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How NamesCon Global's Joyous Return to Real Life Re-Energized the Domain World - Page 3

By Ron Jackson

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At the end of page 2, I predicted that a lot NamesCon Global 2022 attendees who don't live anywhere near Texas would show up on the conference floor Friday morning (Sept. 2) in very nicely styled authentic cowboy hats from the GiantPanda.com party Thursday night. One of the first two guys I bumped into on the way to the Keynote Hall, long time friend (and comedian/actor/ overall cool guy) California-based Michael Awada proved me right. You have to admit it fits him to a T (for Texas!). Another old friend, Michael Law (right), is also sporting a Western vibe, but since he is from Colorado he is expected to have that cowboy chic thing going on! It was appropriate that I caught these guys in front of the Welcome sign because it is time to welcome you to Day 3 - Friday at NamesCon Global.

Day 3 (Friday, Sept. 2) - Bodis Keynote Hall

Above: The first session in the Bodis Keynote Hall Friday morning (Sept. 2) explored the market for Adult Domain Names. The panelists, left to right, were Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com), Krista Gable (DomainDomme.com) and Jimmy Foreman (Broker.xxx). While adult-oriented names can be valuable the experts say they are tricky to work with. Recently, the FOSTA and SESTA Acts in the United States have fundamentally altered the concept of “safe haven” in content hosting, which has upended how legitimate business in sex-tech is carried out. The panelists provided advice on buying, selling, developing, and monetizing names in this namespace.

Above: Next up Soeren von Varchmin hosted a Fireside Chat with Radix CEO Sandeep Ramchandani (right). 2022 marks 10 years for Radix in the nTLD business, and they have had quite a ride. Sandeep detailed how Radix had built thriving TLDs over the past decade while so many others withered on the vine. He also looked ahead to what he expects to see in this sector over the next 10 years. 

Above & below: In between sessions I was in the Coffee Break area where I spotted J.T. Tenenbaum (MediaOptions) and noted domain attorney John Berryhill both sporting Bored Ape accoutrements. J.T. had his ape tastefully displayed on his watch (shown close up in the inset) while John's took the form of a patch on the sleeve of what I guessed might be a bowling shirt of some kind. John, visibly appalled by my ignorance, patiently explained that it was a cycling jersey!

I suddenly heard that Celine Dion song, "It's All Coming Back to Me Now", rattling around in my head. John was planning to ride bikes with Elliot Silver again in the 2022 Pan Mass Challenge (held in August) to raise funds for a great organization - the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Industry donors helped push them over their $18,000 goal but illness forced John to drop out of the event at the last minute. So, he decided to wear his jersey to NamesCon Global instead to give those generous donors some of the great exposure he wasn't able to give them on the ride. John struck this pose to show them all off (which took a lot of courage in itself - though you have to admit the resemblance to Schwarzenegger is uncanny)! Major props to John, Elliot and all of the sponsors for going "all in" in the fight against cancer!

Above: Back in the Keynote Hall at 11:35 I had that "family reunion" feeling again when I sat down to interview Joe Alagna after his excellent presentation Introducing IT.com. Joe has been a top executive with some of the top names in the business, including CentralNic, Afilias and 101Domain. He is now an Advisor for IT.com giving the new registry a valuable veteran presence in the industry and on this side of the Atlantic (IT.com is  based in London). You can learn more about IT.com and its Founder, Andrey Insarov, in DNJournal's July 2022 Cover Story.  (Photo credit: IT.com)

Above: In the last Bodis Keynote Hall session before the lunch break, NamesCon's Jordan Yerman (on stage) interviewed StockPhotos.com Founder Amos Struck through a remote connection. Amos, a domain investor and entrepreneur, has turned his portfolio into a treasure chest that includes stockphotos.com as its crown jewel.  Amos told the story of how his aftermarket acquisition strategy led him to create a stock photo agency—and shared tips he learned from that very profitable experience.

Above: With time left to make another pass through the Exhibit Area, I saw Joe Alagna had already beaten me to the punch! Sedo/InterNetX had the first booth as you enter the Exhibit Area and Joe stopped by to chat with Sedo CSO Christian Voss (above) and InterNetX Team Leader Claus Barche (below). (Photo credits: IT.com)

Above: After lunch there was one final session in the Bodis Keynote Hall - Media Options: By The Numbers. Team members from the extraordinarily successful brokerage (left to right) Matthew Zuiker, J.T. Tenenbaum and Chris Zuiker, covered various key aspects of domain valuation, acquisition and sales strategy, including The 3 Pillars of Domain Valuation (How to Set a Price), The 5 Domain Name Buyer Types and How This Relates to Pricing and Negotiation and Dimensions of How a Domain Name Impacts a Brand.

Sessions in the Keynote Hall and on the Breakout Stage ended at 4PM Friday to make way for an Open Door Happy Hour that we will be talking about, but first here's a look at the Friday sessions on the TITAN Breakout Stage.

Day 3 (Friday, Sept. 2) - TITAN Breakout Stage

Above: The first TITAN Breakout Stage session on the final business day at NamesCon Global 2022 Friday (Sept. 2) dealt with How to Make Fighting DNS Abuse a Revenue-Positive Activity vs. a Cost Center. The panelists were (left to right) Kevin Kopas (ShortDot), Rolf Larsen (NameBlock) and Pinky Brand (IQ Global AS). 

