all, successful events like theirs take a lot of pre-planning and
the time frame they were considering looked challenging to say
the least. None the less,
sensing an opportunity that had to be acted on immediately,
Schwartz and Neu moved forward and all signs
indicate conference attendees will be in for another
unforgettable event when T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Silicon Valley convenes Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the
Marriott in Santa Clara, California.
give you an understanding of why this particular time and place
was so important to their ongoing strategy to move the
domain industry forward, we sat down with Schwartz to get the
inside scoop. The transcript of our interview is below:
East 2005 is just ending in late October at Delray
Beach and I hear you saying you are thinking about doing
a show in Silicon Valley in January. “THINKING”
about doing a show in January and it’s already late
October! I am also thinking – thinking “This man is CRAZY!”.
I admit, having seen you pull off the impossible three times now
(twice at Delray Beach and once in Las Vegas) I shouldn't have
been so skeptical, but this really seemed to be pushing the
envelope. Yet, already I am seeing many signs that this show
will be a big hit and am receiving calls from people who have
never been to a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show telling me they will be at
this one. What did you know that I, and no one else (except
Howard Neu) knew?
So that’s what you were thinking! (laughs). Can’t say
I blame you. I knew that we had a limited window of opportunity
and that we had to be there at the right place at the right time
to pull this off. It never entered my mind that we had enough
time or not. Just that that window would shut if we
didn’t pull it off on time. Opportunity just does not wait
around. When it says “Fly”…..you gotta fly.
Dark Blue Sea & Fabulous.com
Warner of Fabulous.com
has been instrumental in bringing this event to life.
Dan is armed with numbers that are sometimes chilling
just how good they are. Others are now paying attention
to these numbers because they can no longer be ignored.
This will be a huge event that will be talked about for
years to come. A lot of big deals will be made because
the makeup of the attendees is such that there is no
Why did you decide
to go to Silicon Valley at this time when it will give
you two West Coast shows within five months (T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
West will follow in Las Vegas May 2-5, 2006)?
They tell me that’s where the money is these days.
That’s where the ideas are. That’s a good place for
a group like ours to go and see what develops. We come
armed with staggering statistics and numbers. The
ones that get the interest of the people that should be
interested. Watching the huge shift in interest
over the past few months is a significant event.
|Plus how bad
can it be to be across the street from Yahoo! and
just a few minutes away from Google yet still
close enough to the financial centers? Lastly, if you
want to sell something for millions of dollars the first
thing you need to do is to go to a place that has folks
looking to invest millions of dollars.
I understand you are looking at this as a one time only
event (unlike the East and West shows). Is this true and
if so why?
Yes, that is true,
which makes it that much more important. We have no
intention of making it an annual show. But to be 100%
candid…..we just don’t know for sure and we won’t
know until we look back on what transpires at this
event. But we will always follow the path to wherever
it leads. Events will dictate to us the right course to
take. I think two shows a year is more than enough. But
if opportunity shows up on the porch tomorrow, our job
is to follow it. Whether it is New York, Chicago,
London or anywhere else, we must let events
dictate how we proceed. We are small enough to follow no
rules, and big enough to follow results.
Despite this being a relatively small industry with a fairly
narrow focus, you somehow keep managing to make the
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows fresh with interesting new seminars,
discussions and people on hand to learn from. What have you got
in store for Silicon Valley?
If we said a year ago that we would have a show in Silicon
Valley and the first night Google was going to sponsor a big
bash at Google World Headquarters they would have taken
us away for evaluation. But in 2006 that is exactly what
is going to happen! Also one of our major sponsors is Yahoo! And
their campus is across the street from the hotel. So I think we
found the right neighborhood to pay a visit to. It allows us to
bring another element into the equation by bringing the
financial guys from San Francisco, New York and
other markets to discuss the opportunities that domains are
bringing into the marketplace.
show is fairly short and we hit the ground running. There is a
lot to accomplish in just 2 or 3 days and we expect to
accomplish it and much more. It will lay groundwork for future
shows and each show will be pulling in another essential part of
the puzzle in the form of new industries. We know we have to
keep things cutting edge or folks won’t come back. We need
timely seminars that provide priceless info that allows
attendees to increase their bottom line. If attendees can
increase their bottom line by 10% on each show, how many shows
could they afford to miss? Plus there is a certain amount of
energy that helps to sustain domainers that work most of the
time by themselves and have few people that understand what they are
Considering the stature T.R.A.F.F.I.C. enjoys today it is hard
to believe that just 15 months ago no domain conference of this
scale had ever been held. Aren’t you worried that if the show
continues to grow at this clip you are going to wind up with the
one thing you have always feared most – a job!?
It will never be a job! I look at it as
“Missions”. Ones that you must complete and ones
that can’t be ignored. These missions are not endless.
