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ICA Still Strong, But Challenges Remain

What Michael Collins’ departure means for Internet Commerce Association.

When Michael Collins resigned as Executive Director of Internet Commerce Association last week, I re-read his resignation letter a few times. What did it say about ICA? What is the future of the organization?

It’s clear that Collins didn’t leave solely to focus on a new venture. There were financial considerations at ICA. Collins wrote, “The entire world is going through economic turmoil now. Many of the ardent supporters of ICA feel that they cannot continue their previous level of support in these difficult times.”

I confirmed my suspicions with both Collins and other sources. Any organization that relies on “donations” will have a tough 2009. And it’s not just the little guys that need to donate; big companies that donate $50,000 or more are critical to meeting funding goals.

But I don’t necessarily view Collins leaving as a sign of weakness. It appears ICA realizes the need to be nimble, and most organizations of its size don’t have executive directors.

Sure, it would be nice if money was flowing and we could have an executive director, two assistants, a pr team, etc. on staff. But few organizations of ICA’s size have any full-time staff. It probably makes sense to outsource the functions, relying on a specialized paid contractors (lobbyists, pr, et al) and volunteers (domainers, ICA board members).

This is Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse‘s model. That organization is basically staffed by FairWinds Partners, a company that helps clients protect their trademarks. ICA needs to depend on volunteers, especially ones backed by bid domain name companies that can give them time out of the day to work on ICA issues.

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  1. Domainer says

    Unfortunately, the smaller domainers can not contribute as much as the larger, more successful domainers (registrars and ppc companies).

    http://www.internetcommerce.org/sponsors

    What is missing from the membership list are the MAJOR registrars that are profiting from the domain industry. We, as domainers, should remind them, they should join.
    They need to give some back to protect the industry.

    Major registrars missing from list –
    Namescout/Pool
    Fabulous
    Enom
    Godaddy
    Network Solutions
    Register
    Directi
    NameMedia

    Registrars directly or indirectly members of
    ICA –
    Hitfarm
    EuroDNS
    Parked
    Moniker
    Tucows
    Sedo
    Trafficz

    If the domain industry does not have an association watching out for them in Washington, they will be put out of business.

    Jude and Michael were very good for the ICA.
    And, Michael will be missed.
    But, I’m sure there is someone that can take the assn. to the next level.

    What the ICA really need is grassroot support from the small domainers as well as the major companies profiting from domains.

    If the smaller domainer can not financially support the assn maybe they have a decent domain (they will never miss) and donate it to ICA.

    Last Sept, a few people donated domains at the Down under Auction.

    Maybe, Sedo, Snapnames or Namejet would consider having an auction from time to time to auction off donated domains for ICA?

  2. wannadevelop.com says

    They have less than “100” supporters…overall.

    It is not looking good for the immediate future.

    An organization that set out to do so much… many of the founding members have quit and do not even support it or believe in it anymore.

    I wish them all the best though.

    Mike

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