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How NamesCon Global's Joyous Return to Real Life Re-Energized the Domain World - Page 2

By Ron Jackson

 

Day 2 (Thursday, Sept .1) - Bodis Keynote Hall

After a very busy opening day and night at the 2022 NamesCon Global conference at the Omni Hotel in Austin, Texas, attendees returned to the Bodis Keynote Hall at 10am Thursday morning, September 1 for another full day of business sessions, networking and social events.

 

Above & below: Despite a late night for many attendees, seats quickly filled up in the Keynote Hall for the day's first session. In it,  pioneering domain broker Andrew Miller (Managing Director at Hilco Digital Assets) shared The Secret to Premium Domain Deals - a subject he is intimately familiar with. Andrew has been in the middle of many of the biggest domain sales of all time. You don't hear the specifics about most of the them because sales at this level almost always come with non-disclosure agreements, but industry veterans are well aware of what Andrew has accomplished over the past two decades. In this session he shared how sales at this level get done and this was another one of those special events that made a NamesCon ticket look like a bargain, even it was the only session you went to see.

Above: Next up at 10:50am, Gaurang Sinha, Vice President for Revenue and GTM at Titan detailed a path for Accelerating Revenue Through Strategic Cross-Sells for Registrars and Resellers. Itís an exciting time to be in the namespace business. As more new companies set up their web presence, a new revenue stream for anyone who sells domains at scale is growing their share of wallet with these new customers with cross-sells like email and hosting. But quantifying the revenue opportunity is tricky. Gaurang shared how his team simulates the revenue opportunity (with actual market data) for your business.

Above: As one of the domain industry's select group of "super brokers", a lot of people look at Saw.com Co-Founder Jeff Gabriel and wonder how he gets such extraordinary results year after year. So when he shows up a conference ready to tell you how to Become Your Own Broker everyone sits up and takes notice. This was a MasterClass in tried and true selling techniques.  For those who wanted to handle their own domain inquiries and sales, Jeff told them how to combine sales techniques with cutting-edge technology to maximize revenue and thrive in this highly-competitive industry. After playing a role in over $500,000,000 in domain sales over the years Jeff knows what works as well as what doesn't so you won't waste your time with the latter.

Above: In the final Bodis Keynote Hall session before the lunch break, Andrew Miller returned to the stage to join Braden Pollock (Legal Brand Marketing), at left, and investor Joshua Reason (center) to talk about NFTs: Why They Are The Next Trillion Dollar Market. You have no doubt noticed that your social media feeds have been flooded with NFTs, however few have actually caught the attention of the world at large. The panelists explored why NFTs are about to explode (in a good way), what makes an NFT valuable, how to identify an emerging winner, and what the future looks like for these blockchain-based assets.

Above: Back in the Exhibition Area during the lunch break we discovered a sure fire way to draw a crowd to your booth - serve mimosas! I can hear hands slapping foreheads in marketing offices around the world right now with exhibitors exclaiming, "Why didn't we think of that!

Above: Also during the lunch break, the Internet Commerce Association held a Town Hall meeting for its members. There were a lot more people there than the photo shows as the walls behind me were lined with members standing and listening in. The ICA is always on job, working to protect domain owner's rights, and they use functions like these to get feedback from members and make decisions on the best ways to use the non-profit's resources to have the most impact on behalf of the investment community.

Above: After hosting a dinner and public party to honor industry legend Frank Schilling (right) the previous night, Dr. Gregg McNair had Frank back onstage in the Bodis Keynote Hall Thursday afternoon for a fascinating and entertaining interview. If you want to learn, there is nothing like learning from the best and this Fireside Chat showed yet again that NamesCon is the premier place to do that.

Below: After the interview with Frank it was time for the Red Zone: Pre-Auction Warmup - the traditional session immediately preceding the live domain (and digital assets) auction - in which a panel of experts reviews the catalog and points out some of the names they think are most appealing. The panelists were (left to right) J.T. Tenenbaum (MediaOptions), Braden Pollock (Legal Brand Marketing), investor Jason Sheppard, investor Joshua Reason and Ammar Kubba (AfterTHOUGHT Inc.).

Above: World champion auctioneer Wayne Wheat calls the action as the NamesCon Global/RightOfTheDot.com Live Domain Auction gets underway. Below ROTD President Monte Cahn joins Wayne to help spot bidders in the full house crowd. The auction generated more than 50 sales totaling almost $700,000. The accompanying online auction is still underway with over 700 lots available and it will continue until the timed online auction begins closing on Sept 15, 2022.

The live auction completed the day 2 agenda on the Bodis Keynote Hall Stage. Now let's rewind the clock to see what happened on the TITAN Breakout Stage Thursday.

