The Most Awkward Moment At NamesCon

NamesConI have been holding this story for a while but I guess it is time to post it now.

On Wednesday, January 14, 2015 I was attending what was probably the last session at NamesCon 2015 called “The Executive Roundtable: Outlook for 2015”.

It was a panel of “senior level executives from Registrars and Hosting Companies to talk about their takeaways from the 2015 NamesCon and the outlook for 2015 and beyond.”.

Moderator Christian Dawson was talking with Antony Van Couvering, CEO / Founder of Minds + Machines, Cybele Negris, CEO of, Jeff Neuman, Vice President Registry Services Neustar, Inc., Michele Neylon CEO Blacknight, and Elliot Noss, President and CEO Tucows Inc.

As you can see the panel involved representatives from a couple of registrars, a registry and a couple of registry/registrar combos.

The conversation got to a point where the panel was talking about New gTLDs and their outlook for 2015. At that point someone complained that New gTLD registries are making it too difficult for registrars to incorporate new domains into their systems. A couple of people agreed with that.

Then Antony Van Couvering from Minds + Machines said that he didn’t care if a few registrars didn’t carry its companies New gTLD strings. All he cared was that his domain names were getting registered.

Well, in the past you couldn’t have the one without the other. You couldn’t have your domains registered if the registrars were not selling them.

But now that Minds + Machines owns its own registrar it seems that it doesn’t mind having less competition for its own extensions.

The rest of the panel and the audience kinda of froze when Antony Van Couvering said that. It was very awkward to be on a panel with 3 registrars and say that you don’t care what they do. Registries are supposed to work with registrars as this is their only sales channel. But as it seems this has changed a bit lately.

I asked a couple of people from the audience if that was really awkward or it was just me. They agreed it was and also said some other stuff I will not repeat.

I don’t think that this attitude that Minds + Machines has to everyone has changed since. After messing up the .London launch, they have lately selectively increasing the renewal prices on several registered domain names of their New gTLDs. I have received several complaints about this issue.


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the blog in 2012.


  1. Minds + Machines is the worst registry. They simply increase domain prices dramatically. It is a really ruthless company. Knowing how the company operates, I am not surprised at all to know that they are having such a founder/ceo running the company. I will not buy any of their tlds. Bunch of swindlers!!

  2. On the flip side of this, for years, registrars have been happy to be catered to by registries and in the early days of the GTLD program even tried to dictate terms as to “how it was going to be” to new upstart registries if they wanted to retail through those registrars. Registrars tried to negotiate petty things on boiler-plate agreements and balked or dragged their feet, being inflexible or difficult, purely because their size let them do so. A game of chicken of sorts ensued. Against that backdrop registries innovated and just told the registrars to screw themselves and went direct, creating better retail stores of their own. If the registrars had stepped-up and been even somewhat responsive to the innovations coming down, there would have been plenty of money to be made by all. The consumer is the short term casualty and the long term winner as these new registrars created or backed by the registries get bigger and better and begin to displace the inflexible incumbents who refused to initially work with them.

    • You are right on a couple of things but “better retail stores” is not what m+m created. During the .london launch some domains could be bought at godaddy yet at the m+m you couldn’t order them. Plus they had credit card issues, whois contact details etc.

  3. Phew. I though this story was going to be on the encounter between Theo and I. Aaron and the group I was with slowly backed away when they saw us meet. 🙂

  4. My domain name A.VODKA that I registered at regular price has been increased to USD5000. On top of that, they have blocked me from changing nameservers nor transfer or sell. Basically I am having a useless domain name that I can’t utilise.

    I have emailed and phoned them many times but they ignore me. Until now, it has been more than 7 months the domain has a ‘pending registry update’ tag on it.

    They claim that it was a mistake that the price was cheap, and they will honour the registration but will increase the price on the next renewal (honour the registration by blocking it from being used???)

    If it was their ‘mistake’, it purely occured not on my side and I should NOT be made to suffer the consiquences!

  5. Just drop and buy or .net; it will be definitively chraper on the long run and with better traffic possibilities. All these non-sense longer gtlds are doomed from day one. Basically created by overnight rich younsters that wanted to change or though they could change the domain industry. But the solid former domains are not going anywhere, not after 20 years or experience and ethica strenghten on its way.

    A side note: Some times I complain about GoDaddy service, ie when I was hit by URDP, they usually give the side to the complainant until you prove you are the legal owner of your domain. But that is far nothing compared to losing your “pseudo-premium” domain. Stop following this foolish gtlds, eventually everyone will and at least half of them will disappear and regrey now buying .com before

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