Dr Mumbo

The mystery of NameFest’s curious speaker lineup

Dr Mumbo loves a good mystery.

And there is little that’s more mysterious than an event that appears to be taking place in Australia next month.

According to a shiny website, NameFest Australia will be taking place on June 25.

Its site promises: “NameFest will be Australia’s largest domain industry festival in 2017. Join hundreds of attendees at NameFest in Melbourne for all things regarding internet naming, online branding, digital marketing, IP protection, domain monetisation, and domain buying/selling.”

Just for added confidence, there’s a stock shot of a cheery, beardy young man giving a thumbs-up, presumably for all things domain-based.

Some things, however, made Dr Mumbo a little more suspicious.

Apparently, at noon, the international keynote comes from Mike Yapp, of Google’s The Zoo.

By a funny coincidence, Mike’s also speaking at Mumbrella360 a couple of weeks earlier. And apparently on the very same topic.

Then at 12.30, comes Mark Ritson with his session titled Make Marketing Great Again.

Now admittedly, Ritson does get around a little.

And, to digress slightly, Dr Mumbo thinks it’s a bit harsh that AdNews has been promoting Ritson for weeks now for their summit with the expectations-managing warning “Mark Ritson never fails to disappoint”. No doubt the tickets are just flying out of the door with that promise.

However, the NameFest Australia Ritson session appears to once again be a carbon copy of Mumbrella360’s.

Which takes us to the 2pm NameFest session. And wouldn’t you know it – it’s international speaker Steve Weiss, again, apparently doing the identical session he’s doing at Mumbrella360.

The NameFest program also includes speaker shots of News Corp’s Louise Barrett and Soap Creative’s Ashley Ringrose.

And guess what? They’re Mumbrella360 speakers too…

Now clearly, Dr Mumbo finds it hard to believe that an event company would ever do anything underhand.

And even harder to believe that you’d get shady behaviour in the usually-highly-honourable domain names sector.

But it is odd that one of those apparently featured speakers tells Dr Mumbo: “I don’t know anything about this.”

And indeed even odder that none of them have anything to do with the world of domain names.

Clearly, there’s been some sort of misunderstanding on the part of NameFest, which is currently selling tickets on Eventbrite to its event for nearly $800 a pop.

That misunderstanding may also extend to the difference between Melbourne and Sydney.

Apparently, NameFest is taking place at Melbourne’s Ovolo Laneways Hotel. Although the Eventbrite page does look slightly more Sydney focused.

Dr Mumbo is sure there’s an innocent explanation for the use of all this intellectual property. Particularly considering the event is promising to dedicate its attention to IP protection.

Still, NameFest certainly knows its target audience. Accoridng to its FAQs: “Hoverboards, bodysuits, non-religious face coverings and materials for suitcasing purposes will not be permitted.”

But Dr Mumbo does suggest to domain fans thinking of attending that before parting with your $769.74, you might do a little due diligence…

May 8 update: The Ovolo hotel tells Dr Mumbo: “The article referenced an event happening at the Ovolo Laneways hotel in Melbourne, but after investigation we’ve found this to be false. “


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