We have always been
big proponents of domain conferences. There is no
quicker way to jump start a domain
enterprise or investing career than to build
personal relationships by meeting others in the
industry face to face. Domain conferences, large and
small, conducted far and wide, have provided a perfect
place to do that and generated millions
of dollars worth of business activity in the
process. Even so, in recent years over expansion of
the show circuit proved to be too much of a good
scheduled in one place or another on an almost
monthly basis, there was no longer enough
sponsorship, registration and auction sales revenue
to support them all. The inevitable shake out
occurred and 2012 will go down as the year that equilibrium
returned to the conference game led by promoters
with successful track records and clearly defined
differences that should allow them, their sponsors
and guests to prosper going forward. With plenty of
breathing room once again built in between shows,
each has a chance to shine as a special, can't miss
Tabibi catching a few rays before the
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012 in Fort
Lauderdale Beach, Florida
The year began with DOMAINfest
Global 2012 in Santa Monica, California putting
the final stage of the renewal process in motion by
broadening the focus of their show (operated by Oversee.net)
from a purely domain oriented event to one that
encompasses all areas of website development and
online business marketing. They cemented that change
by officially changing the name of the conference to
Global effective with the next show that
will held February 5-7. 2013.
That left the show that
started this industry sector back in 2004, Rick Schwartz and Howard
conference, as the last globally focused pure domain
conference still standing. With T.R.A.F.F.I.C.,
Webfest Global and several well run regional
conferences (especially in Europe)
to choose from, anyone can now find a proven
event that is perfectly tailored to their needs
without having to sift through a show
"haystack" to find the "needle"
that insures the best fit.
With unique approaches
and a limited number of dates
where everyone can get together to do
business, it is now much more likely that when you
pick the show most closely aligned with your
interests, the specific people and companies that you
want to see will be at the show you go to.
Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach
Site of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012
While the landscape has
continued to change, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. once again demonstrated
why it has been able to stand the test of time by
staging another outstanding show, the 23rd in the
popular series, October 7-10, 2012 at the
Ritz Carlton Hotel on Florida's Fort
Lauderdale Beach. It was the only conference they
staged in 2012 but they will return to the popular East-West
format they first used in 2005 by putting on two
shows in 2013. The first will be in Las Vegas
at the Bellagio Hotel May 29-June 1 and the
second will be back at the Ritz on Fort Lauderdale
Beach in October 2013.
I posted daily photos
and highlights from this month's 2012 T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
conference in our Lowdown section (available through
the links below):
Even though show
activity was going on almost around the clock, we
were able to cover a lot of ground in those posts
while on the run from one event to another. However,
we always benefit from having time to reflect on
what transpired once we get back home and get the
opportunity to put a full show wrap-up
together in one place for posterity (the place you are in now)
with more details and lots of previously
unseen photos that we did not have a chance to
share in our daily posts from show week.
began with two days of informal pre-show cabana and
poolside networking (Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5
& 6), a new "tradition" instituted a
couple of years ago that many say has become one of
the most productive periods of show week.
amazing what can spring from casual conversations
and gatherings in a pleasant, low key environment
(in this case much better than simply
pleasant - the oceanfront Ritz has one of the
world's most beautiful views).
Early birds at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012
enjoying the pre-show cabana networking and
the Ritz's gorgeous view of the Atlantic
Two of the first pre-show arrivals for T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
2012 (L to R) Daina and Morgan Linton
Co-Founder Howard Neu on the Ritz
Carlton pool deck.
Back at the pool deck lovely Dynadot.com
Robyn Norgan (center) and Jacqueline Daly
(right) with their friend Tessa Carey.
On Friday night (Oct .5) DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker
treated a large group
of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. early birds to a great dinner at
the Shula's On the Beach restaurant.