Above: Next up the big question posed was Is ICANN Threatened By BlockChain Domains? Opinions on that timely topic came from (left to right) Jeff Neuman (JJN Solutions, LLC), David Snead (cPanel), Marc Tractenberg (Greenberg Taurig, LLP), Zak Muscovitch (ICA General Counsel) and Thomas Barrett (EnCirca). ICANN’s role as overseer of the Domain Name System has arguably enabled the DNS to flourish by protecting intellectual property rights through policies such as the UDRP and by enabling the secondary market. The panelists discussed what ICANN can or should do about decentralized domain name systems on the blockchain?

Above: I had to miss the next session on the Breakout Stage, How Radix Bucked the Downward Trend, that featured Radix Director of Premium Domains Karn Jajoo because I was on the other stage participating in another session. However, I caught up with Karn during the lunch break. It was easy to find him. If you look at the photo of the Exhibition Area above you will notice a huge white and blue banner with an X on it towering over the area from the back of the hall. That is Radix's banner.  

Below: We re-connected there to chat about all of the good things that have happening at Radix, a company that has become known for innovative marketing that has helped their TLDs stand out in the clutter of more than a thousand competitors. Their skyscraper banner (about three times Karn's own height) is just one more example of that. "Go big or go home" is a phrase you hear a lot but Radix is one of those places where they take that sentiment to heart and act on it.

Above: In the last session on the TITAN Breakout Stage before the lunch break, one of the domain industry's premier attorneys, Stevan Lieberman (Greenberg & Lieberman), showed attendees How to Write Great Contracts - and Enforce Them. As the session synopsis noted, "Business relationships live and die by the contracts that define them. In the wild world of digital assets, a firm grasp of contract do’s and don’ts will set you up for early and continuing success." Stevan's session revealed core wisdom that most domainers don’t learn until it’s too late. It provided huge value to anyone getting ready to buy or sell a valuable domain or NFT.

Above & below: During the lunch break, while many headed off for a bite to eat, others took advantage of NamesCon's Expert Roundtables. These were set up on one side of the same room where the TITAN Breakout Stage was located. Throughout the two-hour lunch break, experts from a variety of industry sectors would set up at their individual table and take time to answer questions from any attendees who wanted more information on that subject. It was a great way to get one-on-one advice from some of the most well-versed people in the industry.

Above: Back on the TITAN Breakout Stage after the lunch break, Soeren von Varchmin turned the stage over to Nole Oppermann (left), Founder of Hey.tx. For the next 90 minutes Nole would deliver his own address, then oversee three separate sessions dedicated to the Handshake decentralized domain system. The first was a Handshake 101 session with Matthew Zipkin (Impervious) and the second a panel discussion on Handshake's Potetial Impact on the Domain Industry that featured Mike Carson (Impervious/Park.io), Thomas Barrett (EnCirca), Ray King (Porkbun) and Jothan Frakes (Co-Founder, NamesCon & MERGE!).

Below: In the final session of the Handshake series, another panel dove into HNS Names from an Investment Perspective. It featured (left to right) Nick James (Web3 Texas), Alvin Kim (PremumTLDs.io), Clay Collins (.c Domains and Nomics.com), Chjango Unchained (dWeb Foundation) and, standing, Nole Oppermann. For the first time, any individual can own a decentralized Top Level Domain (TLD), which is made possible through Handshake. The panel discussed everything from investing in HNS names, opening their HNS TLD for registrations and building a business on the TLD itself.

The expansive range of business sessions at NamesCon Global 2022 were now done! The rest of the show would be devoted to socializing - a part of any conference that is just as important as the educational programming (some would argue even more so as the personal relationships built through social networking are invaluable and often lead to life-long friendships as well as enduring business connections).

Above: NamesCon Global tried something new with a two-hour Open Door: Happy Hour by Handshake from 4 to 6pm in the Exhibit Area Friday. It gave NamesCon attendees an opportunity to mingle with local entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of the decentralized systems you have been hearing about. You could catch up with old friends and make interesting new ones during this get together.

Below: As was the case throughout NamesCon Global, those at the Happy Hour came from all over the world. This intrepid trio made the trek from India. Left to right are Anshuman Vyas (Ace the Name), Srini Tella (NG9.com) and Prakhar Bindal (Bank.ai).

Above: The Gang's All Here! A perfect photo to wrap up our NamesCon Global coverage from the Omni Hotel in Austin. But wait - there is still one more day to talk about - the Fun Day that officially closed the show Saturday! (Photo credit: NamesCon)

Day 4 (Saturday, Sept. 3) - NamesCon Global Fun Day

The last in-person NamesCon Global conference in January 2020 closed with a Fun Day at an Austin institution, Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden. It has been a long wait but we finally got to do it again Saturday (Sept. 3, 2022)!

I already wrote an article about this year's Fun Day, hosted by Above.com, that was posted in our Lowdown section shortly after it happened, so rather than repeat it here, just check out that post to get some of the fun and flavor from that big day when we said our goodbyes until next time. Speaking of which...

NamesCon wants YOU to be in Austin next year for NamesCom Global 2023. 
Dates TBA but current plans call for the show to be held in either the spring or fall seasons.

(Photo: Normally, we're not ones to point fingers but this time we had to break the rules!)
Left to right are Aishwin Vikhona (Aishwin.com), Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot), Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com) and NamesCon CEO Christian Jaeger). A big thank you to the entire NamesCon team for an unforgettable week. See you again in 2023 - if not before!

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