HEXONET's Highlights From The GDD Summit
Last week, we were lucky enough for the 2018 ICANN GDD Summit to take place in our Canadian office city of Richmond, BC.
It was wonderful to see and host all of our industry friends and colleagues in our beautiful part of the world. Known for often being rainy at this time of year, I was happy to see our visitors get some of the sun we so appreciate on the West (aka Wet) Coast! To all our travelling friends, we hope your travels and flights went smoothly and that you returned home with great memories of BC. Make sure to check out our HEXONET and AWS Welcome to Canada Patio Party photos at hexonet.events (this site's also a great resource for what to do on your next visit to Vancouver!). We also have the photos on our Facebook page if you want to tag yourself in any pictures - and make sure you like us while you're there. ;)
During the busy week of GDD events, presentations, meetings, and parties, I had the pleasure of being invited to join the panel discussion on Building a gTLD's Brand Equity Lead: How to create demand inside and outside the registrar channel. The panel discussion focused on the importance of creating awareness and demand for a TLD as a brand. Jeff Saas, of dotCLUB, moderated the session and invited me to join the panel to provide a registrar perspective.
Considering it was on the last day of the conference at 9am (and knowing there were some fun activities the night before), I was pleased to see a solid turnout and engaged audience. Joining me on the panel was Sandeep Ramchandani of Radix, Juditch McGarry of Donuts, Jim Schrand of Dominion, and Jothan Frakes of Plisk.com (and the Executive Director of the DNA).
Conversations and questions covered topics such as "Is a TLD a brand or a commodity? Or both?" and "What's more important, creating awareness within the channel at the registrar level or creating external demand at the consumer level?"
I found the discussions around how the registries manage marketing for individual TLDs when they offer many TLDs quite fascinating. For instance, Radix has one account manager per TLD t omake sure each is receiving it's fair share of marketing love. Judith, of Donuts, also pointed out how they are making efforts to give each of their TLDs their own identity. From my registrar perspective, this was great to hear and helped me better understand the challenges registries fae with their TLDs - and how they are each tackling the challenge. For me, I think it's excellent for a TLD to tell a story and have a brand... as long as it actually connects with the end user. In marketing, I often refer to the tree in the woods falling scenario and whether it makes a noise if no one is there to hear it. You can have an incredible brand and logo, but if no one ever sees or connects with it, does it matter?
This thinking builds on another interesting portion of the panel when we discussed the question: "Does external branding matter to registrants when they search for a name at a registrar?" At HEXONET, we feel strongly about the power of search and providing those searching on our site with the best possible results to match their needs. For example, we have chosen not to participate in paid search result rankings and instead focus on giving our customers the most accurate results of their searches. Some visitors come for very specific TLDs (like the recent .APP launch) and it is in this space a registry can shine and perform their due diligence in connecting with the best audiences for their TLDs. In other cases, customers are looking for our help to connect and educate them on the options available. It is with this in mind we created our Help Me Find My Domain tool. If you haven't seen it yet, try it out and let us know what you think!
As I joined the domain industry just over a year ago, I hope to still provide that fresh perspective a new participan brings. I have always been passionate about communications, marketing, and sharing new ideas with the world so this panel discussion was inspiring and great to hear current thoughts from some of the registries we work with.
Thanks again to Jeff and the GDD for including me on the panel. I'm already looking forward to the next event and opportunity!
Marie Lanyon, VP Marketing HEXONET