Some of the more adventurous T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012
attendees spent part
of their pre-show networking time on a deep sea fishing
trip Saturday afternoon (Oct. 6)
(Photo courtesy of Steven Kaziyev who is at far
right in the front)
On the show's
opening day Sunday (October 7), those who had not come
in for the pre-show networking got their first look
at the Ritz's fabulous surroundings. They had all
afternoon to do it, as well as some pre-show
networking of their own, before the Opening Night
Cocktail Party kicked things off at 6pm.
Jackson and Carlo Tabibi get acquainted
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012's Opening Night Cocktail Party (Sunday,
on hand, Monica Hans (KeySystems) and Ammar
Kubba (Thought Convergence)
night party attendees are usually well behaved but ParkingCrew.com's
Kaltz was "apprehended" by two
officers from the large battalion of T.R.A.F.F.I.C
who keep an eye on things. We suspect Axel got
caught on purpose and after the
came to the same conclusion they let him go
(much to his chagrin!)
up the room (Left to right):
(T.R.A.F.F.I.C.), Amanda Waltz (DomainAdvisors.com),
Andee Hill (Escrow.com), Tessa Holcomb (DomainAdvisors.com)
The cocktail party
wound down around 8pm but the night was just
beginning with both Afternic
hosting parties at popular nightspots near the Ritz.
With everything within easy walking distance many
people dropped in at both soirees.
scene from the Sunday night after party that Afternic
threw at the spacious Exit 66 night club on Fort
shot is from the NameJet after party Sunday
night at the Casablanca Cafe.
Monday morning (Oct. 8)
it was time to get down to business with
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard
Neu delivering their opening remarks during a Power
Brunch. Schwartz used the occasion to highlight a
new personal crusade he has undertaken to out reverse
domain name hijackers.
A Brazilian attorney
named Marcio Mello Chaves, who was involved in a failed attempt
to hijack one of Schwartz's domains, SaveMe.com,
became the reverse hijacking poster boy with
Schwartz plastering his face in the most visible
locations throughout the conference area. Schwartz
promised those who attempt to steal domains in
similar fashion in the future can expect to have
their exploits widely publicized as well - both in
the real world and online where they will never be
right: Conference Co-Founder Rick Schwartz
delivers his opening remarks at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
2012 at a podium decked out with a poster
of reverse domain name hijacker Marcio
Mello Chaves whom Schwartz kept a bright
spotlight on throughout the show.
The show's first
business session followed - a Meeting of the
Chiefs featuring eight industry leaders on the
dais offering their views on the current Health
of the Industry.
Monday morning (Oct. 8) Health of the Industry
panel featured (left to right):
Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Ted
Olson (Afternic), Brad Lemire (Sedo),
(DomainAdvisors), moderator Howard Neu,
investor Chris Hartnett, John Ferber
(Domain Holdings), Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com)
and Steve Cheatham (JuiceCow.com).
Next up was a session
on New gTLDs vs. .Com and other incumbent
(RightOfTheDot.com), at left, and Daniel Schindler
(Donuts.co, at right)
joined Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com) and
Michael Mann (DomainMarket.com) on a
panel that offered predictions on the fate of
impending new gTLDs Monday morning (Oct. 8).
At noon the topic
changed to How to Select Domains and Build
Profitable Websites on them with DNForum.com
owner Adam Dicker
(at right in the photo below) dispensing a lot
of great advice while fielding questions from interviewer Michael
Cyger of DomainSherpa.com
Dicker's advice created
a great deal of positive buzz that may have
helped prompt his decision to launch a new video
blog after the show at TheArtOfTheName.com
where anyone can access many of the valuable tips he
provided at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012 (as well as
many new ones).
Dicker was followed by
keynote speaker Declan Dunn who was also a
fount of money-making knowledge. The well-known
author presented a ton of tried and true marketing
ideas that fit his theme - Net Proifts: How to
Win the Internet Game.
speaker Declan Dunn
After a nice buffet
lunch break it was time for T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s live
domain auction. This would prove to be the only
disappointment of show week. Though a high
percentage of listings were sold, the total
value of those sales came in around $100,000
(some additional sales from the auction list were
made after the conference closed). All
conferences have had less than scintillating auction
sales in recent years, a situation that has prompted
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. to try a number of different
approaches to re-ignite the excitement and more
importantly, the sales results, that live auctions
used to produce. Odds are you will see their formula
tweaked again for the Las Vegas show late next
from the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Live Domain Auction Monday,
Oct. 8, 2012
After the auction the
business day closed with one of T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s
perennial favorites - the Speed Networking event.
