Interview: Kieren McCarthy on .Nxt conference

Kieren McCarthy discusses the upcoming .Nxt conference.

The .Nxt conference on new top level domain names is August 29-31 in London. I reached out to show organizer Kieren McCarthy for details.

1. You postponed the London conference to August. Why?

Quite simply, the ICANN TAS software “glitch”. The conference was planned with a seven-week lead time between the applicant information being published and opening the doors. We figured that would give everyone enough time to analyze what was there and then come to the conference to talk about this new industry.

In the end it took ICANN six weeks to sort out the TAS problem, which would have left just one week to analyze it – impossible with nearly 2,000 applications. We took the decision to postpone the conference one month out when it became clear that no one knew when the information would finally be published.

2. Where most of the original attendees supportive of the change?

With the exception of one person who for some reason didn’t get an advance email warning of the postponement and so was understandably annoyed that he’d read about it elsewhere first, everyone was very supportive and understood why we were doing it.

We inconvenienced a few people who had already made plans to travel to London so I contacted them personally and apologized and they were very fair-minded about it. Everyone in this industry has had their plans disrupted at least once by ICANN delays so I think they got it and realized it wasn’t our fault.

3. You have several different tracts, including a policy tract. With the applicant guidebook mostly locked down, what sort of policy issues should applicants be concerned about?

So there are two types of policy going on. One is about the new gTLD process – and there still are quite a few things unfinished and open to influence: the URS, Trademark Clearinghouse, GAC Early Warning, auctions, and a few minor issues.

The second is the broader issue of Internet policy – the rules and regulations that will impact new registry owners. If it hasn’t dawned on new gTLD applicants yet that they will be running a piece of the DNS and they need to keep track of the bigger picture, it will soon. That means both within ICANN and in other bodies like the ITU, UN, OECD. Plus of course legislative efforts, particularly the US government and the EU.

So we have sessions introducing these issues to people as well as the lead industry figures and voices. In the bigger scheme of things, the Internet’s governance is still in flux and that has enormous implications for people that plan to be the owners of top-level domains.

4. For new TLD applicants, what’s the TOP reason they should attend?

To make their new registry a success. There is a lot uncertainty about what this new market and new industry is going to look like, as well as what will work, and not work.

We specifically set up the .Nxt conference to bring all the players in this new industry together to talk business and to figure out what people can work on collectively and where they can compete with one another. Plus of course to talk about the future and the extraordinary possibilities that new gTLDs open up.

If an organization is spending $250,000+ this year alone, I think they’d be crazy not to spend $1,000 more to protect that investment by learning from the best in the industry.


  1. Moris says


    What will happen to all the reserved names for auction put aside by most new gTLD applicants? How will that work with TMCH?

    If generics will be allowed into the TMCH then all the registries who thought they would reserve names for vip clients or for auction – will end up losing quite a bit.

  2. says

    I’m looking forward to attending this conference. Kieren has put together an interesting schedule of sessions. It will be fascinating to meet and speak with some of the entrepreneurs behind the proposed new TLDs, some of whom are new to the domain industry. Who else that reads Domain Name Wire is making the trek to London?

  3. says

    What he meant to say:
    The “Snake oil’salesman” Convention was a waste of time since it will be 2 years or more before any of the New gTLD’s see the light of the day for consumers…

Leave a Reply