As you know, last week was NamesCon, and approximately 1,300 people from the domain industry attended the event in Las Vegas. Put simply, the conference was great and well worth attending. Each year, it seems that the NamesCon staff grows, and they really have it together.
This morning, I thought I would share some random thoughts about NamesCon. I invite you to share your own thoughts about the conference in the comment section.
- I had several people in mind who I wanted to meet in person. I think I met just about all of those people and had a chance to speak with most of them. It’s great that there was such a huge turnout. No matter how long NamesCon is, there are always a few people I didn’t get to meet, and that was the case this year as well.
- The best booth giveaway at NamesCon was remote control helicopters given by Payoneer Escrow. I’ve been flying mine in the mornings, and my kids love watching it. The second best giveaway was hand sanitizer. I felt badly putting it on so much, but it’s been a few days since I have been home and I don’t feel a cold coming on yet!
- I closed a great deal at NamesCon with the help of Jen Sale from Evergreen. We were chatting at dinner about a domain name, and she was able to lock down a deal two days later. Not only that, but the deal closed before I left Las Vegas.
- Next year, I am staying at the MGM, even if it means a longer walk to the conference. When I checked into my room at 10:30pm, the bathroom toilet was dirty. I called down to housekeeping and it took a while for them to send someone up. By the time I went to sleep, it was midnight (which was like 3am for me). Also, the lock on my door wasn’t working well and I needed to insert my key multiple times to get it to work. I intended to stay at the MGM this year, but I was deterred by the bridge construction.
- For two out of the three nights I was there, I had dinner at Nobu. I went to the Nobu at Caesar’s Palace and the Nobu at Hard Rock. I have been to quite a few of the top restaurants in Las Vegas, and Nobu has always left me happy.
- I have never been to a WHD conference before, but I hope the acquisition doesn’t lead to any major formatting changes.
- There was an outpouring of support for Lonnie Borck’s family, and I think they really appreciated it. I also appreciated seeing people offering their condolences and assistance to Lonnie’s family. Josh’s story about sitting next to Lonnie’s brother in law on the flight to Vegas was great.
- I always enjoy chatting with the guys from Domain Capital. As Vince mentioned on Domain Sherpa, there are a variety of different financing opportunities offered by the company. If I came across a domain name that was well priced and I needed the funding, I would not hesitate to work with them.
- Speaking of Josh, it was nice to see/meet the entire DSAD team. I had met Aaron and Shane several times, and the DSAD guys always look like they are having a great time.
- Uniregistry was the “Diamond” level sponsor and it showed. There were Uniregistry logos everywhere. The Uniregistry booth was huge. There was a Uniregistry lounge and a Uniregistry stage. Uniregistry sponsored one of the main parties at Hakkasan. Everywhere you looked, Uniregistry had a presence. I hate to think about what happens if Uniregistry cuts back on its conference spend.
- Aside from Uniregistry, the new gTLD registry operators seemed like they were out in full force. I am not bullish on the new TLDs as a domain investor, but I hate to think about what happens to NamesCon if some of the leading companies re-tool their conference budgets.
- GoDaddy sent a huge contingent of employees to NamesCon. I was able to get a bit of business done.
- I felt that the auction was too long. There was only one domain name I was interested in bidding on, and it was towards the end. I think a shorter live auction with just the top 50 or 75 best priced domain names would be more than sufficient.
- If you know you are going to NamesCon next year, you should take advantage of the special offer price before it expires.
MGM sucks too.
Stay at Wynn, Encore, Caesar’s, Cosmo, Aria, or Bellagio and take an Uber ($7-$9 to the Trop.)
I like Vdara and The Hotel (now Delano) but it is a bit of a pain in the ass to get to the Tropicana from those hotels. I tend to go back to my room throughout the day to do work, so going the Uber route would be (uber) expensive.
I stayed at MGM for second year now and its is much better then Tropicana. Much, much better. Door to door walk from room to conference was about 8 minutes.
Thank you for the article Elliot. It gives an insight into what you get out of the conference.
I have a question for you, from the conference did you get an idea as to the likely launch date of .Web?
I didn’t ask anyone and didn’t hear anything about it – sorry.
Thought it was a long shot, thank you anyway.
It was good to meet up with you at event the support you and others gave to Lonnie Borck family was touching,
Personally I enjoyed the show looking forward to next year.
Great to finally meet you guys.
Thanks for sharing Elliot.
I’d echo many of the sentiments from Elliot about the conference. A lot of variety and very well executed. I had some problems with the WiFi at the Tropicana and I had to put 2 pillows on the desk chair because I was high enough to type on my laptop. But…. aside from those two things my room and the service at the Trop was excellent. I’m likely to stay there again next year as I value the convenience of being able to go back and forth to my room to grab a sweater, use the bathroom or get something I forget to bring with me etc. It saves a lot of time if your room is close by.
As Keith pointed out, the Wifi was an issue for me as well (Tropicana & NamesCon wifi). While I understand that the point of the event is to socialize more in person, there are still things that a domainer needs to check on in cyber-space while there. I think they should address that for next year.
Other than that, the Excalibur needs to develop a better check-in system. It seems like every year I stay there I end up with a 4 to 8 hour wait and circus hoops to jump through just to get checked in. Maybe another hotel is in order for me as well. 😉
Excalibur is the “arm-pit” of the strip…yuck.
Excellent saké list at Nobu, one of the few places you can get a competition saké, hope you brought your AMEX Platinum Card Elliot!
We didn’t get to talk very much this year but always nice seeing you. If it looked like the DSAD team was having a great time its because we were. It was the first time we’ve actually all met even though we’ve been building the business for a year. Even better guys in person
As a person that had an incredible room at the MGM the last three years, I can tell there is a MUCH shorter way to the Tropicana than even the crosswalk. If you go out the lobby of the MGM , which is right next to the elevators, and walk out you just have to cross the street and you come out by the North entrance of the Trop. Not even 5 minutes. Shorter than walking through the MGM and then back over the crosswalk. My room was amazing and the WIFI was good enough to video chat with no issues
At DSAD our entire goal next year is to make enough money that Josh doesn’t have to stay at Excaliber next year.
Thanks! Appreciate the shout out, and the chance to talk for a little bit last week. I hope you were able to catch a little sleep on your red eye back home.
Another great article. The show could not have been put on better by Richard and his crew. The attendees were great. The sessions were informative.
I think the hotel is suitable for business use, and I like the size of it. If we had that conference at MGM or another large casino it would seem like a tiny show.
My only complaint is that the internet was spotty at best in the conference hall and by the gaming tables/entrance. If they can fix that it would have been perfect.
Tropicana rooms have always seemed fine to me. Then again, my version of adequate is a room the size of the hotel room bathroom with 9 guys stacked 3 deep in coffin-sized racks. And a tent in the woods is heaven. So as long as the hotel doesn’t have too many cockroaches, from my perspective it’s fine.