First Middle East DNS Forum Overwhelmingly Successful

by Baher Esmat on February 11, 2014

by Baher Esmat and Fahd Batayneh

There are a plethora of untapped opportunities in the Middle East’s domain name sector, both in existing domain names and new ones. Last week’s Middle East DNS Forum, held in Dubai, confirmed just that. These opportunities lie in not only new gTLDs, but also in the regional ccTLDs that have yet to be utilized to their full potential.

Akram Atallah speaking on stage with other speakers sitting on the right

Akram Atallah, President of ICANN’s Global Domains Division, speaks during the first day of the forum.

The forum, which took place from February 3rd to 4th, was hosted by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the Untied Arab Emirates (UAE) and co-organized by ICANN and ISOC, brought together over 100 participations from across the region, as well as business leaders and experts from around the world. They came from governments, ccTLD registries, local registrars, small businesses, universities and local media. The discussions were vibrant, and the interaction with the audience was exceptional.

The discussions ranged from topics such as:

  • Updates to the new gTLD program and the efforts various groups are undertaking to prepare for their arrival.
  • Marketing strategies and promotional campaigns for TLDs.
  • The value of IDNs in the Middle East despite challenges hindering wide deployment, including lack of implementation in many applications.
  • The important role of ccTLDs in developing regional industries and successful models of public-private partnerships.
  • Opportunities in the gTLD Registry and Registrar space, as well as those for Resellers and local ccTLD Registrars.
Participants break into groups, sitting around a table to discuss the day's topics

Participants break into groups to discuss the day’s topics.

We were enthused by the number of questions participants asked, both on-location and remotely. All of the sessions ran well beyond their intended timeslots. It not only indicated that the discussions were interesting and informative, but also reflected on how interactive the discussions were. Even more exciting was how eager some attendees were to host future DNS forums in their respective countries.

Breakout sessions were scheduled to give participants a chance to come together in small groups and engage in an open and informal dialogue. Organized around three main tracks of Business, Policy and Technical aspects of the DNS, the sessions were incredibly well received by participants.

In the closing session, many emphasized the importance of such a regional forum in bringing the community together to work toward advancing the domain name sector in the Middle East.

We are off to an excellent start, and look forward to the 2015 Middle East DNS Forum.

A crowd of participants listening to presentation

More than 100 participants attended the forum

Baher Esmat – Vice President, Stakeholder Engagement – Middle East
Fahd Batayneh – Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator – Middle East

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Prendergast 02.12.14 at 4:08 am

Is an adobe reply available for those who were not able to attend? Thanks

Bashar Al-Abdulhadi 02.12.14 at 5:58 am

Special thanks goes to Baher Esmat and Fahd Batayneh for the great efforts done to have the first Middle East DNS Forum such a great success.

Also the Thanks carry to ICANN and ISOC for bringing this all together.

Mohamed El Bashir 02.12.14 at 6:47 am

The event is well organized, good turn out and number of attendees.
The presentations quality and in-depth discussion has contributed to the event success, looking forward to a sustainable annual event for the comings years ahead as the DNS industry evolves in the region .

Thanks to Baher, Fahd ( ICANN ), Sofie and ISOC team .

Allan 02.12.14 at 10:15 am

The most important things for the first Middle East DNS Forum that its bring together people from across the region to discuss.
– How The domain name industry going on.
-The most important challenges and how to overcome them.
– How to develop.
We look for next Middle East DNS Forum and don’t forget to send special thanks to ICANN, ISOC,PIR(Public Interest Registry) for their valuable efforts to conduct this success forum.
Allan Ghazi
PIR Advisory Council member

Allan 02.12.14 at 10:38 am

The important of this Forum come from gathering people from across the region to take this opportunities to advance the domain name industry in this region .
We look for next Middle East DNS Forum.
and don’t forget to send special thanks to ICANN,ISOC,
PIR(Public Interest Registry ) for their valuable efforts to conduct this success forum.
Allan Ghazi
PIR Advisory Council member

KHALID ALTHAWADI 02.13.14 at 10:06 am

I would like to Thanks Middle East Vice President mr Baher Esmat for support the Domainers and inviting me to share my long experience among the guru in the domain filed which add allot to the world of domainers and open a new step for the future development of domainers in the Middle East hope the outcome from this forum to be inspiring and encourage all the domainer around the GCC and Middle East and I don’t forget also Mr Fahd Batayneh for the great efforts support us to make this happened and off course we don’t forget ICANN for their unlimited support which makes that dream comes true

Wish You all the Best


Asaad Y. Alnajjar 02.17.14 at 11:20 am

This is a great rebirth of the Arabic Domain Names after it went dormant for many reasons for over a decade.
The Arabic TLDs and Arab ccTLDs were ready to launch back in 2001 and was rolling fast under ICANN umbrella and it is ver exciting to have it evolve now.
The challenge of course remains of how to have Arabic email addresses reached by non Arab speaking clients.

2014 is a great year for Arabic domains indeed.

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