Speaker Profile: Jothan Frakes

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01Jothan Frakes
Co-Founder — NamesCon & DOMAINfest
Twitter Website


Location: Seattle, WA
Number of years in the domain industry: 25 years
Favourite extension: .com
Best city for conferences: Las Vegas, NV
Your mentor: Within our industry I consider many as mentors, but I’d say Jim Trevino at Dot Vegas, Ron Sheridan and Verisign’s Pat Kane.


What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?

They deserve a fair shake. .com is the leader of the industry in terms of scale, size, adoption and value, but it has been around for 30+ years. Like with a professional athlete, it is much easier to measure success around age 30 than at age 3 or 4. The market will decide the winners and losers, and the TLDs that are working to position themselves to best service the vertical, geography or audience that they were formed for will start to evidence themselves over the next 5-7 years.

What kinds of changes do you forsee within the industry in the next five years?

There will be more and more importance upon development and use of names – and values will continue to hold or grow during the next 5 years.

What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming NamesCon? 

I’ll break character and exhibit some pride, but I am really grateful to have served this great industry by founding the NamesCon with Richard Lau. He has been an outstanding collaborator and open to change as a leader. I am looking forward to witnessing over 1400 people join us for a great event, because it demonstrates the benefits of collaboration and having the show be more about serving the industry than about him or I as industry leaders.

What industry trends or topics do you think will be at the forefront of panel and keynote discussions this year?

International matters – which we saw manifest in 2015 with the surge in portfolio investment from China, and India is currently experiencing, will be balanced with the transition of IANA / ICANN out from under the US Department of Commerce. COM/NET getting thick whois and a focus of regulation on WHOIS data and quality as well as privacy and proxy regulation will be something individual investors will want to watch more and more closely.

What fact about you would surprise people? 

I DJ’ed raves in the late 80s and early 90s and toured with top 40 recording artist Stevie B, appearing on stage with the likes of C&C Music Factory, MC Hammer, EZ-E, Cover Girls, and a lot of freestyle, R&B and Hip Hop artists.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger? 

I circulate more with people outside the domain industry or ICANN, and I have learned to let strangers lead with how much interest they have and if they wish to delve into the specifics. I just say I do ‘internet conference stuff and digital investment’, and then expand if they ask.

What’s the most recent thing you learned?

Be accountable, respectful, and inclusive wherever possible. Fight against your ego leading you.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Nobody can ever rob you of your knowledge, wisdom, or experiences. Gather them up as your fortune. They survive divorce, bankruptcy, robberies, fire, and they are immune to taxation.

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