Domainer interview: Richard Lau on NamesCon 2015 and the future of domain conferences

In four months, NamesCon 2015 will be opening its welcoming gates to domain investors, registrars, registries and other professionals of the domain industry.

As with NamesCon 2014, we reached out to Richard Lau, founder of NamesCon and board member of the Water School project – a non-profit organization that brings clean water to underprivileged areas of the world.

Richard Lau, founder of NamesCon.

Richard Lau, founder of NamesCon.

DomainGang: Richard, it’s almost October already. How was your summer?

Richard Lau / NamesCon: Fantastic! I took my family through London, Italy, Greece and France for 73 nights – all of us did carry-on only. I think we took over 3,000 photos and walked an average of 8 miles per day.  September is the “back-to-work-now-that-summer-is-over-and-the-kids-aren’t-asking-to-go-to-the-beach-everyday” month so it’s exciting to live and breathe NamesCon now.

DomainGang: We asked you the same question before, so here it is for emphasis; why did you start NamesCon in the first place?

Richard Lau / NamesCon: It started as a gathering that I would be able to hold a WaterNight event at. (WaterNight is a fundraising party for clean water projects).  Having been to dozens of conferences, I thought the formula of networking + low-cost + quality content would equal success. The idea very quickly gathered momentum and we went from planning a 100 person event to hosting over 550 attendees.

DomainGang: Do you believe that the domain conference space getting crowded?

Richard Lau / NamesCon: Attendees do have different conferences to choose from and with two new ones in India this past month it can seem crowded. I think the operative word here is “different”. While NamesCon targets similar attendees as ICANN across  the internet naming space, the differences are themes and goals.   ICANN has a very strict focus on policy and internet governance whereas NamesCon has a focus on networking and business. NamesCon is about expanding revenue opportunities in the naming space.   T.R.A.F.F.I.C. , the domain conference pioneer, is a highly valued domainer conference that is a must-attend for domain investors. Meanwhile, with the changes at Oversee, we aren’t sure if DomainFest aka WebFest is going to continue or simply have the domain/brand sold to a new owner.

DomainGang: Tell us a bit about the status of sponsorships for the NamesCon 2015 event.

Richard Lau / NamesCon: Fantastic! We have hit it off with large sponsorship support from Uniregistry.  We have many returning sponsors from last year and expect to sell out of all Exhibit Booths. The support from the sponsors and the early registrations from attendees points to an incredible NamesCon in January!

DomainGang: What made you choose January for the domain conference, isn’t it too early in the year?

Richard Lau / NamesCon: We know a lot of people go to CES and we like the sandwich between the CES dates and the Affiliate Summit dates. Registries and Registrars were nearly entirely represented at the last NamesCon and now with tighter dates to CES and having branding-focused content, we hope to draw on the tech-savy branding audience. Many attendees will be able to hit two shows in one trip. CES+NamesCon or NamesCon+Affiliate Summit. I imagine only the truly hard-core will hit all three in one trip: CES > NamesCon > Affiliate Summit.

DomainGang: Any details about the event that you’d like to share?

Richard Lau / NamesCon: Registration is open now ($399 until Nov 15th), as is the Hotel Reservation. NamesCon will run from Sunday Jan 11th through Wednesday Jan 14th, 2014 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. We recommend that everyone arrive Sat night or Sunday morning so as not to miss the important networking events on Sunday. The conference agenda will fill the days of Monday through Wednesday, with the WaterNight event being held Monday night.  The price at the door goes up to $849, so the $399 price is quite a discount.

DomainGang: Sounds like a great plan for yet another splendid domain conference! Anything else to add?

Richard Lau / NamesCon: NamesCon is a work of passion and the result of a groundswell of support. We are expecting over 800 attendees and are looking forward to seeing everyone in the internet naming space in Las Vegas in January!

Looking forward to seeing Richard and other domain industry professionals in January, during NamesCon 2015 – an event you cannot afford to miss!


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