Our friend and noted domain industry journalist Andrew Allemann has just released the 2012 Domain Name Wire survey of domain investor concerns (http://domainnamewire.com/2012/02/28/government-regulation-domains/).That statistical portrait, based upon 1,143 respondents, lists Government regulation as the top (21%) concern for the domain investment community.
The full list is –
1. Government regulation 21%
2. Overall economy 15%
3. New TLDs 15%
4. ICANN policy decisions 13%
5. Domain theft 12%
6. Anti-domainer interests (overreaching trademark interests, reverse domain hijackers) 9%
7. Changes in pay-per-click advertising market 8%
8. Registry wholesale price increase 7%
9. Other 2%
In reviewing the list, we note that ICA is the sole collective voice for domain investors on issues that add up to a super-majority – 70% -- of domain investor concerns.
On #1, we monitor issues in Washington and regularly convey our views to policymakers. While we were hardly the only voice raised against the PIPA/SOPA legislation, we were the only ones to bring to lawmakers’ attention the fact that proposed language would have subjected registrars, parking companies, and all other domain industry intermediaries to potential cutoff of payment and advertising services if accused of trafficking in domains constituting “counterfeit marks” under the vague language of those proposals.
On #3, we were fully engaged in the entire three-year process of developing the Applicant Guidebook, and successfully fought back attempts to turn the new Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) rights protection into a cut-rate, full-blown substitute for the UDRP, rather than a limited supplement. We will continue to closely monitor implementation of new gTLDs as the application, approval, and rollout process moves forward.
On #4, we attend and speak out at every ICANN meeting, are an active participant in its Business Constituency, and serve on a variety of ICANN Working Groups dealing with issues that directly affect domainer interests.
On #5, we are participating at the moment in a Working Group on Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy that aims to reduce the possibility of fraudulent domain transfers.
And, on #6, we have vigorously advocated UDRP reform, just requested that ICANN investigate NAF’s arbitration of UDRP cases to assure adequate due process and prevent forum shopping, and successfully advocated for an Applicant Guidebook provision that prevents serial reverse domain name hijackers from being new gTLD applicants.
While we’ve been busy, the ICA is working to better inform the domain community of our activities targeted to the predominant concerns of the domain investors who support the ICA. And, when they’re not, our members know they can always bring new concerns to our attention and that we rapidly respond to that input.