Quick survival guide for NamesCon 2017

When Richard Lau launched NamesCon in late 2013, it arrived at the right time.

The January 2014 domain conference proved to be a catalyst for the domain industry, and while perfection was not immediately attained, it has been consistently improving its numbers ever since.

Before NamesCon 2014, I attended Targeted TRAFFIC every other year, to avoid feeling burned out among the domainer crowds.

From 2008 in Orlando, to 2010 in Las Vegas and finally 2012 in Ft. Lauderdale, I experienced the transformation of an event that provided good value; at least, for someone who, like me, attended every other year regardless of the number of annual events.

With NamesCon, that requirement to space my participation apart became no longer valid.

I’m not a gambler, and Las Vegas loses its overall appeal after the second visit. There is plenty of second hand smoke and not a lot of attractions that a different metropolis, such as New York City would offer. If I had to choose a different host city, I’d go with beautiful Boston, where I attended SedoPRO in 2010.

Still, Las Vegas is an affordable hosting base for organizing events, which can be for thousands of people when it comes down to large shows such as CES or Affiliate Summit West.

As I’m heading to my 4th consecutive NamesCon in two weeks’ time, and my 5th Las Vegas visit, I thought I’d write up and share a small “survival guide” for NamesCon 2017 newbies.

  • Start taking vitamin supplements now, including additional vitamin C. It will help boost your immune system, which will be challenged among thousands of people.
  • Organize your outfits for the conference. Assuming you will spend 4 days and nights, you’ll need at least 2 day outfits, with alternate shirts; the daily conference events are laid back so business casual is just fine. For social events, you need to dress up, and guys would benefit from a jacket and nice shoes. Ladies have a wider choice of outfits, for sure.
  • Comfortable shoes should be your priority. You will be walking a lot around the conference, up/down stairs or to short distances around the city. Flat, supportive shoes or sneakers would do the job.
  • Snacks can be bought anywhere at the Tropicana hotel, along with water. Stay hydrated, and caffeinated as sessions can be interesting but also tiring. Bring a bottle of water wherever you go, and NamesCon provides plenty of water, courtesy of Radix, supporters of the WaterSchool.
  • Handshakes transmit germs. Don’t be anti-social, unless the other guy is hacking up a storm. Bring a portable antiseptic gel with you and tie it to your backback, so that it’s always accessible. Nobody will get offended if you clean your hands after such introductions.
  • Use the NamesCon app to define your schedule and public agenda. You can also see who else is attending and keep track of your plan for the conference. If you have questions, the great folks at the NamesCon greeting booth will love to help you out.
  • Make time for impromptu lunches and after hours gatherings. Many of them will be far more rewarding than large, pre-planned gatherings. Be prepared to buy coffee, a drink or even a meal for someone else who’s being helpful or fun. It’s called courtesy to others.
  • Be respectful to the personnel at the venue. They will be on their feet for hours every day. They deserve a smile and a “thank you” very often. Every time!
  • If you get tired and no caffeine infusion can provide you with the mental focus you need, take a nap. Thirty minutes up to an hour can invigorate you. If you can’t set up the alarm, ask the hotel for a wake up call. Close all blinds and hit the comfy bed, with your cellphone beyond arm’s distance!
  • Personal hygiene: shower, shave and keep yourself in a great, presentable state every day of the event.
  • Business cards are still a valid and valuable means of connecting and retaining an impression. Don’t assume everyone knows who you are, or remembers you – particularly after a long day.
  • Keep your belongings locked up and safe. Don’t abandon your backpack with valuable electronics to take a bathroom break. Don’t bring 10 credit cards or a bunch of cash with you to Vegas. Save all receipts and write down the cost of meals and tips – they’re valid business expenses, along with your hotel stay, the venue ticket, and your flight. Lap dances, incidentally, are not.
  • Night life in Vegas: anything goes. If you go with the flow, follow the plans of other small groups or attend the conference parties for some fun moments. Drinking juice instead of alcohol is ok. If you drink booze, don’t mix your drinks: it’s either beer or the same kind of liquor throughout. No driving under the influence: Uber is your friend.
  • Keep notes on paper. Your laptop is capable of recording a lot of information but a small notepad and a good pen will help you take quick notes, that would escape your mental capacity of the moment. Plus you can give your doodles to someone else.
  • Don’t stack up on exhibitor freebies. Let’s be honest: half the stuff they give away are bulky and underused. Who needs 10 different drinking mugs with the company’s brand on them? Go for the occasional t-shirt or hat, pens, snacks or literature. Avoid USB sticks like the plague.
  • Keep memories: everyone wants a selfie with Frank Schilling, and you will probably get one too. Just remember to offer something in return: some feedback on their products, a comment about how they’ve been helpful with your own domain investments. Use common sense and courtesy.
  • At the end of the show, please thank Richard Lau and his hard-working crew. They are bringing a big amount of value to this industry and deserve a big thank you for it. And give your spare dollars during the WaterNight Event; you’ll be glad you help out bring clean water to impoverished countries in Africa.

Above all, have fun meeting people that might change your life’s outlook, and who knows, maybe you will make a positive contribution to someone else’s life as well.

See you in Vegas.



  1. Why the avoid USB sticks ?

  2. Raymond – All thanks to hardware-encoded viruses and other malware: http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/31/why-you-can-no-longer-trust-any-usb-device-plugged-into-your-pc/

    Will you be attending NamesCon?

  3. Great advice. Thank you. Number #1 is great idea too. “Start taking vitamin supplements now, including additional vitamin C.” Good thinking and sounds right on.

  4. Ok I see what you are thinking on the virus aspect, makes sense.

    No I won’t be there Theo have a good conference.

  5. Thanks, Raymond. Hope we can meet at some point!

    John – Thanks man. See you there?

  6. I’ve never seen anyone use a portable antiseptic gel, but I have to be honest, it does make some sense. When I am on a male dominated conference (which usually is on web hosting and some domain name conferences) the amount of guys that skip washing hands in the toilet just freaks me out… Seriously.

    Nice list you can take on any large conference!

  7. I’d be less offended if you didn’t shake my hand (that gesture is overrated anyway) instead of you shaking my hand and immediately reaching for your PURELL. But maybe that’s just me.

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