yet to announce their plans for 2014. That left a void
the domain industry veteran Richard Lau decided
to fill with a new conference called NamesCon
that will run at the Tropicana Hotel in Las
Vegas January 13-15, 2014.
is not just a new domain show though - it is an
attempt to expand the business by
bringing people from other corners of the Internet
and business worlds together under one roof and to
do so at an astonishingly low price. From now
through November 30 the NamesCon registration
rate for early birds has been slashed from the $749
price at the gate to just $199. Room at the
Tropicana are going for a song too - just $79 a
night (plus tax and a $9.99 resort fee that NamesCon
negotiated down from the usual $19.99).
course, no price, including a low one, is meaningful
unless you are getting something of value for
your money. NamesCon will trim a lot of expenses by
not having food service and some other amenities,
but they will have what nearly all show goers
say is most important to them - high value
show will not be scrimping on programming either -
in fact it has so many sessions planned the
conference will employ a multi-track format
with multiple sessions often going on at the same
time. This is designed to meet the needs and
interests of different groups including domain
registrants, registrars and registry operators.
importantly, those sessions will be helmed by some
of the best known names in the industry and the
keynote speakers, legendary domainer Frank
Schilling and master blogger Jeremy
Schoemaker of ShoeMoney.com,
are the crème de la crème.
in that kind of talent on a shoestring budget is no
easy task, but NamesCon is being aided by an influx
of speakers and sponsors who think the low entry
price will assure a big crowd and sizeable pool of
potential new clients for their products and
services. With affordability as his linchpin,
Lau believes he will have a winning combination in Las Vegas.
idea of having a low-cost registration fee
has been in my mind for a while," Lau told us.
"Industry long timers have almost always paid
high registration fees. We are used to it. We see
the value in it. However I want to make NamesCon as
open and inclusive as possible. Removing any
obstacles or objections for reasons not to
attend will make NamesCon the most widely attended
Internet naming conference."
I had wanted to make NamesCon a free
conference to attend but free has its own
complications with people registering and not
showing up - and possibly putting too much of
the burden onto sponsors. As it is, the cost
and expenses for NamesCon is over $400
per attendee, so at a $199 early bird
registration price we are definitely leaning
on the support of sponsors to make this show a
break even success."
added, "The removal of food, tables of
buffet lunches and seated steak dinners is a
small price to pay to be able to open up
the industry to entrepreneurs, start ups,
newcomers and anyone interested in this
amazing land rush we are looking at in the
Internet naming space. We have people
coming from India, Romania, Greece
- really from every corner of the world. At
most other conferences I have attended that
are not in the domain industry, food is
purchased from nearby vendors or restaurants.
And food is the last thing on my mind -
I am usually too engrossed in conversation to
notice the $60 per person buffet lunch that
generally goes to waste. NamesCon is not
about the food and flash - it is about the
content and business networking."
decision to hold the show in Las Vegas was
also an easy one for Lau, even though he
speaking at the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
conference in 2004 at Delray Beach,
Florida where he was named "Domainer
of the Year".
Vancouver, Canada. "Las Vegas has
been my base in United States for many
years," Lau noted. "My US phone
numbers and mailing addresses are all here and
I come down multiple times per year and stay
at a condo near the new SLS Hotel. It is easy
for me to hold a conference in my second
backyard. From an attendee's point of view
it is a very convenient city to get to, has
many amazing restaurants and has experienced
conference facilities with extremely
affordable accommodations. Also, holding
NamesCon adjacent to other conferences such as
Affiliate Summit and CES was done
to allow attendees to hit more than one
bird with a single stone."
a new show, a surprisingly large number of sponsors
and speakers share Lau's vision. Phil McKegney
(one of the show's sponsors) told us, "The
show is not strictly "domainer" centric.
Bringing varied industry groups
together with the commonality of domains benefits
everyone, encourages accidental innovation and
creates the potential for unparalleled business
opportunities. The fact that admission is much more
affordable than other conferences means that
startups and entrepreneurs will have the opportunity
to interact with industry heavyweights and that's
where I think some real magic could
Tropicana Hotel - Las Vegas
Site for NamesCon January 13-15, 2014
Andee Hill added, "Escrow.com is
excited about the opportunity to be a sponsor
at NamesCon. I am confident that with
Richard’s experience, he can guide the
direction of this event to be a rewarding and
memorable one. I feel the lower cost and
the multi-platform agenda is a win-win."
Zak Muscovitch, who signed on to sponsor
too, said "Given how many great domain
name related events there are all over the
world, I have to be selective about what I can
afford to participate in and sponsor both from
a time and money perspective. But as soon as I
heard of the low cost concept, run by
industry veteran Richard Lau, I felt that this
was an important test
the industry that I wanted to get behind and
support financially as a sponsor."
Joe Higgins was also attracted to the NamesCon
format. "By running multiple tracks and having
many of the session topics suggested by an array of
industry leaders, it’s clear that NamesCon is
establishing itself as the “can’t miss” event
for 2014 and beyond." Higgins said.
multi-track format was a staple of the early Domain
Roundtable shows in the Pacific Northwest that
were directed by Jothan Frakes - shows that
Lau never forgot. "I was at the very first
Domain Roundtable and what struck me even then was
the quality of the content and multiple tracks,"
Lau recalled. "It is time to bring that back.
There are so many different topics to discuss in the
Internet naming space right now that a single track
is just not enough."
will be addressing all aspects of the industry -
registries, registrars, registrants and suppliers.
With the new gTLDs coming in to play it
brings a radical shift that crosses all
boundaries of the different players in the Internet
namespace. Information, networking and new
opportunities are best addressed in these sessions
and in face-to-face conversations. The
response since the announcement of NamesCon has been
nothing short of phenomenal and we expect to have
all of the major players and a “standing room
only” crowd attending," Lau said.
NamesCon Show Director
you might expect, Frakes, having served as one of
the inspirations for NamesCon (and who will speak at
the inaugural event) is a strong supporter of
the new show. "The conference just looks to be
an absolute success as it has drawn he overall
industry of registries, registrars and service
providers, but also has attracted general
population," Frakes said. He also thinks Lau's
selection of Jodi
Chamberlain as the Show Director will
pay dividends. "With Jodi having produced two
conferences in Spain and the industry experience
that both she and Richard have, I look forward to
the NamesCon and will be spreading the word when I
meet with many industry heavyweights at the Buenos
Aires ICANN meeting next week."
Kubba of Thought
Convergence is already on board.
"NamesCon is shaping up to be a fantastic
opportunity to network with and learn from the
biggest and brightest in the domain industry, both
present and future," Kubba said. "It also
looks like 2014 will be a landmark year in
the history of domain names, so NamesCon is ideally
positioned to kick the year off."
Commerce Association Legal Counsel and Virtualaw
LLC Founding Principal Phil Corwin
summed up the feelings of many of NamesCon's early
supporters when he noted, "Jodi Chamberlain and
Richard Lau are two of the most positive people
on the planet, so I was delighted when they asked me
to speak at Namescon. This event has an awesomely
positive vibe and is sure to bring the domaining
community together for a collective sharing of
knowledge, insights, and fun. Be there or be