the ICA didn’t exist, and Phil wasn’t advocating for us, those battles wouldn’t be being fought and the domain industry would be losing ground in all these areas with seriously negative consequences for all our businesses.

    A little background on how a small businessperson can support the ICA. A few years ago the ICA had a near death experience and almost folded due to lack of support from the domain industry. We reached that bleak point after hiring executive directors to reach out to the domain community with the aim of bringing on many new members for a low annual due level. We showed up at the trade conferences, made fund raising pitches, but the support we received from new members didn’t even cover the cost of the executive director’s salary.

    So we decided to go small, go lean, do without an executive director, and aside from Phil Corwin, run as an all volunteer organization supported by a committed core group of contributors from within the domain industry who were willing to contribute to the ICA without receiving any individual benefits in return.

    We put together a group that contributed enough to continue Phil’s work. The entire domain industry has benefited from the generosity and foresight of this core group that is supporting the ICA. Of course, our support was because we saw it in our own self-interest to continue having Phil advocate on behalf of the domain industry, as his work protected our assets and kept our businesses competitive.

    Our core supporters over the years include Frank Schilling, Kevin and Don Ham and the team at Reinvent, Mike Berkens and myself, Chad Wright, Gregg McNair, Sedo, Oversee.net, Tucows, ThoughtConvergence, NameDrive, and Anything.com and other members who prefer to keep their privacy.

    The ICA is now ramping up a membership drive. We’ve been very pleased to welcome on as contributors and members, in addition to Escrow.com, Andrew Rosener of MediaOptions, Alan Hack of NamePlus Marketing, DomainHoldings and long time domainers Alex Lerman and Yoni Belousov.

    We welcome new members and contributors. Anyone can contribute to the ICA. All donations are welcome. It looks like there is a functioning donation page at http://internetcommerce.org/donate. At the $1,000 per year level, donors are eligible for a Supporter badge and to receive the internal ICA mailings with Phil’s updates on critical policy issues and our discussions about which policies to pursue. At the $5,000 per year level, donors become full fledged members who participate in determining policies and priorities and receive an ICA Membership badge.

    The ICA also welcomes in kind donations, especially time and effort. As an all volunteer organization, sometimes what we need more than anything else is someone to contribute their time and effort to help with our projects, such as outreach efforts to help spread the word about all the good work that the ICA is doing.

    Below are some testimonials from current supporters and members of the ICA.

    Thanks for reading.

    ====

    “It’s very easy to sleepwalk through life thinking others will contribute to worthy causes. It’s convenient to lull yourself into believing that a small contribution won’t make a difference, but I can assure you that’s not the case. We have a terrific organized public voice that speaks to rights of domain registrants and that is the ICA. I encourage you all to make a small donation to the organization, as I do, so that your children will have a great name industry to prosper in – as you have.”

    Frank Schilling
    President
    Name Administration
    InternetTraffic.com
    DomainNameSales.com

    —-

    “We joined the ICA because we firmly believe in protecting the rights of
    domain registrants. Whether you own one domain or thousands of domains, you
    deserve to have your rights as a domain owner respected and protected. We
    live in a world where there are a number of well-funded, well-connected
    stakeholder groups with a lot of influence who don’t always understand or
    value individual domain registrant rights. Despite sometimes even the best
    of intentions on their part, these stakeholder groups can and will trample
    all over you and your domains. The only organization that is actively
    watching out and fighting for the best interests of domain owners is the
    ICA. If you want to protect your valuable domain assets now and in the
    future, you should seriously consider joining the ICA.”

    Bill Sweetman, Vice President, Domain Portfolio, Tucows

    “I support the ICA because the ICA helps protect my business.

    I joined the ICA after my experience defending several UDRP disputes. From this experience I learned that valuable domains, such as Crew.com, could be taken from domain owners through flawed procedures adopted by ICANN. I came to realize that that my rights to my domains and the business I built on these domains are not built on as solid a foundation as I originally thought.

    ICANN sets the rules for owning domains, and they can, and do, change those rules. If domain owners don’t engage with ICANN to fight for the future of our businesses, then we have no one but ourselves to blame if our businesses are harmed due to bad policies coming out of ICANN.

