What happened at Namescon Global 2019

15th February 2019

Oli Hope

Oli Hope
Director of Registry Services

I’m now recovered from a week in Las Vegas, where myself and some of the Nominet team attended Namescon Global, the largest domain-industry conference in the world. As a registry for a country code top level domain (TLD) and purveyor of back-end services for various generic TLDs on behalf of clients, we have always seen Namescon as an important milestone on an annual calendar, not least because it gives us a sense for what the industry is thinking and talking about as we speed into another year.

Here are my takeaways from this most recent event:

  • You may have heard of something called Brexit. Or perhaps you are tired of hearing about it and have relocated to a remote island. Either way, the UK’s departure from the EU bloc is looming and many of those in the domain name industry are concerned about how Brexit will impact ccTLDs and Europe in general. Of course, the outcome is largely unknown as the withdrawal process remains so unsettled, but nothing will change unless a registry decides to make a change. For example, Nominet’s .UK Domain is available to all, regardless of their location, while some ccTLD registries already restrict registrations to business based in their countries or citizens. It has already been publicised that the European Commission won’t renew .eu domains that are registered to UK citizens after Brexit, but there are plenty of alternative domain names that a registrant can seek as and when required.
  • The Right of Registration period for .uk domain names is almost up. This is the five years during which existing registrants of co.uk domains had the right to register the equivalent .uk reserved for them. When that period ends in June this year, all unregistered .uk domain names will be released onto the market, providing some commercial opportunities for those with an eye on specific domain names. There was noticeable intrigue about this swirling at Namescon. (More information on RoR is available on our website.)
  • GDPR is old news. It seems that fears and flutters relating to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are finally beginning to calm, at least in the minds of the domain name industry folk. We noticed at Namescon that there was a general air of relief around the fact that GDPR is no longer driving conversations and development roadmaps, freeing up resources and headspace as we approach a new financial year.
  • Companies are thinking small when it comes to acquisitions. We noticed organisations showing a continued interest in small business and start-ups for potential acquisitions, directed potentially by the awareness that the agility and innovation sought can often be found in the vast ranks of smaller business popping up worldwide.
  • Leveraging data, as both a registry and registrar, is a topic of interest. Of the various presentations during the event, one that generated the most discussion was the panel discussion on the power of data to both protect systems and support proposals internally, as well as helping businesses better understand their customers.
  • Spoiler alert – no Vegas in 2020. There was some disappointment over the news that Namescon Global would shift from Las Vegas – where it has been hosted since 2014 – to Austin, Texas for next year. The move was prompted by feedback following the 2018 conference that attendees were ready for a new location, but there remain some who felt the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ was part of the attraction of Namescon. Fear not, Nominet will still attend next year.

Find out more about Nominet’s Registry Services on the website