Lexsynergy staff recently returned from a four-day trip to Las Vegas where they attended NamesCon, the largest conference dedicated exclusively to the domain name industry. The conference was attended by a mix of registrars, registries and registrants and had a schedule full of key-note speakers, smaller learning sessions, a live domain name auction, and networking and social events. Here are a few key takeaways and highlights from NamesCon 2016.
Brands Are Becoming .Brands
There were many discussions about brands and their online presence. While some brands are still figuring out what to do with new extensions, a handful of pioneers are utilizing new and branded extensions for creative marketing efforts. Some examples that were shared:
- Twenty-First Century Fox purchased its branded TLD .fox. It was initially purchased for defensive purposes but has since evolved into a space for Fox to brand itself in a new way online. Fox recently launched it's main TLD page nic.fox. It appears that the entertainment company plans on using .fox as a dedicated online space to host their digital content with a launch scheduled for Spring 2016.
- Amazon will soon be launching its new registry service with gTLDs such as .buy, .spot, .book and .free. Amazon applied for the rights to these extensions to be exploratory and innovative. Their vision is to use them as another way to create new spaces and experiences for the Amazon community.
- In 2015 Taco Bell launched a promotion around ta.co as a short and memorable URL to type into a mobile device.
The live auction at NamesCon is always a lively and popular event. This year's auction featured some high-worth, premium domains. Here are some of the high price tags that were sold:
- southamerica.com - $30,000
- lawn.com - $240,000
- web.hosting - $52,500
- 88.xyz - $70,000
- buy.cars - $11,000
- stock.photo - $16,000
The President of ICANN's Global Domains Division (GDD), Akram Atallah, shared some of ICANN's objectives for 2016.
- Continue to become more customer oriented by improving registry and customer support.
- Put more effort into educating the general public about domain names, specifically the new gTLD program. Atallah spoke about how the internet is changing fundamentally and a major challenge within the industry is educating the public about these changes.
- When asked about the timing for the next round of creating gTLDs, Atallah stated it is "a debatable question" but he estimated the next round would be coming in 2018 or 2019.