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Video: The First 25 Years

This video, developed by CEO Colin Rule for’s 25th Anniversary Conference, recounts the founding of by John Helie and Jim Melamed on January 1, 1996.  This was the first day that the new graphical Internet supported “.com” domains.

Eight years prior to this establishment of, beginning in 1988 with the Academy of Family Mediators, John and Jim worked together as part of the Institute for Global Communications (IGC) and the new “ConflictNet” to spread the word about online communications in the form of email and bulletin boards.  This was back in the day of Compuserve and Prodigy, even before America Online.

We have in fact come a long way since digital characters slowly painted themselves across a monochrome monitor. Soon it was color and fonts, then the graphical multi-media internet, with images, audio, video, commerce, attachments, security, faster and faster speed, the cloud . . . and now AI. How far we have come!

John and Jim predicted that, some day, “every case would be an online case.”  They turned out to be right.


Colin Rule

Colin Rule is CEO of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc. ("RIS"), home of,,, and a number of additional leading online dispute resolution initiatives.  From 2017 to 2020, Colin was Vice President for Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies. Tyler acquired, an ODR provider that Colin co-founded,… MORE >


James Melamed, J.D.

Jim Melamed co-founded in 1996 along with John Helie and served as CEO of through June 2020 (25 years).  Jim is currently Board Chair and General Counsel for Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc. (RIS), home to,, and other leading dispute resolution sites. During Jim's 25-year tenure,… MORE >


John Helie

As a co-founder of (1996), John Helie extended his commitment to dispute resolution and the Internet. John earlier founded ConflictNet in 1988 as a communication forum and information sharing network for the Conflict Resolution Practitioners community. A trained mediator and facilitator, John pioneered work with online conflict and communication from the… MORE >

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