My NamesCon 2018 Recap

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I attended my fifth NamesCon this past week and have a special lapel pin to show it. As I have come to expect, the conference was top quality, and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see friends and colleagues. This year’s event seemed to run even more smoothly than ever, and the NamesCon organizers were on point throughout the event. Now that I am back home and rested, I want to share my NamesCon recap with you.

It is very important to note that I spent very little time in the panels and sessions. In fact, the ICA panel about UDRP proceedings was the only panel I attended – in addition to parts of the domain auction. For additional transparency, I should also add that I paid for my conference ticket right after last year’s conference and NamesCon has been advertising on my blog.

Now that the formalities are out of the way, here are some thoughts I am back in the office:

  • Although the conference attendance seemed a bit smaller than in prior years, the turnout was still substantial. I attribute the smaller turnout to outside interests like cryptocurrency investments and perhaps the stifled Chinese domain name market. With few exceptions though, most of the companies and people I expected to see where there and I still didn’t get to see all the people I wanted to see.
  • I am not really an app person and did not download the NamesCon app. I heard it was helpful to those who used it though. I seem to have missed several messages sent via the app. One suggestion for NamesCon organizers is to have some sort of incentive for downloading the app before the conference. Perhaps a free coffee or continental breakfast one day would induce people like me to download the app. I will probably do it anyway, but I am sure others are in the same boat as me.
  • Whether you watch Domain Sherpa or not, Michael Cyger has had a huge impact on the domain name business. Every time I saw Michael throughout the conference, people were coming up to him to say thank you or hello. There are many people who regularly tuned in to his videos, and they had a lasting impact on the audience. In addition, it looks like quite a few people who took his Domain Academy courses were attendees as well. Kudos to Michael.
  • I don’t love the Tropicana hotel and will most likely stay at the MGM next year because the room quality is better. This may sound a bit silly, but I like the thread count on the sheets at MGM much more than the Tropicana and I don’t mind the extra exercise walking between these two venues. I feel badly that I wouldn’t give the conference organizers a nod by staying at the Tropicana, but perhaps they can reserve a block of rooms at the MGM and get credit for those sales. That being said, the staff at the Tropicana is super nice and the layout works very well for attendees.
  • It was great seeing the industry support the ICA. They threw a fun event, and the turnout was strong.
  • I was a bit surprised at the somewhat limited presence of GoDaddy in the exhibit hall given that they now sort of own NamesCon. I suspect this was intentional to avoid frustrating competitors. The company did have a huge employee turnout though, and every one of them seemed engaged with attendees. I enjoyed speaking with quite a few people from the company throughout the conference. I also plan to give their GoCentral web builder product another try for my wife’s business website next week.
  • GoDaddy sponsored a semi-private meetup in coordination with NamePros. I think the big turnout can be attributed to the outsized NamePros presence as well as GoDaddy’s openness to engage customers. I know some people may not always agree with the company’s decisions but I think Joe Styler and Paul Nicks (and others) are always at least willing to hear what customers have to say before making a decision, and that is a good thing.
  • I was also surprised at the limited Uniregistry presence. Frank Schilling was there, and I had a nice breakfast with Jeff Gabriel and Dan Adamson. In years’ past, Uniregistry had the biggest booth, sponsored the lounge area and party, and had the largest presence. That being said, I think just about everyone knows Uniregistry now and they probably feel like their marketing dollars are better spent elsewhere.
  • Perhaps I am a bit of a germaphobe or am overly concerned about people from all over the world coming together during the US flu season, but I would love to see Purell or anti-bacterial dispenser stations on the exhibit hall floor. It’s tough enough to stay healthy during the Winter with young kids, but when a big group converges, it seems like a great place to get sick. I carried my small Purell bottle with me, and every time I took it out, someone else asked for a squirt.
  • Cryptocurrency domain name and crypto currencies were a big topic of conversation although I did not really participate.
  • Despite my efforts, there were quite a few people I wanted to spend time with but didn’t get the chance. I set a few meetings but most of the time I decided to wing it. I think I am going to set more meetings next year to make sure I don’t miss some of the people I want to see.
  • I wish the biggest keynotes didn’t have other sessions running against them. I really wanted to hear Paul Nicks speak about NameFind sales, but I was participating on the important ICA panel and missed it.
  • Overall, I love the fact that NamesCon is in Las Vegas. There are a ton of food options for people with budgets of different sizes and there are a ton of things to do – from nightclubs and gambling to shooting guns and shopping. As much as the flight is a bit of a pain (as is the time difference for my family), it is worth the cross country trip to catch up with friends and colleagues.
  • As I wrote a couple of days ago, NamesCon 2019 tickets are now on sale at the biggest discount you’ll get. If you know you can attend, now is the time to get your ticket. I already bought mine.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Eliott,

