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Domain World Mourns Loss of Domaining Europe Founder Dietmar Stefitz - An Industry Champion Since 1994

The domain industry lost one of its most fervent supporters today and the world is without one of its nicest guys. We and countless others in our business were saddened to hear of the passing of Domaining Europe conference founder Dietmar Stefitz who leaves us after a long battle with cancer.

Dietmar had a passion for domains that started the day he registered his first name back in 1994. The native of Austria who spent the last 30+ years of his life living with his family in Spain, was one of the first to fully grasp how the Internet and its essential building blocks, domain names, would change the world. Stefitz immediately began investigating ways to merge the physical and virtual worlds and by 2000 he was using the web to produce virtual trade shows in a variety of fields. 

Over the next few years Stefitz learned there were others who shared devotion to domains and website development. Since these were his true brothers and sisters in arms, Dietmar wanted to meet compare ideas with these special

Dietmar Stefitz

people in person. So, in 2008 he staged his first domain conference in the physical world, an event dubbed Domaining Spain that he hosted is his hometown - beautiful Valencia, Spain. Only about 30 people attended but Dietmar was in heaven and the seed had been planted. 

Stefitz put on a professional production and was such an affable and accommodating host that those early attendees spread the word around Europe (and beyond) and his show soon quadrupled in size and adopted what had become a more fitting name - Domaining Europe. I went to my first one in 2012 when Dietmar surprised me by personally showing  up at the airport to pick up my wife and I. Once at the show hotel, he stayed by our side to make sure there were no problems getting checked in to our room. It was the first time I ever met him and I would soon learn the unexpected "special attention" I got from Dietmar is what everyone got from him. He loved domain people, loved every day he spent with them and would go out of his way to help them.

Domaining Europe Founder Dietmar Stefitz sharing a laugh with Gregg McNair (PPX International Chairman) during the 2012 Domaining Europe conference in Valencia, Spain.

Dietmar Stefitz and Ron Jackson at the 2017
Domaining Europe conference in Berlin, Germany.

That 2012 conference remains one of my all-time favorite events and as the years went on it was great to see Dietmar  continue producing great shows that helped grow the domain industry in Europe. After seven years in Valencia, he took another major step toward that end when he decided to start staging the event in different cities each year so it could truly become a continent-wide event. In 2016, the conference was held in The Hague, Netherlands and in 2017 it went to Berlin, Germany where Dietmar celebrated his 10th year at the helm of the popular event. Domaining Europe Berlin was yet another great Stefitz conference, but that year was tempered by the sad news Dietmar shared with some friends that he had been diagnosed with a serious illness. Since then he has been fighting it tooth and nail like the champion he is. 

As he turned his attention to his health Dietmar found a new steward for his conference in NamesCon and they joined forces with him to bring the event back to Valencia in 2018. The 

show was re-christened NamesCon Europe, a name it will carry, along with Dietmar's legacy, into the bright future Dietmar always envisioned for it. NamesCon Europe was held in Cascais, Portugal last year and would have been held in Budapest, Hungary this year if not for the Covid-19 pandemic (that show has been rescheduled for July 2021 in Bucharest).

Dietmar Stefitz stopping to the smell the roses in his Valencia home garden in 2018.

While the show must go on (just the way Dietmar would want it), he will be sorely missed. Still, it is gratifying knowing Dietmar was able to spend his life doing what he truly loved to do. He certainly brightened our world too, with that big smile whenever you saw him and the boundless enthusiasm he shared for the business we are in. People like Dietmar are the reason why so many of us consider this a "family business" rather than just another generic spoke in the global business wheel. It was an honor to know you sir and we will never forget you. 

(Posted December 4, 2020)  

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