I have been to just about every one of the major domain
conferences, but smaller company-specific gatherings like this are a
fairly new wrinkle in the domain business. The first one I attended
was an enjoyable event that Enom
put together for their resellers just before the T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
West conference in Las Vegas in March. I regrettably had
to miss the first one Sedo staged for their customers last year at Castle
Erenstein in Germany, so was happy to hear this year's
edition would dovetail with the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in New
officials and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. organizers worked together to make sure
that each event flowed smoothly into the other.
Our journey began Sunday morning, June 17 with
a flight from our home base in Tampa, Florida to JFK
in New York. We took a taxi to the Grand Hyatt (where
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. would be held later in the week) and about an hour
after we arrived, a row of Sedo party buses pulled up at the Hyatt
to take over 100 SedoPro customers to the gorgeous resort 90 miles
north of Manhattan.
By 5:30pm we arrived and had a couple of hours
to settle into our rooms before heading out to the sole event Sunday
evening, a New England lobster bake at the resort's Picnic Lodge.
With Sedo's U.S. branch office located in Boston, lobster was
an appropriate (and tasty) main course that everyone thoroughly
the opening lobster bake Sunday evening, attendees could eat outside
(above) or on the sweeping porch veranda along the right side of the
Picnic Lodge (below left).
Kathryn Donahue (seen in
photo at right) made many of the
arrangements for the Mohonk meeting.
The thing that set this Sedo gathering apart from any domain
meeting I have attended before was seeing Sedo push overt promotion
of their business to the back burner so they could focus on making
sure their customers enjoyed all of the lush surroundings and
activities that Mohonk had to offer. It struck me as a gesture of
great respect for their partners and one that I think earned Sedo a
tremendous amount of good will. Their approach perfectly matched the
surroundings, exuding pure class - I thought what a great way
this was to brand your company and set yourself apart from the
Nearly all of the next day, Monday,
was also devoted to leisure pursuits. After a hearty breakfast
attendees could choose between golf, tennis, a morning in the spa or
hiking through the scenic countryside (at any of three skill levels
ranging from a leisurely 3-mile walk to scrambling over the rocks
and up the face of an adjacent mountain). The hiking options drew a
huge crowd because the area was just too attractive not to explore
more closely. I was part of a group that opted for the leisurely
walk that took us on a roundabout path that led to an observation
tower at the crest of the mountain where the photo at the top of
this article was taken.
Part of our group (led by our guide on the left) begins the ascent
up the mountain
different side of Mohonk comes into view early in our hike
Jackson shooting video from the observation tower on the
descending from the peak, domainers on the last leg of the
After the morning activities,
lunch was served in the Mountaintop Pavilion, an open air building
that becomes a skating rink in the winter (photo below taken just
before the crowd arrives).
....and the shot below shows
what happens when domainers smell food!
General Counsel Jeremiah Johnston
Legal Counsel Phil Corwin
After lunch, Sedo's General Counsel Jeremiah
Johnston welcomed the company's guests and introduced the
conference's keynote speaker, Internet
Commerce Association Legal Counsel Phil Corwin.
Sedo was one of the six founding members of the ICA, a
new non-profit trade association formed to protect the rights
and assets of domain owners. Johnston serves as Sedo's
representative on the ICA board.
The founding members donated a total of $300,000
to get the group off the ground and hire Corwin and Executive
Director Michael Collins so that our industry would
have a presence in Washington, D.C. and a voice in
matters involving ICANN, the body that regulates the
domain name system. Your membership support is now needed to
give the organization the broad based strength it needs to
head off bad laws and policy that, if unchecked, could quickly
devalue the assets domain investors at all levels have worked
so hard to build.
Corwin made a strong case for backing the ICA
by detailing the many challenges domain owners now face. You
have all seen the industry repeatedly mischaracterized and
denigrated by forces who did not have the foresight to invest
in domains themselves, but now - having seen that investment
pay off for you, want to find a way to siphon off the value
generated by the capital you put at risk.
ICANN, registries like Verisign,
browser manufacturers interested in siphoning off domain
traffic and over-reaching trademark attorneys all have a great
deal of influence in Washington and domain owners have to be ready to
play at their level to retain what they have have earned. Corwin
noted that the rules that will govern this business for
decades to come are being written now and domain owners have
to make sure that those laws and policies give them a fair
After lunch attendees again had a
choice of activities with a speed networking session scheduled for
the Cliff View room while a domain owner's version of the game show Jeopardy,
complete with a mock up of the TV show's set, ran in the Sunset
get acquainted in the speed networking session Monday afternoon
(above) while in
the photo below players test their knowledge of domain trivia in a
rousing game of Jeopardy!
Next it was back to the
Mountaintop Pavilion for a cocktail hour and gourmet dinner as the
sun set behind the Shawangunk Mountains (photo below).
After dinner, Sedo converted the
main room in the Mohonk Meeting House into a high tech virtual
reality/arcade game getaway, complete with space girls (upper left
photo below). Not sure where they found these ladies up in the
mountains but when the word gets out that they're around it's sure
to boost reservation requests in the Hudson Valley.
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