Day 2 Photos & Highlights From the 2020 NamesCon Global Conference
Thursday in Austin Including New GoDaddy CEO’s Embrace of Domain Investors

Day 2 Photos & Highlights From the 2020 NamesCon Global Conference Thursday in Austin Including New GoDaddy CEO’s Embrace of Domain Investors


Above
& below: The highlight of the
business day Thursday (January 30)
was a 1pm Keynote Address
that new GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani
delivered in front of a standing
room only audience. Yesterday
I noted how impressed I was by Mr.
Bhutani when I met him for the first
time at a GoDaddy reception
Wednesday afternoon. After seeing
his talk Thursday I am beyond
impressed
and am convinced
Aman’s arrival is going to have an enormous
positive effect
on the domain
investment and website development
community. The first thing you saw
on the side screens were photos of
domain investors who were at the
conference
. Mr Bhutani told
their individual entrepreneurial
stories and even ran a film produced
at Peter Askew’s onion farm
in Georgia (buying the VidaliaOnions.com
domain put Peter in the onion
business where he has
thrived). 

Bhutani
has committed to putting domain
investor/developers front and
center
as part of his makeover
of the industry giant (even labeling
one of the newly defined pillars of
the business “Domain
Investors
“) and that is
going to do wonders for
positive recognition of an
entrepreneurial category has been
mis-understood and unfairly characterized
since it began. Aman recognized and
understood the many incredible
entrepreneurial success stories that
sprung from buying one or more
domain names. Those are the kind of
stories that inspired me to start DN
Journal back in 2003. Bhutani is a
master story teller and I couldn’t
be more excited to see what his
advocacy for domain investors and
developers will do to help our
industry fulfill the extraordinary
potential it has always had.

Above
and below: In addition to catching
at least part of every business
session Thursday, I took a walk
through the NamesCon Global Exhibit
Hall
to catch up with what some
of the many innovative companies in
our space are doing. Exhibitors have
long used a variety of cool swag to
attract visitors to their booth but
dog lover Kevin Kopas from Short
Dot SA
knew nothing attracts a
crowd like a friendly dog! So Kevin
put his best buddy, Winston,
to work at the new gTLD registry
operator’s booth.

Above:
At 4pm Thursday NamesCon devoted the
Keynote Hall stage to a special
memorial
and awards
presentations
. It began with the
memorial to Charlotte Gilbert,
the universally loved domain
investor/developer who passed away
exactly one
year ago
, shortly after
undergoing unsuccessful heart and
lung transplant surgery. 
Charlotte’s husband Brian Gilbert
(above) was by her side throughout
the battle and recalled the bubby
personality and ever present sense
of humor that drew so many people to
Charlotte, an amazing, courageous
woman none of us will ever forget.

Below:
Next the Internet
Commerce Association
(ICA) 
presented their 4th annual Lonnie
Borck Memorial Award
, named for
another beloved domain investor that
we lost much
too soon
. I was honored
and humbled to receive the award
from ICA Executive Director
Kamila Sekiewicz
(and owe
moderator Bill Sweetman (at
right) a thank you for his very kind
introduction). If you read yesterday’s
photos and highlights post

from NamesCon you know the award
winner was first announced at the
annual ICA Dinner last night. Both
then and Thursday I tried to convey
why Lonnie was so widely loved and
respected, but words really can’t do
it. The closest I could come is to
say that Lonnie made every person
he met feel loved and respected
in a way that was so genuine and
heartfelt you couldn’t help being
deeply moved by it. For me,
receiving an award with Lonnie’s
name on it is the highest honor
the domain investment community
could bestow on anyone and I could
not be more appreciative to the ICA
and its members for giving the nine
of us nominated this year the honor
of being considered for it.

Above:
Next it was time for Escrow.com
General Manager Jackson Elsegood

to take the podium to oversee the
presentation of the highly anticipated
Escrow Awards that went to
the top ten domain sellers worldwide
on the Escrow.com platform for 2019.

Below:
This year’s the #1 seller was Andrew
Rosener
from MediaOptions.com.
Andrew had to cancel his trip to
NamesCon at the last minute but two
other members of the MediaOptions
team,  Tess Diaz and Chris
Zuiker
, were there to pick up
the award for Andrew.

Escrow.com
also presented awards to the rest of
their global top ten. Those were #2
James Booth
, #3 Brent Oxley,
#4 Andy Booth, #5 Todd
Reum
, #6 Ryan McKegney,
#7 Hobi Michalec, #8 Joe
Uddeme
, #9 Mark Thomas
and #10 Nat Cohen.

Above:
There is a reason that NamesCon
President & CEO Soeren von
Varchmin
is wearing an auto
racing suit. Prior to Thursday’s RightOfTheDot.com/GoDaddy
live domain auction
, NamesCon
held a charity auction to
raise funds for the NamesCon
School El Rosario
in Guatemala.
The racing suit was one of several
cool items auctioned off, along with
bottles of very high end wine and
champagne (a perfect way to toast a
new year and celebrate NamesCon’s
effort to break the cycle of poverty
by making educational opportunities
available in places where few if any
exist now).

Above
and below: A standing room only
crowd filled the Keynote Hall for
the Live Domain Auction that
closed the day Thursday (January
30). After bidders carefully studied
the catalog it was time for the
battles to begin.

Above:
With world class auctioneer Wayne
Wheat
once again calling the
action, 74 premium domains
were sold totaling more than $1.8
million
. The top sales were Add.com
at $800,000, Offices.com
at $260,000 and Please.com
at $141,000. OnlineDomain.com
has a full recap of auction results
you will want to check out. 

Above:
With the business day done, many
attendees headed across the street
from the Omni to the CU29 Lounge
that CentralNic
booked for a wonderful Thursday
evening party hosted by COO Alexander
Siffrin
(3rd from left) with Ron
& Diana Jackson

(DNJournal.com) and domain attorney Howard
Neu
. Over the past couple of
years I have been astounded by
CentralNic’s explosive growth as
they have acquired one top quality
asset after another. I think the
smartest thing they have done (in addition
to identifying the right companies
to go after) is keeping the
talent
that made the companies
they acquired great in the first
place.  Alexander, who founded Key-Systems
over 20 years ago (a company
acquired by CentralNic in 2018)
is a prime example of that. As COO
and a major CentralNic shareholder
Alexander will continue to help grow
what has become one of the most
important companies in the industry
to watch.

Above
(left to right): Danielle Romeo,
Bennett Collin, Bob
Mountain
and Leona Chen
Birkner
were among the guests at
the CentralNic Party Thursday
night.

Below:
Also enjoying the festivities were Ilze
Kaulins-Plackacz
and George
Verdugo
. We’re also pretty sure
we recognize the lady photo-bomber
but probably should withhold her
identity to protect the innocent! 🙂

Now
it’s on to the final day of
business
Friday (January 31),
plus the Fun Day Saturday.
See you back here, same time, same
station, tomorrow morning for the
Friday day and night highlights from
Austin.



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