HEXONET attended the largest domain conference of the year, NamesCon, in Las Vegas this past January 11-14. Over 900 representatives from across the domain name industry were there, including registries, registrars, aftermarket professionals, intellectual property lawyers, web site developers, and more. HEXONET would like to congratulate Richard Lau, Jothan Frakes, Jodi Chamberlain and their entire team for operating a fantastic show and for making NamesCon a huge success!
At NamesCon, the HEXONET team attended several keynote presentations and educational sessions. However and most importantly, the team met up with many of our existing clients as well as numerous potential new ones. Some of the key highlights and take aways from NamesCon:
- Last year, 2014, marked the launch of hundreds of new TLDs. Though several registries had great success and others did not, a recent study conducted by the DNA (Domain Name Association) showed that overall consumer awareness of the new TLDs was still quite low. This year, 2015, will be a critical year for market awareness and acceptance as many leading registries will be investing heavily into educational and awareness programs.
- "A rising tide lifts all boats" was a common theme throughout the keynote sessions. Marketing collaboration for new TLDs among the registries that started last year will continue in 2015 in greater force.
- Activation and usage of new TLDs was somewhat nascent in 2014. For the coming year, it is expected that more new TLD sites with actual and meaningful content will be developed. This growth in active websites on new TLDs will be critical, as it will have a positive impact on SEO in the long term (since search requires relevant content) and it will help in 'social proofing' and adoption among consumers.
- Last year, no "brand" new TLDs were launched. However, brand based new TLDs are expected to roll out in 2015 and throughout 2016. In fact, at the time of this newsletter, a press release about Quiksilver, the world's largest manufacturer of surf wear, stated that the company has joined the Minds + Machines' Pioneer program. A number of interesting .surf domain names, such as quiksilver.surf, camp.surf, wetsuits.surf and more will be used for unique marketing campaigns in 2015.
- More innovation is expected from the registries in 2015. It is anticipated that several registries will launch ancillary services/products that complement their main TLD offering, which will directly benefit the end customer (the registrant). For resellers, these additional products and services will be a great opportunity to up-sell to customers.
- A popular topic of conversation among our own clients and our strategic partners at NamescCon was about domain search functionality and innovation. The good news for our customers and resellers is that HEXONET is planning on a highly intuitive domain search tool that will display targeted and more relevant search results. Stay tuned for further details!
- TLD Registry Ltd., operator of the popular Chinese TLDs of Dot Chinese Online (.在线) and Dot Chinese Website (.中文网), hosted several very informative sessions about the Chinese domain name market. These sessions covered the topics of IDNs, the importance of Chinese numerics and useful Chinese domain online tools and services. For those of you interested in the Chinese market, we encourage you to follow TLD Registry Ltd. on Twitter and Facebook since they regularly post valuable market insights - https://internetregistry.info
- The new TLD aftermarket is expected to be on the rise in 2015. To kick start this market, Right of the Dot held an auction for several high value new TLD domain names. The highest sale going for wine.club at $140,000 USD.