Your Local Guide to NamesCon & Austin, Texas

It’s been 2 years since I last attended NamesCon out in Las Vegas at the Tropicana.

Fast forward two years, and tick tock goes the clock as we count the weeks, days, and hours until NamesCon 2020 arrives here in my backyard, the growing metropolis of Austin, Texas.

There is a bit of everything under the sun here in Austin — the college boomtown known for TRAFFIC, LONGHORNS, tech, music, festivals, food, and sprawling fun for days that covers every square inch of Downtown Austin, from one block to the next.

NamesCon in Downtown Austin, Texas

Nevertheless, 1,000+ persons, not including locals, will descend upon Austin to connect and re-connect at the world’s biggest domain economic forum: NamesCon Global.

While there is much to anticipate and look forward to during this jam-packed 4 days of everything domains and more, below are a few sessions I’m keen to attend and learn from:



Wednesday, January 29, 2020

If you’re new to NamesCon, attending for your first time, DO NOT MISS Mike Cyger’s — Founder & Lead Instructor at DNAcademy — session on
Domain Investing 101: First Principles for Buying Domains Properly.

Next on my list of MUST-ATTEND sessions is Bill Harzter’s — Technical SEO Consultant, Domain Name Consultant at Hartzer Consulting — session on SEO and Domains: New gTLD Testing and Research, and Ryan McKegney’s — CEO at DomainAgents — session on What is My Domain Worth?

And as timing would have it, Bill published Top Level Domain Bias in Search Engine Indexing and Rankings (with full PDF of results) just moments ago! 👏🏾

As another side note, stay tuned for my podcast interview with Bill (airing Monday). Bill and I discuss the ins and outs of gTLD investing, development, and the future of domains names in general, and how social networks are attempting to dethrone the importance of domains.

But I digress. Back to Wednesday’s agenda.

NameCon’s Founder, Richard Lau, will present Design, Develop, and Exit! at 3pm, as will yours truly will be presenting Domain Investing and Guarding Against Economic Downturn during the same time slot.

No pressure, but AHEM… which one will you attend? 😉

To round out the first day, buckle up as Braden Pollock — Owner at Legal Brand Marketing, and Morgan Linton — Co-Founder at Bold Metrics, discuss Transparent Calculation Series: A Year in the Life of a Domainer.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Picking up from where Wednesday leaves off, Bill Sweetman — President at Name Ninja, will moderate a panel of 5 industry professionals honing in on How to Get the Full Value from Your Domain.

GoDaddy’s CEO, Aman Bhutani.Of course, one of the most anticipated keynotes to be delivered during NamesCon will be from GoDaddy’s CEO, Aman Bhutani. All eyes and ears are certainly to be perked and interest piqued as he likely discusses various aspects and segments of the domain industry.

Closing out the day is a DomainSherpa discussion panel, a moment of silence for Charlotte (Charlie) Gilbert Memorial, annual industry awards, and the main event all eyes from around the world will be glued too: NamesCon/RightOfTheDot Live Domain Auction.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Getting back into the flow of things, James Booth — Principal CEO at, will kick things off Friday morning with a fireside chat.

Former Austinite now based in Seattle, Andrew Allemann of will moderate a much anticipated panel discussion about Threats and Opportunities: New TLDs 5 Years In.

There will not only be discussions about the selling of domains from the seller’s perspective, but Bill Sweetman will once more engage a panel of industry professionals to discuss On the Other Hand: Sales from the Buyer’s Perspective.

Another session I believe to be critically important for ALL domain investors and developers is the session Derek A. Newman — Partner at Newman Du Wors LLP, will moderate with 2 other industry professionals about digital estate planning: Your Portfolio Never Dies: Estate Planning for Domain Investors.

Prior to closing remarks and likely to be well attended, the last session — Transparency of the Secondary Domain Market — to close out NamesCon 2020 will be moderated Braden Pollock.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Wrapping up, many attendees will likely have dinner plans and outings this last night of NamesCon and the finale Saturday with a Fun Day at Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden.  So, get in where you fit, and try to get invited or do the inviting.

