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Interview: Kieren McCarthy on .Nxt conference

August 9, 2012.nxt, Domaining, Domainnamewire, kieren mccarthy, UncategorizedComments Off on Interview: Kieren McCarthy on .Nxt conference

Kieren McCarthy discusses the upcoming .Nxt conference.

The .Nxt conference on new top level domain names is August 29-31 in London. I reached out to show organizer Kieren McCarthy for details.

1. You postponed the London conference to August. Why?

Quite simply, the ICANN TAS software “glitch”. The conference was planned with a seven-week lead time between the applicant information being published and opening the doors. We figured that would give everyone enough time to analyze what was there and then come to the conference to talk about this new industry.

In the end it took ICANN six weeks to sort out the TAS problem, which would have left just one week to analyze it – impossible with nearly 2,000 applications. We took the decision to postpone the conference one month out when it became clear that no one knew when the information would finally be published.

2. Where most of the original attendees supportive of the change?

With the exception of one person who for some reason didn’t get an advance email warning of the postponement and so was understandably annoyed that he’d read about it elsewhere first, everyone was very supportive and understood why we were doing it.

We inconvenienced a few people who had already made plans to travel to London so I contacted them personally and apologized and they were very fair-minded about it. Everyone in this industry has had their plans disrupted at least once by ICANN delays so I think they got it and realized it wasn’t our fault.

3. You have several different tracts, including a policy tract. With the applicant guidebook mostly locked down, what sort of policy issues should applicants be concerned about?

So there are two types of policy going on. One is about the new gTLD process – and there still are quite a few things unfinished and open to influence: the URS, Trademark Clearinghouse, GAC Early Warning, auctions, and a few minor issues.

The second is the broader issue of Internet policy – the rules and regulations that will impact new registry owners. If it hasn’t dawned on new gTLD applicants yet that they will be running a piece of the DNS and they need to keep track of the bigger picture, it will soon. That means both within ICANN and in other bodies like the ITU, UN, OECD. Plus of course legislative efforts, particularly the US government and the EU.

So we have sessions introducing these issues to people as well as the lead industry figures and voices. In the bigger scheme of things, the Internet’s governance is still in flux and that has enormous implications for people that plan to be the owners of top-level domains.

4. For new TLD applicants, what’s the TOP reason they should attend?

To make their new registry a success. There is a lot uncertainty about what this new market and new industry is going to look like, as well as what will work, and not work.

We specifically set up the .Nxt conference to bring all the players in this new industry together to talk business and to figure out what people can work on collectively and where they can compete with one another. Plus of course to talk about the future and the extraordinary possibilities that new gTLDs open up.

If an organization is spending $250,000+ this year alone, I think they’d be crazy not to spend $1,000 more to protect that investment by learning from the best in the industry.


© DomainNameWire.com 2011.

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.nxt – Like an ICANN Meeting With a Pulse

February 14, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, juan diego calle, kieren mccarthy, kurt pritz, new tlds, UncategorizedComments Off on .nxt – Like an ICANN Meeting With a Pulse

by Kevin Murphy

The inaugural .nxt conference on new top-level domains wound up in San Francisco Thursday, with most participants seeming to agree that it was a success.

The two-day meeting attracted 196 sign-ups (about 20 of whom apparently paid but did not ultimately show up to collect their badges) and almost 20 sponsors, not a bad showing for a first-of-its-kind event.

The purpose of the conference was to provide a venue to discuss the business of new TLDs without getting mired in the endless, circular policy arguments that can plague ICANN’s meetings.

In that regard, it could be considered a success. Sessions on marketing, partnering, winning investment and creating new business models were lively and frequently entertaining.

My feeling following the first few sessions was that .nxt was like an ICANN meeting with a pulse. Panels were highly interactive, occasionally confrontational, and rarely dull.

Organizer Kieren McCarthy told me his intention was to create the kind of domain conference he’d want to attend, which may go some way to explain the generous coffee breaks and abundance of free candy.

