Posted April 14th, 2009
It’s been a heck of a year for domains given the ups and downs we’ve been seeing since the start of 2009. We sat down with Mason Cole, a nine year veteran of the domain business and Vice President of Communications and Industry Relations for Oversee.net, to get the registrar perspective on the place of domain names in Internet commerce, the value of .com names and registrar concerns about the new gTLD initiative.
NameSmash: Can you give us a little background on Oversee.net?
Mason Cole: Oversee was started in 2000 by Lawrence Ng and Fred Hsu. The company’s first product was Domain Sponsor, which grew into the industry’s best-known monetization service and now is known for its optimization technology and superior payouts. Oversee acquired SnapNames, the world’s most active domain name aftermarket platform, in June 2007, and Moniker, a top-ten registrar, in December, 2007. The company also maintains operations in selected vertical lead-generation markets – the best known is travel, with its LowFares.com platform.
NameSmash: How did DOMAINfest get started?
Mason Cole: Oversee saw a need to bridge the gap between the heavy policy focus of ICANN meetings and the full focus on domaining at other shows. It’s important to show the rest of the business world that our industry plays a very important role in Internet commerce, and we started DOMAINfest to bring everyone with a stake in the industry together to talk about all the issues important to us, not just a select few. We want to make this a sustainable, reputable industry where people continue to invest and deliver consistent profitability. We just produced our third US-based show in late January and the feedback has been very gratifying.
NameSmash: We loved the conference this year. Unlimited churros are the way to our hearts (Oversee hosted a party at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park). How did you find the mood of the conference this year in comparison to years past?
Mason Cole: A little more subdued thanks to the broader economy, but overall very good. And our attendance – more than 600 – says there’s plenty to be optimistic about in the industry. We tackled some of the more difficult economic issues head on and demonstrated the potential of our industry. So people feeling pretty bullish about opportunities.