IMA Membership – Are you better off? Internet Merchants Association Debacle Worth It?

IMA Member - Am I better Off?

As the publisher of an independent blog covering the situation at the IMA...

I have been increasingly called upon to evaluate and publish different accounts of what has been going on both internally and externally at the Internet Merchants Association.

The more I read, the more information I am sent from various current and former members, the more I am starting to believe that those who have left or who have been summarily removed from the association, may be better off.

The story continues to blossom into a full fledged soap opera of amazing events followed by inconceivable decisions.  Members expelled, Board members resigning, ethics committee ignored, suspensions lifted, suspensions imposed, rules violations, rules changes... It all becomes a blur of some kind of B movie cinema retrospect of a cross between Peyton Place and Dallas.

Other blogs and websites have posted names and dates and the story, as seen through the eyes of actual Board members... I will simply say today - what's the point?  Sure, I have followed this story, and I will continue to do so. But if this is effecting your life, if, as a caring member or former member, you are moved to the extent of physical or emotional stress, is it worth it?

It seems from the outside...  (I am an outsider who had no previous opinion either for or against the IMA, it's President or board members, other than to wonder why they spent so much time and energy bashing another trade group. A trade group I am a member of but have no active board level participation in )... that the membership at IMA must have been dealing with more strange and useless activities than just the odd and persistent bash fest against PeSA.

I have received letter upon letter, obviously written by very upset and almost physically shaken individuals who in most cases simply wanted to belong to a fair and honest group of like minded people.

In most cases this is what a trade group or association is supposed to embody. Of course there will be differing opinions, but the Board of Directors usually intends upon moderating these differences, not causing them.

From this stream of letters and notes and text messages comes a story which is uncannily repeated, with amazing accuracy, from almost every source. The story seems to indicate an ever present and ominous theme... And that theme is somewhat dictatorial in nature and mostly unwise in its implementation. This theme could be dubbed into many other situations where power and greed took hold of normally level headed individuals.

It is a story which has been told a thousand times before and never the less it always comes as a shock to those who are the most invested.  We have all been caught up in situations like this, different circumstances, same overall theme, same confusion, same feeling of loss.

Please know, if you are a member of the IMA and if any of this sounds very familiar to you, people on the outside empathize and understand. I have not heard or read anything from anyone outside of the Internet Merchants Association express anything but support for the rank & file members and the dismissed board members of the IMA. You have the complete understanding of other like minded Internet professionals from every part of the community.

The question remains, what now?

I do not know any of the remaining members of the Board of Directors at the IMA, but I do know that they have remained silent for far too long.

If this is all untrue, if the comments and the letters, and the blog posts and the possible legal actions are all just a misunderstanding... Why doesn't anyone from the IMA Board or governing committee or presidents office come out and say something to that effect?

Is it time to move on?

We all understand, many members put more into this than the initial membership fee.  Your time and your efforts have been for the good of all involved... But sometimes you must just cut your losses and move on.  Better to look ahead, better to think of your own business, better to spend some quality time with your family, better to leave this debacle behind you... if it has been causing you to become agitated or worse - depressed.

I know I would be asking myself some very simple questions if I were trying to make a decision about remaining or not.

  • Am I better off?
  • Am I or is my company benefiting from this relationship?
  • Could I have done more to make it work?
  • Is there any sign of improvement, will it get better?
  • Where do I want to be a year from now?
  • Is there a different choice?
  • Why am I letting this situation effect my life?

If this is effecting your life, or your business, or your overall general attitude, seek a change please.

One powerful person can do anything you allow that person to do, dictators throughout history have proved this to be true time and again.  It is when the people take personal control back from a dictator or powerful influence that all truths suddenly become clear. There are better places, there are better situations, there will always be another organization to join and nurture and help...

If you have been dealing with a situation where you feel as though you have no say, no control, no real benefit... No matter the organization...

Are you better off now, to just walk away?

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0 Responses to IMA Membership – Are you better off? Internet Merchants Association Debacle Worth It?

  1. Henrietta July 7, 2008 at 9:09 pm #

    Wise advice which could be applied to just about any bad situation. Life is too short for petty wars.

  2. IMA Member July 8, 2008 at 12:51 am #

    They’re not staying silent, but instead sending out a statement, they’ll be sending out Cease and Desist letters – expect to get one, as you’ve been singled out by the Emporer. One must not talk about the nakedness of the Emperor. He WON’T tolerate it and will use the kingdoms funds to stop it.

  3. Scott Pooler July 8, 2008 at 12:55 am #

    Well, Well,

    I think we are protected by a little thing called the Constitution of the United States of America. Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech.