    By making a small investment in effective advocacy now, I can help avoid major harm to my business later. Fortunately several like-minded individuals and companies joined forces and together we have supported the ICA through the years. ICA has been effective in preventing damaging policies from seeing the light of day. It continues to advocate for domain owner interests on multiple fronts. I’d hate to see what the industry would be like now if the ICA had never been formed. We all benefit from the work of the ICA and I am glad to give it my support.”

    Nat Cohen
    President
    Telepathy, Inc.

    “I joined the ICA because us domainers need an advocate to battle for us when the time comes and that time is constant.

    We need someone who understands ICANN policies and can help shape them to protect our rights as domain owners.

    Most domain owners don’t think they need the help of the ICA until that day comes when they find themselves in a costly lawsuit wondering why their generic domain is at risk of being lost to some bully.

    Join the ICA so we can keep laws and policies in our favor and not in favor of bullies and thieves.”

    Chad Wright
    WebQuest

    —-

    “I support the ICA because they do important work standing up for our rights
    as domain registrants. I feel confident giving to a cause supported by such
    respected colleagues as Frank Schilling, Nat Cohen, and Mike Berkens.”

    Alex Lerman

    “Sedo.com joined the Internet Commerce Association as a founding member in 2006 because we felt that a thriving, active marketplace for domains could only exist if the web was operated under a transparent and predictable set of rules that respected the rights and investments made by domain registrants. Protecting the due process rights of registrants protects the foundation of an open market where domains can be bought and sold between responsible owners. Fighting to establish clear and predictable rules that apply fairly to all stakeholders on the web is a fundamental part of the ICA’s mission and something Sedo proudly supports. But it takes a grassroots effort to create and sustain change, and the ICA needs your support to advance this cause.”

    Jeremiah Johnson

  3. says

    Danny:
    Thanks for your post, and especially your kind words about my work on behalf of the domain industry, both in Washington and at ICANN.

    Nat – who represents all of ICA’s smaller members at the Board level — has provided a very thorough response so I will supplement it with just a few additional points.

    First of all, while we welcome the support of Escrow.com and other recently joined members, ICA continues to face financial challenges on just funding its core mission of representing domain interests in DC and ICANN, much less doing all the worthy things on our wish list that would require additional funding. Those include studies showing the economic contribution of the domain investment and development sector; a meaningful presence in Brussels to address EU policy matters; and intervention in select UDRP or court cases where critical principles are at stake. Yes, ICA has made it to six years, but no one should just assume that it will keep being there just because someone else is supporting it, especially as the domain industry continues to evolve.

    Second, we welcome volunteer efforts and in that regard if you want to try to generate support for ICA among individual domainers we’ll be happy to help in any way we can. Back when ICA had a $295 per year annual membership option we had a difficult time attracting signups at that level. Perhaps now that ICA has been around many years and shown its value that is changing. Just imagine if URS was now at .com and .net, and was a $300 substitute for the UDRP heavily weighted against registrants and in favor of trademark owners — and don’t think that fight is anywhere near over and that the industry doesn’t need a collective and effective voice.

    Finally, there is one important thing that everyone involved in the industry can do – thank the companies you deal with who support the ICA, and consider asking those who don’t support us why they don’t and if they’ll consider doing so. During my career I’ve worked at and for many trade associations, and in most industries there is a realization that companies that compete fiercely in the economic marketplace need to band together and protect their common interests in the policy marketplace. For whatever reason, that understanding is not sufficiently widespread in the domain sector. If every major company that domainers do business with gave some support to ICA we not only would be strongly solvent but would have the resources to do much more. So if your registrar, secondary marketplace, parking service, the industry conference you’re attending, or whoever else you do business with as a domain investor is not an ICA member, ask them why we don’t merit their support. If they don’t agree with our positions or think we don’t do an effective job that’s their right and we’d be happy to engage in a dialogue to try to address such concerns. But if they choose to benefit from our work without supporting it, that’s a legitimate issue for their customers to discuss with them.

    So, again, thanks for your post and let’s all work together in every way we can to advance domain rights and business opportunities in the days ahead.

    Best, Philip

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