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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Opening Day Photos & Highlights From T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Fort Lauderdale Beach

When I posted from Fort Lauderdale Beach early Sunday morning I said the outdoor cabanas were expected to be a beehive of networking activity that day as people arrived at the oceanfront Ritz Carlton Hotel for the start of the 2011 T.R.A.F.F.I.C conference Sunday evening (Oct. 16). That possibility was short-circuited when rain started cascading down by mid-morning and continued non-stop well into the night. Show organizers quickly adapted and moved everyone inside where Alina Schwartz and Barbara Neu began registering the more than 300 guests in town for the big event. 

 

Paul Goldstone (iGoldrush.com) gets his T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 credentials from 
Alina Schwartz
and Barbara Neu (right) at the show's regstration desk.

After several hours of informal networking in a broad hall overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and a special orientation session for show newcomers, the conference officially got underway at 6pm with a big crowd on hand for Sedo's Welcoming Cocktail Reception.

Faces in the crowd at Sedo's opening night cocktail reception included (L to R): Freddy Schiwek, Markus Schnermann, Roy Messer, Sedo's Kathy Nielsen & Andrew Allemann.

After the two-hour cocktail reception attendees had free time to explore the area or go off to private dinners or parties. Diana and I had the pleasure of joining Frank Schilling (InternetTraffic.com) for a dinner party that he threw for several dozen friends and business partners at popular Fort Launderdale Beach restaurant Steak 954. It was truly a memorable night that started with guests being ferried from the Ritz to the restaurant in the biggest limo I've ever seen (the limo appeared to be longer than the four block distance to the restaurant!)

Standing at far right in the black shirt, Frank Schilling welcomes his guests at Steak 954.

Frank Schilling with two of his guests, Pat Grant and Diana Jackson

This morning (Monday, Oct. 17) it was time to get down to business when T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu welcomed their guests and gave them a preview of what was ahead. They also gave every attendee a free Apple credit card reading device for iPhones and iPads that allows attendees to carry a portable cash register around them (you can bet plenty of the smart entrepreneurs on hand will find a way to make good use of that gift). 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Howard Neu (left) and Rick Schwartz kicking off the 
2011 conference with their opening remarks Monday morning (Oct. 17). 

There was also another bonus, a new T.R.A.F.F.I.C. iPhone app that allows attendees to easily connect with each other. The app was developed by a company that Chicago.com owner Josh Metnick helps lead and Josh was on hand to unveil it (more details on that and other show happenings will be in a big comprehensive conference review article we will be publishing a few days after the show).

Part of the crowd on hand when T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 got underway today.

At 10am Keynote Speaker Bill Karamouzis (HallPass Media) delivered his highly anticipated talk in a format that I really enjoyed - a kind of "fireside chat" with DomainSherpa's Michael Cyger inteviewing Bill. Karamouzis gave a detailed account on how he built and sold several companies in the games space for millions of dollars by using category defining domain names as the foundation for his wildly successful sites (see our 2010 Cover Story on Bill for details on his career).

Bill Karamouzis (left) being interviewed by Michael Cyger in today's keynote.

Next up was a very interesting session on the new gTLDs that ICANN will begin rolling out next year. The history of the expansion program and its pros and cons were discussed by a panel of experts that included Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher, Peter Dengate Thrush (the former ICANN Chairman who now works with Minds+Machines), Michael Berkens (RightOfTheDot.com), Jothan Frakes (Sedari.com) and Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com).

The Impact of New TLDs panel this morning featured (left to right): Sedo CEO 
Tim Schmacher
, Peter Dengate Thrush (the former ICANN Chairman who now works 
with Minds+Machines), Michael Berkens (RightOfTheDot.com), moderator 
Howard Neu
, Jothan Frakes (Sedari.com) and Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com).

The afternoon began with Google critic Scott Cleland detailing what he sees as the sins of the search giant that he covered in depth in his book, Search & Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc. With PPC earnings down so drastically in recent years, and a complete lack of transparency at Google and Yahoo, Cleland found a lot of supporters for his position in the audience. 

He also sat in on the next session, a panel discussion that delved further into issues with Google and Yahoo. He was joined on the dais for that hour by Frank Schilling, Adam Dicker (DNForum.com), Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Tim Schumacher (Sedo) and T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Rick Schwartz, who, as most of you know, is also a vocal critic of Google.

Google critic Scott Cleland, author of Search & 
Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.
speaking 
this afternoon (Monday, Oct. 17) at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011

As I write this three afternoon sessions remained in the opening day of business. This evening the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Party (sponsored by the .xxx registry) will be held at the W Hotel, four blocks north of the Ritz. I'll have more on all of those sessions and events, as well as the first Tuesday sessions in the next post from Fort Lauderdale Beach tomorrow. The show is off to a great start and the buzz in the halls has been highly favorable from the attendees I've talked to.

(Posted Oct. 17, 2011)


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