ICA Business Intelligence Briefing on ICANN’s Second Round of New gTLDs

Join us for this dynamic session in which our panelists will share their expertise on the next application round for new gTLDs.

Are you curious about applying and operating a new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD)? Or simply want to find out what the second round will look like? Join this panel of seasoned veterans to gain actionable intelligence and guidance on the next application round including an examination of material changes, expected timing and operations within the broader ecosystem will help participants determining whether to pursue a new gTLD for their new entrepreneurial venture, global brand or growing business.

Whether you’re just wanting to find out more information about new extensions or want to hear more about applying and operating your own, come discover what the second round of new gTLDs has in store.

Register today to reserve your spot and receive a zoom webinar link for this free event.

Meet our Moderator and the Panelists

Moderator: Christa Taylor, a member of the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group, has been launching and driving TLD registry businesses since 2014 and supported over 50 new gTLD applicants in the 2012 round. With a Master’s degree in both Predictive Analytics (MSPA) and e-Business (MBA) coupled with an accounting designation (CPA) she is adept in utilizing data science to design strategic initiatives to form marketing strategies that positively impact the bottom line.

Jeff Neuman has been active in providing domain name policy and implementation advice since the mid-1990s. He was a member of the original working group that developed the UDRP, the inventor of the trademark claims process, co-chair of ICANN committees on new gTLDs, and assisted applications in round one of the new gTLD applications. He is currently an accredited UDRP Panelist for the Forum. After serving in executive business and legal roles at a domain registry and registrar, his new practice focuses on legal and policy services related to domain name management, new gTLDs, dispute resolution, and intellectual property licensing.

Jothan Frakes is a trusted New gTLD industry expert who understands the registry and registrar industries and secondary marketplace for new gTLDs. A strong advocate of new gTLDs and Internationalized Domain Names, Jothan guided and worked as the subject matter expert with KPMG in reviewing the technical portions of round one of new gTLD applications for ICANN. He has held a number of senior leadership positions within the industry Jothan is the CEO of ICANN Accredited Registrar PLISK.COM, as well as a consultant for registry/registrar strategic and operational projects and a co-founder of NamesCon.

Phil Buckingham is the CEO of Dot Advice Ltd, a UK-based consulting firm that provides strategic financial advisory services to TLD Registries and Registrars and Fintech and Edtech Start-Ups. Phil was a member of the recent Subsequent Procedures Working Group and assisted numerous First Round (2012) applicants throughout the whole process(es) to launch.
He was recently elected by the members as a Non-Executive Director to the Board at Nominet .UK Registry. In 1995 Phil co-founded Netnames (now part of Tucows and CSC)was subsequently instrumental in its IPO on AIM ( LSE) in 2000. He was previously involved in the First Round gTLD financial evaluation process and participated in numerous ICANN PDP WGs.


Domain Names and U.S. Income Taxes: The Knowns and The Unknowns

Some of the trickiest issues with domain names involve determining their proper tax treatment. Are domain name purchases held in inventory, expensed, or amortized? If amortized, for how long? How can one appraise a donated domain name? What do you do if you purchase a domain name and a website is included?

The ICA is very happy to announce that Ed Neff will be leading our July Member Event and sharing his expertise on these matters with ICA members. Ed Neff has been a principal with Taksey Neff & Associates since 2005. As a tax partner, he has over twenty years of tax and accounting experience working with a broad range of clients in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Ed has many years of experience handling tax issues for leading domain name investors and is well-versed in the complexities of domain name tax regulations. You’re invited to take part in this valuable opportunity to hear from and interact with an expert in the field of domain name taxation!

If you’re not an ICA member, but you’re interested in the event, contact us to join.




Domain name investors look for security and portability amongst other important factors when selecting a registrar. Locks can sometimes play an important role in securing a valuable domain name. When a registrar locks a domain name upon changing a registrant or changing registrars that may give the registrant time to notice an unauthorized change and better enable the registrar to assist in recovering the domain name, for example via the Registrar Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy. Locking a domain name may also assist a registrar in ensuring that it gets paid for the domain name prior to it being transferred to another registrar.

