NamesCon 2017 is on track for another record-breaking year! People from all facets of the domain industry have already started networking on the NamesCon mobile app and are getting ready to head to Las Vegas in less than two weeks. Tickets are still available for purchase to those wishing to attend the largest domain name conference in the world. The conference is held at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from January 22-25, 2017.
We are running these interviews to introduce attendees to NamesCon sponsors, and to get to know the people behind the banners. Today’s Spotlight interview is with Jeffrey Sass, CMO at .CLUB Domains, LLC.
What is your company’s mandate; what sets you apart?
Unlike many of the new domain extension registries, we are solely focused on one word, .CLUB, and from the beginning, we have approached things from the perspective of building a global brand that anyone with a passion can relate to. As a domain extension .CLUB is unique because its usage is truly global. The word “club,” in English, is recognized, used and means the same thing all over the world and across multiple languages. The other thing that is special about “club” is that it represents community and people coming together around a common interest or passion. This makes .CLUB easy to understand as a domain and meaningful for a broad range of uses, from existing clubs, to sports figures and celebrities for their fan clubs, to startups with membership and subscription models, to bloggers who are passionate about a particular topic, and on and on and on.
Who benefits from your product or service?
Of course, the people who benefit the most are the end-user registrants who have found a great .CLUB domain that fits their business or online presence. We’ve seen some great .CLUB businesses getting notoriety in their industries, like the racing game Gear.club, one of the top games in the app stores, KitchenCollective.club which was featured in Forbes, and Chaos.club which was profiled in Vogue. In our industry, we’ve seen many domain investors benefit from trading in valuable .CLUB names here and abroad, including in China. Also, as .CLUB has been a leader in usage our registrar partners benefit from profitable customers who want to use a .CLUB name and thus will become long-term clients and good prospects for hosting, email and other services tied to using and building out a great domain.
What factors have contributed to your company’s growth and success?
First and foremost “club” is a powerful word that is deeply ingrained in our lives and vocabulary. As a result, people immediately recognize how .CLUB can work well as a domain extension and they can easily appreciate all the logical use cases for a .CLUB domain name. Second, our secret weapon has been our focus. As a company, everything we do, and all our resources, are laser focused on the success of .CLUB and nothing else. We’ve built a great team and all of us are aligned in our singular focus to build a brand with .CLUB.
What’s the story behind how your company was founded?
Colin Campbell, our founder and CEO, has a long and successful history as a serial entrepreneur. He is one of the founders of Tucows and also Hostopia, both successful businesses with ties to the domain industry. He was also involved in the launch of .CA in Canada, so Colin followed the opportunity to apply for a top-level domain with great interest. He did a lot of research on what would make a successful new TLD and that research led him to apply for .CLUB. Colin initially raised $1.2 million from private investors to launch the company and fund the application and launch process. As it turned out, two other companies, Donuts and Merchant Law Group, also applied for .CLUB. Eventually we raised additional funds in advance of an auction for .CLUB. In June of 2013 we participated in the very first private auction for new TLDs and we prevailed, winning the rights to .CLUB. There’s actually a cool video online of the moment we won the auction: https://youtu.be/9bDDFMldOQc
How has (or will) NamesCon helped your company achieve its goals?
We’ve been a sponsor of NamesCon and an exhibitor since the very first show and it has proven to be a great event, and one of the few “trade shows” where we actually make money attending! With its combination of many of our registrar partners as well as domain investors, NamesCon presents a great industry mix where we can make real progress with different aspects of our business. We’ve had a lot of success at the NamesCon/Right of the Dot auction, where we broke records the first year with our sale of Wine.club for $140,000. Even outside of the auctions we’ve made real deals for premium names, right on the NamesCon exhibit floor. At this year’s NamesCon we have 6 great names in the auction – Gold.club, Silver.club, Diamond.club, Casino.club and Luxury.club. We will also be announcing something new that we think will be of great interest to domain investors and brokers as well as small businesses looking for great, brandable names. Stop by our booth at the show to find out more! https://youtu.be/CT8HQVeSSDQ