The Internet Commerce Association’s (ICA) Website has undergone a massive redesign.
The ICA has a new, sharp-looking website at InternetCommerce.org.
The ICA wants to thank Michael Castello for leading the initiative to update the ICA site and for providing the mock-up, and Michael Sumner for creating the new site.
The site just relaunched and now contains information on members, news and issues of importance to domain holders, mission statements along with all of the ICA’s blog post.
Founded in 2006, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) is a non-profit trade organization representing domain name investors, website developers and related companies
The ICA will continue to fine tune the site and add features.
There is also going to be another ICA board position added.
Any new members (below Platinum level) that join before the vote is taken will have the opportunity to vote on selecting the new Board Member.
Please go and check out the new site and contribute to the ICA.
You can be a “Member” of the ICA if you contribute $5,000 or more and with this membership you actually have a voice in the ICA. Albeit small.
You can be a “Supporter” of the ICA if you contribute a minimum fee of between $1,000-$4,999 but with the “Supporter” tag you have no voice but they thank you for your money.
Anything under $1,000 you are just a donor or sucker.
They need to lower the cost so more can join and create a much larger voice. I don’t care how much money I have or how much I love the domain industry. I can think of at least one hundred ways I would rather spend 5 grand.
I couldn’t find it on their website but I believe this a one year membership. So in another 12 months I would have to give another 5 grand. This 5 grand would only cover the lowest on the totem pole membership. Sorry but that’s insane.
Nat Cohen says
Thanks for raising this point. The ICA board just had a call this week to address the exact concern that you raise. We’ll soon announce that memberships start at the $1,000 level. You’ll have a voice at that level, and a vote to select the new Board Member.
Yes, memberships are renewed annually.
I disagree with your calling someone who contributes under $1,000 to the ICA a “sucker”. People contribute to the ICA to support its mission which is to protect our business, our assets and our livelihood. Those who contribute to the ICA are making a wise investment in their future. The suckers are the ones who stick their head in the sand and think that everything is going to magically turn out wonderfully if the industry lets those hostile to its interests determine its future.
Raymond Hackney says
Long before Mike and I started working together we used to debate this structure. I think what matters is numbers, I would have a $20 non voting option but everyone can be considered a member.
You can have different levels where voting comes into play. I have run polls on Namepros Nat where smaller domainers voted they would not join if it was free. Others have said to me someone like Schilling or Mike or Rick should be writing seven figure checks to protect their multi million dollar enterprises. I am not saying I am in agreement with that sentiment, but a lot of smaller or hobbyist domainers see little incentive, a lot of them do not own domains they are going to fight for, they would not respond to a UDRP most of the time.
When the government or other entities look at an organization they look at numbers, if its only 200 strong for example, I don’t think they pay much attention. Phil does an incredible job, and I think it would be a help to him if he says we got 5000 members strong. I know $20 is not a lot, but it would help for member count, you are not giving these people anything anyway so it is just semantics. Get the membership level up with a cheap, non voting membership rung.
The terminology matters people want to be a member, Todd may have been a tad hard with suckers but I know many agree much more with his sentiment. Change the conversation, get the numbers up and that way you will also have members renewing each year. Again IMO
Nat Cohen says
Thanks for your comment. My response to Todd below covers a lot of the same ground.
Your comment that “terminology matters” and that “people want to be a member” got me thinking. Maybe it is a mistake to say that Membership starts at $1000. Maybe we should say that anyone who wants to be can be a member, but that certain benefits are provided at different membership levels.
What would you think of that approach?
The ICA needs to take what I will call the “Planet Fitness” approach. Most gyms target the 15% that can afford high priced memberships. This is the ICA approach. Planet Fitness targets the 85% that no one else wants. These are the people that can afford to pay only 10 bucks a month for their membership. You may ask how in the world do they survive. Because they have 5 million members. You do the math.
Michael Castello says
I’m planning on trying to include the other 85%.
Nat Cohen says
there’s been a lot of discussion about the best membership structure for the ICA. The following is my personal view, not that of the ICA.
