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Soeren von Varchmin, Chairman of NamesCon Global, ‘We Will Give More Voice to the Community This Year!’

Although it’s been happening for ten years now, I’ve never attended NamesCon Global and most likely won’t make it in June either.

This doesn’t mean I do not have an influence on how the event is going down. And what’s happening at the event has a large impact on the domaining industry overall.

This year, you do too.

I’ve been involved in several tech industry events in various ways, from promoting them to being part of the organizing team, sponsoring, volunteering, or being a media partner. So I know a bit about the ins and outs of running a large-scale event, and, I must say, it’s not an easy task.

Soeren von Varchmin.

Soeren von Varchmin is the chairman of NamesCon Global. He’s involved at the top level, so I wanted to learn where he is taking the event this year.

Among the many cool things they’re planning, Soeren wants to involve the community of everyday domainers in the making of the event more.

Around 50–60% of the event’s audience is made up of regular domainers, he explained. They are people who do domaining as a hobby. They want to grow, but, let’s say, they are not fully invested. 🙂

I think, in every business, it’s important to know your customers: what they read, what services they rely on, and what their pains are. This applies to events as well.

In this interview, Soeren discloses the importance of knowing what today’s domainers are looking for and how his platform can help them. Whether it is inviting them on stage or adding relevant topics to the discussion, this is a new chapter for NamesCon Global 2024, whose theme is ‘The Perfect Connection’.

One of the questions coming from the NamePros forum is why you’re not making some sessions available online. It worked during the COVID pandemic, so why not continue with a hybrid NamesCon Global event?


I can understand why this question comes up. Our philosophy as event organizers is that nothing beats personal connections. This is true on all levels, whether it’s education or a live session.

More importantly, something you can’t get from a virtual event is the social aspect. That’s why we’re not making the sessions available even after the show. Our whole idea of running events, the whole philosophy behind our company, is the physical event itself.

“Our philosophy as event organizers is that nothing beats personal connections.”

Wouldn’t live streaming be a good additional business opportunity?


You can argue that in both directions. Yes, obviously, there is an argument that your virtual audience is X times bigger than the physical. That’s very clear, the market is much, much bigger.

But how we do events – from CludFest to NamesCon – is completely about the in-person aspect. During the COVID years, something had to be done to keep the industry and the ecosystem together, but our way of thinking is that nothing beats the physical event.

Is there any new presenter scheduled to speak at NamesCon Global?


We’ll have Drew Rosener back, who hasn’t spoken at the conference in five or six years, and Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress. He’s a big domainer himself, actually… more like a domain collector.

They are the two highlights we’ve already announced, but we’ll be revealing new speakers every week. It’s a nice mix. We will have people like Andrew Miller or Kate Buckley on the stage as well as newcomers, everyday normal people, who do domaining as a side business.

I’m going to interview a couple of everyday domainers myself. They don’t make a living out of this. They do it to pay for a vacation once a year, or to pay some extra bills. These are the folks who make up 50-60% of our audience. We will give more voice to the community this year!

I think this is a good direction. Will there be any “Ask Me Anything” session with any of the key registrars or marketplaces?


On one side, our partners and sponsors integrate Q&A as part of their talks.

As part of our event, we offer expert roundtables on general domaining subjects like gTLDs or traffic. These roundtables are led by experts and companies from the industry and anyone interested in a specific topic can join the discussion. We typically set up 10-15 roundtables during the two-and-a-half-day event, covering topics like gTLDs, brokerage, or ethics.

Soeren Keynote.

What is your opinion on pushing for debate in panels? How do you balance the value you are bringing to the audience versus keeping a good relationship with the speakers, so that they’d want to attend the event again?


I’ve been doing this for almost twenty years now. Obviously, you need to make it interesting for the audience. If marketing works and someone buys tickets, you need to make it catchy.

On the other hand, I see myself and the rest of the organizers having a role where we are neutral. Our job is to provide a neutral platform for various opinions.

Of course, we have some common rules. Publicly listed companies have stricter limitations on what they can discuss openly on a panel. If we’re following these basic guidelines, it works well for everyone.

But I was thinking that we can definitely learn from our audience and there’s something that I would like to put on the table. How can we involve the community in the agenda-making more? Obviously, we can’t take 2000 individual viewpoints, but there might be patterns. For example, we could hold a poll on NameBio asking, “Hey, what are the top three subjects you’d like to see discussed in our expert roundtables?”

“Our job is to provide a neutral platform for various opinions.”

Do you advise speakers on how to structure/present their keynotes? Are there any limits to what they can/cannot say that you, as an organizer, impose?


Sponsorship packages may or may not include dedicated speaking time as part of the agreement. So let’s say GoDaddy has a keynote, it’s obviously part of a sponsorship package, and they have the freedom to use it in whatever way they want. We clearly mark these sessions in the agenda as sponsored content.

If it’s a panel, which is set up by us, we have a moderator, like Dennis. I discuss the general session theme with Dennis to ensure we’re on the same page. Then, Dennis talks to the panelists to get everyone aligned on the discussion topics, considering their diverse viewpoints. This is basically how we run it.

Is there any moment at NamesCon Global that you’re mostly looking forward to?


The domain live auction is always a highlight. It’s also a lot of fun in the back end to organize it.

Getting ready for it is a nice moment for us internally as a team. It’s the only thing that we can’t control. We don’t know how the auction is going in the room, we don’t know if we have enough online bidders, and there are a lot of question marks to make it a success. It’s the only thing where we’re simply not involved in what’s going to happen. Also, it can make a financial difference to us because we’re obviously making money.

It’s always a big moment for us and for me personally, but having Drew Rosener back and having Matt Mullenweg, that’s something we are also proud of.

NamesCon auction.

Is there any conference that you are attending this year or that you recommend attending?


This year I will try to visit Munir‘s event in Dubai, the Domain Days Dubai. I talked to him at CloudFest and I would really like to go, because he’s not having any financial benefit to do this event. He’s doing it to bring the hosting and domain industry in the Middle East together.

WordCamp Europe in Torino is also a must-go. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the companies I’ve invested in there (one is Extendify, the other is Atarim, and the third one is Monarx website security).

We saw NamesCon India take place in 2017. And are there any outside US editions that you are planning?


At that time this made sense. Now, the world has gotten much smaller. Especially for the consolidated cloud service provider and registrar/registry industries, it doesn’t make sense to have decentralized local events anymore.

It only makes sense to bring a critical mass of people to one central point. This ensures the economy of scale and makes it worthwhile for sponsors as well.

Look at this little domain industry. Registries are getting consolidated like crazy, with GoDaddy registry just growing bigger and bigger. Registrars are following suit. It’s a word for centralized events; it’s where the industry is.

“It’s a word for centralized events; it’s where the industry is.”

Lightning round:

Coffee or beer?


Rammstein or Marilyn Manson?


NamesCon of CloudFest?


Facebook, Linkedin orTwitter?


Books or Kindle?


Second choice domain extension to .com?


Big up to the NamePros forum, where I’ve sourced some questions for this interview. I, too, wanted to get various opinions and see what people were looking for to learn from Soeren.

NamesCon Global is designed for domain name investors, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in learning more about the domain name industry. It takes place in Atlanta, USA, on June 5–8.

Let us know what topics you would like to see discussed, and you may influence what the NamesCon agenda is going to look like 🙂