Speaker Profile: Michael Fountain

Michael Fountain 750 750x350

01Michael Fountain
Principal Product Manager — Rightside
Website | Twitter | LinkedIn


Session Name: Best Practices Selling Domains Through Hosting
Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
Number of years in the domain industry: 16 years
Favourite extension: .ninja
Domain name you wished you owned: fake.news (for debunking purposes of course)
Now reading: Quora
Now watching: The Grand Tour
Best city for conferences: Do they have beer?


Describe your company and how long you have been there?

I’ve been at Rightside.co for a little over a year now, and I work on the Enom business, specifically focused on driving the Enom API. However, I’ve known Enom for the better part of my professional career all the way back to my ModernBill days in the early 2000s.

What can attendees look forward to during your session?

The domain name used to be the first step of the buy-flow process. That’s legacy old-school thinking. Domains are now part of the up-sell bundle. Done right, they are also more profitable being packaged this way.

What can attendees do in order to prepare for your session?

If you have teenagers, ask them to tell you what a TLD is.

What would you like attendees to learn or take away from your session?

Focus on the customer experience. Break out of the traditional domain-first buy-flow funnel.

Can you tell us about how your service or product helps deliver value to your customers?

The Enom API is consumed by thousands and thousands of resellers worldwide, but it’s more that just a domain name API. We also support basic email hosting, G Suite apps by Google, SSL certs by most providers, and much more. Using the Enom API, you can easily create bundles that enhance the customer experience.

What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?

“The Riches Are In the Niches”… Quoted by many but executed well by only a few.

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

App developers are the future of broader domain adoption and consumption.

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

This is my first NamesCon, so I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of industry peers in person. 🙂

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

The role app developers will play in new TLD adoption.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

In the mid-90’s, I was in the restaurant industry working as Manager at a small Italian restaurant in Raleigh-Durham, NC. I got to know a fellow who used to come into the restaurant every Wednesday for lunch. He was a software engineer and drove a red Pantera. We talked cars and computers. The rest is history.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I left Amazon.com back in 2001 to turn a small shell script that automated the batching of credit cards with Authorize.net into ModernBill. From 2001 to 2008, we played a major role in fully automating the web hosting industry for hosters & domain resellers worldwide.

What advice can you offer those who are just getting their start in the domain industry?

If you don’t start the journey, you won’t arrive at the destination.

How does your career compare to what you envisioned in your youth?

Who didn’t want to be an astronaut when they grew up?

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

I work with some really smart engineers to build one of the best domain name management platforms for app developers and web hosting resellers worldwide.

If you had fifteen extra minutes each day, what would you do with them?

Write more code.

Latest and greatest accomplishment in your career?

Selling two businesses in less than six months in 2008.

Describe a recent challenge, at work or in your personal life, that you overcame.

Picking up the pieces in 2009 and starting all over again.

Where is your favourite place to escape?

A race track, any race track. Or a long stretch of road. Full throttle.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

“Adapt, Improvise and Overcome” – My father and father-in-law are both retired military, Air Force and Marines respectively. They didn’t have to say it. You just saw it in everything they did.

What object would you put in a time capsule that best represents who you are today?

A family photo.

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