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January 28, 2017

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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.

Closing Day Photos & Highlights from the 2017 NamesCon Conference in Las Vegas

The curtain came down on the 2017 NamesCon conference Wednesday afternoon (January 25) at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas with a final round of business sessions and invaluable networking opportunities.  If you missed our previous reports from the show you will find them here: 

Above: The final day of NamesCon 2017 began with a pair of 9am business sessions in adjacent rooms. In this one, Braden Pollock from LegalBrandMarketing.com (who also moderated or served as the interviewer in six conference sessions during the week) conduced at Lead Generation Roundtable. Braden in an expert in the lead gen field with special expertise in the legal sector.

Below: At the same time Hiram Ip from NameForest.com was next door detailing best practices for Leasing Domain Names

Above: At 9:30am Akram Atallah (at right), President of ICANN's Global Domains Division, was interviewed by Christian Dawson, Executive Director of i2Coalition. They discussed the latest developments within the evolving DNS industry.

Below: In an aptly named Inventors of the Internet session in the Keynote Hall at 10am, one of the true inventors of the domain name system, Paul Mockapetris (Threatstop, Inc.) held the audience in thrall with his account of how domain names were originally created. I have heard Paul speak before and one thing he said the first time I heard him has always stuck with me. When he and his colleagues were trying to decide what extensions to use for domain names, .com was a late suggestion. Others, thought to be better choices, had already been selected and some didn't want to add .com as a kind of catch-all extension. In the end, Mockapetris said they agreed to add it when most said, "it won't matter anyhow because no one will ever use it!

Above: Activity continued to ramp up at 11am when five different sessions were held on various stages in the Conference Center. This one was of the most significant additions to the NamesCon agenda, an India Masterclass set up along the same lines as the China Masterclasses that have  been a major attraction for NameaCon attendees who wanted to learn more about the world's fastest growing markets. Left to right are moderator Braden Pollock, Paul Singh (Platform.in), Deepak Daftari (DD WebVision Pvt.  Ltd.), Shiva Kandula (Digits United Limited) and Karn Jajoo (Radix Registry).

Below: At the same time A Look Forward at New TLDs was offered by expert panelists on another stage. The featured speakers were (left to right) Steve Heflin (Afilias), Toby Hall (MMX.co), Jeff Sass (.CLUB) and Anthony Beltran (101Domain.com). 

Other sessions at 11am explored Practical Strategies for Disciplined Growth presented by Bennett Collen (Cognate), MX Monetization with Tom Bartel (Threatwave) and Behind the Scenes at Uniregistry

Above: The next round of sessions, three in all, started at 12 Noon with this Dispatches from NamesCon 2017 discussion featuring four writers/bloggers who cover the domain industry. Left to right are moderator Braden Pollock, Angela St. Julien (Brand.bar), Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), Andrew Allemann (DomainNameWire.com) and Shane Cultra (DSAD.com). 

Below: At the same time a session on Domain Monetization: Managing a Portfolio for Profit was being held on another stage. The panelists there were (left to right) Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic), Christa Taylor (doTBA Inc.), Marlon Phillips (Protected Parking), David Warmuz (Above.com) and Yancy Naughton (HasTraffic).

In another noon session on the Uniregistry Breakout Stage, VP of Product & Registrar Operations, John Smrekar, hosted Making the Uniregistry Market. As you will see below, John was also featured on the Executive Roundtable that closed the show.

Above: Throughout the day people got together in the lounges in the Exhibit Hall to network with fellow attendees.  Making new contacts and catching up with old friends is the primary reason most people attend conferences. This group included (left to right) industry veterans Jose Vicente Gomar, Deepak Daftari, Bennie Sparkman, Frank Michlick and Abner Duarte

Above: The sponsor booths in the Exhibit Hall are also a big attraction, giving attendees a chance to meet top level executives from the industry's leading companies, an opportunity you are unlikely to have in any other environment. Here a visitor to the Sedo booth gets her questions answered directly by CEO Tobias Flaitz and CMO Christian Voss (at left).

Below: The Above.com booth nearby was also staffed by members of their leadership team including, left to right, Aaron Kvitek, Liz Corona, Nancy Bianchi and Co-Founder/President David Warmuz.

Above: One of Wednesday's can't miss events was A Fireside Chat with Elliott Noss (right) who was interviewed by NamesCon Co-Founder Richard Lau. Noss, the President and CEO of Tucows Inc. made big news right before the show when Tucows acquired another major registrar, eNom, from Rightside, cementing Tucows' position as the world's second biggest registrar. Noss, who knows the industry inside out, is also one of its most interesting speakers.

Below: This was the final NamesCon (at least in terms of running the show) for Richard Lau. The conference was recently sold to World Hosting Days and their team, led by Soeren von Varchmin, will take full control next year. Lau and Co-Founder Jothan Frakes have done a remarkable job, starting NamesCon from scratch in 2014 and, in just four shows, building it into the world's biggest domain investor/developer centric conference. Richard also has a fascinating life story that we detailed in our December 2015 Cover Story

Above: The final session of NamesCon 2017 was an Executive Roundtable: Industry Trends Forecast for 2017. It was moderated by Jothan Frakes (whose story we also told in a July 2014 Cover Story). Jothan at far left, is followed in order by John Smrekar (Uniregistry), Sandeep Ramchandani (Radix), Paul Nicks (GoDaddy), John Kane (Afilias) and Jeff Eckhaus (Rightside).

So another outstanding NamesCon conference is in the books, one with countless highlights, the most important always being the personal connections made and strengthened. In addition to being industry colleagues and pioneers, people like (left to right above) Michael Berkens, Rob Grant and Ammar Kubba became valued friends many years ago and that bond only gets stronger with each passing year,  regardless of how garish their wardrobes may become (Grant - of all people - says Berkens is starting to push the boundaries here...and before Kubba gets too smug let me remind everyone that he once showed up for an early morning panel discussion dressed in a bath robe after a late night out. In his defense it was a proper white bath robe, nothing too outlandish)! 

Before signing off I have an update for you on the WaterNight gala Tuesday night that raised funds for the WaterSchool. Nine generous (and fearless) people agreed to have their heads shaved in exchange for donations to WaterSchool (below Internet Commerce Association Executive Director Daniel Law is saying goodbye to his tresses at the hands of Public Traffic Limited Chairman Gregg McNair who started this hair razing tradition years ago, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way). Richard Lau informed me today that attendees pulled out their credit cards and collectively donated nearly $90,000 on the spot Tuesday night! That's amazing and a tremendous testament to the people in our industry. I can think of no better way to say goodbye to NamesCon 2017 - already looking forward to seeing you again next year!

(Posted January 27, 2017)  


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