NamesCon: Spotlight on Top Level Design

This article is part of a series of interviews with  NamesCon  exhibitors and sponsors. NamesCon 2015 will be held  January 11-14, 2015 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over 800 people are expected to attend this conference.

Today’s interview is with Ray King, of Top Level Design.  Ray is the founder of AboutUs, Director of ICANNWiki, Co-founded SnapNames and is the CEO of Top Level Design, LLC. And it all started with 4 Apple II computers in 1984 which Ray used to teach Visicalc and dBase II.

Tell us more about Top Level Design.

We’re an Oregon based new TLD applicant and registry; we’ve already launched .wiki and .ink and recently acquired .design, which will be available to the public around Q2 of 2015. Beyond that, we are still involved in 4 other TLD contention sets that we hope to resolve within the coming months.

Why are you excited about the new TLD space?

As I know all domain investors appreciate, each domain name is a unique asset. There is only ever going to be one, for example, which is cool because that name was grabbed by a smart high school app developer for his blog. This young kid moved his site from a .co address because .ink was more creative and branded him that way. So while .com and .co are essentially meaningless for him, the new domains are interesting, carry real meaning, and are going to continue to be adopted and understood. Our registration figures are still modest but they’re growing, and the curve will continue to grow… and just wait until .design breaks the floodgates. It’s going to be huge.

Why will .design succeed?

Design has always been fundamental to the way people, companies and products present themselves, and since the elegance of the Apple revolution there has been a conscious embrace of how design is a lot more than just how a product or service looks, but a fundamental carrier of one’s message. Beyond that, design is what I call a ‘horizontal-vertical’, in that it is a broad term, but not generic like .web or .online. It touches on many clear vertical markets such as graphic design, interior design, lighting design, web design, fashion design and many more. These are all distinct markets whose survival depends on them being ahead of the curve and defining future trends — .design does just that.

What brings you back to NameCon for the second time as a sponsor?

First of all, I’ll give a huge round of applause to your entire team. I remember when NamesCon was announced for the first time last year and I wasn’t necessarily sold because I already attend all the ICANN meetings and the other domain conferences. It was a few months before the first NamesCon and then suddenly every call would end with “So, I’ll see you at NamesCon, right?” So I got on board and am happy I did. I’m definitely going into January with high hopes as I’m sure it’ll be great!

You’re participating in the NamesCon Right of the Dot live auction. Tell me about that.

Yes, we’re going to be putting up some great .wiki and .ink names. It’s as simple as that. I’m sure they’re going to be sold at a competitive price and that some very happy buyers will walk away with some great names – it’s my hope that we’ll have folks thinking beyond just portfolios and also considering content, which is a huge opportunity on any domain — especially .wiki names.

We’ll see you in January, Ray!

One last thing. As the winner of last year’s table tennis championship, hold the applause please, I’d like the rest of the players to bring their ‘A’ game .. and their wallets. It’s Vegas after all.


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