Ballroom at Westin Bellvue
Frakes: Home court advantage would be my
oversimplified answer, although the beauty of the Pacific
Northwest in the spring has an attraction unlike any
other area. Our CEO, Jay Westerdal, is a
Bellevue native, and he wanted to have an upscale
atmposphere for this show. The brand new Westin provides
a great forum for the event.
will be considering other locations for future Domain
Roundtable Conferences, such as New York City, Chicago,
Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington D.C.,
and Los Angeles.
The domain industry and the community are distributed throughout
the U.S. and internationally, so we’ve selected a
beautiful location for this year and we’ll look at rotating
cities for future conferences.
those who attended last year, what will they find different
about this year’s show?
The growing focus on investment is something new
this year. This has been a red hot area, receiving a lot
of press in mainstream publications like the Wall
Street Journal, Forbes and Business 2.0.
There will also be information on tax planning,
corporate structuring, some success stories from
investors and a keynote by Marc Ostrofsky of Internet
There are more keynote
sessions and we’ve adjusted the schedule to include
lunches instead of dinners. There are lots of options
for great dining in Bellevue within walking distance and
we’ve made sure there is time to enjoy them. This year
we have even deeper industry involvement from more
domain name registries, including ccTLDs.
important thing to note here is that we have not strayed too
much from what worked well last year. We
understand the attraction to the conference largely being around
building the integrity of the industry, so we’ve also been
careful to not introduce egos and overt self promotion to the
mix, so that the conference can be about domain names and the
You have four excellent keynote speakers in Vint Cerf, Paul
Twomey, Matt Bentley and Marc Ostrofsky. For
newcomers who are not already familiar with those industry
leaders, tell everyone about them and the value they they will
bring to this year’s conference.
Diversity and balance were the focus of the keynote speaking
arrangements this year. Academia, Entrepreneurs, Governance
and Enterprise are all represented by an amazing
roster of well respected speakers.
Pioneer Vint Cerf
is Chief Internet Evangelist and a Vice President
for Google and is the Chairman of the Board for ICANN’s
Board of Directors. Vint’s accolades and career of
contributions to the Internet would merit their own
article. Among his humbling list of lifetime
achievements, he was a co-inventor of TCP which
is to the internet what electricity is to a light bulb.
Vint embodies to me the
voice of academic/scientific expertise and pragmatic
pioneering from a position of immense experience and
calm reason as the Internet continues to grow
exponentially. He is an amazing public speaker and I am
still humbled that he accepted our offer to speak.
is also an amazing public speaker. Marc is an
entrepreneurial spirit that saw the early opportunities
in domain names and made some market making moves.
Internet REIT is an example of his amazing skills and
experience. A person who holds domains personally should
absolutely not miss hearing Marc speak.
Twomey is the CEO and President of ICANN.
His appearance at the Domain Roundtable is something
that is fairly unprecedented and we are glad to have him
as our opening keynote. Since taking his position in
March of 2003 there has been a broad spectrum of
accomplishments and Paul’s immense experience with
internet governance and the information economy have
helped move things forward.
CEO/President of ICANN, Paul was the Chair of the Governmental
Advisory Committee (GAC) to ICANN, and served as the
Chief Executive Officer for Australia’s National
Office of Information Economy (NOIE).
CEO & President, ICANN
year hearing about ICANN from ICANN directly (versus sound bites
or press releases) is something that helped many of our
attendees appreciate what ICANN is (and isn’t), and hearing
Paul Twomey speak about ICANN is something that is an
opportunity typically reserved to folks that travel the world to
the various locations that ICANN meets in order to serve the
many global interests that participate.
Bentley, who is the Chief Strategy Officer
will be presenting an overview of the domain
aftermarket. His experience at the enterprise level will
be of great interest to the audience. The presentation
on the trends in the marketplace (from the perspective
of a large participant/player in the aftermarket for
domain names) will be great to hear for people with any
involvement in domain names.
have spent much of the past year putting together the
2006 show agenda and line-up of participants. Tell us
about the ground that will be covered in the seminars
and some of the other industry experts people will be
able to listen to and meet at Domain Roundtable.
