MEF Director of Programmes James Williams reports from his time at Domain Days Dubai 2023 – where he found out more about how the worlds of A2P SMS, mobile technology and domain names overlap.
Where do I start writing this one. Tough to know. OK, let me start with a fact; until recently, what I really knew about domain names world could be written with room to spare on the back of a postage stamp. This started to change when I appeared on the programme of the London Domain Summit back in August along with MEF members Annecto, Cisco, ENEA AdaptiveMobile and Messente but November 1st and 2nd in Dubai really accelerated my learning experience.
I had the pleasure of hosting, acting as ‘master of ceremonies’ of the first ever event in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region focused on domaining – Domain Days Dubai 2023, the brainchild of Munir Badr the CEO and founder of the largest webhosting company in the UAE, AEserver, over 150 experts from 60+ countries around the world converged on the Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah hotel for what proved to be an awesome event beginning to end.
Domain investors, registrars, registries, monetisation and traffic experts, Web 3.0 domains, hosting & cloud providers, SaaS, and general industry enthusiasts were all present. Did you know that one company alone has 96% of all web traffic globally running through its servers globally? Well we do now. And that company is Equinix whose Middle East head honcho was there. And that another company effectively manages the majority of TLDs (top level domains) globally. That’s Team Internet and their CEO Michael Riedl was with us too. The largest private owner of two-letter TLDs globally is Yue (Jack) Dai from China who leads dn.com and house.com and Jack was in town too. You get the idea….
Across the two days we covered a huge amount of ground, topics including domain name registration and management, auctions, investing, parking, and monetization strategies. The event also included fireside chats and panel discussions with industry experts to discuss best practices, industry challenges, and emerging trends…“
Across the two days we covered a huge amount of ground, topics including domain name registration and management, auctions, investing, parking, and monetization strategies. The event also included fireside chats and panel discussions with industry experts to discuss best practices, industry challenges, and emerging trends. We covered off the newest topics around the industry, mainly the rise of Web 3.0 domains that are gaining traction worldwide and are dubbed as being the future of the internet.
One topic which really caught my attention and was a key theme was the area of fraud/hacking/phishing and domain names are a huge avenue/vehicle for these things. If you are active in the business SMS (A2P SMS) world then you know how big brands’ (in particular) genuine domain names are being mirrored as closely as possible by bad actors to catch and reel in unwitting people and organisations.
We heard about some initiatives going on to prevent that but it’s clear that far more effort needs to go into that globally and only collaboration between authorities, registries etc. globally will have any chance of truly getting to the bottom of the issue.
Whilst the quality of speaker at the event was super high, when running any such event, you’ve got to realise that the star of the show is actually going to be good old fashioned face-to-face networking. And such was the case in Dubai.
Domain Days Dubai 2023 provided a truckload of opportunities for networking and collaboration and Munir’s tagline for his event, “Where Business Meets Fun”, accurately reflected what went down. We’ve done some nice stuff at MEF events but I have to admit being able to connect with professionals from different sectors of the industry, exchange ideas, and forge new partnerships aboard a 44-metre super yacht, as you sail past Dubai’s dynamic skyline is going to be a VERY hard one to beat!
There’s no doubt that there’ll be a Domain Days Dubai 2024 event and I hope next year to see MEF members getting actively involved. There were a few companies I met who would benefit hugely from MEF membership and I have no doubt we will be seeing a few of them signing up and joining your community rather sooner than later.
The MEF events machine rolls on and next up for me are our events as part of AfricaCom 2023 in Cape Town on November 13th and 14th and then comes our flagship messaging related event for the year, MEF CONNECTS Omnichannel in London on November 28th and 29th.
I look forward very much to seeing a lot of you at these events too. I’ve been across Mobile for 30 years now and have never seen the pace of innovation increase as much as it has recently. For me the huge ones to watch are Web 3.0 and AI. They’re real and they are here and now. There’s no going back so buckle up for a very interesting ride in the coming years!