Day 2 (Thursday, Sept .1) - TITAN Breakout Stage

Above: It seems like everybody's favorite question is What's My Domain Worth? so it made a lot of sense to make that the first topic of discussion on the TITAN Breakout Stage Thursday morning. The panelists were (left to right) Sten Lilliestrom (Next Venture), Dave Evanson (Sedo), Keith Deboer (Brandable Insider Podcast), investor Jason Sheppard, Joe Styler (GoDaddy) and Braden Pollock (Legal Brand Marketing). With this group attendees got real-time, no-BS domain valuations with case studies from high-profile sales while evaluating names from audience member portfolios. It was the perfect place to find out if you have a diamond in the rough or fool's gold! 

Above: Next up at 12 Noon, Adam Barlam, Co-Founder at Decentraweb, talked about how Web3 Will Revolutionize the Domain and DNS Industries. Barlam predicted this will happen as Web3 incorporates decentralization, blockchain technologies and token-based economies. He also suggested ways attendees can capitalize on this cosmic shift.

This was the the last session on the Breakout Stage Thursday because organizers wanted everyone to be free join the crowd at the live auction activities that started after lunch in the Bodis Keynote Hall.

Now that we have wrapped up what happened on both stages on Day 2, let's head out for some of the evening events in Austin.

Above: For many attendees the first Thursday evening (September 1, 2022) stop was the annual Internet Commerce Association Dinner at Parkside, just a couple of block south of the Omni. Attendees were able enjoy the fresh air on the 2nd floor Parkside terrace or settle in at a table inside. Among those attracted to the terrace were these domain industry all-stars (left to right) ICA Board Member Jay Chapman (DigiMedia), Wade Smith (GoDaddy), Jeff Gabriel (Saw.com) and Ryan McKegney (DomainAgents.com). 

Above: Inside, you might wonder why all of these ICA members are looking in the same direction. It is because the ICA's Executive Director, Kamila Sekiewicz, was standing behind me getting ready to announce the winner of the the annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award! The prestigious award recognizes a person who has done outstanding work in helping foster a sense of community within the domain name industry.

Below: Now, let's turn around and see who it is! Yes! rhe award went to Andrew Allemann of Domain Name Wire (seen here with Kamila). Andrew has been keeping the industry connected and well-informed since 2005 through DNW as well as the later addition of his popular podcast series that has now passed 400 episodes! In fact, during NamesCon Global he recorded 13 new interviews that you can now hear in his latest podcast - episode #403. Andrew knew Lonnie well, as did all of the veteran ICA members, and I have no doubt Lonnie would have been delighted to see this award go to him.  

After the ICA dinner, I went to a party thrown by new domain monetization company GiantPanda.com at the Sunset Room a few blocks further south. This event venue is an open space that makes it possible for an event organizer to fill it with anything they want and GiantPanda made great use of that space to produce a party reminiscent of the over the top extravaganzas that were hallmarks of the old T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences over a decade ago. 

Above: GiantPanda's Texas-themed party had everything from real longhorn steers (David Clememts of Brannans.com got up close and personal with this one) to mechanical bull riding, armadillo races, whisky tasting, a country band and custom made cowboy hats to take home as a memento of the evening. 

Above & below: Experts in cowboy hat fitting and finishing were on hand to make sure every guest got a custom made creation that let them blend right in when out and about in Austin. You could even pick your own hat band and decorative feather to match.

This was the end result for me. First time I've had a cowboy hat on since I was six years old but I could get used to this one - super comfortable and wide enough to provide a lot of shade in Florida's hot summer sun back home.

I mentioned that the GreatPanda event was a throwback to a time many look back on as the  golden age of domain monetization. The majority owner of GiantPanda is Rick Latona, a guy who seemed to be everywhere at the same time in those days, partly because he was such a brilliant marketer. While the hats were an expensive giveaway, I'm sure Rick was not the least bit surprised to see what the floor of NamesCon looked like the next day - his white cowboy hats were everywhere! They were not branded (which let them keep their pure Western authenticity) but people asked those who had them on  "where did you get that hat"! Welcome to Word of Mouth 101 and it worked like a charm. 

In the "old days" (10-20 years ago in this business) there more than two dozen parking companies. Today only about a half dozen. So, it seems like an unlikely time to bring out a new one but Latona said GiantPanda has found a new, more effective way to monetize traffic and has already attracted some big portfolios.  I'll be taking a closer look at and will put together a Lowdown post in a week or two to let you know what makes it different. 

Majority owner Rick Latona at the GiantPanda.com launch party Thursday night (Sept. 1) in Austin.

Now that you are up to date on Day 2 at NamesCon Global 2022, click this link for our rundown of Day 3 and Day 4 (Friday & Saturday, September 2 & 3) of the biggest domain show on earth!

 

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