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NamesCon Global 2020: The Complete Conference Recap with Photos from Every Session

By Ron Jackson

The NamesCon Global 2020 conference is now history. The 7th annual edition of the industry's marquee event was held January 29 - February 1 at the Omni Hotel in Austin, Texas. It was the show's first time in Austin after the first six editions were staged in Las Vegas. 

Activity in Austin actually began the evening before the official start. In what has become something of a NamesCon tradition, several companies hosted private pre-show parties for their clients, partners and friends. While we were in Austin I wrote about two that we attended here

While the conference was underway we posted daily highlights in our Lowdown section, but with the show's busy day/night schedule we didn't have time to write about all of 

NamesCon's dozens of business sessions. However, in this complete conference review we have photos from every one of them, along with the session topics and speaker's names. We have also added new photos from the Exhibit Hall throughout the report. We hope you will enjoy this look back at a very big week in the Lone Star State's capital city! 

Above: Attendees at the NamesCon Global 2020 entryway, inside the impressive natural light atrium lobby at the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin, waiting for the big show to open Wednesday morning, January 29.

Below: A view of the crowd as the opening session welcoming attendees to Austin gets underway.

Above: The conference began with NamesCon Global President and CEO Soeren von Varchmin (far right) introducing the moderators who conducted the dozens of business sessions held throughout the week. From left to right, they are Monte Cahn (President of RightOfTheDot.com, the company that teamed with GoDaddy to run the live domain auction held on Thursday, January 30), Braden Pollock, Christa Taylor and Bill Sweetman.

Below: In the show's first business session, ParkLogic.com Founder Michael Gilmour delivered a timely keynote speech titled The Past, Present and Future of Domain Investment, loaded with data to help investors understand where the market has been and where in may be going.

Above & Below: Next up in the Keynote Hall at 11:30am Wednesday, SEO expert Bill Hartzer (Hartzer Consulting) presented SEO and Domains: New gTLD Testing and Research in a session that gave attendees insight into the best current search engine optimization practices.

Also at 11:30, just down the hall on the Registry Office Stage (where a number of sessions for newcomers were presented), Michael Cyger (DNAcademy.com) covered Domain Investing 101: First Principles for Buying Domains Properly

...and there was still another choice for attendees at 11:30, a special event in the Afiias Lounge where three ICANN executives covered ICANN's domain governance responsibilities and took questions from the crowd in a session titled: ICANN: Grow Your Knowledge About the ICANN Organization and Its Role. ICANN Director of gTLD Accounts Andee Hill (center) conducted the session. 

Above: At 12 Noon Wednesday, attorney Clay Burgess (Online.inc) took the Keynote Hall Stage to to detail his journey From Law Practice to Lead Generation Machine. Burgess shared his successful strategies for dramatically reducing paid advertising with lead gen techniques. 

Below: Meanwhile, at the same time of the Registry Office Stage, Ryan McKegney (DomainAgents.com) drew a crowd with his presentation on What Is My Domain Worth? - one of the most frequently asked questions for those entering the domain business. With millions of dollars worth of sales to his credit, Ryan was the right guy to answer those questions.

Above: Mark Ghoriafi (Afilias), at left, and Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com). After the noon sessions, I  took a break in the always busy halls outside the meeting rooms to catch up with some fellow attendees. Here I'm with Mark, who has been  Manager of Premium Names at .GLOBAL, a registry that was acquired by Afilias last summer (Afilias was a Platinum Sponsor of NamesCon Global this year). Mark is now also handling premium names from several other Afilias-owned TLDs.

Above: At 12:30pm, veteran web technical expert Christopher Ambler (a Principal Architect at GoDaddy) appeared on the Keynote Hall stage to cover DNS Over HTTPS: It it Doesn't Scare You It Should!

Below: At the same time on the RegistryOffice state, in the final session before the 1pm Lunch Break Wednesday, Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com) shared his wealth of knowledge about Domain Auctions and Brokerage: A Path to Monetizing Your Domains.

A lot of attendees used the lunch break to seek out the latest cool swag in the Exhibit Hall. Diana Jackson was happy to find this simple but stylish dark gray T-Shirt at the Name.com booth. 

Above: At 2pm, it was back to work on the NamesCon Global stages. In the Keynote Hall Pinky Brand (RegistryOffice.com) shared his advice on Fighting DNS Abuse at Scale.

