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August 27, 2012

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
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The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Photos and Highlights from the First Full Day (and Night) at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York Conference  

Tuesday was a busy day at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference. The first full day of business in the event being held at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott got underway at 10am and didn't end until the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The day began with welcoming comments from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu, folllowed by a new feature for the pioneering domain conference called T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track. In this take off on the ABC-TV program Shark Tank,  people seeking funding for their development projects were given a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of potential investors. 

Scene from the debut of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track Tuesday in New York. A panel of seven potential investors that included (left to right on the dais above) Michael Berkens, Rick Latona, Jon Waterman, Rick Schwartz, Michael Castello, David Castello and Dr. Chris Hartman listed to pitches from three different developers who stepped up to the microphone in front of moderator Howard Neu (standing at the podium at far right).

The developers making presentations were Kevin Woods (ByOwner.com), Mark Michael (DevHub.com) and Poland's Daniel Dryzek who has plans for a multi-service ccTLD conglomerate in Europe. The three were chosen from more than 20 applicants seeking the same opportunity. Though none won funding on the spot, all  impressed panelists with their presentations and some of the investors expressed an interest in learning more about the ventures before making a final judgment. I found the concept to be a fresh and interesting conference idea with tremendous potential - one that I hope will remain a part of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. program in future shows. I'll have more details on the presentations and the benefits the audience gets from witnessing the interplay between developers and investors in a full conference review article that will follow the show.

At lunch attendees were treated to an informative an entertaining keynote address from CNN anchorman Rick Sanchez. Sanchez has been a pioneer in melding traditional TV journalism with live interaction from the audience via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Sanchez gave the audience a close look at the future of media and how their Internet development ventures can tap into the vast revenues that will be generated in the migration of media from traditional platforms to the web.

CNN anchorman Rick Sanchez delivering a lively and 
well-received keynote address at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York Tuesday.

Sanchez's talk was followed by a speed networking session that is perenially one of the most popular events at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. The format was changed this year to a more effective one (first used at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Amsterdam in June). Attendees sit facing each other in chairs arranged in two giant circles. Those in the outer circle rotated over one seat every two minutes allowing each particpant to meet and exchange business cards with dozens of new contacts before the hour was over.

Scene from Tuesday's Speed Networking session

The business day closed with the RickLatona.com live domain auction that reminded me a bit of the glory days of such events. A big crowd was in the room, with dozens standing along the back wall behind those you see seated in the photo below. Better yet, they were breaking open their wallets to make big purchases like Rio.com ($450,000), Whiskey.com ($185,000) and SchoolLoans.com ($137,500), the latter being a fully developed site with a nice revenue stream. While the final total of approximately $1.2 million was a long way from the record breaking days we saw a couple of years ago, the overall vibe throughout the energetic event produced a feeling that the aftermarket is on its way back.

Scene from the Rick Latona live domain auction Tuesday at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York.

After dark it was time to play, and Skenzo allowed attendees do that in style at their jam-packed casino night party in Manhattan. Guests were taken to the soiree at the Touch night club in a huge fleet of limousines. Those who won at the gaming tables received tickets to drawings for more than a dozen high tech gifts including Amazon Kindles, Sony cameras and a Blue Ray video system. The party drew well deserved rave reviews from everyone I spoke too.

Above: Scene from Skenzo's official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. party at the Touch night club in Manhattan.

Below: Faces in the crowd (left to right): Dr. Chris Hartnett (Reinvent.com), Divyank Turakhia (Skenzo.com), Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com), Rob Grant (domain investor) and Ray Neu (RickLatona.com). Hartnett, Turakhia, Berkens and Grant have all been featured in DN Journal Cover Stories and fast rising relative newcomer Neu may one day end up in one as well (his father Howard was profiled in our April 2009 Cover Story).

Another busy day is on tap today including the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards Brunch at 11am when I will also be delivering a brief talk on the domain aftermarket. There will be three panel sessions today as well (I'll be a particpant in both of the afternoon a seminars) along with the marquee event, Moniker's live domain auction scheduled to run from 4pm to 6:30pm. After auction networking will continue at the hotel this evening to close out this year's show. I'll have photos and highlights from all of today's activities for you in this space tomorrow morning.

(Posted Oct. 28, 2009)


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