I see just a few years, maybe 5 years in which we will
have to bring different parts of the business world
together as domains and traffic are the new common
denominator in business. We are at the center of that
conversation and the success depends on staying fresh
and current. Most importantly is bringing the right
folks together. I know there is a line in The
Godfather about “Sucking me back in”…..so
I sure hope not. I just want to launch this in the right
direction and then maybe someone else can guide it the
rest of the way. This is a labor of love and it is just
too damn exciting not to pursue or to stay on the
of the crowd at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East
October 2005 in Delray Beach, Florida
If I remember correctly, you said that you won’t know how
successful Silicon Valley was until the Las Vegas show rolls
around and you see who shows up there from Silicon Valley. Do
you still feel that way and if so why?
I think that will be one of the elements. How many of the
financial folks want to follow their path. I think it will be a
really good percentage. Since I made that statement I have been
impressed when I see the quality of folks that have registered.
It was originally planned as a smaller “boutique” type of a
show. But as we move forward and the interest grows it is
becoming larger than we expected and we have secured enough
space to double our expectations. The Las Vegas show will start
where this show leaves off. Those that come to Silicon Valley
may not know what to expect. When Vegas rolls around they will
know what is going on and will be very well prepared.
I mentioned earlier that I have been surprised at how many
newcomers I have spoken to who told me they will be at the
Silicon Valley show. Much of this interest is stemming from a
huge breakthrough in mainstream reporting on the domain space in
the past couple of months (for example articles in Business
2.0 and the Wall
Street Journal). You were prominently featured in
that coverage. What kind of impact are you seeing on this
upcoming show from that publicity?
There are quite a few “casual domainers” out there and they
have casually built themselves some portfolios that are focused
on the industry they are connected with. Many are from real
estate and they are finally seeing the connection between
electronic real estate and “real” real estate. In addition
is the finance community that is sitting up and taking notice.
Let’s face it…..it took 10 years for the secret of domain
names to finally hit mainstream. The secret is now out and time
will take care of everything else. The expansion we are seeing
is significant. The articles have been able to reach people in
every walk of life and they are being exposed to something for
the first time. Most of these folks are not rookies. They come
with success in other businesses and now are looking our way for
their next venture. That is a very good thing and domainers will
be well rewarded.
Another feeling I have been encountering in recent weeks is a
sense of urgency among these new folks to get up to speed fast
and make a move while there is still a window of opportunity. Do
you think that the window is in fact closing now that the cat is
essentially out of the bag?
I see so many more windows opening to have time to even
concern myself about the ones that are closing. Picking the
right windows to fly thru is the challenge. There has never been
opportunity like this ever before. The domain business is
just starting and it will be another decade before it
hits maturity. So there are plenty of ways to still make
your fortune with domain names. Those that think they missed the
boat need to learn from another guy that thought he missed the
boat in 2000 and now makes $36 million annually.
It is attitude that will determine your success more than time
will. It’s just a matter of how much time it takes you to
figure that out.
While people love to see their old friends at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. it
would seem that with so many new people coming to this
particular event, there may be more new opportunities at
the Silicon Valley show than any previous gathering. Would you
Photos from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2005
Courtesy of MyrtleBeachInc.com
Oh yes. This is going to be an explosive show.
This show is going to set things in motion that we will
hear about for years to come. The dynamics keep changing
and that guarantees fresh, cutting edge results. There
will be a certain energy present that none of us
will understand but we will all know it was there. Folks
that are too busy to come or think it is too much to pay
are missing as big an opportunity as may ever come their
We are not doing this
for our health. We are doing this because the time
is right and there is much interest in what we are all
doing. Folks that are just starting out know one thing.
They need to overpay to get in the game and make
up for lost time. The days of finding bargain portfolios
is all but over. A new game is about to emerge and the
new players come from many different past successes. The
amount of money being held and looking for a great
investment is staggering. This show will help break that
log jam and open those investment wallets.
Thanks for your
time and good luck with the conference. Anything you
would like to add before we go?
While it will be a fun event it will be a very serious
show because we have an overall mission that the speakers need
to pull off. We have a short amount of time in which to shift
things around and set things in motion that will pay dividends
for more years than most of us will be alive. The reason the
show has grown so rapidly is we keep trailblazing a path that
folks like and that has produced results. Our job is to keep
that happening. Keep it on the mark. Bring in new industries
that have reasons to embrace domains and the traffic they
produce, let alone the sites they can become.
that does not believe what we are doing is possible has never
been to a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show. Those that have attended do not
doubt that we can pull it off. We have a track record of
unblemished accomplishments. That record will be intact thru all
the shows of 2006 and beyond. We know we have to do great
things to have folks spend their time and money. In Silicon
Valley we are poised to move mountains and to change the
domain business forever!
Journal will be in Santa Clara to cover the Silicon Valley
show. Our coverage will appear as our February Cover Story
that will be published the week after the conference concludes.