The domain industry is relatively small. The numbers who make a good living from domains is even smaller. The ICA benefits these people the most. If people who make a good living from the domain industry don’t see the benefit in supporting the ICA to protect their livelihood, then why should people who can’t yet support themselves from domains?
Your PlanetFitness analogy is not persuasive to me. There are hundreds of millions of adults in the US, they all have one body, and most of those could use more exercise. That’s why the PlanetFitness model works.
The domain industry has a few doing really well, and many not making enough to support themselves only from domains. It is also much smaller.
It makes sense that the ICA looks to those who benefit the most to contribute to the ICA.
We also should make sure not to confuse two different things – who the ICA represents and how the ICA funds itself.
I believe that the work of the ICA benefits everyone in the domain industry. It would be great if everyone contributed according to their means, whether it is $20 or ten thousand dollars. You have to belong to PlanetFitness to benefit from their services, but everyone in the domain industry benefits from the ICA whether they contribute or not.
That brings us to the question of how the ICA should fund itself. I think it is reasonable that the ICA look to those who make their living from domains as the primary source of support, as we benefit the most from the work the ICA does. For those making a living from domains, an annual $1000 contribution to help support a shared effort to protect our industry and our livelihoods is a cheap form of insurance.
Setting $1000/yr as the lowest tier of membership doesn’t exclude anyone. It just sets the expectation for what an appropriate level of contribution should be for those who benefit from the ICA.
Just as everyone can enjoy public radio and public TV whether you contribute or not, everyone in the industry benefits from the ICA. And just as you can donate any amount you want to NPR, you can donate any amount you want to the ICA. For $1000 you get on the ICA mailing list where Phil provides ICANN news and updates on issues that affect the industry and you get a vote on selecting board members.
We also need to look at what is fair to those who are contributing $1000, $5000, $10000 and $25000 annually to the ICA. Can the ICA provide these contributors updates and a say in the operations of the organization without being accused of being exclusionary?
Perhaps this is primarily an issue of semantics. We could call everyone who contributes a dollar an ICA member, or anyone who signs up for our mailing list or anyone who likes us on Facebook – these could all be ICA members. But then certain benefits start accruing once certain contribution levels are reached. That may be fine too.
Would that address your concerns?
Raymond Hackney says
I have been saying it for five years, yes Nat I think that makes sense. Have levels, people understand Platinum member vs Gold member for example in many organizations they belong to. The you are not a member part rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, I spent more time on this than I needed to a few years ago and people felt like they were being marginalized that they were lesser in the eyes of the ICA. The conversation immediately shifted to Class war type ideology where many felt Frank alone should write a check for $1million.
Let’s look at the flipside, some people said why should I ? The big guys will eventually pay up because they got the most at stake, if they don’t they look like hypocrites.
I think a universal approach to membership with varying degrees and benefits makes the most sense.
Michael Berkens says
There are not 5 million domainers on earth so the comment is unfair and the comparison is just silly.
It’s far from silly Mike. It was not meant to be a direct comparison. It was meant to show that you can have a lower cost membership and not only survive but thrive. You and Nat took it way to literal.
Nat stated this, “Setting $1000/yr as the lowest tier of membership doesn’t exclude anyone.”
It does exclude a whole group people that don’t want to spend $1,000 but would be very happy giving you $100 a year to be a member of the ICA.
In an email from Nat to Howard Neu (link below) Nat you state this
“My personal goal is to have 100 domain investors as supporters at an annual contribution level of $1000 each. This will put the ICA on a stable financial footing where we would not be overly dependent on any one contributor.”
I personally feel it would be much easier to get 1000 people to give $100 than for 100 people to give $1000. Especially when this would be a recurring fee year after year.
There are many domainers at the Traffic conference this weekend so it would be very simple to ask them with a show of hands during one of the meetings. Would you join the ICA today for $1,000? or Would you join the ICA today for $100? Let the domain public decide with a live in your face no holds barred vote. For a long time this conversation has been going on and you and the ICA can get a much better feel and understanding with a 5 minute conversation and show of hands with the domain crowd.