NamesCon : An outsider’s view of the domain industry reports on her experience

Ingrid Burrington is a reporter for The Atlantic, who took a leap of faith and attended NamesCon 2017, in Las Vegas.

Writing about her personal experience, Ms. Burrington calls it “surreal” which, to be honest, is a non-discriminatory choice of a word, neither positive or negative.

After all, reporters seek to share an objective, unbiased view of events, and the choice of words matters.

We recall running into her during the buffet opening before the NamesCon domain auction, where she introduced herself as a reporter to a number of people.

The room’s bar was packed, as free beer flowed, with hardly any standing room allowing oneself to rotate 360 degrees, let alone maintain a conversation with the domain auction looming closer.

But we did overhear a lot of other people’s conversations, without trying too hard.

In the article, Ms. Burrington, herself a “domain enthusiast” with 30-odd domains, attempts to demystify the origins of the domain industry; in doing so, she seems to focus on the alternate-spelled domain “” that sold for $23,000 dollars – definitely a valid spelling of the righteous Queen’s English “archaeology.”

In the process, she did not mention less grammatically dubious domains that sold at the auction, for a total of more than $1.16 million dollars; domains such as ($6,000 dollars,) ($8,500 dollars,) ($10,000 dollars,) ($48,000 dollars,) or ($290,000 dollars).

It’s quite understandable for an outsider to the domain industry crowds to be selective in what they find exciting or even bizarre; Ms. Burrington’s focus on the dot .Horse gTLD depicts her genuine surprise about a single one of the more than 1,200 new strings currently available.

But where are the mentions of .Photography, .Technology, .Games, .Property, .Help, .Club, .Graphics, .Lawyer and hundreds of other meaningful new gTLDs that lack the comical response one might get from dot .Horse, yet provide their owners with a remarkable, functional alternative to .com?

There is no mention of the more than 27 million new gTLD registrations representing the total – as opposed to just 2,600 domains for .Horse.

But let’s be fair.

Ms. Burrington’s presentation article about the domain industry attempts to cover every base and keyword; from domains, TLDs, ASCII or IDN extensions, registrars, registries, drops and auctions, ccTLDs and brandables, to that dirty “C-word” – cybersquatter.

That’s a herculean attempt to compact more than 20 years of the domain industry into an one-pager.

In the end, however, it appears to us – the insiders of the domain industry – that the article’s anticlimactic ending, is more of a depiction of the domain industry as a “bizarre circus,” with its surprising ability to remain small and self-sustained, instead of a daily source of excitement to the “outsiders,” reporters or common folk.

Vegas, to a first time visitor, might not present itself as an affordable destination to conduct large scale conferences for thousands of attendees; while gambling is infused into the Sin City’s character, it makes no difference about how business is conducted among the domain industry professionals.

Still, as they used to say in old-school journalism classes, any publicity is good publicity.

Read the article: A Surreal Trip to a Domain-Names Conference.

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One Response to “NamesCon : An outsider’s view of the domain industry reports on her experience”
  1. No matter how many years I spend working in the domain industry, I still find it a bit surreal.

    Buying and selling scraps of language itself? Surely I dreamed that!

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