NamesCon Fun Day at Banger's Austin, Texas




What to do Pre, During, and Post NamesCon

As with most things in life, you’ll get out what you’re willing to put in. The same goes for NamesCon, so be sure to do the following:

  • Get to Austin a day early, stay a day late (if you can)
  • Download the NamesCon 2020 App
  • Create an agenda BEFORE arriving
  • Get plenty of sleep, rest, and water
  • Schedule to connect with people early (like NOW!)
  • Schedule nap times and breaks (if you need them)
  • Tour the exhibit hall
  • Attend social events and receptions
  • Go all out to authentically connect and network
  • Follow up with a nice email or phone call to everyone you met within 14 days of NamesCon

If you see me in the vicinity, I welcome you to strike up a conversation with me. NamesCon 2020 is going to go FAST, so make the best of connecting and reconnecting everyone.

In closing, DO NOT ALLOW the opportunity to pass you by that you forgo taking in the weird sights and sounds of Austin during NamesCon.

For now, I’ll await your arrival, “Keeping Austin Weird” til’ ya get here!

Austin’s Weather Forecast, and Lodging and Getting Around Austin

If you’ve never traveled to or visited Austin, then do yourself a favor by using rideshare services (e.g., Uber, Lyft, etc.) to and from airport and far distant places across Austin metro.

In addition to rideshare services, the following options are available at your discretion and should weather permit:

  • Pedicabs
  • Scooters
  • Bikes
  • Segways
  • or good ol’ pit and pat (walking)

Speaking of weather permitting, the current forecast for Austin is 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, low to mid 40’s at night, and partly cloudy the week of conference.

Last but not least, stay at the hotel if you can. If budget is a concern, then you may want to review and opt for 9 alternative hotel options in the Downtown Austin area near NamesCon venue.

The Scenic Views and Attractions of Austin

There have been quite a few folks — Andrew Allemann, Pinky Brand (GREAT VIDEO TOUR), Morgan Linton, and Elliot Silver, to name a few — that have shared travel, lodging, and attractions for NamesCon attendees to visit while in Austin.

In addition to their selections, listed below are a few personal favorites as well as attractions likely not listed by aforementioned individuals.

Enjoy These “Keep Austin Weird” Venues During NamesCon

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-And-Bike Trail and Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake – Great for walking and working out, taking in the scenic views of downtown Austin

Austin Pedicab Company – Get around Austin in ease, or try their Texas Taco Tour (too many tours to list) – Austin Tours on Land and Lake (RECOMMENDED, see below) – Likely not going to see these guys, but you just might get lucky if weather is right – Venture out South of Austin to visit the premier destination for world-class motorsports and entertainment in the United States – If weather permits, kayak and paddle board as you take in the scenic views of Downtown Austin from Lady Bird Lake – Hop On Hop Off a double-decker bus, and self-explore Austin’s downtown district (RECOMMENDED, see below) – Scenic and relaxing cruise on Lady Bird Lake

Texas State Capitol Tours – Nothing quite like the mystique of the Texas State Capitol – Bullock Texas State History Museum is dedicated to interpreting the continually unfolding “Story of Texas” using a wide rang of meaningful educational experiences – Offers a Mural Tour, River Tubing, Wine Tasting tours and more…

How About Austin’s Food Scene

Now, when it’s time to grub or possibly have a little fun, here’s a few places I frequent:

Cooper’s BBQ (and of course, Stiles Switch and the legendary Franklin’sif you get in line early enough)

Hoover’s Cooking, Mr. Catfish, and Country Boyz Fixins — down home, good ol’ Southern comfort food

Granny’s Tacos, Veracruz All Natural, and Las Trancas — few of my local small-biz taco favorites in addition to Taco Deli, Taco Shack, and Torchy’s

In addition, there are a number of award-winning food trucks to try, if you care to venture south of the river to South Congress Food Truck Park, or over to The Picnic off Barton Springs, or Mueller Trailer Eats located in central Austin.

There are a few more places my wife and I venture, like Magnolia Cafe for brunch, the Vegan nom for all around vegan (more our friends than us! Can’t let that beef alone😜), and Uchiko for sushi.

Austin’s Adventurous Nightlife and Entertainment

As for bars, outside of The Elephant that my wife and I may visit a few times a a year for nice evening of easy-listening jazz, Pinky gave a good review of bars, breweries, and dancehalls should be adventurous in exploring “Dirty Sixth”.


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.