Nevertheless, locks are not the only kind of security available to registrars and registrants. Security measures such two-factor authentication (2FA) can be implemented by registrars in order to avoid unauthorized transfers of domain names in the first place and have been proven to be very effective in avoiding domain name theft.

Where locks are imposed as a security mechanism it is important for registrars and registrants alike to be aware of when and why a domain name may be locked. In consulting with many registrars and registrants, the ICA discovered that there are widespread misconceptions about who requires locks and when they are mandatory. From a careful review of ICANN’s Transfer Policy – which is a very confusing document even for experienced lawyers to comprehend – it is apparent that some registrars themselves are unclear on when they are required to impose a lock and when they are not. Similarly, many registrants are unaware that ICANN policy is generally permissive when it comes to imposing locks – leaving it to the discretion of the registrar in many cases. Below is an infographic which the ICA prepared to help clarify what ICANN’s transfer policy says about transfer locks:

From a domain name investor perspective, security must be balanced with portability of domain names. However in order for registrants to ascertain what balance between security and portability is available from particular registrars, greater transparency and education is required. The ICANN Transfer Policy Working Group is currently engaged in reviewing the Transfer Policy, and making the Transfer Policy clearer and determining when transfer locks may appropriately be imposed, are two of the many issues that will be carefully examined. Further information about the Transfer Policy may be found here. The Internet Commerce Association is committed to working towards a more transparent and readily ascertainable transfer policy applicable to all registrars so as to enable domain name investors and all registrants to make informed choices when selecting a registrar. Below is a chart showing the transfer policies for two ICA-affiliated registrars and you can see Dynadot’s recent blog post clarifying their locks here


Announcing ICA’s 15th Anniversary Member Meetup on September 19th and 20th!

ICA turns 15 this fall, and we’re thrilled to announce that we hope to be celebrating in… Las Vegas! It was a very close vote, but ultimately, you, our members, decided that you’d like for our first in-person event to happen in Las Vegas. With so many meetings held there in the past, it’ll be fun to reminisce about them as we create new memories. 

We envision a fun event combining some member meetings and social activities. There will be no admission costs; meals and drinks will be covered by members and we will offer sponsorship opportunities to host cocktail hours, breakfasts, and dinners.

We are looking forward to meeting in person, and we’re confident things in the U.S. will continue to improve. Still, we will monitor the situation to ensure we can provide a safe setting for our meeting and abide by CDC guidelines. 

The event is open to ICA members only, and we encourage all members of the domain name industry to join the ICA.



ICA Member Event – The Domains of Brand Naming

We’re excited to invite our members to another ICA Member Event, The Domains of Brand Naming. The event will be hosted by Catchword’s senior strategist, linguist and co-founder, Laurel Sutton, and creative director, Erin Milnes, experts in linguistics and brand naming! Among other topics, you’ll hear about what brand names are, what they can (and cannot) do, about Catchword’s history, their Accelerator, and naming process.
As always, the meeting will be interactive, and we’ll reserve plenty of time for questions. The event is open to ICA Members only but we make it easy to join with individual memberships starting at $25/month. Learn more here


On Monday, March 22, 2021, Nominet, the United Kingdom’s registry operator for .UK domain names faces a stark choice between those who want it to remain true to its original purpose as a not-for-profit singularly focussed on efficiently and cost-effectively delivering domain name registry services for the .UK namespace and those that have more ambitious plans for the registry – which have to-date, involved substantial price increases on .UK registrants in order to fund new ventures. For example, one of these new ventures was investing in autonomous vehicles – something that is wholly outside of Nominet’s mission.

The Internet Commerce Association advocates for the rights and interests of domain name registrants. As a general principle, the ICA’s position is that a registry should prioritize providing registry services at cost or close to it. Anything beyond that unnecessarily imposes excessive fees on registrants. Concerning increases in management remuneration, reportedly increasing by 70% over five years, further demonstrates an organization that is straying from its core mission of operating as a modest not-for-profit without any ambitions beyond managing the .UK namespace.

