The Los Angeles Domain World, Day 1

A summary of my first day in L.A.

I arrived in Los Angeles yesterday morning around 9am. After getting my rental car and checking into the hotel, it was off to ICANN.

I didn’t know what to expect of ICANN. For some reason I had a vision of this grand building under maximum security. But when you consider much of ICANN’s role is to develop and manage policies that vision quickly fades. Indeed, ICANN’s offices are in a non-descript building overlooking the bay. ICANN isn’t the main tenant; they have offices on parts of two floors in the building.

My tour guide was Kieren McCarthy. I was excited to meet Kieren, who authored the thrilling book before going to ICANN. Apparently his editors got tired of him writing about problems with ICANN and told him to go do something about it instead.

Several ICANN employees graciously took time out of their day to discuss issues near and dear to domainers’ hearts: the introduction of new TLDs, registrar compliance, and IDNs. I didn’t know much about IDNs before my meeting. Suffice it to say there are many issues around their implementation, and current holders of IDNs (with traditional .com endings) may not end up winners.

Look for articles about each of these issues next week.

After ICANN I ventured a few miles up the highway to visit Thought Convergence (parent company of TrafficZ and Name Intelligence/DomainTools). As I approached the building, I saw the familiar Thought Convergence logo emblazoned to the outside of the building. You may chuckle, but as an entrepreneur I know how much work it takes to be the “named tenant” on a building. Thought Convergence shares the top floor of the building (and has another suite as well).

Thought Convergence’s Philip Reynolds organized my visit. About a half dozen of TC’s top managers (including Kevin Vo and Ammar Kubba) joined me for several hours as we talked through the current state of the domain name market and TC’s vision. It’s an exciting vision, and I’ll write more about what the company is up to next week.

For now, it’s off to meet with domain name attorney and Lextext author Bret Fausett. Then I’m meeting with a man who turned a .org domain name into a $10 million a year media company.


  1. says

    Hi and thanks for the summary.
    You wrote: “I didn’t know much about IDNs before my meeting. Suffice it to say there are many issues around their implementation, and current holders of IDNs (with traditional .com endings) may not end up winners.”

    Can you please elaborate on the subject?

  2. Johnny says

    Sweet…I know it is a lot of work to put all this together when you could be checking out the babes in Hollywood instead.

    Way to go.

  3. says

    Hi Michael,

    Hope you are well. As you know I have invested in IDNs. Very much looking forward to your article explaining this quote:

    “and current holders of IDNs (with traditional .com endings) may not end up winners.”

    What does that mean specifically? I have an IDN website with a .com ending already getting 300K monthly visitors and 3M monthly pageviews. I certainly don’t feel like a “non-winner” :)


  4. Old School Drop Catchers says

    maybe somebody needs to write an article about IDNs and reveal all the secrets of how these guys make their money. These guys make money and nobody has told us how to do it. . Come on! You know an article kind of like the article back in the day that revealed all the expiring domain name secrets. . . oh yea that was Lee Hodgson’s article :)

  5. Andrew says

    Regarding IDNs, I’ll elaborate more in an article when I get back. But if you have an organic traffic IDN you should be fine. The difficulty (and this is nothing new to you I’m sure) is that the new gTLD process will open the floodgates on .idn domains. So will prevail with internet users over idn.idn? Hard to say. Current owners of will not necessarily get first rights to any new IDN extensions…it will be up to the registry that gets that new IDN extension. Of course, “.com” doesn’t necessarily translate in other languages. But when it does, VeriSign will not necessarily be the one to run that registry.

    So when I say current IDN holders “may not be winners”, I’m not saying “they will be losers”. There’s a ton of risk left. Not to mention the minute chance that some characters currently used may not be allowed in the final revision.

  6. says

    1) Most of us IDNers don’t deal in “dingbats”, and are knowledgeable of IETF work on IDNA2008, and what that means. It isn’t a risk for 99% of us, even though dingbats for whatever reason generate 50% of IDN press in western outlets.

    2) Nothing I have read in the last 8 years has convinced me VeriSign will allow “.com” in any other languages to go to other registries. If you have heard different recently from ICANN or VeriSign, please let us all know.


  7. Andrew says


    1) Yes, that’s why I only made that one sentence :)

    2) Verisign will have to apply for the IDN in each language/script. They aren’t guaranteed to get them. They likely will apply for some/all of them, but even if they get them it’s up to them how to distribute domains under the TLD.

  8. says

    Thought Convergence is a great company filled with great people behind the scenes. Ammar Kubba is one of my top 10 domainer heroes. Other people working there are good buddies. I am looking forward to your next article on TC’s upcoming domainer news.

    However, I’m REALLY hungry for the story on the guy who makes millions a year from a .org domain. THAT sounds like a great story. As usual, AA gets it first. DAMMM HIM!!!! 😉

  9. Derek says

    I suppose you are talking about non-latins IDNs? Latins should have no problems as .com extension is roman.
    Am I right?

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