NamesCon: Spotlight on Donuts
In advance of NamesCon, I have been interviewing exhibitors and sponsors to share more information about their companies. NamesCon will be held January 11-14, 2015 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are over 600 registered conference attendees so far, and we are expecting over 800 people to attend this conference.
Today’s interview is with Mason Cole, Vice President of Communications and Industry Relations at Donuts, whose company is one of the largest new gTLD applicants.
If you have any questions or comments for Mason or for the team at Donuts, you are welcome to post them in the comment section below.
Can you tell us about your company and how long you have been there?
Donuts was founded in 2010 by four long-standing industry veterans and has since expanded to a team of more than 30 in the US and Europe. We were the largest applicant for new gTLDs and in turn will become the world’s largest registry operator. Our model is one of openness and inclusiveness, while still maintaining significant protections against abuse and infringement. Our varied roster of new gTLDs offers consumers, organizations and businesses the widest possible choice in new Internet identities.
This is your second time at NamesCon. Can you tell us about your first time and what you got out of it?
NamesCon is a pivotal event in our industry, nicely providing a forum for discussion of a broad number of topics, ranging from the technical to investment to policy and nearly everything in between. The first event was impressive in that it offered a cost-effective opportunity to network with industry colleagues, hear from thought leaders, provide new perspectives and exchange views on the changing nature of the domain name industry. We’re looking forward to a similar experience this year.
This will be your first time sponsoring at NamesCon. Can you tell us why you are sponsoring this year and what you hope to get out of NamesCon?
Donuts is sponsoring NamesCon because we believe in the position the event holds in the industry. NamesCon’s roster of attendees includes the people who are leading our industry, contributing new ideas and transforming the DNS, all while helping maintain the security and stability that end users count on. ICANN has its significant role, as do investment-focused events, but NamesCon is inclusive of all sectors of discussion. We didn’t want to miss an opportunity to keep Donuts front and center at such an event.
What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?
Obviously, as the largest provider of new gTLDs, our belief is that this is a significant inflection point in the life of the domain name industry. For far too long, the existing namespace has been constrained with little in the way of new choices for those looking for a semantically meaningful web presence. The current round of new gTLDs is a refreshing update to a marketplace that has been stagnated for many years now.
Can you tell us about how your new gTLDs and associated services help deliver value to your customers?
We decided to avoid a monolithic approach to the market that meant trying to compete directly with .COM — lacking meaning as it does, it’s still by far the largest TLD by volume. Instead, we decided to build the equivalent of a shopping mall, with a few anchor tenants and hundreds of boutiques that appeal to specific niches with demonstrated interest in strong online identities. The value comes in specific and meaningful choices for end-users and registrants — attributes not found in legacy TLDs.
Donuts also has a firm commitment to operating safe and secure namespaces. In addition to the protections mandated for all new registries, Donuts invested heavily in protections of its own, including our Domains Protected Marks List, an innovative service that allows intellectual property holders defend their marks at a fraction of the cost of across-the-board defensive registration.
What are your thoughts about where new gTLD growth is going in the next year?
We’re very bullish on the growth of new gTLDs. While there has been widespread publicity about new online identity options, we’re still very early in the life of these remarkable services, and early as well in the growth curve of consumer awareness. Over the course of the next year, you’ll see Donuts and others work significantly to make known the utility of new gTLDs. We believe that not only will new registrations in new gTLDs grow organically, you’ll see a very healthy trend of renewals for purchased registrations in the new namespace.