Looking back at 2015 and NamesCon2016

I have produced dozens of popular and well attended domain name conferences over the past 11 years, but most noteworthy to me is that within the past year, I have had the privilege to assemble content and produce the largest Domain Name industry conference, NamesCon – where we broke records with 1200+ attendees for a Domain Name industry conference.  I also had the chance to bring DOMAINfest out to Eastern Europe and Asia with conferences in Sofia, Bulgaria and Macau.

Another big and important accomplishment was producing a day of DOMAINfest content in Fort Lauderdale at the beginning of THEDomainConference’s inaugural show in September.

Getting the attendance requires a compelling and attractive proposition.  Good content, good networking, and clear value and opportunity.

NamesCon and DomainFest are the most recent domain name conferences that I have co-founded or produced, and it was an exceptional year.

Check out the infographic on the 2016 NamesCon.

For 2016, we changed and had a new, energetic, and different team producing the event while I managed content.

As co-founder I can say that the DOMAINfest Asia conference in Hong Kong will be fantastic (September 19-22, Hong Kong http://domainfest.asia) and if I manage the content for the (January 22-25, 2017, Las Vegas http://NamesCon.vegas) “NC17” show we will create something even better, now that the production team has put on their first conference and has a little more experience with it.

I hope you will join us and look forward to seeing you there!

NamesCon 2016 – Already past 350 attendees and climbing!

NamesCon 2016 is already at 350+ attendees, and Jodi Chamberlain, Richard Lau and I are already working on NamesCon’s third year schedule and events.

The agenda is filling up, and we’re accepting speaker and session submissions at speakers2016 _at_ namescon.vegas – so submit your ideas, pitches, and session concepts.

Register today for NamesCon 2016 to view the agenda as it fills up!

ICANN: Some New gTLD’s Will Be Approved Late This Year & Be Live In Early 2013

ICANN has just published an announcement that it expects that some new gTLD’s to be approved late this year and be live in early 2013.

In its new updated timeline ICANN under the date of  November 30, 2012 says:

“”In the ideal case, an application that has encountered no problems has passed evaluation by this date.

“The applied-for string can begin a transition that will result in being delegated into the root zone, and eventually the string will be live and reachable on the Internet as a TLD. ”

“However, some applications will be subject to special processes depending on the circumstances. For example, if more than one party has applied to operate the same TLD (a circumstance referred to as string contention), attempts to resolve the contention begin.”

“As you can see, the New gTLD Program forecasts a busy 2012.”

“Some new gTLDs will clear the process late in the year, and be ready for delegation in early 2013.”

“Other new gTLDs will have a longer path.”

You can read the ICANN announcement with the new gTLD time frame here


Despite $100M Dollar Budget, ICANN Calls For Volunteers

In an announcement just issued by ICANN (pdf) they are calling for volunteers to “assist in the evaluation of those organizations seeking financial support to apply for a new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD).”


ICANN has budgeted some $100 Million dollars from incoming application fees from the new gTLD program and they are asking people to volunteer their time to evaluate applicants seeking financial support.

Throughout the new gTLD process and various Guidebooks and meetings ICANN has stated that financial assistance would be made available to certain worthy  organization that didn’t have the $185K application fee.  This discounted rate if you will was part and parcel of the program.

To now ask people to determine which organization are entitled to financial assistance and a discounted application fee,  for free, well it doesn’t seem right to me.

Seems like its a job ICANN should be paying for,  not getting it for free.

Here is the announcement

“”The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is seeking volunteers who will assist in the evaluation of those organizations seeking financial support to apply for a new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD).

“These volunteers will be key to ICANN’s effort to assure that the less-developed parts of the world are able to participate in the new Domain name program,” said Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President. “The panel members will make a real impact in ensuring that the opportunities for innovation and economic development created by the Internet are open to everyone.”

The volunteers will be chosen for their background and experience in areas such as running a small business, operating in developing economies, analyzing business plans, serving in the public interest, managing a domain name registry service, or awarding grants.