Chief Strategy Officer
Every angle of
the domain industry will be covered, and we’ve tried to not
leave anything out. There
are four key demographics at the conference; Search Engines
and the general public (SEO/Search, PPC, traffic
generation), Intellectual Property (corporate interests,
specialist attorneys, WIPO panelists, anti-phishing tools), Domain
Industry (registries, registrars, committees), and Domain
Portfolio Holders (investment community, domain buyers and
sellers, domain drop-catching, auction providers and domain
the four groups are subject matter from distinctive focuses that
have been great areas of growth, such as IDN and ccTLDs,
new Top Level Domains, domain appraisal, domain parking
and monetization, intellectual property interests, domain
auctions, Wall Street’s perspective on domain names, tax
planning for domain portfolios and much, much more.
also in talks with a very prominent member of the technical
community to keynote on Friday after the Name Intelligence Awards
and the CEO Roundtable. We
literally leave nothing out and have created a forum, unlike
anything else, where people can talk domain names with respected
peers and ask questions of industry heavy-hitters.
Domain Roundtable has a unique multi-track format in
which multiple seminars will be running at the same time. What
is your reasoning behind this approach and how difficult is it
for attendees to make up their minds when there is such a
multitude of options open to them during the various breakouts.
The premise of the multiple tracks was to cover all
angles of the domain industry in a three day period. It
also allows folks to structure the event into something
best meeting their needs. An individual will best know
what their desired focus is within the various
We’ve made it a point to classify the content and messaging in
the sessions by which demographics the session might be most
appeal to. The only
downside (and it is really a high quality problem if you think
about it) is that someone might want to attend two or more
sessions at the same time, so we’ve opted to make mp3
recordings of the sessions and include these along with provided
presentations on a DVD-ROM.
conference DVD-ROM is something that we have a lot of requests
for and we will record the sessions this year and sell the 2006
DVD-ROM about a month after the conference. The 2005
DVD is still available and contains fantastic sessions and
presentations from big industry names. I would also like to
mention that the 2005 DVD-ROM was just approved for 17.75
Self Study WSBA CLE by the Washington State Bar
Association due to all the great content surrounding intellectual
property and domain disputes.
2005 DVD is still available while supplies last and there is a
link to the order form on the Domain Roundtable website.
Interest in the industry has grown exponentially in the past
year or two with mainstream media now routinely covering domain
related news and events. For many newcomers this may be the
first domain major conference they will have attended. What are
some of the beneficial aspects they will take away from being
there (in addition to the knowledge gained through the seminars
that we addressed above)?
The industry has
gone through immense growth in the twelve years that I
have been at it. What is noteworthy since last year is
that there are two strong domestic domain industry
conferences and four international conferences now in
addition to the ICANN meetings, more top level domains
opening, a growing focus on the opportunities
internationally such as ccTLDs and internationalized
domain names (IDN) and the growing convergence of the
investment community and traffic portfolios.
There are a lot of new
faces to the domain industry that have many, many years
of experience in other industries like investment
capital, corporate branding, advertising, financing, the
legal profession and web hosting companies, to name just
a few. Domain names touch every aspect of everyday life
on the internet. As new minds and wisdom enters the
industry, the new innovative ideas open the door to more
social scenarios that exist at a conference like the Domain
Roundtable give opportunities to meet the right people and like
minds. We started the idea of a social mixer for example. On Day
1 of this year’s conference we’re doing a power networking
session after lunch. We mix speed dating with business
introductions and the goal of the session is a person meets 5-10
people that they don’t already know. The motto is: “There
are no strangers, just friends who have not met”.
year, at the Roundtable, there were a lot of opportunities to
introduce people from different focuses of the domain industry
and it was fantastic to see the results. There were a lot
of “Mr. Peanut Butter, allow me to introduce Mr.
Chocolate” moments and great things have grown from these new
relationships since then. This power networking session
turns that up a notch or two as far as the individual value of
What differentiates the Roundtable from other industry events
like INTA, T.R.A.F.F.I.C., SES, Ad-Tech,
Webmaster World or the ICANN meetings?
incorporates the very fabric of all these great events and
brings together all of these various individual benefits in a
way that helps inspire new opportunity. Lots
of different scenarios play out when you identify the various
industrial and personal focuses and bring them together in an
environment rich with social scenarios that can lead to
are people who are large portfolio holders that know how to
monetize, but might not be aware of governance issues that can
affect them. Perhaps there are attorneys who specialize in a
particular field who registrars or registries have not yet met
but would really benefit from knowing them. There may be an
advertising channel that pays better ROI on parked pages
and eliminates click fraud issues that someone with a rock star
domain portfolio could benefit from.
the particular individual case, getting people and companies
together like this, straddling industries and interests and
having it happen in a forum with integrity like the Roundtable
where egos and politics are virtually absent is the way to make
great things happen!
Note: DN Journal will be at Domain Roundtable
to cover the event for you. We plan to publish our wrap-up
article on April 27 as the first part of twin Cover Stories for
May (part 2, scheduled to appear May 11, will be our wrap-up of
the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference in Las Vegas which runs May