    Great points man. It was a fun conference and one of the few times when I didn’t come back sick with the flu. The thing that sucked the most IMO was the ventilation, the cigarette smoke was very overwhelming.

    Mike Cyger was definitely one of the stars of the show.

    I really wanted to catch up with you in person but you were always surrounded by a bunch of people so we’ll have to hang out next year.

    Luc

  2. Great summary, Elliot.

    I, too, thought it was strange not to have as much of a Uniregistry presence. As a customer of theirs, I would have liked to meet some of their staff.

    I did have a chance to meet Micheal Cyger for the first time and I have to say it was a real pleasure. After listening to his shows for years, I can say he is one of the nicest and most genuine people in the industry. I hope he continues to come to Namescon.

    Overall, I thought the event was great in terms of meeting people, having a big socialization space, and great places to eat.

    Thanks for all you do, Elliot. I really appreciate your take on what’s going on in the industry. Keep up the great work!

  3. Hey Elliot, we recorded my keynote and will post on GoDaddy’s blog as soon as we can, I’ll be sure to reach out when that happens.

    I agree about the purel, I bought a bottle at the gift shop and used the whole thing in just a few days.

  4. I greatly appreciate Michael Cyger also and the work that he has done. One of the heroes of the cause in my book. He was even helpful to me personally at his blog. Love that guy. 🙂

  5. Great post and I agree with the sanitizing station idea and block of rooms at MGM. as I did not stay on Tropicana Property as well. It is okay for the conference, but not the best accommodations to stay in.
    GoDaddy, may not have made the biggest splash in the exhibit hall, but the sessions they held, particularly the the new appraisal platform were heavily visited and beneficial to all. Their tokens to see portfolio valuation was also useful to those who have large portfolios.
    Just talking to domainers is a great opportunity for business. I sold 2 Pittsburgh related domains to another investor from there and had another sale from China via Afternic the last day.
    I booked my ticket for next year as well, as although smaller, it was the best NamesCon yet.
    The only other thing that needs changing in my opinion is that party on the last night. We are mostly men, so the venue doesn’t make sense and it’s too loud to hear each other.
    How about having just a beer social with no music or quiet background music. A club makes no sense, but they still haven’t changed that.

  6. Meh,

    The last thing namescon needs is a quiet beer night with other domainers.

    The intro night was good enough for that, and was one of the better things there. I know they probably don’t have the funds, but they need to take it out of Tropicana. IT IS A DUMP. Conference as a whole was OK, but seemed like a big mix of newbs and cryptowannabe brokers. BTC is almost 10 now. I don’t need a intro to blockchain class taught by guys who ‘think’ they know whats up. The names in the Auction were pretty decent, but finding out the names up for grabs was more like looking thru a wheres waldo book. The exhibit hall looked like Virginia City, but the Godaddy and Escrow Reps were nice and plentiful. Nice socks.

    Can the Trop.
    Bring back the club. (only if tickets are selling like hotcakes)
    Skip the water moneygrab. Many of you have millions.
    Ditch the Crypto. (grasping)
    Integrate with DEFCON? (20,000 attendance)

    Until then I wont be back.

  7. Eliott,

    Glad you enjoyed the show.

    Questions:

    1. Do you drink alcohol?
    2. For you, is the show mostly for business or for catching with friends?

    Personally, I think the only way to enjoy these shows is if you’re a domainer/customer. Otherwise, it’s all work and you’ll end up sick afterwards.

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