Below: At the same time on the RegistryOffice Breakout Stage (sponsored by Pinky's company). Kurt Daniel (Ubersmith), provided tips on Billing and Business Management for Domains and Beyond.

Above & below: In a another special session at 2pm in the Aflias Lounge, The Internet Commerce Association (ICA), the on-profit organization that fights to protect domain registrant's rights, held their annual meeting (a dinner followed Wednesday night), conducted by General Counsel Zak Muscovitch (above) and Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz (below).

Above: ICA board member Nat Cohen speaking from the audience at the ICA Meeting Wednesday afternoon. It the leaderships of Zak, Kamila, Nat and the other board members, the ICA has experienced explosive growth over the past couple of years. I would encourage everyone with a serious interest in this industry to consider joining the ICA.

Above: At 2:30pm, Alex Melen (SmartSites) took the stage in the Keynote Hall to talk about Using Data and Machine Learning to Grow Your Domain Empire.

Below: At the same time, business development consultant Samantha Frida was on the RegistryOffice stage giving the audience  tips on Developing a Data-Driven Growth Mindset.

Above: At 3pm Wednesday Alvin Brown (KickstartCommerce.com and DNAdverts.com) took over the Keynote Hall Stage to share his thought on Domain Investing and Guarding Against Economic Downturn.

Below: Also at 3, on the RegistryOffice stage, the original founder of NamesCon (now owned by WHD/GoDaddy), Richard Lau told attendees how to Design, Develop and Exit!, something he has done successfully with Resume.com, Logo.com and, of course, NamesCon itself.

Above: Below:  Those ready to take a break from the business session had a perfect place to do that in the The Exhibit Hall where a table tennis Game Area was set up under the sponsorship of ESQwire.com. Above (left to right) are ESQWire attorneys Jason Schaeffer and Ari Goldberger with veteran domain investor/developer Steven Kaziyev. All three know how to handle a ping pong paddle but are a little loose with the rules. Below Ari and Jason ganged up on Steven in a two against one match!

Above: Back upstairs at 3:30pm on the Keynote Stage, Bradley Kam (Unstoppable Domains) provided everything you wanted to know about BlockChain, a technology he knows inside out since his new business is built on it.

Below: Meanwhile, at the same time over at the RegistryOffice stage, Marco Hoffman (left) and Christian Voss delivered InterNetX & Sedo's Domain Report - facts and recommendations for Domainers and Registrars.

Above: The opening day of business (Wednesday, January 29) concluded with a single 4pm session in the Keynote Hall where industry veterans Morgan Linton (Bold Metrics), at left, and Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com) shared their personal experience in a session titled A Year in the Life of a Domainer.

Above and below: A picture perfect first day closed with the opening night reception at the Omni, sponsored by .VIP and MMX. The three-hour event ran from 5-8pm, giving attendees what most say is the main reason they go to conferences - networking in a casual environment where you can make new friends and catch up with old ones. Below, holding down the fort at the bar are (L to R) are Tobin Pociask, Bradley Arthur, Gregg McNair and Kevin Kopas.

Also at the opening night reception were (left to right above) NamesCon Head of Operations Helga Neumer, attorney Karen Bernstein and Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz (ExcellentDomains.ca). Meanwhile, in a nearby booth (below) Dave Chandler (left) and Page Howe were busy comparing notes.

Above: In a grand finale to Wednesday night, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) held their annual dinner at Max's Wine Dive with a sell-out crowd on hand for the event, a sign of just quickly the ICA is growing now.

Below: A highlight of the dinner was the presentation of the ICA's 4th Annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award. The honor was created in honor the widely known and universally loved domain investor that we lost way too soon in 2016. In its first three years, the accolade recognized outstanding work in protecting the rights of domain name registrants. However, this year, in keeping with Lonnie’s generous spirit, The ICA decided to broaden the scope of the award to honor the winner's overall contributions to the domain name community.

I was shocked but  deeply honored to hear ICA Board member Nat Cohen call my name as this year's winner and introduce me to the fellow ICA members that I respect so much . Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz (at left) and General Counsel Zak Muscovitch handled the presentation and I was grateful to have them there to help hold me up!

Kamila Sekiewicz, Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com) and Zak Musovitch.

Now it's time to continue with our wall to wall DAY TWO coverage Thursday, January 30. If you wish you can also skip ahead to DAY THREE Friday, January 31 or DAY FOUR, the Saturday, February 1 Fun Day that closed the show.


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