ICA Member Profile: Kate Buckley

Kate is CEO and Founder of Buckley Media. She has 23 years of experience in integrated marketing and business development, with deep experience in global domains, brand development, naming, creative strategy, storytelling, and social media. Kate’s background includes big agencies (Gray and Landor) as well as 20 years experience with premium domains (CCIN/The Castello Brothers). She is an expert at premium domain consulting and representation, specializing in ultra-premium .COMs. Kate has three publicly recorded domain sales in the Top 15 Global Sales for 2018 (DNJournal.com)—the only individual or company to do so.

She graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky with a BA in Advertising/PR/Communications. Kate also holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Spalding University), and is a Certified Professional Life Coach and Corporate Trainer (LCIOC), Public Speaker (AMA), and accomplished artist, award-winning poet and author. She is Poet Laureate Emerita of Laguna Beach, California. Kate’s a strong believer in supporting communities; apart from her involvement in a personal capacity—volunteering and providing pro bono branding services, she also ensures that Buckley Media donates a considerable portion of the proceeds of each domain sale to worthy charities such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, WaterSchool, and With My Own Two Hands Foundation.

Profile Questions

Name: Kate Buckley
Company: Buckley Media
Favorite Domain: Translate.com (currently under exclusive brokerage)
Favorite Industry Conference: NamesCon
Favorite Industry Blog(s): DN Journal, DomainSherpa, Elliot’s blog, DNW.com

Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I’m a peripatetic Kentuckian who somehow ended up in Southern California. I’ve been in branding and marketing since 1995 and premium domains since 1998. I’m also a poet, writer and visual artist (KateBuckley.com), and an avid supporter of a variety of causes including Big Brothers Big Sisters. I live with my boyfriend, Todd Henderson (CEO of InkAgency.com) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Murphy, in Laguna Beach.

How did you get involved in the domain industry?
David and Michael Castello recruited me in 1998 to help them launch, monetize, and run PalmSprings.com. David and I had PalmSprings.com grossing $1M annually just between the two of us. It was a tremendous learning experience! I went on to work with them on LagunaBeach.com (which I later sold for them for $600,000) and Nashville.com, as well as a variety of other CCIN brands. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the world of ultra-premium domains.

What is your current role?
I founded Buckley Media in 2013 as a branding and domains agency. I’d just sold LagunaBeach.com for the Castello Brothers, along with a marketing plan and site redevelopment blueprint I’d created. The new owners hired me on to implement my plans, thus the formation of Buckley Media. Since that time, I’ve had the pleasure of branding a number of exciting companies (both startups and established companies) and brokering (on both the buy and sell side) some amazing domains including my recent sale of Sleeping.com and Snoring.com for over $1M. I work on an ongoing basis with both the Castello Brothers and Roy Messer on their amazing portfolios, as well as a select number of other domain investors on their valuable ultra-premium domains: https://www.buckleymedia.com/featured-premium-domains.html

Why did you choose to support the ICA?
I believe in the ICA’s mission and tactics, and want to be part of helping move things forward in a coordinated, elegant, intelligent and transparent fashion. I also very much appreciate the ICA’s advocacy and aims.

What do you like most about the domain industry?
It’s entrepreneurial and ever-changing. In order to succeed, one must have a high risk-tolerance, good people skills, and be both a creative and strategic thinker. It’s never boring.

If you could change one thing about the domain industry what would it be?
Greater alignment on best practices. Greater transparency and an established code of ethics.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges the domain industry is faced with?
We’re not regulated and are ever-changing, so we need to self-regulate and co-create best practices that serve to move the domain industry forward. We also need to better educate the public on the value and highest and best use of domains in a coordinated and cohesive manner.

What unexpected doors opened for you because of your involvement in the domain industry?
I’ve met some of the most fascinating people I know through the domain industry. It’s also allowed me to make a good living on my own terms, doing something I greatly enjoy.

What’s the best advice ever received (domain related or otherwise)?
Listen far more than you talk.

What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
Writing, painting, reading, hiking, Stand Up Paddleboarding, cooking, wine tasting, travel.

Favorite place to get away:
Anywhere that my boyfriend and I can unplug from work for a bit and enjoy exploring the world together. Next up, Croatia!

The views expressed here are the personal views of the member and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ICA.

ICA Member Profile: Slade Michalec

Slade got his start in internet marketing, working on the affiliate marketing side of things where focus was on website optimization and user retention/recovery. After hearing Hobi speak of the domain industry for several years, Slade became more fascinated with domains. He eventually made the career jump and began brokering premium domain names at Domain Holdings. Since the beginning to where he is today as Co-Founder of Lumis, Slade has not looked back! Read more


ICA Member Profile: Hobi Michalec

Hobi Michalec graduated college at FAU with a Bachelor’s in Business Management and a focus on entrepreneurship. He discovered domaining by chance after meeting John Ferber and joining Domain Holdings for a number of years. He left the company after its acquisition to help Co-found Lumis.

