There is less than a week to go until NamesCon 2017! As you know, we are busy getting ready for our largest — and best — conference to date! NamesCon attendees are already making great connections through our new mobile app and organizing their schedules to maximize their time. NamesCon tickets are still available to purchase — don’t miss out on the chance to attend the biggest domain name industry event in the world. People from all parts of the domain community are set to converge on the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from January 22-25, 2017.
We want to help you make the most of your conference, so we are running this interviews series introducing you to NamesCon Sponsors and the people behind the big names. Today’s Spotlight interview is with Toby Hall, CEO at MMX (also known as Minds & Machines).
What is your company’s mandate; what sets you apart?
In 2016, Michael and I went through the process of restructuring MMX from a vertically integrated business into a pure-play registry. This is allowing us to far better listen to our partners – registrars, domain investors and end businesses – to help them deliver success. At its core, we believe this culture of partnership is now helping both mend old bridges and build new ones. In short, this spirit of openness and partnership is now helping to set us apart.
Who benefits from your product or service?
We want to help everyone in the ecosystem make money – registrars, domain investors and end-consumer businesses.
What factors have contributed to your company’s growth and success? In 2016 the key moments have been:
1. The successful restructuring of the business into a pure-play registry by outsourcing our technical back-end to Nominet and closing down our registrar operations;
2. The expansion into the Chinese market through the launch of .VIP;
3. Putting in place the steps to continue developing in 2017.
In 2017 a key focus will be to better monetize our premium inventory in the US and Europe as well as continue to developing usage in key vertical industries.
What major milestones has your company accomplished?
· Owning an exceptional portfolio of top-level domains
· A cash strong balance-sheet with no debt
· A leading presence in the Chinese market with .VIP being one of the first three western registries to receive MIIT approval
· A growing, profitable ongoing business
How will your company engage attendees at the upcoming NamesCon?
We will have a strong presence at the event and will be meeting and talking in the corridors throughout the event to better learn how we can best support registrars, domain investor and end-consumer businesses. In addition, we will be hosting the MMX Partnership Happy Hour on Tuesday at 4pm (in the Uniregistry Keynote Hall) and participating in the “A Look Forward at New TLDs” panel at 11am on Wednesday. We’re a proud sponsor of the WaterWalk Challenge Tuesday at 4:30pm in the Exhibit Hall, where teams of two will have the chance to win a $350 Amazon card team prize from MMX and competitors will also receive the MMX sponsored .VIP wristbands for the WaterNight Gala later that evening. MMX is also a proud sponsor of the Women in Domaining Dinner on Tuesday evening.
What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?
Quite simply that they have the ability to transform. Today people are typically just thinking about how they can transform the way businesses market themselves – and that’s important, very important. However, their scope and applications are far greater than this. And for that reason, I’m truly excited to be part of this industry.
What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming conference?
Listening, connecting – in a real sense, not just in that speed-dating kind of way.
Where can attendees find out more about your company, product or services while at NamesCon?
MMX will be hosting a fun happy hour on Tuesday at 4pm in the keynote hall with tons of prizes and swag. The whole MMX NamesCon team will be there to meet our many current partners and to forge successful new partnerships. The MMX happy hour is a perfect pre-game for the WaterNight Gala later in the night. You can also see the MMX page in the conference guide which has a meet the team section so you can easily recognize our team members during NamesCon, so please introduce yourselves if you see us!
If you have a company representative speaking at NamesCon, is there anything you can share about what to expect during your session or keynote?
Toby Hall will be participating in “A Look Forward at New TLDs” panel at 11am on Wednesday. Attendees should expect to hear Toby’s review of 2016 and a look ahead to an exciting year ahead.