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January 16, 2015

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Day 3 Photos & Highlights from NamesCon - Live Domain Auctions Live Again! & Howard Lefkowitz Brings Las Vegas Buzz to the Club!

Day 3 of the 2015 Namescon conference Tuesday (Jan. 13) was filled with events that could well be looked back on as historically important industry landmarks in the not too distant future. RightOfTheDot.com breathed new life into live domain auctions, a sale format that many had given up for dead, and the very successful Las Vegas based entrepreneur Howard Lefkowitz unveiled two big plays in the new gTLD space centered around .buzz and .club.  

While those developments grabbed the headlines there was a lot more going on at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas as some 900 attendees from around the world continued their march through the four-day event. Here are photos and highlights from another unforgettable day and night at NamesCon.

Above: The Tuesday (Jan. 13) schedule began with a trio of simultaneous sessions at 9:55am including the one above covering Data Science for the Domain Name Industry that featured (left to right) Matt Bentley (Pretarget.com and CanIRank.com), Daniel Mejia (DomainsBot SRL) and Samantha Frida (Data provider).

At the same time in another meeting room attendees got to meet ICANN Ombudsman Chris LaHatte, and in yet another Christian Dawson (i2Coalition) hosted Meet the Internet Infrastructure Coalition. A short time later, at 10:25am, sessions resumed in TLD Registry's popular week-long Chinese Domaining Masterclass series.

Below: At 10:55am everyone met in the centrally located Verisign Hall for an illuminating keynote address from Mike McLaughlin, the Senior Vice President of Domains at industry giant GoDaddy (Tuesday night we had an opportunity to sit and talk with Mike at a dinner hosted by GoDaddy and were very impressed with his insight, energy and enthusiasm for the industry. When GoDaddy lured McLaughlin away from Ebay a couple of years ago they strengthened both themselves and the domain business at large.

McLaughlin's talk was part of a mid-day triple-header that made Verisign Hall the place to be Tuesday. Decision Counsel CEO Sal Fuentes followed with another solid keynote on digital branding and strategic framework, then Las Vegas based entrepreneur Howard Leftkowitz blew the roof off the place by delivering a great speech filled with breaking news, Vegas showgirls and confetti!

Above: One Degree World CEO Howard Lefkowitz delivering a rousing keynote speech Tuesday at NamesCon filled with news he revealed for the first time. For starters Lefkowitz announced his company's network of hundreds of travel destination websites built on .buzz domains (like Vegas.buzz) will get national TV exposure when they are featured on Wheel of Fortune the first two weeks in February. 

Below: Lefkowitz's buzzworthy announcement was accompanied by Vegas showgirls marching down the aisles and onstage in .Buzz headdresses.

Below: Leftkowitz was just getting warmed. He closed his talk by announcing a $100,000 deal to acquire Vegas.club from the .CLUB registry under their Startup.club program. One Degree World will build a members only website offering special deals and services for Vegas club goers on the domain. That announcement was accompanied by a sudden transformation of the meeting room into a Vegas nightclub complete with booming music, flashing lights and confetti! Only in Las Vegas! :-)

After the Lefkowitz extravaganza, attendees took a lunch break then came back for the week's busiest round of business sessions with six of them going on simultaneously in the various conference rooms.

Above: The half dozen sessions that began after lunch Tuesday included TLDs: Making the Pivot to Mainstream that featured (left to right): Adam Steck (CEO, SPI Entertainment), Matt Overman (VP, Rightside), Ruth McCartney (MaCartney Multimedia), Jim Trevino (CEO, Dot Vegas Inc.), Theresa Geraghty (GoDaddy) and moderator Patrick Carleton (AdPartnerships.com).

Below: At the same time a Global ccTLD Leadership Roundtable was going on in Verisign Hall that featured (L to R): Jorg Schweiger (Denic), Kelly Hardy (.ME Registry), Tobias Flaitz (CEO, Sedo), Jothan Frakes (NamesCon), Crystal Peterson (Neustar) and Dave Chiswell (CIRA).

Other topics covered in the first afternoon sessions were Domain Parking in 2015, Moving to the Cloud, Applying in the Next Round for Your Own TLD and another session of the Chinese Domaining Masterclass.

Above: In between sessions we caught RightOfTheDot.com Co-Founders Monte Cahn (left) and Michael Berkens strategizing for the live domain auction they would run later in the day Tuesday.

Below: The next round of sessions on NamesCon's multi-track agenda started at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon and included this popular panel discussion on Cyber Security, Domain Theft and Hijacking - How to Be Safe. It featured (L to R): Ryan Leszczynski (FBI), Phil Corwin (Internet Commerce Association), Mark Jeftovic (easyDNS), moderator Derek Newman (Newman Du Wors LLP), Theo Develegas (Acroplex LLC) and Stevan Lieberman (Greenberg & Lieberman LLC). 

Other 2:30pm sessions covered Lessons Learned from Recently Launched TLDs, The Psychology of a Click (SEO, TLD and Lead Generation A-Z) and Selling Domains to the Chinese Market With Guta.com.

Above: At 3:35pm, everyone came together in one place again (Verisign Hall) for a pair of keynote addresses beginning with a very informative talk from Donuts Co-Founder and Executive Vice President Dan Schindler who also fielded audience questions about new gTLDs (Donuts is the largest player that space). 

Below: Uniregistry Founder Frank Schilling, the legendary domain investor and domain services provider (including DomainNameSales.com), can always be counted on to pack a hall, which he did again at his keynote Tuesday. With his record of success in multiple ventures, Frank's appearances are always must see events.

Below: After Schilling's address there was a Meet the TLDs panel discussion on the ICA Stage that featured (L to R): Tyson Mackay (Dot Vegas Inc.), moderator Monte Cahn (standing), Rolf  Larsen (Dot Global), Colin Campbell (.Club), Sandeep Ramchandan (Radix), Ray King (Top Level Design LLC) and Daniel Negari (.XYZ). 

Above: A sight we haven't seen in years. A massive crowd turning out for a live domain auction. It happened late Tuesday afternoon at NamesCon when RightOfTheDot.com orchestrated a live sale that generated nearly $1 million in sales (a figure that will almost certainly surpassed in the extended online auction) including a huge new gTLD sale - Wine.club at $140,000. The auction also had an exceptionally high sell-through rate with two-thirds of the inventory (87 of 134 lots) being sold.

Below: Both veteran auctioneer Wayne Wheat (far right) and RightOfTheDot Co-Founder Monte Cahn (standing), had a lot to smile about during Tuesday's successful live domain auction - an event that breathed new life into the format.

Below: After the live auction closed an extremely busy and highly productive Tuesday business day attendees scattered to various spots around Las Vegas to unwind and refresh ahead of Wednesday's final day at Namescon. We joined several dozen guests at a dinner GoDaddy hosted at the MGM Grand's delightful Crush restaurant. It was a great opportunity to talk and learn in a relaxed environment with members of GoDaddy's leadership team including  MikeMcLaughlin, Paul Nicks and Joe Styler, as well as fellow NamesCon attendees.

In my next post, I'll have photos and highlights from the final day at NamesCon Wednesday (Jan. 14). One, like all that proceeded it, was filled with wall to wall news, information and networking that will serve every attendee well in the new year ahead. 

(Posted January 16, 2015)  

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