The first Namescon back in 2014 was full of firsts – it was the first Namescon conference, personally it was my first domain conference, and it was also my first time in Vegas! So I decided to return to Namescon again in 2015, another year wiser. I would like to share just a few of my thoughts on this year’s event, touching on the Good and Not-So-Good. (Early Disclosure: Namescon was great and I have already registered to attend in Vegas again in 2016!)
Keynote Frank Schilling takes a moment to chat with me at Namescon 2015.
LEARNING > The best part of Namescon is the ability to learn about the business of domains! There are many strategies and niches within the industry – Namescon was loaded with content at the various sessions. And there were some excellent speakers. Unfortunately, some sessions overlapped and as a result I couldn’t see some that really interested me. Overall the facility was very good, but the small rooms on the upper floors where some sessions were held were terrible (low ceilings, cramped, converted guest rooms) and I hope Namescon does not use those again.
My main goal attending the past 2 years has been to learn – mission accomplished, the content and sessions were excellent!
NETWORKING > Some people are open to being approached and some aren’t. Some share and some are defensive. Some are just interested in what “you can do for me”. Some are genuine. For the most part, there are amazing people in this industry who are willing to help you and guide you if you just ask. But recognize that they are usually busy people and get inundated with requests. Namescon seemed very open, you just had to take some initiative. On the other hand, it was hard to ignore the feeling of “clique-ishness” in the domain industry. My guess is it’s because this industry is actually very small. As a result, the successful domain investors who have been around the past 5-10 years or more all know who each other are, and are very comfortable around one another. My gut feeling was that there was a small barrier there to overcome to get to “the secret sauce”, and some open discussion.
DISPLAYS & EVENTS > I had a target list of companies I wanted to speak with in the display area for different business reasons. As usual, there was the good, the bad and the ugly. Thank you to Frank Schilling for taking the time to speak with me (people were lined up), as well as other representatives at the Uniregistry booth – they were 1ST CLASS all the way! Godaddy reps were great, trying to answer the different questions I had. I also enjoyed Mike McLaughlin’s keynote re: Godaddy’s plans in the near future. Escrow.com was there and available to answer all my questions. Then there was the “Not-So-Good”. I had a question for staffers at the Namejet booth: why do they only allow “certain” people to sell domains on their platform? (see my above points on “cliques” and barriers in this industry). And why does Namejet have a “submission” form on their site to submit names for sale, but they don’t take the courtesy to reply to someone telling them if their names have been accepted or not. I’m disappointed Namejet does business this way and this opinion was reinforced when I visited their booth. The representative at the booth I wanted to talk with couldn’t be found ( nor could his business card), and those at the booth were unimpressed that I actually wanted to use their service to sell domains. Okaaaayyy….I guess I’ll just take my business and move along….to the competition.
The popular “lounge” area in the display hall.
One other small note on events held around Namescon. I didn’t attend the “Waternight” fundraiser party because it is just too damn loud to try to talk to anyone there! haha! Am I getting old? I spent money to come to the conference so I could meet and talk to people – from my experience at their Waternight in 2014, trying to talk to someone above the loud “music” was hopeless, so in 2015 I didn’t even bother going to Waternight.
The floorplan at Namescon is great for “chatting” with fellow attendees. The only thing I would suggest to organizers is adding a “structured” way for attendees to meet and get to know each other, perhaps a dinner or luncheon where 8 people sit at a table and get to know each other and share the “secret sauce”.
The truth is Namescon 2015 was a great domain event. But, the domain industry is also very small, and while open to newcomers, there can be barriers to those trying to learn “the real goods” on how to be successful (matched with realistic expectations) in the domain business.
There are many paths to success, just keep kicking down the door! I look forward to meeting you at Namescon 2016!