The Evolution of Domaining: NamesCon 2017 Keynote with Frank Schilling

Uniregistry founder and CEO Frank Schilling

Uniregistry founder and CEO Frank Schilling

"We are all in what I would describe as the best business on Earth. We are very lucky people," said Frank Schilling, founder and CEO of Uniregistry. Schilling talked about the evolution of this crazy thing called domaining in the first keynote address of NamesCon 2017. Schilling also shared his vision of what’s coming next.

Schilling has been in the domain-name game since the Nineties. Prior to creating Uniregistry, he founded DomainNameSales and InternetTraffic—he's been hands-on in evolving this industry. As a registrar, he said, one gets insight into the overall industry that isn't publicly available.

New TLDs have supercharged the industry: Schilling described himself and his colleagues as "slack-jawed" at seeing how many applications there were for the new TLDs when they emerged. Now Uniregistry is about to enter the top 10 registrars, supporting 415 extensions. The goal: supporting all major ccTLDs this year. "The name 'Uni' isn't an accident," said Schilling: he envisions Uniregistry supporting pretty much everything.

Making It Too Easy

"We're creating the future," said Schilling. The Uniregistry iOS app is a five-star tool, and they have an Android app now as well. This is particularly useful in China and India, where Android dominates those smartphone markets. Even more importantly, Uniregistry can be used in languages from Portuguese to Mandarin, and customers love it—to the tune of a 300% increase in foreign-language transactions. (The language-translation tool they built deserves its own keynote, Schilling noted.)

Hosting and data-center services are considered where much of the domaining money is, but Uniregistry is a market and sales platform. "That's how I put gas in the jet!" said Schilling with a laugh. That platform is very complex, though: "It's incredibly hard to build—you gotta want to do this."

SSE, which Schilling described as "an un-escrow escrow", is a key piece of the Uniregistry Market, which allows for self-settlement of transactions. The checkout system took several working-years to complete, but the effect is a simple and elegant experience for the buyer and seller.

Uniregistry Product Director Darren Cornwell hopped onstage to join Schilling for a live demo of a Uniregistry transaction. Darren filled out the quote request and sent it instantly. It opened a Skype-like interface through which they could chat out a deal. The whole transaction took a few moments; checkout took three taps.

"This has taken us all of three minutes," said Cornwell. None of us are attached to our laptops anymore, he said, so a mobile-friendly interface is key to staying in touch with your buyers at all times.

Working in the Domain Mines

Schilling got his start as a "miner", grabbing available names back when nobody new exactly when the drop took place. Getting valuable names early, though, is how so many domainers have made so much money over time; even when conventional wisdom said that the real profits were in website development. Now there's even more information available, and deals are so much easier to seal.

Schilling closed the keynote by saying how wonderful it was to go from being a guy in the room looking for this kind of inftrastructure to being the guy in the room who helped build it.

Keep an eye out for Uniregistry's product demos as NamesCon 2017 continues.