Opening Day Photos & Highlights From the 2020 NamesCon Global
Conference in Austin, Texas

Opening Day Photos & Highlights From the 2020 NamesCon Global Conference in Austin, Texas

Attendees at the NamesCon Global
2020 entryway
, inside the
massive lobby of the Omni Hotel
in downtown Austin, Texas,
waiting for the big show to open
Wednesday morning (January 29).

A view of the crowd as the opening
welcoming attendees to
Austin gets underway.

The conference began with NamesCon
Global President and CEO Soeren von
(far right) introducing
the moderators who would
conduct the dozens of business
sessions held thoughout the week.
Starting at far left, they are Monte
(President of,
the company that will team with GoDaddy
to run the live domain auction
that closes the day Thursday
(January 30), Braden Pollock,
Christa Taylor and Bill

In the first business session of the
day, Founder
Michael Gilmour
delivered an
excellent keynote speech on Domain
Insights and Trends Reporting
This was the first of 16
business sessions spread across two
stages Wednesday (with both Pro and
Newcomer tracks) along with
additional special events held in
the Afilias Lounge. We will
have photos from all of them
in our complete conference review
that will be posted early next week.

After the business day closed at the
Omni, GoDaddy welcomed over a
hundred guests to a happy hour at
their 12th floor offices in a
building just a couple of blocks
from the show hotel. The special
was organized to
introduce attendees to GoDaddy’s
new CEO Aman Bhutani
who took
over the reins of the domain
industry powerhouse in September
after a very successful career
running travel giant Expedia.
I took a lot of photos at the event
but this one really encapsulated how
Aman struck me. He took time to
personally chat with everyone who
wanted to me him and listened
to everything they had
to say. He is a very friendly, well
grounded man who already loves
this industry
and is excited
about helping it, as well as GoDaddy,
soar to new heights. I was very

& below: A picture perfect first
day closed with the opening night
back at the Omni,
sponsored by .VIP and MMX.
The three-hour event ran from 5-8pm,
giving attendees what most say is
the main reason they go to
conferences – networking in a
casual environment where you can
make new friends and catch up with
old ones. Left to right above are
NamesCon’s Head of Operations
Helga Neumer
, attorney Karen
and Ilze
Below, holding down the fort at the
bar are (L to R) are Tobin
, Bradley Arthur, Gregg
and Kevin Kopas.

There is a story behind this photo,
that was taken shortly after a lot
of tears were flowing. Barbara
(right) lost her mother
Millie early
last year
. Over the
years Millie made friends with
hundreds of people in the domain
business, including Ilze
(at left) who
was an especially close one. At the
opening night reception, Barbara
brought Ilze a double strand of
Millie’s pearls (that immediately
went around Ilze’s neck) as a gift
to remember her mother and the bond
she and Ilze had. It was a very
emotional and heart warming scene to

In a grand finale to Wednesday
night, the Internet
Commerce Association
the non-profit organization that
works to protect domain registrant’s
rights, held their annual dinner
at Max’s Wine Dive with a
sell-out crowd on hand for the event
(another sign of the remarkable
strides the rapidly growing
organization has made over the past
couple of years). 

A highlight of the dinner was a
presentation of the ICA’s 4th
Annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award
made by (L to R): ICA General
Counsel Zak Muscovitch, Executive
Director Kamila Sekewicz and
Board Member Nat Cohen. The
award was created in honor the
widely known and universally loved
domain investor that we lost way too
soon in 2016.
In its first three years, the
accolade recognized outstanding work
in protecting the rights of domain
name registrants.  However,
this year, in keeping with
Lonnie’s generous spirit, The ICA
decided to broaden the scope of the
award to honor those whose
contributions have fostered a sense
of community within the
domain name industry and members
selected nine outstanding nominees.

I was was waiting to take photos of
the winner when I was shocked to
hear Nat Cohen call my name. I felt
there were several other nominees
more deserving of the award but was
deeply moved and appreciative to
receive it from the peers (ICA
members) that I respect so much. Nat
was so generous in his comments in
introducing me, I was pretty sure he
was talking about someone else! Most
of all, thank you to Lonnie,
one of he most caring and inspiring
individuals I’ve ever met, not just
in this industry, but in life.
Receiving an award with his name on
it and that of the ICA, means the
world to me.

Sekiewicz, Ron Jackson
( and Zak Musovitch.

it’s on to day two Thursday. I’ll
let you know how it went in my next
post Friday morning!

January 30, 2020)

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