Domain Economic Forum: Initiatives to Develop and Quantify the Domain Industry

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”—Socrates

  • What can we do today to make our niche market bigger?
  • What are the real economics shaping the fortunes of domainers, registries, and registrars?
  • How do we make the secondary market look less like an MC Escher drawing to a potential buyer or investor?

These questions can—and will—be answered.

The future of the domain industry lies in mainstream adoption of domain names as marketable and resaleable assets whose value is easily understood. NamesCon is establishing the Domain Economic Forum not simply for the domaining world to market itself to the rest of the tech industry and investor community, but to finally treat itself as the economic powerhouse it can become.

To make this happen, we must explore how transparency and synergy, both within the domain industry and with external market elements, can evolve domain names into a more powerful and easily-understood asset class.

The Cat is Out of the Bag

The domain industry can be extremely secretive around numbers, particularly when that involves the secondary market. The swarms of NDAs and fuzzy public-facing numbers make it impossible to even know how big the after-market really is—which prevents it from gaining mainstream traction. Angel investors understand domaining, but they hesitate to team up with brokers on innovating new buying and business models—such as asset sharing or leasing—because of the secretive reputation of the domaining market. Would you ever buy a used car if you had no idea what similar models sold for?

In learning to trust one another, domain-industry players will be able to gain the trust of outside buyers, investors and entrepreneurs. By leveraging the power of the NamesCon Global community, we can start moving past the “used car” problem.

NamesCon Global remains domain-focused, highlighting the economy that is built around domain names, while serving as an invitation for the domain industry’s main players to re-establish themselves in the context of not only the larger tech sphere, but also as an asset class. This can only happen through greater transparency, goal-oriented partnerships, and year-round commitment to advancing the domain industry’s interests.


The Business of Trust is the Business of Growth

NamesCon Global will facilitate deeper-than-ever insights into today’s market, today’s secondary market, and tomorrow’s market. The goal of the conference is to provide a broad overview of the complex domain market and the opportunities therein—for the purpose of developing an actionable industry-wide initiative to grow the domain industry at a greater rate than ever before.

We want to step up for what we think is necessary to the industry, and we invite everybody to team up to start a transparent initiative to quantify the size and scope of the secondary market. Objective metrics that identify the intrinsic underlying value of a domain name, as well as a collaborative, anonymized dataset on domain sales, managed and analyzed by a non-commercial party, are first ideas we want to pursue.

The goal for the first Domain Economic Forum is a public statement from those committed to driving the industry forward. This will be followed up by year-round tracking of these initiatives through NamesCon, as well as additional smaller meetings throughout the year to follow up and to work on what we start in Austin. We invite every domain-world stakeholder to join in developing the industry with us.

 

Empowering Content for an Effective Domain Industry

NamesCon Global 2020 will introduce a suite of sessions, panels, and workshops that guide conversations and partnerships around this larger goal. For example, the Transparent Calculation Series will be a series of sessions that get you hands-on in understanding how to run a domain-industry business by the numbers, led by leading experts. Workshops will include Domains as a Mainstream Asset Class, exploring how a transparent marketplace—as we see with publicly-traded markets—can materially increase the market cap of the domain aftermarket. Collaborative sessions will include Transparency Evaluation of the Secondary Domain Market, to establish and pursue our transparency initiative.

We realize that this may seem a bit inside-baseball for domain-industry newcomers. In the spirit of fair play, we want to bring all attendees up to speed quickly. That’s why we’re hosting Pro and Newcomer tracks on the first day of the conference—the goal is for everyone to feel connected instead of lost.


A Good Beginning

According to the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief, the domain name market closed Q2 of 2019 with 354.7 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of 2.9 million domain name registrations, or 0.8%, compared to the first quarter of 2019. Domain name registrations have grown by 14.9 million, or 4.4%, year over year. We believe that this is only the beginning of what is possible.

Join your friends, peers, and future partners in Austin, Texas for NamesCon Global, January 29-February 1, 2020—and for the first time go 360 degrees around the dot.

 

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