But his goal to attract the wider business community rather than merely the usual “ICANN insiders”, did not appear entirely successful. Over the course of ten panels, most people I saw raise their hand to ask a question or make a comment were familiar faces to me.

But this may be due to the level of secrecy (and paranoia?) shrouding many TLD application strategies. Of the “outsiders” apparently at .nxt to to gather intelligence for TLD bids, some declined to identify their employer or even their industry.

The opening keynote speech was provided by Kurt Pritz, the ICANN senior vice president responsible for overseeing the creation of new TLDs policy.

Despite standing in for ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom, who inexplicably canceled at the last minute, Pritz’s speech was entertaining and contained just enough passion and information to provide attendees with encouragement that the launch of the new TLD program is on the not-too-distant horizon.

Many .nxt attendees now believe that ICANN will launch the program not too long after its meeting in March, which is also in San Francisco. That timetables would see ICANN start accepting applications probably no later than September.

Juan Diego Calle, CEO of .CO Internet, provided a bit more bang for the buck. His second-day keynote, which played to a packed room, was a surprisingly detailed and informative account of the launch of .co last year, widely regarded as the current gold standard for TLD launches.

Calle said he didn’t mind sharing .CO’s strategy with potential competitors because he believes that the introduction of new TLDs are crucial for the continued growth of the .co namespace.

He said: “Until ICANN creates a massive influx of new TLDs, disruptive TLDs… consumers in the grand scheme of things will never know that anything other than .com is possible. .CO cannot raise awareness alone.”


© DomainNameWire.com 2010.

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Domain Masters: I Interview Kieren McCarthy

December 8, 2010domain masters, Domaining, Domainnamewire, kieren mccarthy, UncategorizedComments Off on Domain Masters: I Interview Kieren McCarthy

Listen to the latest Domain Masters radio show, hosted by yours truly.

Chef Patrick took a week off from hosting Domain Masters on WebmasterRadio.fm and he gave me a chance to host a show.

The show, which aired tonight, features Kieren McCarthy. You can listen to a recording here.

McCarthy has a long and varied history in the domain name industry. With a background in journalism, McCarthy has written numerous stories on the workings of the domain name world. He’s the author of Sex.com: One Domain, Two Men, Twelve Years and the Brutal Battle for the Jewel in the Internet’s Crown, had a stint at ICANN, and is now promoting a conference about new top level domain names called .nxt.

Rather than recap the show here, I suggest you download the podcast or stream it now.


© DomainNameWire.com 2010.

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Kieren McCarthy Leaving ICANN

October 15, 2009Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, kieren mccarthy, sex.com, UncategorizedComments Off on Kieren McCarthy Leaving ICANN

ICANN public participation GM announces his resignation.

Kieren McCarthy, who officially is ICANN’s general manager of public participation, announced today that he is leaving the organization at the end of November.

If you think it’s hard to connect with ICANN now, you should have experienced it before Kieren came on board. He has made it much easier to interact with ICANN and access information from the organization. It was no easy task to get public participation to where it is today. ICANN is one big bureaucracy, and working within such an organization is extremely challenging.

His job is what you’d call a “thankless job”. He even ventured onto domain blogs, where a number of people didn’t listen to his arguments and instead chastised him for joining ICANN.

In explaining his departure, Kieren wrote:

I’ve learnt a hell of a lot over the past two-and-a-half years but with the ending of a big agreement between the organization and the US government (and they said it couldn’t be done), with my boss heading back to Australia, and with a feeling that my ability to effect changes has passed its peak, it is definitely time to move on.

There’s a bright side to Kieren’s departure. He might finally have time to do more with his outstanding Sex.com book. It reads like a thriller and has a wider audience than the domain industry. But it has only been officially released in the UK. It would be great to see it published in the U.S. and even turned into a movie.

I wish Kieren the best of luck. Keep us posted on what you’re doing.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

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