1000+ attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and everyone in between descended upon the domain industry’s largest conference — NamesCon Global: The Domain Economic Forum — debuting a change of venue at the Omni Downtown Hotel in Austin, Texas.
From the newest of new to the oldest of old, anticipation and excitement built as the Keynote Hall filled to standing room only awaiting the commencement of 7th Annual Welcome Keynote.
Soeren Von Varchmin, CEO of NamesCon, took to the stage — accompanied by moderators/hosts, Bill Sweetman, Braden Pollock, Christa Taylor, and Monte Cahn — to share and set the expectations for what could be experienced throughout interrelated events over the next few days.
Although I missed a good portion of the Welcome Keynote, reconnecting with friends of old as well as making new connections, I started my day attending Michael Gilmour’s session “The Past, Present and Future of Domain Investment”.
- “Domain Investing 101: First Principles for Buying Domains Properly” presented by Mike Cyger
- “SEO and Domains: New gTLD Testing and Research” presented by Bill Hartzer
- “ICANN – Grow your Knowledge about the ICAAN Organization and its Role” presented by Andee Hill
But the good news is, Bill graciously provided a recording of his presentation! 🙌🏾
As only Cyger would and could, he demystified the process for pricing and buying domains — using Karpool.com as an example — for a fairly wide audience of varied domain investing experience.
He walked through a 4-step process, providing an end-to-end strategy for how to gather, assess, and apply empirical data to achieve realistic market value ranges of low, mid, and high for a given domain.
By show of hands, Cyger polled attendees in the room about Karpool.com and what value range attendees felt was most accurate for a buy price.
- $300 to $2,000
- $2,000 to $5,000
- $5,000 to $10,000
- $10,000 to $20,000
- $20,000 to $50,000
- $50,000 to $100,000
True to form, the overall response of attendees fell along the lines of a traditional bell curve, with most of us guessing a range of $5,000 to $10,000.
The most powerful moment was at the end of his presentation, discovering the $5,000 to $10,000 range that a majority of attendees selected was leaving 1-2 times the money on the table.
Empirical data proved Karpool.com could and likely should be valued in the $10,000 to $20,000 price range.
One of the biggest takeaways from Ryan’s presentation, which should be common knowledge for most domain investors, is that domain investing and domains in general should not be treated like lottery tickets.
In addition, based on data provided from DomainAgents.com, Ryan revealed that the average sales price for a .com domain is $2,500, while the median sale price is $1,000.
Although there were two 12:30 sessions — “DNS over HTTPS: If it doesn’t scare you, it should!” presented by Christopher Ambler and “Domain Auctions and Brokerage: A Path to Monetizing Your Domains” presented by Monte Cahn, I skipped both and opted for longer lunch to catch up with Mark Levine, Shane Cultra, Josh Eisenhower, Aaron Wilkin and a few others.
Nevertheless, time flies when you‘re having fun and sharing personal stories about friends and family, and other non-domain topics.
Time passed so fast that I missed the two 2 o’clock sessions — “Billing and Business Management for Domains and Beyond” presented by Kurt Daniel and “Fighting DNS Abuse at Scale” presented by Pinky Brand.
Although I didn’t want to leave good company, stories and a trove of deep belly laughs, I hustled back over to Keynote Hall just in time to get mic’ed up for my 3pm session, catching the final moments of Alex Melen’s — CEO of SmartSites, session “Using Data and Machine Learning to Grow Your Domain Empire”.
While I really would have hope to have attended Richard Lau’s 3pm session — “Develop, Develop, and EXIT!”, I took to the stage in Keynote Hall to share seven safeguard methods and strategies to sustain domain investing before, during and after economic downturn: Domain Investing and Guarding Against Economic Downturn.
Unfortunately, due to stranger hitting my camera, I only have video with no audio! 😤 That’s life. Things happen. We keep pressing forward. There’s always next year, Lord willing. 😊
One key thing worth mentioning is the likelihood of more domain buyers embracing installment payment plans to secure and purchase their desired domain.
In the presentation, I included how Dan.com’s recurring revenue increased to 14% from 2018 to 2019 due to installment payments. Also, I foresee Dan.com’s recurring revenue to likely spike to 20% or more for 2020 — we’ll see this time next year if this holds to be true.
And as with all things in life, timing is everything that Dan released their new Sales Accelerator option a week or so prior to NamesCon and just passed the NamesCon presentation submittal deadline.
Nevertheless, I missed both 3:30 sessions — “InterNetX & Sedo’s Domain Report – Facts & Recommendations for Domainers and Registrars” presented by Christian Voss and Marco Hoffman, and “Blockchain” presented by Bradley Kam, Co-Founder of Unstoppable Domains — answering attendee questions from my session in the lobby area for nearly 30-40 minutes.
The final session of the day — “Transparent Calculation Series: A Year in the Life of a Domainer” — proved to be an entertaining and insightful as the two persons presenting and facilitating discussion, Morgan Linton — long-time domain investor and serial entrepreneur, and Braden Pollock — long-time domain and angel investor, and serial entrepreneur.
Day one of NamesCon was capped off with MMX hosting the well-attended .VIP Opening Reception.
The final event of the night was the ICA Dinner at Max’s Wine Dive. I had planned to attend this event, but truth be told, I was all peopled out and simply ready for a quick meal, shower, and bed.
All in all, Day one of NamesCon got off to a great start. While there were many attendees longing for and desiring a gambling environment comparable to Vegas, there were nothing but praises for venue selection, considering no one wreaked of aromatic fragrance of Tropicana smoke and the havoc it wreaks on one’s eyes and respiratory system.
Day two aims to pickup from where Day one of NamesCon ended with much anticipation for what Aman Bhutani, CEO of GoDaddy, will deliver in his Keynote address.
Of course, the annual domain auction is certain to be a lively event too.
For now, we’ll have to call it a night, excitingly waiting for what lies ahead… that’s all for now!
I’ll be back with Day two recap shortly. 😉