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Domain Industry Giants Preparing for Groundbreaking Trade Show in Florida 

By Ron Jackson
Editor/Publisher



Hundreds of millions of dollars change hands in the domain name business each year, yet somehow this industry has been able to fly under the radar of the mainstream business world. Much of that is undoubtedly due to it being an industry that relatively few people understand. However, that situation has been changing rapidly over the past year. The current boom in the business has caught the attention of many mainstream media outlets that are now spreading the word. We are also finally starting to see the development of the kind of networking infrastructure old line industries are known for with the scheduling of a major domain industry trade show.

 

That event, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2004, will be held at the Marriott in Delray Beach, Florida October 20-23. As the name indicates the show will focus on one aspect of the business but that aspect, traffic, is the fuel that makes this industry run. The event is being organized by Rick Schwartz of eRealEstate.com and well-known domain industry attorney Howard Neu

 

 

Rick Schwartz, Co-Founder 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2004 

Schwartz told us the partners committed over $100,000 in expenditures before they had any assurance the event would be supported by the industry’s leading companies and individual investors. They were soon able to breath easier when DomainSponsor.com immediately signed on as the lead sponsor. Additional sponsors quickly followed suit, including Fabulous.com, Pool.com, Moniker.com, Sedo.com, HitFarm.com, Kanoodle.com, FMA.com, ParkingDots.com and SmartName.com among others. Representatives from many other major companies, including Google and Overture, have also registered as have many of the largest individual domain portfolio owners in the world.

The event was not an inexpensive undertaking and it will not be inexpensive to attend. The range of registration fees goes all the way up to $5,000, but many have registered for $1,250 by requesting an invitation from the show’s organizers. Schwartz said the high tariff had a purpose beyond covering the costs of the event. “It is an important ingredient in discouraging less than serious folks from attending,” Schwartz said. “It is also part of the chemistry we are trying to create. When you have to invest several thousand dollars that motivates folks to do some business to justify the expense. Folks are forced to make things happen and get creative. That is why this will be a landmark event. Schwartz added, "any qualified domainer with their reputation intact can get an invitation by writing webfather@aol.com." However, Schwartz said registration will be closing in the next few days and there will be no onsite registration due to limited space and seating. (Editor's Note: Registration was closed Oct. 12 and interested parties will now be placed on a waiting list in the event of cancellations).

 

Schwartz said that with so many major domainers attending he expects news of major domain deals, trades and acquisitions to come out of the show as well as the birth of several long term projects. “The core reason for the conference is to accelerate the entire domain industry and teach others about the art and science of traffic,” Schwartz said. “The domain world is about to take a giant leap forward. Imagine some of the largest and most impressive domain collections in one room at one time with nothing but time on their hands. Add to that many of the folks that help you monetize, host, capture and protect those domains. Then add a few new products and a rising payout market and a sense of some fierce competition and then add some things I can't put in words as it is part of the chemistry and VAVOOOM! Big things will happen!”

 

“It will be an amazing thing to look around a room and realize that the attendees combined own over one million domain names, have daily visitor traffic in the millions if not more, have an earning power that can’t yet be calculated and a portfolio of domain names that combined would rival  some fortune 500 companies" Schwartz said. "That's before we even talk about the sponsors and the staggering numbers and innovations they bring to the table. I don't think it would be a stretch to say that some of the most forward thinking minds of the Internet will be there. The energy in that room alone will be worth the price of admission.”    

 

DomainSponsor.com's Director of Business Development Ron Sheridan echoes Schwartz's enthusiasm. Sheridan told DNJournal.com "We are very excited about participating in T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2004.  We are looking forward to having a chance to meet face to face with our existing publishers, and to get a chance to meet potential new publishers who are looking to improve their earnings."

 

Sheridan added "We will be showing off some new stuff as part of our DomainSponsor 2.0 rollout at T.R.A.F.F.I.C and we’ll be giving away some nice gifts and even raffle off some special prizes.  Then on Thursday night (Oct. 21) at 9pm we can all party down at the DomainSponsor T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Jam 04 (including host bar, free food and transportation to and from). The event is invitation only so be sure to stop by the DomainSponsor booth for free tickets!"


Though Schwartz has a legendary flair for promotion he said no one could make such an event happen if the timing weren’t right. “A show at this time last year would not be as meaningful. A show at this time next year might be too late. We saw something last winter that indicated a boom was on the horizon and the best way to capitalize on it was to time this show right. I think we hit a bulls eye.”

 

“There have been several failed attempts at some sort of domain event so there were many hurdles to overcome,” Schwartz said. “The hardest part was finding the right venue and figure a time of the year that would be good. What was important was finding a place with few distractions, relaxing, intimate and memorable. We gave ourselves plenty of time and we had loads of support from both sponsors and domainers. Let’s be frank, the greatest challenge is still in front of us. Our reputations are on the line and that is something we take very seriously.”  

 

The show itinerary features an ambitious series of seminars, networking events, breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The main event will be a Thursday night dinner where noted actor and author Ben Stein will deliver the keynote speech. For those who will not be able to attend in person, Schwartz said you’ll still be able to see it on video. “We have contracted a video company to record and edit all the seminars and plan to have it available for those that don’t attend. However it will be the 1 on 1 networking, domain trading and bread breaking that will make this show valuable, memorable and profitable.”

 

 

DNJournal.com will be on hand to provide same day coverage of conference highlights. Our daily show summaries and photos will be posted each evening Thursday through Saturday (Oct. 21-23). You will be able to find links to those on the home page (left column below the cover story where the show preview article currently appears). Successful trade shows play a major role in all healthy industries and we hope this will be just the first of many such events in the months and years ahead.   

 



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Domain Name Journal
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