Read more


ICA Member Profile: Mike Robertson

Mike Robertson is a domain name professional with over 15 years of experience specializing in buying, selling, managing and monetizing domain names, with total domain sales in excess of 8-figures. His work has been featured and quoted in various trade and industry publications as well as mainstream media such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and News.com.au. He is currently the Director of Business for Fabulous.com and Directnic.com. In his spare time he enjoys attending concerts and playing sports. Read more


Surge in RDNH cases a legacy of the theory of Retroactive Bad Faith

What do these Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) filings have in common? —

  • Dreamlines GmbH, a German cruise promoter, files a UDRP dispute on dreamlines.com, a domain registered 10 years before that company was formed. They do not allege any infringing use.
  • Cognate Nutritionals, Inc., a Connecticut beverage company, which sells a coconut oil brain supplement under the brand “Fuel for Thought”, files a UDRP dispute on fuelforthought.com. It alleges that the domain registrant is a cybersquatter even though the domain was registered five years before the launch of the beverage and did not target the complainant.
  • Chooze, a Texan manufacturer of vegan footwear, files a UDRP dispute on chooze.com, alleging that the domain was registered and used in bad faith despite the domain being registered more than ten years before the launch of the brand and inactive.

Read more


UDRP: Better Late than Never – ICA Applauds WIPO for Removing Misguided ‘Retroactive Bad Faith’

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA), a non-profit trade group representing the domain industry, applauds the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for removing misleading guidance from the newly released updated version 3.0 of its Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions that in the previous version had granted undeserved legitimacy to a misconstruction of the UDRP commonly known as the Retroactive Bad Faith theory. Read more


The Rise and Fall of the UDRP Theory of ‘Retroactive Bad Faith’

Since its establishment in 1999, the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy has required complainants to prove inter alia, “bad faith registration”. In practice, this has meant that where a domain name was registered before a trademark came into existence, that “bad faith registration” would be considered chronologically impossible.

Read more


ICA Member Profile: Edward Zeiden

Edward Zeiden is a business strategist and entrepreneur specializing in brick and mortar companies, start-ups, and the domain industry. After co-founding the startup, NameLayer (subsequently acquired by Techstars), he pursued a career in management consulting and web design.

He currently coordinates daily operations and fosters strategic partnerships at NamePros as Managing Director. He’s an avid investor in domains and the stock market. In his spare time, he still likes to help startups and local business as well as write about business strategy. Some of his most recent articles geared towards startups can be found on Morgan Linton’s blog. Read more


ICA Supports Retention of Court Access for Registrants in IGO UDRPs

ICA has just filed its comment letter supporting all five recommendations contained in the GNSO Initial Report on the IGO-INGO Access to Curative Rights Protection Mechanisms Policy Development Process. ICA Counsel Philip Corwin is Co-Chair of the Working Group (WG) that prepared this Report, issued after two years of extensive research into the underlying legal and policy issues.

From the viewpoint of domain registrants, the most important recommendation is that, in the rare instance where a domain registrant targeted by an IGO believes that an adverse UDRP or URS decision is in error, the registrant will retain the right to seek de novo judicial review by a court of mutual jurisdiction. The WG did not find a sound basis for accepting the recommendation of the “IGO Small Group” that the accepted scope of jurisdictional immunity for International Intergovernmental Organizations required any appeal be heard by another arbitrator rather than a court.

Addressing this issue in its letter, ICA stated:

Creating additional rights protection schemes that apply to only an extremely small subset of Internet users is impractical and would only be justified if the mutual jurisdiction appeals clause of current DRPs would always offend the degree of judicial immunity that is generally recognized for IGOs. However, based upon the input of its legal expert, the WG properly concluded that there is no such universal absolute immunity for IGOs in domain-related disputes, and that the proper forum for adjudicating an IGO’s immunity claim is a national court.

This cautious approach is consistent with the principle that, while ICANN policies should recognize and respect existing law, ICANN has no authority to grant legal rights that go beyond contemporary law. A California non-profit corporation’s attempt to deprive domain registrants of their statutory right to judicial process might well be spurned by many national courts, and would also run afoul of many national laws prohibiting involuntary dispute arbitration that deny access to court.

Further, given the demonstrated lack of quality control, consistency, and predictability in UDRP determinations it would be fundamentally unfair to attempt to bar the owner of a valuable domain who believes that a UDRP or URS has been wrongly decided from seeking truly independent de novo judicial review. The fact that the IGO’s preferred alternative, “appeal” to another non-judicial DRP provider, might well result in a rehearing by WIPO – an UN-affiliated IGO – would inevitably raise questions about whether it was an impartial and balanced forum or one disposed to favor its IGO brethren. Likewise, as both the UDRP and URS are supplements to and not substitutes for litigation, ICANN policy should never seek to deny the citizens of any jurisdiction access to courts in order to adjudicate their statutory rights unless such a result is required by other clear and universally recognized preemptive legal principles.

