Namescon (http://namescon.com/) is a domain name industry event held annually over the past three years. This was the first time I attended representing NZRS (the registry for the .nz ccTLD).
Attendance was very diverse encompassing registrars, registries, web hosting companies, attorneys, brand managers, domain name investors, start ups, affiliate marketing companies, parking companies, financial service providers, and individual end-users. This year the conference attracted over 1,200 participants.
The agenda was jam packed with a wide variety of keynote presentations, educational and informative sessions. The conference also had a very strong focus on networking and it was awesome seeing how open and friendly people were.
The domain investment (aka domaining) market looks to be very strong on the back of recent massive growth in the acquisition of domains from the Chinese market. Several sessions were dedicated to understanding the Chinese market and learning what types of names are attractive.
Monetisation of names looks to be big business with a range of interesting conversations with domainers and those providing monetisation platforms for parked domains. The conference had a very active expo with a large number organisations showcasing their services. Of note were product launches by Uniregistry and GoDaddy delivering more seamless services to large portfolio holders and those active in the secondary market.
I attended with the primary goal of gaining a better understanding of the domain investment market and domain after-market on the international stage. It was also an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of .nz in the investor space and with international registrars.
The Domain Name Association (of which .nz is a member) was in attendance and it was excellent seeing increasing dialogue about how top level domains, registrars and the wider industry can work together to create a strong, self regulated market.
One of the highlights for me was the charity event for WaterSchool the organisation that helps transform families in Uganda by teaching them how to have clean water for life. In fact Namescon was initially created as a vehicle to raise money for Waterschool. It was heartwarming to see over $100,000USD raised for this charity.
So was it worthwhile? In short, yes! The event has grown year on year and based on what I saw I predict it will be bigger and more jam packed with value next year.