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NamesCon: Domain names and Heavy Metal

Most people think about domain names only when they are creating a website. For other people, it’s their job.
Over 1,000 people who work professionally with domain names convened in Las Vegas last month for the annual NamesCon conference. They talked about a wide range of topic including the latest in domain names, new technology such as blockchain, and online marketing.

Who Attends NameCon?

The domain name business is largely made up of three groups: registrars, registries, and domain investors.
Registrars are companies like Namecheap that make it easy for consumers to register domain names.
Registries are wholesalers. They are the ones that make sure domain names like .com, .org and .co work correctly. These companies work with registrars like Namecheap to make domain names available to people who want to use them for websites.
Domain investors, also called domainers, are people that buy and sell domain names. They think of domain names as online real estate.

What’s New in Domains

It’s easy to register a domain name and put it to work. But a lot is going on behind the scenes, and NamesCon attendees talked about how to make the domain name system continue to work well.
For example, there were discussions on the changing Internet and how technologies like blockchain might affect it.
Many people think that blockchain could take the power away from big companies like Facebook and Google, and allow for decentralized web services. For example, Haseeb Rabbani from Blockgeeks asked if there really needs to be a company like Uber at the center of a transportation network—or could blockchain cut out this middleman?
Some people look at domain names as a decentralized system, much like blockchain. The similarities only run so far, but people are exploring how the domain name system parallels a technology like blockchain. One example at the show was Netki, which uses “secure DNS” (known as domain name system security extensions, or DNSSEC) to map wallet names to blockchain-based public addresses.

Domains and Rock & Roll

NamesCon also featured a surprise speaker: Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum thrash metal star David Ellefson of Megadeth.

Megadeth bassist David Ellefson (right) talks about websites and social media with author Andrew Allemann (left). Photo courtesy of NamesCon.

What does thrash metal have to do with domain names? As it turns out, Megadeth was the first band to create a website.
When Megadeth was getting ready to launch the Youthanasia album in 1994, Capitol Records approached the band and said they wanted to create a website on the World Wide Web. Nobody in the band knew what this meant, but Capitol Records assured them that the WWW was going to be big.
They created a website called Megadeth Arizona since the band was from Arizona. It was designed solely to promote the album release.
Early on, Megadeth used online bulletin boards to communicate with fans as they traveled the globe. They connected to the Internet with a dial-up connection as they toured, so they could check in and respond to messages. They even held an online auction to sell some of the band’s gear.
Social media services have changed how the group interacts with their fans. The group uses many channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter to stay connected with different segments of the band’s fanbase, which now spans several generations.

Domain Name Auction

NamesCon held a live domain name auction in which people bid on domain names. An auctioneer led bidding at the conference and people from all over the world were able to participate via the Internet.
The auction had many types of names, from .com and .net to new extensions like .club. They also spanned price ranges with many being offered with no reserve price.
Just like any other auction, people in the room bid on domains by raising a bidder paddle with their bidder number on them. At the same time, big screens at the front of the room displayed the bids and flashed if any Internet bids were received.
It usually takes only one or two big sales to make a domain auction successful, and this auction was no exception. Great.com accounted for more than half of the sales as it sold for $900,000. The total sales from the live auction were $1.5 million.
Another extended domain name auction online raked in more bids, including the sale of Super for $1.2 million!
And if you want to learn more about domain auctions, check out our recent article on auctions and selling your domains!

The Future of Domains

Are domain names a big part of your life? Consider going to next year’s NamesCon, which will take place in Las Vegas January 27-30, 2019.

And in the meantime, register your next domain with Namecheap! We now have .AI domains at the lowest price on the market.

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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