The financial assistance component of the Applicant Support Program offers a limited number of qualifying applicants the opportunity to pay a reduced evaluation fee of $47,000 instead of the full evaluation fee of $185,000.

The selected volunteers will assist in the evaluation of financial support applicants in the context of established public interest, financial capabilities and financial need criteria as outlined in the “Financial Assistance Handbook.”

Those who are interested in applying can click here.

ICANN Opens Comment Period To Hear About Defensive New gTLD Extensions

ICANN has just opened a comment period to hear from people and companies concerned about defensive applications for new gTLD’s.

“”Public comment is requested as to why there may be a perceived need for defensive new gTLD applications and steps that could be considered to help alleviate this concern.””

The comment period closes  on February 27th.

In announcing the opening of the comment period ICANN said:

“”The New gTLD Program was designed to increase competition and choice by introducing new gTLDs into the Internet’s addressing system. The Application Submission period for gTLD applications opened on 12 January 2012 and will close on 12 April 2012.

“”During the development of the New gTLD Program, some trademark holders indicated that they were concerned about the perceived need for defensive applications for top-level names, i.e., names applied for as registries in the new gTLD program.””

“”This concern prompted discussion and consideration of several mechanisms during the development of the policy for the introduction of new gTLDs. Community discussions during the implementation of the program yielded a suite of additional trademark protections for new gTLDs. These are the rights protection mechanisms that were developed over a period of years by a set of intellectual property experts convened by ICANN and later enhanced by governments that participate through ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee.””

“””Despite the adoption of these enhanced protections, some stakeholders recently indicated that they are concerned about the perceived need for defensive applications at the top level and encouraged ICANN to ensure that the program was launched in a manner that protects intellectual property rights.””

“”This announcement briefly reviews the existing protections against infringement of rights at the top level.””

“”Public comment is requested as to why there may be a perceived need for defensive new gTLD applications and steps that could be considered to help alleviate this concern.””

Top-Level Protection: The Objection and Dispute Resolution Process

“”The New gTLD Program implements consensus policy advice that new gTLDs must not infringe the existing legal rights of others. Based on input received during public consultations and extensive research, a formal objection and dispute resolution process was developed for the protection of certain legal rights. This process allows a party to challenge a gTLD application on the grounds that it infringes on the party’s established legal rights (e.g., trademark rights). The program has established standing requirements and other criteria that must be met in order to prevail in a Legal Rights Objection and has designated the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as the dispute resolution service provider.””

“”In addition to the objection process, there is also a formal process for governments, through ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee, to provide advice to the ICANN Board in relation to the approval of an application.…

Beckstrom Tells USA TODAY On New gTLD’s: “We’re improving Internet Domain Space”

In an OpEd piece published by USA Today, the CEO of ICANN Rod Beckstrom says of the new gTLD program that “It will create space on the Internet that is more secure than what exists today.”

“Applicants will undergo criminal background checks, financial evaluations and challenging technical assessments. More than 300 pages of rules govern the application process.”

“Tough standards will be a major deterrent to cyber criminals looking to take advantage of consumers. Most of these schemers and scammers will not invest the money and time needed to clear the application hurdle, nor will the new domain names — with more protections — be attractive to them.”

“Once applicants meet these high standards, they’ll be required to adopt several new safeguards, among them a process to quickly take down domain names of those who engage in clearly malicious conduct, such as trademark infringement. There are new procedures to secure remedies against wrongdoers.”

“ICANN is not just expanding the domain space. We’re improving it. We’ve heard from hundreds of experts around the world — from law enforcement to leading global trademark authorities — and we’ve incorporated their recommendations.”

“The new registries will also make information about website owners more accessible in the “Whois” databases, and create a one-stop location where accredited parties, such as law enforcement investigators, can view registry data.”

“It is simplistic to argue that expanding the Internet domain space will expand the possibility of online malfeasance. That’s like arguing that building more homes increases the possibility of home burglaries. The argument ignores the fact that this new part of the Internet’s domain-name system will offer substantially improved security, strengthened enforcement and greater transparency.”…