keyword will be "new" when the T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
East domain conference is staged in Florida
for the third time Oct. 24-28 at the posh Westin
Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood. There will be a new
venue, a new attendance record, a newly revamped live domain
auction and a new conference agenda.
will be the sixth show overall for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. organizers Rick
Schwartz and Howard Neu. In addition to the two
previous Florida shows that were held in Delray Beach,
they have staged two successful shows in Las Vegas and
another in Silicon Valley. Each show has surpassed the
one before it, but Schwartz knows that raising the bar again
will be a tall order.
East 2006 will have perfection to live up to when
compared with the two previous shows at the Delray Beach Marriott,"
Schwartz said. "Because of that, some might think we are
destined for failure before we begin but we picked the one
hotel in Florida that could actually achieve perfection and
give us a threepeat."
Diplomat Hotel - Hollywood, Florida
Site of 2006 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference
loved the Marriott, but the conference outgrew
that hotel, forcing Schwartz and Neu to search the Sunshine State
from one end to the other to find a suitable alternative.
"The Westin Diplomat is one of the nicest, most comfortable
hotels you can find anywhere in the world. It’s just top
drawer in every possible way and I am certain the attendees will
enjoy the new digs and proximity to South Beach,"
Schwartz said. "We expect to welcome some 500 attendees
which would be 50% growth from last year's show and we will
have nearly twice as many exhibit booths."
Motley Fool Co-Founder
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. keynote speaker
|Securing a great venue is just half the
battle. You also have to have a great agenda and Schwartz
thinks they have that covered too. "We
have some very timely seminars planned and a keynote
address by Tom Gardner who is the cofounder of the Motley
Fool. While he is coming to talk to us I am
sure we will be talking to him and discussing domains, the
hottest investment in the world today," Schwartz
that we will be having a monumental live auction
that will sell more domain names in a quicker amount of
time than ever before. Moniker.com
will be hosting the Live T.R.A.F.F.I.C. auction for the
3rd time. The Las Vegas T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West auction
in May produced $2.1 million in domain sales in
just 3 hours. This auction will feature so many great
domains that the auction alone is worth coming for. The
quality of domains is off the chart. Domains like DSL.com,
Cameras.com, Nerd.com, Elections.com
and hundreds of others with a total of 20,000
submitted. Plus the ones that don’t make it to the live
auction will be available by silent auction during
the show. We are hoping to double the Las Vegas results
and, judging form the domain list, there is an outside
chance we could do much more," Schwartz said.
is so impressed with the auction sale list, he will not be content
with simply hosting the event. "I have been saving extra
dollars for the auction all summer so that I can come with a war
chest and take home at least one gem. From what I hear, I am not
the only one and so I believe this auction will be a blockbuster
by all standards. I think folks at the last auction were surprised
by the number of transactions and quality of domains and some were
caught with their pants down - especially the corporate types that
can’t respond as quickly as an individual can. I believe for
this auction they are coming to buy and have set aside a
particular dollar figure along with their short list of target
auction will also give large portfolio owners the chance
to buy that crown jewel some of them sorely need.
The Moniker team has done a great job and we have all been
working on it since minutes after the Las Vegas auction
ended. We knew we had a winner and we knew with all the
improvements that could be made that the auction could
change the face of our industry. A live auction where you
know and see who you are bidding against. This
year’s event will be much faster moving and quite a bit
more exciting. We have a lot of domains to get through and
we will be dividing domains into price ranges so bidders
will know if that domain is within their reach and
valuation," Schwartz added.
new wrinkles won't end with the vastly expanded live
ran down some of the other changes that will give this
show a unique identity of its own. "We are going to
have a new attendee orientation to bring new folks up to
speed about what T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is about and why we have
enjoyed the success we have. We are also planning a Madison
Avenue panel. There has been a lot of behind the
scenes work since Las Vegas to get Madison Avenue plugged
into domain names and what they can do for
auctioneer Joe Langbaum
will return to conduct the live auction
at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2006.
are also going to address valuation, click fraud and ICANN,"
Schwartz said. "We still have several challenges that we face,
one of the biggest being contracts that ICANN is awarding registries
that could change all of our lives and the way we conduct
business. If registrants don’t start to organize and
speak up they are going to watch their livelihoods taken away
by more powerful interests. There are forces working to get
what you own. We’ll have information about a new non-profit
association that is forming to look after our interests in Washington
D.C. and beyond. So while we have great things to look forward
to it is also time to secure the industry from predators with very
deep pockets that want what we have and know that rewriting laws
may be the only way to achieve their goals."
show we try and target key issues and identify different
sectors to include that represent elements needed to grow
the industry," Schwartz said. "It wasn’t long
ago that we had no venture capital folks. It was not too
long ago that we had no bankers. It was not too long ago
that we had no investors. It was not long ago that
domainers and sponsors had only a casual relationship, if
any at all. It was not too long ago that none of
the elements of the industry were connected together."
importantly it was not that long ago that many did not
realize and understand the targeted traffic that domains
produce and just how important and potent that traffic
is a multi dimensional show that just attracts the right
mix of people that create an atmosphere to make deals and
create alliances. When you break bread with folks the
relationship has time to develop and then folks find
people to fill in the gaps. So that is the one constant in
each show," Schwartz said. "Everything else
changes and that is the moving parts that creates the
I look at what we have all accomplished in such a short
time it amazes me. But we are only half way to our goals!"
thing that won’t be changing is that DomainSponsor.com
will be the show's overall sponsor again. They’ll be having
another legendary party that we’ll be talking about until the
next show. People keep track of the show depending on which wild
party they throw," Schwartz said smiling.
