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NamesCon.Online Doubled Down on Day 2 With the Conference Expanding to Six Separate Tracks

After a busy opening day Wednesday (Sept. 9, 2020) the first NamesCon.Online conference got even busier Thursday when three more tracks added to the three that ran Wednesday - each with its own special programming. With a South Asia Track, a Europe Track and a FLATsite Workshop plus the original three (Keynote Hall, Breakout Hall and America's Track), NamesCon Online essentially became a 24-hour conference Thursday as sessions tailored for the different regions and their time zones kept activity going around the clock.



That created one problem I never ran into in  covering real world conferences over the years. With those held in one place, bedtime was roughly the same for everyone (though staying up half the night - or more - was certainly not a rare occurrence)! With NamesCon.online being a virtual event with no geographical boundaries, I was sound asleep in Florida while many sessions were going strong on the South Asia and Europe tracks. This being a new thing for all of us, I am having to figure out a new plan too! 


Fortunately, NamesCon Online will be making replays of every session available to all registrants  through the end of September. That will allow me to watch the complete South Asia and Europe Tracks after the show and do separate posts on each of them next week so the experts from those important and rapidly growing regions get the attention they deserve. In the mean time, I'll continue to run down what is happening in the tracks that are running during normal hours in the U.S. time zones this week. 

The first Keynote Hall session Thursday (Sept. 10, 2020) featured NamesCon Co-Founder Richard Lau (bottom row above) and Desktop.com Founder Rolf Larsen (top right) detailing Why Using a Domain Name as a Brand Has Never Been A Better Idea with Moderator Christa Taylor completing the power trio. Richard developed Logo.com to help entrepreneurs brand their companies on a shoestring budget while Rolf, former CEO of .GLOBAL, acquired Desktop.com to brand his new venture that will be a tool for organizing and managing web based resources. With a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case (involving Booking.com) determining that generic-word domain names can be trademarked, Richard and Rolf detailed why that has made domains more valuable than ever and how savvy entrepreneurs can develop category defining names into thriving businesses.

In the next session (above), the founder of the GGRG.com brokerage, Giuseppe Graziano (at top left, speaking from Lisbon, Portugal) joined me for an in depth look at the current State of the Domain Industry: Aftermarket. After a gracious introduction from Christa Taylor (mmx.co), we talked about the top sales this year and the latest trends we've seen in the aftermarket. Overall the news has been very good for domain investors and service providers, with many in the latter group reporting double digit increases in year over year revenue in the most recent quarter. With Covid-19 shutting down so much traditional activity in the brick and mortar world, businesses quickly discovered that it is critically important for them to  create or strengthen their online presence. That has driven good results for all categories including .coms, ccTLDs and non .com gTLDs - all of which we talked about. 

While I missed the face to face, in-person interaction that usually goes hand in hand with NamesCon, I have to admit there is a lot less stress and travel expense involved when all you have you have to do is pull up a chair in your office to participate in the show!

The Thursday business day continued with a panel discussion titled Chart Your Own Path to Success with nTLDs that featured, clockwise from the top right, moderator Christa Taylor (Minds + Machines), Morgan Linton (Bold Metrics), Matt Overman (Donuts) and Jason Sheppard (Eagle Nebula Media). As the program noted, "There’s an old saying in domaining: “The best time to buy a domain name was many years ago. The next best time is today.” Besides the main highways to success in domaining, there are also many side-roads. These experts detailed innovative uses of new TLDs and how investors and developers can turn their insights into action.

In the final Keynote Hall business session of the day attorney and ICA Legal Counsel Zak Muscovitch (top left) interviewed David Bernstein, Lead IP Counsel to Booking.com and a renowned UDRP Panelist. They covered what the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Booking.com means for trademarks, generic .com domain names, and the UDRP. To see how these legal experts answered questions about how the Booking.com case affected the law, whether there will be more UDRPs, if it is easier to trademark a generic.com and what rights a Booking.com trademark provides, be sure to catch the replay of this session if you missed the live session today.

With the Keynote Hall sessions done, attention turned to NamesCon Online's live domain auction. During the event, six domain experts provided live commentary throughout in an entertaining Domain Auction Red Zone session. The group included, clockwise from top left, Tess Diaz (DomainSherpa), Shane Cultra (Uncomfortable.com), Andrew Rosener (MediaOptions), Kate Buckley (Buckley Media), Ammar Kubba (afterTHOUGHT) and Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com). As of this writing (shortly after the auction concluded), official results from the sale have not been posted yet. Those should be available tomorrow. In the meantime, these talented ladies and gentlemen made the sale a world of fun to watch!

Even after the auction ended, Michael Cyger (DNAcademy.com) was still hard at work over on the America's Track, conducting a premium session on Domain Investing 201 (the follow up to 101 Wednesday) with this presentation focused on Turning Your Hobby Into a Business. Michael is a masterful instructor and it's no surprise he has turned DNAcademy into the go-to resource for a high quality crash course in domain investing.

One final note today - another cool aspect of NamesCon.Online is the Networking Lounge. Multiple virtual tables like the one above are set up and allow registrants to take a seat anywhere they want for private conversations or group talks. Speakers often come in to answer questions after their sessions. Each participant has their camera and microphone turned on, so you can have a lively real time discussion with fellow attendees any time you want.

Hard to believe but Day 3 Friday is already upon us. I'll have a wrap up on the closing day sessions and activity for you in my next post. By the way, it is still not too late to register (just $59) and get access to replays of all of the conference sessions until the end of September. 

(Posted Sept. 10, 2020)  


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