Monday, March 3, 2008
A Reader Weighs in on the “Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008”
Whenever someone posts something in the comment section that is thoughtful and well-considered, I like to elevate it to an actual post; that way the message doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
I am still puzzled as to why the domaining community has waited so long to act; the warning signs were certainly there. It seems a bit late to declare war on a bill that is sure to be popular with constituents.
Still, in this articulate and well-written editorial, Darryl has opened an important door to a useful dialogue:
This is my first time posting on your blog although I do frequent your blog from time to time. I was compelled to share my thoughts here because of the obvious passion that you displayed on the Snowe Bill issue.
I think you have said perhaps what a lot of folks are thinking or asking themselves. . . who really are the threatened ones here? Who really has the most to lose? For me, I am still in my honeymoon phase of domaining. Although, I would hate to see this thing end right at the time that I decided to dive in at the deep end of the pool . . . ultimately, what can you do?
Nevertheless, for what it is worth, in my final analysis, I believe that the proposed legislation will not pass as presently written, especially if every domainer under the sun begins to shoot his/her opposition of the Bill to their respective congressmen and women in Washington ASAP.
I don't believe that the Snowe Bill will make it beyond the floors of Congress because it seems to me that in an already rocky and shaky economy, the Snowe Bill if it is ratified by Congress would have an effect so rippling and slippery that it would prove untenable for business, and the gains of trade.
Quite simply, it seems to me that the passage of the Snowe Bill would have the potential to rock the publicly-traded domain companies. The trickle-down effect bourne out of this would then reverberate into the public and financial community in a manner similar to the current mortgage crisis, although perhaps on a smaller scale--but still quite damaging.
Imagine if you will, "EveryDay Joe" who buys shares of Communicate.com, NameMedia, and other publicly-traded domain companies--not only would Domainers lose out, but also other stakeholders (i.e., Banks/financiers, etc) who are heavily invested. The passage of this ill-conceived and self-interested Bill would be almost Enronian in its effect and application, and I for one just don't see those Senators and Representatives ratifying a bill that will send the economy into further descent, and tailspin this time around. The impact would most likely put a lot of folks out of work and further disturb an already shaky economy.
In any case, I, too was also amazed at the costs involved in becoming a member of ICA, and have not joined because of the costs. However, I do plan to join the ICA when I start making some real money off of some domain sales.
Through my nine-month observation of the domain industry, I definitely can see a very developed domain caste system that exists between the "domain-haves" and the "domain-havenots." One can read about it almost everyday when a "have" says that any domain extension other than .Com is garbage. This socially constructed domain stratification, says you are only a player if you were blessed, fortunate or lucky enough to get into the domain game 10+ years ago. Ironically, its almost collusive by nature if one sits back and really observes the domain dynamics at play. And yet, isn't this the American way--free enterprise, etc., etc. We have to remember that this industry is just a microcosm of larger society--same ailments and the same rewards.
Nevertheless, to digress a bit: a few weeks ago, I suggested via email to an ICA Board Member that the organization consider offering membership through domain donation. Essentially, a domainer could join ICA by tendering a domain or domains equivalent to the relevant value of the membership interest.
At that time, I intimated that the cost factor to join the ICA might be more of an impediment to increasing the ICA membership numbers and coffers. I suggested that in lieu of the relevant membership fee, that a prospective member be afforded the opportunity joint ICA by donating a domain or domains equivalent to the level of membership sought by the individual. Subsequently, ICA could then pool the donated domains for auction to help generate the revenue necessary to support ICA membership in defending against institutional and public legal attacks. At the time, I thought this was a reasonable and feasible idea if not acceptable to the ICA Board . . . to date, I haven't heard a peep back about this in the domainersphere although I thought it might be discussed at the most recent ICA meeting.
Nonetheless, at this time, I don't think that Domainers should reinvent the wheel here, but rather I submit that serious domainers should at the very least try to form and present a very real and unified front regarding the Snowe Bill. However, if in fact, the chasm between the established, intermediate and upstart domainers is really too wide a gap to bridge, then perhaps a second organization may need to be formed. At present, I am warm to this idea, but if left with no other viable options, spambait's prior suggestion maybe right.
Finally, if the Snowe Bill did get passed, wouldn't big companies like GoDaddy, Oversee/Moniker, NameMedia, and all other domain stakeholders lose a small fortune because many registrars also hold their own private portfolios? I am definitely not an economist, but I just don't see this Domain Apocalypse happening--at least not on the scale that is being proffered. Is the threat real? Yes, very real, but everyone is dirty in this game from what I can see. Perhaps the "Haves" for resting on their laurels for too long; smaller stakeholders for sitting on their hands too; and the politicians for inadequately protecting the rights of domain registrants in the first place.
Anyway, as I said before--maybe I am just naive regarding these issues.
P.S. Daryl, if you would like full credit for your post, please let me know, and I will update this post. However, I understand why you might want to remain anonymous.
By the way, the above domain illustrated above could be available for a "havenot" domaining organization; I had planned to redirect it to my site It's JUST War! , but plans can change.
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