Five reasons NamesCon 2016 was a turning point for the domain industry

NamesCon 2016 was a turning point, as far as domain conferences go; it is also a pivotal point for the domain industry.

Its organizers have extensive data about attendance and other important metrics, and I’m certain that part of it will be released eventually.

What matters right now, is the impact of such an event on the domain industry.

There are some key points that I’d like to highlight which amount to five reasons NamesCon 2016 was a turning point and a game changer.

  1. Attendance numbers exceeded expectations, delivering 30% year to year growth. The quality and type of new attendees is equally important, as the majority of these aren’t domainer “newbies” but rather, lurker domainers that finally made the move to attending a domain conference.
  2. Quality of workshops and interaction with service providers exceeded typical industry standards. The once disorganized, low profile domain industry showed its desire to expand beyond the self-imposed outlines restricting it for years. Finally, the domaining community thought “big.”
  3. There is a fresh attitude from within the domain industry, energized by the new gTLDs. It’s seeking a unified front towards expanding its reach, to markets dominated by the core tech and marketing/advertising industries. It’s a public recognition of its own value and a strong desire to shape its own future. There is no more time for bullshit, as Adrian Kinderis said.
  4. Slowly but surely, external players are infusing the market, including the exhibits. Both the social exhibit tables and the regular exhibits included companies that belong in the tech, social media and marketing sectors; the desire of these companies to expand into the domain industry can only be matched by the inverse: domaining moving into large market territory.
  5. Emerging markets, such as China and India, had actual presence and invited a multi-cultural element that has always been lacking. Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe showed a similar desire to flaunt their distinct markets. Think of ICANN conferences sans the bureaucracy.

Overall, NamesCon 2016 was not just another domain conference, but rather, a display of actual industry growth and a solid proof that anything can happen when organized properly.


  1. The number of attendees was NamesCon’s principal value to me personally. Whether the events themselves were useful or not, I can’t really say because I spent the bulk of my time ignoring the panels – instead gorging myself on 5 days of continuous conversations with a long list of people from every possible part of the industry.

    Because so many people were drawn to the conference, it was never even necessary to go looking for someone with an interesting perspective. Invariably, that person was at my elbow. Midway through pizza with GUTA’s George Hong, we’d be joined by IP attorneys and escrow providers from the adjacent table. Unplanned dinners would include registry applicants, corporate lawyers, journalists, and brand-new domain investors. With serendipity like that, who needs planned panels?

  2. Joseph – Great meeting you at NamesCon. I agree that the opportunities to interact with every possible type and grade of professionals attending were numerous. I hope you gathered what you expected, and more. Some folks prefer organized events, and this was definitely once such very well thought out conference. The scheduler tracker helped a lot as well.

  3. Given that this was my first Domain conference, I did attend planned sessions — I soaked in a lot of info and filled one of those Snapnames notebooks.

    Of course, this came with a price: I didn’t meet as many people as I wanted to, though I did get to meet you, Theo.


    I plan to go next year, so I might attend fewer sessions and mix more.

    Although I’m not a newb in the industry, I am when it comes to domain conferences… Plus, I’m a bit nerdy and shy.

  4. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this years Namescon. I would have loved to attend.

    I will be next year though. Looking forward to meeting you down there. =)


  5. Jen – Finally meeting you was the highlight of the closing day at NamesCon! Thanks so much for saying hi.

    Omar – You will love it!

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