The fast moving format gives every participants a
chance to make a large number of valuable contacts
in a short period of time (75 minutes for this
from the busy T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Speed Networking
session Monday (Oct. 8, 2012)
With business out of
the way it was time to play and the Official
Traffic Party, hosted by DomainMarket.com,
provided ample opportunity to do that why a high
flying event in the revolving rooftop
restaurant and night club at Pier 66 that ran well
Founder Michael Mann and his fiancée
Tiffany Reynolds joined
DomainMarket executives Chad Bennett and Sonia
Martinez Doubet in welcoming guests
to the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012 Party the
company sponsored Monday night, Oct. 8.
a special surprise a top notch Elvis impersonator
showed up at midnight much to the
delight of Above.com's Nancy Bianchi and
LegalBrandMarketing.com's Braden Pollock.
not easy to top Elvis, but two popular CEO's,
NameMedia's Kelly Conlin and
Oversee.net's Debra Domeyer did it by showing
The King some flashy moves of their own!
The final day of
business, Tuesday (Oct. 9), opened with another
annual show highlight, the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards
brunch. This year's brunch was sponsored by Frank
Schilling's companies - InternetTraffic.com
and DomainNameSales.com - and Frank was there to
unveil an exciting new iPhone platform that is
drawing rave reviews from clients who say it is
helping them better manage negotiations and
accelerate sales (you can download the app from Apple's
app store - just Search "domainnamesales.com").
You can also
see a video with more details on how it works here.
Schilling wowed attendees with his company's new
iPhone based sales platform.
presentation and a brief talk that I gave detailing
the latest sales trends in the domain
aftermarket, it was time to recognize this
year's Award Winners. The envelopes please...
New Monetizing Solution - DomainPower.com.
Accepting the Award from
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz (far left)
and Howard Neu (far right) were
was DomainPower's Chad Folkening and John Ferber (2nd
and 3rd from left).
Overall Domain Solution - Sedo.com.
Accepting the Award from T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Co-Founders Rick Schwartz (far left) and Howard Neu
(far right) was Sedo's Brad
Lemire (2nd from left). Each T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Award winner was announced by a member
of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Domain Hall of Fame. Monte Cahn
(3rd from left) announced Sedo's honor.
Domain Blog - DomainSherpa.com. Accepting
from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and
was DomainSherpa.com Founder Michael Cyger (center).
Get It" Award
- SalesForce.com. Accepting the Award
from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder
Howard Neu on behalf of SalesForce.com was Ari
of the Year
- Alan Dunn (DomainHoldings.com).
Hall of Fame Member Frank Schilling (left)
announced that Alan Dunn (center)
won the Award presented by T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Co-Founder Rick Schwartz (right).
of the Year
- Dave Evanson (Sedo.com). T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Schwartz ( left) and Howard Neu (right) presented
Sedo's Dave Evanson with the Award.
of the Year
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz (
and Howard Neu (right) presented Escrow.com's
Andee Hill with the Award.
Berkens Goodwill Ambassador Award - Michael
& Judi Berkens. This new award was
created in memory of Michael and Judi Berken's
beloved Yorkie Bandit who passed away earlier
this year. Bandit warmly greeted hundreds of
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees over the years making the
Good Will Award in his name especially appropriate.
It was also appropriate that friendly South
Floridians Michael & Judi (between
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz
and Howard Neu above) were the first recipients
of the annual award.
of the Year
- Frank Schilling. T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Co-Founders Rick Schwartz ( left)
and Howard Neu (right) presented Frank Schilling
(center) with the prestigious
Domainer of the Year Award making him the first
three time winner of the honor.