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. franchise has come an incredibly long way
since the initial show was held just two years ago.
Staging T.R.A.F.F.I.C. now is a much more complicated task
than putting on that first show was. "The workload is
much more than either Howard or I bargained for,"
Schwartz admitted. "But we had a mission at hand and
we aim to complete that mission. The first show was thrust
on us after the idea of holding a small get together
blossomed into a full blown conference. We knew our
reputations were on the line. There was no plan for a
second show or get together. Neither of us had actually
produced a trade show before. But we knew there was a need
and the time was right."
with our 6th T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show coming up the pressure to
get it right is just as intense as the first show was and
in many ways the pressure is greater because so many are
spending so much and they count on us to get it right and
have it go smoothly. We do our best to have timely topics
and bring a great cross section of domainers and others
together to discuss the future and opportunities that they
can take advantage of."
show gets harder from a number of standpoints. We have to try and
satisfy several hundred domainers and also satisfy the sponsors
and others that attend. All with different needs, different
agendas and just as intense and passionate as the next guy. You
want to say yes to everyone, but it’s just not possible. So we
make the best decisions we can and hopefully at the end of the
show folks are satisfied with the movement and direction we have
gone," Schwartz said.
from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference
last year in Delray Beach, Florida
want to make sure that tangible progress has been made and
there is fruit to harvest in the days and weeks after the
show. Each show we have to improve and those improvements
need to be noticeable. We need to add value by keeping our
seminars fresh and timely. And sometimes we need to
repeat certain seminars as one hour goes by so quickly.
Howard and I come at it from a very simple standpoint.
“If you bring great people together, great things will
happen”. So everything we do is geared to foster
deals and new people meeting to see where they might work
together. In time there will be dozens of businesses that
were conceived at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.," Schwartz
already has a full plate getting ready for this month's show, but
we couldn't resist prodding him for a glimpse at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s
future beyond this event. "Howard and I are planning a trip
to New York City to do an onsite inspection of what we hope
will be the venue of our June 2007 show," Schwartz
said. "Finding venues that can accommodate us at the right
times of the year has been the greatest challenge. The Miami show
for 2007 will once again be at the Hollywood Diplomat. Plus we
will once again be in Las Vegas at the Venetian. We have
been looking at cities everywhere; Chicago, Dallas, Toronto,
Washington D.C., London, Paris, Barcelona,
Amsterdam, San Francisco and many others. However
each location must have the proper layout as we have no plans of
changing the recipe that has made T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
such an important event. There is a special chemistry we try to
achieve and not every property has the elements we need. Besides,
they have to have really good food! Some hotels just don’t
much time and energy as Schwartz and Neu spend on choosing
venues, they agree that their "secret
ingredient" is something entirely different. "The
reason people keep coming back is the amount of business
they can do in a very short amount of time and the new
connections they make that helps them further advance
their visions. The greatest value of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
are the things that can not be seen with the naked
eye. Things you will likely never hear about. They are
private deals. They are the start of a business
partnership or opportunity. T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
is about being put in a situation that is filled with
opportunity and the conditions make it ripe to create
opportunity. We know the most important ingredient is the
caliber of people that attend. Everything revolves around
that," Schwartz said.
Neu moderates the entire event, but more than that Howard is the
“cruise director”. He sets the tone for the show. He keeps
folks moving and being a professional TV talk show host in a past
life, he does a job that can’t be duplicated. On the other hand
my work is mainly behind the scenes once the show starts. I put in
my time putting the show together, marketing it, getting the
speakers and putting the schedule together. Howard takes care of
the books and the sponsors and the technical aspects of the show
itself. However our main job is to get out of the way and allow
things to germinate and flourish - to create that special
environment that allows great things to happen. The comfortable
surroundings encourage folks to be open and discuss their
activities and goals and dreams and the missing elements they may
need to move to the next level."
pool at the Westin Diplomat Hotel
Site of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2006 Oct. 24-28
matter what level we are at our common challenge is getting
to the next level. T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
accelerates the prospects of that happening and happening
in a shorter amount of time. There is also something to be
said for having a few days with a gorgeous ocean view to
let you know you have done well and you deserve to spend
some time with like minded people that have come from
every walk of life and have domain names and traffic in
common. One thing is for sure. When you leave
T.R.A.F.F.I.C., you leave energized and pumped.
Your batteries are completely recharged and you know you
are lucky to be in such a great business with such
great people!" Schwartz declared.