Although the ICA takes no specific position on the resolutions before Nominet members, the ICA does believe that the current management’s track record of raising prices on registrants without any justification tied to the actual cost of performing the services requires a fundamental change in approach. The current Nominet management has undertaken to freeze .UK domain name prices for two years, but this in our view is entirely insufficient.

The ICA urges Nominet members to support efforts to restore Nominet’s core mission to operate the registry at cost as a not-for profit.  Nominet’s management should never raise registration fees beyond what it takes to operate the registry in a prudent manner, with any excess revenue being directed to worthy causes and not to growing the breadth of Nominet’s limited mandate.

Voting by Nominet members ends Friday, March 19, 2021 at 5 pm London time


Lonnie Borck Memorial Award Nominee Profile – Adam Strong

Because of his humble nature, you might not have heard of Adam Strong, our next Lonnie Borck Memorial Award Nominee. However, he is an industry veteran with 20 years of experience and an extensive digital design and development background. Adam has founded and co-founded several companies, such as namebio.com, and has been known to selflessly help many, both in the domain name industry and outside.
Having registered his first domain name in 1997, Adam has helped hundreds of companies buy and sell their domains. He currently resides in Central Illinois with his wife and two boys.


Lonnie Borck Memorial Award Nominee Profile – Donna Mahony

Today’s featured Lonnie Borck Memorial Award nominee is Donna Mahony. Donna has been a stalwart advocate for domain investors and is the founder of Domain Boardroom, bringing together domain investors worldwide. Domain Boardroom provides a safe, respectful, and noise-free gathering point for the transparent sharing of advice, support, and industry news. Donna created this unique space 10+ years ago and has played a key behind-the-scenes role in the growth of the domain investing industry, helping dozens of domain investors’ careers over the years. Donna was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension several years ago and has been advocating for organ donations, which can save the lives of those suffering from the disease. She encourages everyone to register to become a donor, and you can do so here.


Lonnie Borck Memorial Award Nominee Profile – Richard Lau

To make this year’s Lonnie Borck Memorial Award ceremony even more exceptional, the very talented folks at NamesCon, created elegant bobblehead drawings of all the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award Nominees. And since we think they’re too good to keep to ourselves, we’d like to share them along with some background on each of the deserving nominees. We’re starting with Richard Lau, who is the founder of NamesCon! Richard has been in the domain name industry for over two decades. He is always available to share his considerable knowledge and industry experience, as he recently did while participating in one of ICA member events. He inspires many as the Executive Director and a donor for the Water School, a charity working to improve clean water access in Africa. Richard is currently working on Logo.com. To learn more about Richard, visit his ICA member profile.

Busting Secondary Domain Name Market Myths

The Secondary Market in domain names plays a critical role in Internet commerce yet is often misunderstood. This article clear ups some of the common myths that frequently arise when discussing the Secondary Market.

The Secondary Market is a crucial feature of the domain name ecosystem which encompasses far more parties than domain name investors alone, who play an important but relatively modest part in it. Domain name investors help the Secondary Market to function better for the benefit of sellers, buyers and Internet users by providing liquidity and assisting in moving underutilized domain names to their highest and best use.

A competitive free market is the best system we have for allocating scarce resources such as domain names. Prices for domain names are established in the Secondary Market, not by domain name investors alone, but rather when buyers and sellers come to a meeting of the minds as to the relative value of a domain name. Domain name investors deal in desirable domain names that would be registered by someone, whether a domain name investor or someone else, and invariably whoever owns a domain name would only part with it if a satisfactory sale price was obtained. Ultimately, domain name investors are proxies for sellers by stepping into the shoes of the seller, staking his or her own capital and taking the risk and responsibility of reselling a domain name on the open market to a party who may have a more valuable use for it than the previous owner.

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