Many years before I started working with Mike on TheDomains.com, we had a back and forth about the ICA.
My position was that you want more members that an organization with 80 members doesn’t hold any juice when they want to say to a politician, “Hey we are your constituents, and we demand justice.” Having 5,000 – 10,000 members holds a lot more weight.
Of course many in the domain industry don’t have thousands to donate. Over the years after some more discussions the ICA did come up with a lower price for individual membership $600.
Platinum Membership $25,000 USD and above
Gold Membership $10,000 – $24,999 USD
Silver Membership $5,000 – $9,999 USD
Bronze Membership $1,000 – $4,999 USD
Individual Membership $600 USD
I commend Nat Cohen and others who lowered the price after some of the conversations had. $600 is still too high, domain investor ranks are growing in many parts of the world and they don’t have $600 to donate to the ICA.
Coming up with a $99 option to grow the ranks makes sense in my opinion.
The other thing I always thought was that there should be benefits like how AARP does it.
Rick Schwartz in a comment on DomainInvesting.com articulated that same sentiment.
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.
I think that’s spot on and when you look at AARP you get a ton of benefits for a membership fee that is affordable to most.
Along with free movies here are some other benefits to membership:
Dining, Shopping and Entertainment Discounts
There are over 30 different restaurant, entertainment and shopping discounts available to members. For dining out, members get discounts such as 10 percent off at Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill and Carrabba’s Italian Grill and 15 percent off at Denny’s. There’s an AARP member discount offered on select event tickets from Ticketmaster, coupons for Tanger Outlets, and many more.
Now of course domaining does not have the potential membership pool that an AARP does, there are not millions of domain investors around the world. But I think the framework can be put in place that registrars, aftermarkets, tools like DomainIQ, DomainTools, Efty, DNAcademy and hell even domain blogs (10% off standard advertising rate) can provide discounts to make membership more beneficial to all members.