In regard to what should happen when an IGO successfully asserts its immunity from the jurisdiction of such court, ICA favored adoption of Option 1 put out for comment by the WG, that “the decision rendered against the registrant in the predecessor UDRP or URS shall be vitiated”.

In explaining that preference, ICA’s letter states:

Our rationale in favor of this option is that the UDRP and URS are convenient, expedited, and lower cost supplements to available judicial process, not preemptive substitutes, and that ICANN has no authority to require a non-judicial appeal and thereby strip domain registrants of those legal rights they may possess under relevant national law. Further, our members’ overall experience with the UDRP is that panel decisions can be seriously flawed — and it is precisely in those instances where the registrant believes that panel error has occurred and the loss of a valuable or functionally important domain is imminent that availability of independent, de novo judicial review is most critically required. Given the cost of litigation, such registrant appeals will likely be rare and reserved only for the most egregious mistakes in judgment by UDRP or URS panelists.

Successful assertion of an immunity defense by an IGO in such an appeal would essentially deprive the registrant of the opportunity for independent judicial appeal. In that circumstance, the UDRP/URS would no longer be a supplement to relevant law but a preemptive substitute for it. Such a result would go far beyond ICANN’s authority, remit and mandate. Therefore, if the IGO succeeds in its immunity claim and thereby effectively strips the registrant of its only meaningful opportunity for appeal, the predecessor UDRP should be vitiated and the situation should return to the status quo ante.

While the WG did not adopt the “Small Group” proposal, its Initial Report nonetheless recommends necessary adjustments and enhancements of existing UDRP and URS practice that will enable IGOs and INGOs to more readily access these existing expedited and low-cost curative rights mechanisms to effectively respond to misuse of their names and acronyms in the domain name system (DNS). These include allowing an IGO to assert standing to file a case based upon either trademark rights or, in the alternative, demonstration that it has complied with the simple communication and notification to WIPO prerequisite for gaining the protections for its names and acronyms in national trademark law systems in accordance with Article 6ter of the Paris Convention. The Report also clarifies that an IGO may avoid any concession on the matter of jurisdictional immunity by electing to file a UDRP or URS through an assignee, agent or licensee.

The comment period on the Initial Report has been extended through March 30th at the request of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) so that its members may have the benefit of attending sessions on the WG Report as well as facilitated GNSO-GAC discussions on outstanding IGO issues during the upcoming ICANN 58 meeting in Copenhagen. The WG will evaluate all the comments and consider whether changes should be made to its recommendations prior to issuing a Final Report for consideration by the GNSO Council. Any recommendations endorsed by Council will be sent on to ICANN’s Board for approval and implementation; the GAC can render its own advice on the Final Report and the Board is bound to consider that advice if it is adopted by full GAC consensus.

The full text of ICA’s comment letter is available here: ICA-IGO-CRP-Comment-Final



On Wednesday, our fellow trade association, the Domain Name Association (DNA), announced the rollout of its “Healthy Domains Initiative” (HDI).  The ICA joins the DNA in seeking solutions for stopping online abuse.  However, the ICA is particularly concerned  about its proposed remedy to combat online copyright infringement.

The HDI proposes to establish a “Copyright ADRP” with the power to order the transfer of domain names on the basis of claims of copyright infringement.   This proposal would establish a new unregulated private legal dispute system for domain names involving claims of copyright infringement outside of any ICANN-mandated legal rights protection mechanisms (RPMs).  It would also likely slam the door shut on the growing and legitimate practice of licensing and leasing domain names with no trademark issues.  Nevertheless, the .Org registry operator, Public Interest Registry (PIR), has already announced its intent to soon launch its own such “Copyright ADRP” that would award domain names to prevailing copyright claimants.

This is a deeply troubling development as ICANN has up to now been the sole source of all  domain name related RPMs that can result in domain transfer or suspension at gTLDs.  The ICA is concerned that such a development outside of the ICANN multi-stakeholder, community-based consensus model, without public consultation, effectively circumvents ICANN’s established role and obligations, and may lead to private companies electing to force their own private legal regimes on Internet users and domain name registrants.

Unilateral actions, such as those proposed by the DNA and  PIR, should not be undertaken on an ad hoc, commercial basis, outside of the ICANN framework.  ICANN must not abrogate its primary responsibility to provide the policy framework for its contracted parties.

The ICA will be closely examining the HDI and PIR proposals, and will be actively engaged in opposing any unilateral actions which purport to impose private legal systems upon public resources outside of the ICANN community-based framework.

For more information visit https://www.internetcommerce.org/dna-unveils-hdi-with-copyright-udrp/