ICA’s Best Practices for Domain Name Brokers


The ICA has developed the following Best Practices for Domain Name Brokers.  These best practices are offered as industry guidelines that distill the best ethical and professional practices expected of domain name brokers.  These best practices were developed through extensive consultations with our member brokers and the language has been approved by the ICA Board.

Domain name brokers are dedicated professionals who provide an essential service to both domain name buyers and sellers. Previously, there has been little guidance to aid prospective clients in understanding what conduct is expected of an ethical and professional domain name broker.

Those who wish to engage the services of a domain name broker may wish to review these guidelines with the broker and to obtain the assurance of any broker that they engage, perhaps in writing, that the broker will abide by these guidelines.

ICA’s Best Practices for Domain Name Brokers

Version 2.0 - Published April 30, 2024

A domain name broker shall:

    1. Endeavor to provide conscientious service to clients in a professional manner and exercise reasonable knowledge, skill, judgment, and competence in providing those services.
    2. Endeavor to keep informed of the trends, best practices, and changes affecting domain name brokerage services and the industry in general.
    3. Always employ a written brokerage agreement that adequately sets out all fees, duties, terms, rights, and obligations applicable to both the broker and the client, and unless otherwise expressly agreed with the client, the agreement shall entitle the broker to act as the client’s exclusive broker in respect of the subject domain name(s). Where any co-brokering, subcontracting, or other arrangement is contemplated, that shall be disclosed in a written agreement.
    4. Promote and protect the best interests of the client and endeavor to serve the client’s interests uninfluenced by the basis of remuneration.
    5. Always act within the authority granted by the client.
    6. Hold in strictest confidence all information acquired in a professional capacity and not divulge it or any portion of it unless so authorized by the client or so required by law. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, a domain name broker shall not publicly disclose the confidential details of a domain name transaction, including but not limited to the domain name itself, without the express permission of the applicable parties.
    7. Strive to conduct oneself with courtesy and in good faith, in such a way as to enhance public respect for the domain name industry and for domain brokers in particular.
    8. Not represent that one acts for or on behalf of the buyer, seller or particular domain name, unless there is written authorization from the buyer, seller, or owner of a particular domain name, respectively.
    9. Include in the initial outreach, when soliciting interest for services as a broker with respect to a domain name which one is not authorized by the domain name owner to represent on their behalf, the following statement, “I am not acting for the domain name owner, nor am I authorized by the domain name owner to do outreach on this domain name”.  Such statement shall be included in a prominent manner such that it will be noticed by the recipient.
    10. Fully disclose to the client any conflicts of interest that may exist.
    11. Not represent both the buyer and seller in respect of the same domain name unless the client’s consent has been obtained and the dual agency has been disclosed to the client.
    12. Fully disclose and obtain the consent of the client with respect to any arrangements for receiving compensation from any third party.
    13. Recommend to the client that an established and credible domain name escrow or transfer service be employed in connection with all domain name transactions.
    14. Strive to encourage clients to seek the services of qualified attorneys, accountants, or other professional advisors when applicable.
    15. Endeavor to comply with all applicable laws and not knowingly assist or facilitate any unlawful conduct.
    16. Maintain a publicly accessible website and LinkedIn profile identifying oneself and describing one's services.
    17. Not knowingly attempt to circumvent or interfere with another broker’s exclusive contract with a domain name owner or buyer.
    18. Not refer to legitimate domain name investors as "cybersquatters" or "squatters" or otherwise disparage the legitimate domain name investment industry and do one’s best to educate clients about the legitimate business of domain investing.

* The ICA does not enforce compliance with these best practices, and makes no assurance that any domain name broker, whether an ICA member or not, is in compliance with these best practices.  Any issue that you may have with a broker who is an ICA member is entirely between you and that broker and the ICA will generally not be involved in receiving any complaints or taking any other action against a broker in relation to such a complaint at this time.

* The ICA is not responsible for any actions taken by ICA members who are brokers, nor does the ICA represent or warrant that any ICA member who is a broker has or will abide by ICA’s Best Practices for Domain Name Brokers, and the ICA specifically disclaims any obligation to take any action or omit to take any action in connection with an ICA member who is a broker in relation to ICA’s Best Practices for Domain Name Brokers.