Marie Lanyon is Head of North American Sales at HEXONET. She has a brand-building and marketing background that she brings to the domain space. The company is the trusted domain platform of choice for thousands of individuals, resellers, startups, and service providers in over 110 countries around the world. Currently, HEXONET manages over 3.8 million domains.
Mike: I heard your original role at HEXONET was intended to be temporary. That said, what circumstances shifted this to the critical role you play today?
Marie: It’s true, I planned to only be with HEXONET for several months but once I started working with the team, I was quickly impressed with the leadership and became fascinated with the domain industry. Coming from an advertising industry background, I was used to stepping in and out of different companies and observing a variety of cultures and leadership styles. HEXONET had a true team culture that’s rare to find and they are truly driven to contribute to the industry – it was an easy decision to join the team. In addition, with so many facets to the industry it allows for ongoing opportunities to contribute and grow. Those original few months turned into several years that have flown by and I’m still pleased with my decision to officially join the industry and contribute.
Mike: You have a strong brand-building background. Explain what a business’ domain name means to their overall branding.
Marie: Having a well told brand story is one the best things a company can do for itself and that includes having an on-point domain name. When your domain name matches your company name, you are presenting a polished and confident brand. From my previous work, we found customers to be more trusting in a brand’s authenticity when the domain name matched the company name as succinctly as possible. Email addresses are also worth noting here – let’s not forget what it’s like to type in someone’s email for the first time. Have you ever been put off or doubtful on how legitimate a business is when the email address is either miles long or with a generic email account? Me too, and that’s another reason why your domain name matters. With today’s array of options in TLDs, brands can often hone in on exact keyword matches for their business, setting the foundation for a strong brand identity.
Mike: I mentioned that HEXONET manages almost 4 million domain names. How large is the company and when did it launch?
Marie: The HEXONET founders started the company just over ten years ago. The founders were already involved in the industry and knew they could make great contributions if they teamed up and built HEXONET. Over the years, the teams grew in our German and Canadian offices and we have a talented group of front and backend developers, outgoing sales folks, knowledgeable support analysts, enthusiastic marketing experts, and solid business leaders. As a tech first company, we have referred to ourselves at HEXONerds for years. In the summer of 2019 we became a part of the CentralNic Group PLC and enjoy being part of the bigger team.
Mike: Being “newer” to the domain industry, do you feel you bring a fresh perspective to the table thank some of the industry veterans?
Marie: Based on what’s been said to me, I believe my perspective has been appreciated for being somewhat fresh and it’s something I work hard to retain. When I first came in, I worked to understand the perception of the industry from those outside looking in. I came to the conclusion that we, as an industry, spend a lot of our energy and time marketing and talking to each other. I also found that there was a mistrust from those outside looking in: everyone I spoke to knew someone that had a dropped name horror story, and there was massive confusion as to why some names cost $1 and others into the thousands. What I began to find was that by acknowledging and educating on these mistrusts, people started to become as engaged and fascinated as I was with the industry – and more importantly interested in domain names. Now that I’ve been in the industry a few years, I’m always excited to meet someone new coming in and to hear what they’re observing.
Mike: You seem to have a passion for educating others on domain names. What drives that passion and what is the desired end goal?
Marie: As I mentioned in my last comment, educating others really is a way to connect and help people get excited about domains and the limitless opportunities they can enable. We can change the feeling of mistrust into empowerment in a single educational opportunity. Desired goal: empowerment, enthusiasm and the idea of opportunity will get us much further with domain registrations and usage, than mistrust to us as a whole. Plus, we’re giving people a lot of fun, random facts to tell their friends over dinner.
Mike: What advice do you have for others that may be joining the domain industry now, and do not have the background that others may have? What is the learning curve like?
Marie: The learning curve is steep. Get ready to be overwhelmed but stay curious. Have your eyes and ears open, take the time to reach out and connect with people in the industry, and if any area is of particular interest, dive in. I think it’s in the industry’s best interest to welcome those from other backgrounds and industries as we benefit from a diverse, fresh base of knowledge and expertise.
Mike: Any predictions on the industry as a whole or on the plethora of gTLDs available?
Marie: Well just as HEXONET joined CentralNic, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more consolation throughout the industry over the next year. For gTLDs, plethora is right! With so many TLDs available, it does make it hard for the consumer to differentiate, which works against us to a degree, but adoption seems to be picking up. My hope is to see more usage and a normalization of nTLD options in the market.