MERGE 2018! - The State of the Domain

With Day One and Day Two of MERGE! long gone, I had the pleasure of kicking off Day Three moderating the Domain Name Solutions for Blockchain Challenges panel which consisted of Jothan FrakesJebidiah BurnettToby HallDave Evanson, and Jodee Rich.

MERGE! 2018 Domain Name Solutions for Blockchain Challenges

This panel addressed the importance of usability driving necessity of overall domain usage within blockchain solutions — cryptocurrency wallet addresses, smart contract addresses and other resources — to simplify and act as ’speed dial’ or shortcut references for system access.


Watch the video below and learn as panelists express perspectives of the crypto market collapse and it’s impact on the domain market.

In addition, panelists highlight favorable naming strategies and domain extensions selected by a growing number of companies in the crypto, blockchain, IoT and security space.

After a quick bio break and refill of beverages, Dr. Rob Fazio — an executive advisor, sport psychologist, crisis consultant, keynote speaker, and nonprofit leader — took to the stage with one of MERGE!’s most captivating presentations about how to remove roadblocks and be more successful.

Rob candidly shared how his father lost his life in the fall of the second Twin Tower September 11th. Yet inspired by knowing his father was in the life of fire, helping to saves lives that horrific day holding the door for others, Rob and his family embarked upon a journey to launch a non-profit organization in memory of his father:

Closing out the morning, attendees shifted their attention back to cryptocurrency and blockchain topics in a session — Plenary Planner: Cryptocurrency / Blockchain – Practical Benefits and Where to use it, Where not to — moderated by Ken Hansen with Bianca Diosdado, Michael PalageChrista Taylor, and Toby Hall.

Reconvening after lunch with the second half of Day Three, I was torn a bit between which of the three concurrent sessions I hoped to attend, but settled on the session addressing how to derive a domain’s worth:

  • Digital Marketing in 2018 – What Works and WhyNikolay Nedev



The aftermarket appraisals and comparable session is certainly worth watching. Each panelist shares experiences as well as their insight and approach to how and what tools they use to derive a domain’s value when buying and selling.

Before I knew it, the hour had passed and it was time to decide once more between two new concurrent sessions.

Although I was able to capture a few moments of Chris Edwards’ session — Create Marketing Dashboards with Google Data Studio, I rushed back to keynote hall.

Fortunately, I was just in time to capture Norman Farrar and Wilfried Ligthart brain dumping some serious insight, tips and tips, and literally giving away the farm about how to capture and maximize organic traffic for social platforms and search engines.

Having spent a number of years in search marketing and digital marketing disciplines, Norman and Wilfried’s presentation was more than worth the price of MERGE!’s admission.

If you were unable to attend the session or MERGE! in general, I encourage you to search the web for their full presentation or visit  Below are a few slides and ideas from the presentation worth reviewing! 😉

Although attendees likely wouldn’t have mind if Norman and Wilfried had kept presenting into the next hour, MERGE! moved forward with an awesome keynote from Chad BennettHow Cryptocurrency Can Enable The Future of Cyber Protection.

MERGE! 2018 Keynote - Chad Bennett — How Cryptocurrency Can Enable The Future of Cyber Protection.

Following Chad’s keynote presentation was a session designed for attendees to meet and learn more about the Internet Commerce Association with Zak Muscovitch, and Kamila Sekiewicz and Nate Cohen from ICA.

While I skipped the ICA session in favor of interviewing and sharing a few words with various attendees, I was a bit tardy to Ron Jackson’s session: The State of the Domain.

MERGE 2018! - The State of the Domain

If the name Ron Jackson doesn’t ring a bell, simply visit You’ll  instantly understand his commitment and devotion to pioneering the domain industry with his disciplines in journalism, photography, and radio broadcasting.

I was fortunate to have a fleeting moment with Ron before we were both drawn to sessions and capturing conference moments. I certainly hat tip and am truly grateful to and for Ron’s body of work, inspiring me to share conference highlights by way of storytelling. 👏

Watch the video below and listen as Ron and Larry Fischer ( reminisce, expressing their thoughts of the current state of the domain market, and casting their own visions for where they believe the trajectory of the domain market is heading in the coming years.

And before the next session could begin, MERGE! had one item of business that was A MUST: surprising and wishing Diana Jackson (Ron’s lovely wife) a Happy Birthday! 🎉🎁🎈

MERGE! 2018 - Happy Birthday Diana Jackson

After singing and wishing Diana the happiest of birthdays, attendees were drawn to Keynote Hall as Jothan Frakes took to the stage with Jennifer Gore for A Fireside Chat with ICANN.

Although I was able to record most of the chat, there was about a 10 minute session where all recording devices were stopped and you had to be in the room for an a highly interesting discussion. Again, you had to have been there!

Immediately following A Fireside Chat with ICANN was the final session of the day — Legal Matters: UDRP and ACPA Updates — moderated by Howard Neu with Ava Doppelt, Ari Goldberger, Gerald Levine, Zak Muscovitch, and Jason Schaeffer as panelists.

With sessions coming to a close for the day, most attendees closed the evening and their night with of the following:

  • “Rock The Cash Bar” with cocktails in the Expo Hall
  • Attended the ICA / DNA / BRG Dinner at Benihana LBV in the hotel
  • Closed out the night enjoying one another’s company in the Hospitality Suite

Unfortunately, I opted out of the aforementioned opportunities for dinner and a night with friends local to Orlando. And just like that, Day Three of MERGE! is behind us… with the final day approaching and fast.

Stay tuned for more MERGE! 2018 coverage in its final day. Thanks and that’s all for now! 👋

Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.