    I will wait for my letter, can I frame it?

  4. Kim - former IMA member July 8, 2008 at 1:39 am #

    I believe the constitution is being examined by the great and powerful OZ, and if the muchkins that are part of his following find that it is written wrong then you may be FORCED to follow that letter you will get.

    I don’t think you are understanding how powerful those in munchkin land are when they are drinking their special kool-aid.

  5. Angela July 8, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    I made a post on the IMA boards that was immediately yanked. I inquired as to the reasons the “Steven Grosberg” is listed as the organization for imamerchant.org

    I went to http://domains.whois.com/domain.php and did a whois lookup on IMA. It has “Steven Grosberg” listed as the Registrant Organization, Admin Organization, and Tech Organization instead of “Internet Merchants Association”.

    Domain ID:D132978514-LROR
    Domain Name:IMAMERCHANT.ORG
    Created On:15-Nov-2006 23:51:22 UTC
    Last Updated On:16-Apr-2008 19:26:27 UTC
    Expiration Date:15-Nov-2013 23:51:22 UTC
    Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)
    Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
    Status:CLIENT RENEW PROHIBITED
    Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
    Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED
    Registrant ID:GODA-025257199
    Registrant Name:Steven Grossberg
    Registrant Organization:Steven Grossberg
    Registrant Street1:11792 Osprey Pointe Cir
    Registrant Street2:
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Wellington
    Registrant State/Province:Florida
    Registrant Postal Code:33467
    Registrant Country:US
    Registrant Phone:+1.5616151472
    Registrant Phone Ext.:
    Registrant FAX:+1.5616151461
    Registrant FAX Ext.:
    Registrant Email:
    Admin ID:GODA-225257199
    Admin Name:Steven Grossberg
    Admin Organization:Steven Grossberg
    Admin Street1:11792 Osprey Pointe Cir
    Admin Street2:
    Admin Street3:
    Admin City:Wellington
    Admin State/Province:Florida
    Admin Postal Code:33467
    Admin Country:US
    Admin Phone:+1.5616151472
    Admin Phone Ext.:
    Admin FAX:+1.5616151461
    Admin FAX Ext.:
    Admin Email:
    Tech ID:GODA-125257199
    Tech Name:Steven Grossberg
    Tech Organization:Steven Grossberg
    Tech Street1:11792 Osprey Pointe Cir
    Tech Street2:
    Tech Street3:
    Tech City:Wellington
    Tech State/Province:Florida
    Tech Postal Code:33467
    Tech Country:US
    Tech Phone:+1.5616151472
    Tech Phone Ext.:
    Tech FAX:+1.5616151461
    Tech FAX Ext.:
    Tech Email:
    Name Server:ns2.totalchoicehosting.com
    Name Server:ns1.totalchoicehosting.com
    Name Server:
    Name Server:
    Name Server:
    Name Server:
    Name Server:
    Name Server:
    Name Server:
    Name Server:
    Name Server:
    Name Server:
    Name Server:

    Very telling, isn’t it?

  6. Angela July 8, 2008 at 11:41 am #

    And just for posterity’s sake in case they decide it’s time to change it since it so appropriately shows Steve’s attitude about it being HIS organization, a screenshot is located at:

    http://s351.photobucket.com/albums/q468/IMAhistory/

    Since I made this post, and then another asking why it was deleted, and suggested they give me my full refund if they don’t want my posts, I am no longer a member. I have yet to receive my refund, of course.

  7. Angela July 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    I received a partial refund, but not the full amount. When I first clicked the “trial” link on their website, after reading that I could view the forums and see if I liked the organization, I found that the link took me directly to PayPal to pay $129. I thought it odd, but expected they would refund my money if I deemed the benefits not to be worth the money. Much to my surprise when I emailed the organization, Steve replied and did not offer me a refund. Even Cathy was surprised that I was not offered a refund.

    I have put up with what I feel to be a sham of an organization for the last 5 months. These latest actions of the BOD that are all about themselves instead of the members is more than I can sit idly by and accept. I have demanded the rest of my money and will seek recourse to get it if it is not granted.

    While writing this, I received the following from the organization in response to a demand for the rest of my money:

    Please direct any and all future correspondence to IMA’s attorneys

    Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
    Michael Kosnitzky
    100 SE Second Street
    Suite 2800
    Miami, FL 33131

    These are the attorney’s IMA hired with MEMBER money to protect the BOD and go after members that post to these blogs. They would rather spend member money for attorney fees than refund 5 months of dues totalling $53.75 they owe me.

    Great organization, isn’t it?

  8. aGenius July 14, 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    Kosnitzky claims that they do not represent the IMA in these matters.

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