Hall of Fame (two
new members are elected each year)- Chad
Folkening and Michael
Mann. The grand
finale of the 2012 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards
was the announcement of this year's inductees into
the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Domain Hall of Fame. The
honor went to Chad Folkening (left) and Michael
After the awards
ceremony there was a break that gave attendees time to visit the
in the exhibit hall to check out the latest
developments at many of the industry's leading
was one of the many sponsors set up in the exhibit
hall to meet T.R.A.F.F.I.C. guests. Representing
the world's leading registrar were (left to right): Brad
Larson, Joe Styler, Alan Crowe and
At noon it was time to
head back to the meeting rooms for the first of
three afternoon sessions that would close the final
business day. Things got started with a session
on Monetizing Your Domains in Different Ways for 2013
Monetizing Your Domains in Different Ways
panel included (left to right on the dais in the photo
above): Chad Folkening (DomainPower.com), Braden
Morgan Linton (MorganLinton.com)
and Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com).
advice on How to Turn a Category Leading Domain Name
into a Category Leading Business was provided by three
experts in the the development and monetization of
financial and business related domains.
to right) BankRate.com VPs Hanno Damm
and Michael Ricciardelli, moderator
Howard Neu and Sean Sullivan of BankAds.com
at the session devoted to building a category
After a deli
lunch break, it was time for the grand finale - a
second Meeting of the Chiefs with some interesting
perspectives on What the Future Looks Like from Here
in Domaining and Beyond.
afternoon's Meeting of the Chiefs
featured (left to right): Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com),
Adam Dicker (DNForum.com), John Ferber
Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Dr. Chris
Hartnett, Ammar Kubba (Thought
Convergence), Jeff Gabriel (DomainAdvisors.com)
and Daniel Law (RookMedia.net)
session completed the business side of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012
there was still a lot of networking left do and fun to
be had that started with the Closing Celebration
featuring wide array of desserts, coffee, beer and
2012 attendees got in another round of networking,
along with some
great coffee, desserts, beer and wine at the show's Closing
Party Tuesday night (Oct. 9).
as T.R.A.F.F.I.C. veterans know, even the Closing
Party is not the end! As soon as the official party
wound down, the crowd headed to a suite at the top of
the Ritz where PPX International Chairman Gregg McNair
hosted yet another of his famous late night DomainAdvisors.com
parties. For people who figure they can always sleep
when they get home, these lively informal events are
always a treat and they play a key role in making and
maintaining friendships with industry
closing event at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. (and we mean it this
time!) is the traditional Farewell Breakfast that was
help Wednesday morning (Oct. 10). The Ritz laid out a
fabulous spread and everyone who was still in town
spent the morning hopping from table to table sharing
laughs, stories and hugs before saying their final
goodbyes (at least until 2013 when a new, streamlined
and supercharged show cycle begins).
though he was running on just a couple of hours of
sleep after hosting a DomainAdvisors.com
party in his suite that ran into the wee hours of
Wednesday morning, PPX International Chairman
Gregg McNair (left) was bright eyed and bushy
tailed when I greeted the domain industry's answer
to the Energizer Bunny at the Farewell
Breakfast that morning.
Co-Founder Rick Schwartz (hands clasped at
right) anchored one the many tables
at the Farewell Breakfast Wednesday Oct. 10
that brought T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012 to a
to right) Kimberly Howard, Barbara Neu
& Ray Dillman Neu were also on hand
to send guests off with a full stomach and a smile
after the Farewell Breakfast.
As always we
left T.RA.F.F.I.C. with a great appreciation for the
tremendous work and hospitality that Rick
Schiwartz, Howard Neu, their wives Barbara &
Alina, along with Ray Neu,
Kimberley Howard and everyone else on the
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. team put into making sure their guests
had a great experience. They've never wavered from the
formula they established in 2004 and that's why they
are still at as 2012 comes to a close and we look
forward to a new year with a great deal of optimism,
excitement and gratitude that we are in the business
we are in.