Refunds uncertain as .nxt says sorry for cancelation

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2012, Domain Services

It’s not yet clear whether people who paid for tickets for the .nxt conference will get full refunds.

In an apologetic email sent to attendees last night, organizer Kieren McCarthy said that .nxt is “trying to recoup” money already paid to the conference venue. The email states in part:

For a number of reasons – the most significant being the fact that the ICANN process is still in flux – we were not able to get the number of attendees or sponsors needed.

Having communicated with a large number of people that the conference was directly aimed at, the conclusion would appear to be: right idea, wrong time. The conference was designed as a meeting place for a new industry to meet and interact. It is now clear that that effort was premature.

Unfortunately that does not resolve the fact that you are currently out of pocket, whether through a conference ticket, hotel room or flight to London.

.Nxt is currently trying to recoup money we have paid to the hotel venue so we are in a position to reimburse at least some of those costs. We will keep in touch with any developments.

Fewer than 100 people were registered for the $950-a-ticket three-day event, .nxt said. The first two conferences, held in San Francisco last year, attracted closer to double that number.

The company plans to offer some of its planned sessions online instead, according to the email and a statement on the conference web site.

McCarthy is currently calling would-be attendees to explain the situation. Many have been understanding, according to the email.

Some attendees have told us they want full refunds for their tickets and hotel rooms, when the hotel was booked via .nxt. Recouping money spent on airfare is a different matter, of course.

The conference, which also left some attendees out of pocket when it was postponed in June, is unlikely to return.

Confirmed: .nxt conference canceled

Kevin Murphy, August 23, 2012, Domain Services

The .nxt conference on new gTLDs has indeed been canceled, according to organizer Kieren McCarthy.

The show was expected to run next week, August 29-31, in London, following two successful events in San Francisco last year.

It was originally expected to run in June, but was postponed in May due to ICANN-related program delays.

I had planned to hold off posting the news until I had the full details, but I’ve received several emails this morning from people wondering what was going on so I thought I’d share what I know.

McCarthy is currently phoning attendees individually to explain the situation, so if you’re already a paid-up delegate I expect you’ll be getting a call soon. An announcement is expected later today.

ARI Registry Services tweeted this morning that .nxt is not offering refunds, but I cannot confirm that at this time.

More when we get it…

June .nxt conference canceled

Kevin Murphy, May 23, 2012, Domain Services

The .nxt conference on new generic top-level domains, planned for London next month, has been postponed until later this year, the organizers have announced.

.nxt CEO Kieren McCarthy blamed the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the new gTLD program timetable following ICANN’s six-week TLD Application System outage.

McCarthy wrote on the .nxt web site:

Our main goal for this conference is to give a comprehensive overview of the new gTLD process, including: providing an understanding of this new market; assisting applicants in moving forward; learning lessons from the past; and giving everyone a significant new industry an opportunity to meet, debate and network. We just don’t feel this is going to be possible for the 20-22 June timeframe.

We gave serious consideration to running the conference despite the lack of information and tight timeline but decided in the end it would be better for everyone to hold a conference that was in a position to achieve its aims.

The conference had already signed up almost twice the number of attendees than the previous two San Francisco-based events (which were in the 150-200 range), according to McCarthy.

Tickets for the June event will be honored for the rescheduled .nxt, which is likely to happen in the late third or early fourth quarter, he said.

People who booked hotels through official channels will get a full refund, but those who made their own arrangements will have to make their own cancellations.

.nxt new gTLD conference open for registration

Kevin Murphy, March 28, 2012, Domain Registries

The third .nxt conference on new generic top-level domains opened for early bird registrations today.

Having appeared twice in San Francisco, this time it’s my home town of London’s turn to host the event.

Organizer Kieren McCarthy is hoping to attract an international audience passing through London on their way to the ICANN 44 public meeting in Prague, Czech Republic.

The conference will be held at the Park Plaza Victoria in central London on June 20 to 22, ending just before the first day of meetings in Prague.

The three-track agenda can be found here.

I attended the first two .nxts in person and remotely and I’ve found that McCarthy is pretty good at lining up an excellent range of compelling speakers and panelists.

The main drawback some have found is that many of the attendees are likely to be the same faces you’ll see at ICANN meetings.

However, with this being the first .nxt to happen after April 12 – when hundreds of new companies have filed their applications and committed to enter the domain name industry – there very well might be a broader range of delegates at the London show.

Early bird pricing, available before April 12, starts at £399 ($632) plus 20% tax for the full three days. It then goes up to £599 ($949) plus tax. Day passes are also available.

You can take advantage of the discounted pricing by registering here.

IFFOR hires McCarthy to handle .xxx outreach

Kevin Murphy, October 10, 2011, Domain Registries

Kieren McCarthy, CEO of the .nxt new top-level domains conference, has reportedly joined the International Foundation For Online Responsibility to manage policy communications.

IFFOR is the sponsoring organization for ICM Registry’s new gTLD, responsible for setting the policies that will govern .xxx domain names.

ICM’s opponents in the Free Speech Coalition fear IFFOR, claiming it will be both toothless in the light of ICM’s “veto power” over policies (which ICM disputes) and dangerous to .xxx domain holders.

As well as outreach, McCarthy will be tasked with “developing the tools through which Internet community members and IFFOR Policy Council members can reach consensus positions”, according to Xbiz.

He has the right background. He’s the former general manager for public participation at ICANN, and lately one of its fiercest critics. More recently, he’s also done some consulting work for ICM.

Hopefully one of his first actions at IFFOR will be to add DI to the press release mailing list, so I don’t have to source Xbiz the next time the organization has news to report.