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ICA

ICA logo.png
Type: Non-Profit
Industry: Trade Organization
Founded: 2006
Founder(s): Marc Ostrofsky
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Country: USA
Website: Internetcommerce.org
Key People
Nat Cohen, Board Member

Jeremiah Johnston, Board Member
Daniel Law, Board Member
Jay Chapman, Board Member
Bob Mountain, Board Member
Zak Muscovitch, Interim Counsel
Kamila Sekiewicz, Executive Director

The Internet Commerce Association, or ICA, is a Washington based trade organization that represents the interests of domain name investors and developers and the direct search industry through their education of advertisers, working with policy developers, and their lobbying of diverse groups.[1]

Background

The ICA identifies ICANN and the U.S. government as the bodies it tries hardest to monitor and work with; and it claims to be the only trade group working with and within these bodies.[2] The ICA was created in 2006, following the lawsuit between ICANN and Verisign. They claim that; "After reviewing that back room-negotiated no-bid perpetual contract, domain name monetization industry leaders concluded that permanent representation within ICANN, in Washington, and in other critical decision-making arenas was needed to protect its collective interests".[3]

The ICA follows the work of the US Department of Commerce, ICANN, the IGF, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and other similar policy making bodies within the IT industry.[4] It is effectively an ICANN watch-dog, and besides lobbying for its constituents, it is vocal about any instance in which ICANN departs from its own policy or bylaws.[5]

Agenda

The ICA self-describes its legislative agenda as:

  • ICA Member Code of Conduct - The Internet Commerce Association’s (ICA) Member Code of Conduct expresses the ICA’s recognition of the responsibilities of its members to the intellectual property, domain name, and at large Internet communities and will guide members in conducting their domain name investment and development activities with professionalism, respect and integrity.
  • Stop reverse domain name hijacking - Respect for trademark owner’s rights must be balanced by registrant’s rights especially for domain names that have generic meaning.
  • Promote competitive pricing - for domain name registration and related fees.
  • Condemn - click fraud, phishing, child pornography and other types of criminal activity on the Internet. Cooperate with other groups who are working to end domain name abuse, which is harmful to consumer confidence in Internet commerce.
  • Internet governance - including the future role and transparency of ICANN, its relationship with the U.S. government, the administration of the generic top level domains (gTLDs) and the rules and laws relating to the WHOIS database.[6]

Finances

ICA runs mainly on donations made by sponsors, members, and interested individuals; therefore fundraising is an ever-present issue at the ICA. In his resignation letter, the former Executive Director, Michael Collins, made it clear that the organization was facing funding issues and implored concerned members and sponsors to evaluate the benefits of having a voice in Washington and ICANN.[7]

Moniker.com has held a auctions at no-cost to benefit the ICA.[8]

The ICA has also previously announced plans to effectively shut-down its operations due to funding shortfalls.[9]

ICANN

  • On January 15th, 2018, ICANN introduced the idea of examining and reforming the UDRP with its Version 1.0 of the ICA UDRP Reform Policy Platform, A Re-Examination of the Defense of Laches After 18 Years of the UDRP [10]
  • In June, 2011, The ICA urged the board to adopt a policy that no incumbent registry seeking to affiliate with a registrar be allowed to simply elect to transition to the new gTLD Registry Agreement.[11]
  • The ICA has long supported initiatives within ICANN to create new gTLDs, and has chastised those moves that slow down the process, often taking on the GAC, and the U.S. Department of Commerce for their oppositional stances.[12][13] However, it has also called for moderation and a balanced approach, notably abstaining from an invitation to sign a 2009 letter urging ICANN to allow new gTLDs.[14]
  • In May, 2011, the ICA and Oversee.net chastised ICANN for poor wording with regards to domain parking in its new TLD guidebook. ICANN's guidebook asked applicants about their stances on allowing domain parking, and seemed to cast the act as a negative social action. Thus, the ICA and others saw ICANN as overstepping its boundaries and effectively monitoring content on the Internet.[15]
  • In February, 2011, Philip Corwin of the ICA addressed a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce and sent copies to Rod Beckstrom and other ICANN executives; the letter urged those involved to not allow ICANN's GAC to become more than an advisory body, and consequently not to allow it to sidetrack progress on new gTLD issues and other initiatives that the GAC opposed and/or wants greater control over. The letter was sent prior to a special consultation of the ICANN Board with the GAC in Brussels, and also ahead of the 40th ICANN meeting held in March, 2011 in San Francisco. The ICA thought that if the ICANN Board acquiesced to the GAC, they would not only be compromising the new gTLD process but the entire multi-stakeholder model. It also was weary of the GAC's moves to override recommendations made by ICANN working groups on intellectual property issues.[16]
  • At the end of the year in 2009, the contract for ICA's counsel and representative to ICANN and other bodies, Philip Corwin, expired. The thought of not having him, or any representation, at such a crucial time for new gTLDs and new versions of the URS was described a concerned ICA member as "disastrous".[17] He has since returned to working with the ICA.[18]
  • The ICA participates at ICANN meetings via Philip Corwin. He frequently addresses the ICANN Board and other ICANN bodies.[19][20]
  • The ICA is a very vocal body, and issues statements, positions, and sends letters in regards to most prominent moves by the organization. They have been influential in the debate surrounding the URS.[21]

References