Also during this session, Dr. John Berryhill gave the
presentation, a Case Law Review, that had to be postponed
from the previous day due to a delay in getting to the Gold Coast.
On a key current issue, the state of Kentucky's attempt to
claim jurisdiction over domain names and confiscate ones they don't
want their citizens seeing (gambling domains in the case that is
currently underway), Berryhill said he believed the final decision
will go the domain owners' way. Regarding the new TLDs ICANN intends
to start rolling out next year Berryhill forecast it would be a
trademark attorney's nightmare and added that you can expect
implementation to be delayed by at least five months while the Department
of Commerce (who oversees ICANN) waits for new political
appointees to be put in place.
In a related note, in a November
19 post in our Lowdown section I showed a comical
picture of a waylaid traveler making an unscheduled pit stop en
route to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under. I asked people to guess who it
was and said the answer would be revealed in this article. As many
accurately surmised, it was none other than Dr. Berryhill.
Web Development was next up on the agenda with the second
Wednesday morning session featuring Craig Rowe (WhyPark.com)
saying Content Is King Again, Ron James (NamePros.com
founder) talking about Products & Services: Build, Buy or
Outsource and Ryan Steel (SEO Specialist, aeiou.com)
demystifying Search Engine Optimization.
Development Panel (left to right): Ryan Steel, Craig
Rowe and Ron James
Rowe ran through the pluses and minuses of each of the various
content sources developers can use in building sites, including RSS
Feeds, Affiliate Content & Product Databases, Creative Commons,
Licensed Content, User Generated Content, creating Unique Content
and utilizing Authority Content. James covered the various kinds of
sites that can be built, off the shelf development software
solutions and consideration involved in tackling custom development.
After a lunch break Wotif.com founder Graeme Wood
delivered the show's second keynote address. Wood was a perfect
follow-up to the previous conversation on development as he detailed
how he overcame all of the odds to build Wotif.com into a travel
industry powerhouse that drew over 40 million visitors last
year and that now employs over 400 people worldwide.
Wood originally wanted WhatIf.com but was unable to reach
the owner of that domain, despite going so far as hiring a private
detective to try (unsuccessfully) to find him. He wound up settling
on the sound alike Wotif.com and made it work. Wood said that while a good
domain name can certainly help a business, content and customers
still matter most in the long run. "A viable business model has
to come before the domain name," Wood said and as much
as we all love domain names there are certainly plenty of case
histories (Pets.com anyone?) that back him up.
The afternoon seminar schedule opened with Monetization
Alternatives, a session that featured Robert Tomkinson
|Director, Shopping.com) on Is Commerce Content?,
Matt Bateman (COO, Commission Monster) with Hot Leads, Cool
Profits and Chris Bayley (Director, Domain Partners)
with a presentation titled Monetize a Domain, build a Brand, or
create a Business?
Managing Director, Shopping.com
With so many shopping platforms offering to let developers
integrate their product offerings into new websites, I found
Tomkinson's list of recommendations especially interesting. He
suggested that domain developers do the following:
- Add commerce to your monetization strategy, especially for
commerce-related domain names.
- Partner with top tier companies that are able to offer
- Look for a robust, flexible API, widgets/graphics, reporting
- Combine content with AdSense for better user experience,
search engine compliance and greater monetization potential.
- Complement with unique content for greater SEO payments.
After a break for tea, the final Wednesday seminar, Asset
Sales, brought John Mauriello (Domain Sales Specialist, Moniker.com),
Jackson Hopkins (CTO, Domain Distribution Network)
Richard Moore (CEO, Dark Blue Sea) to the dais.
Mauriello talked about domain Valuation, Hopkins dissected
the Sales Channel and Moore explained Financial Modeling.
Sales Panel (left to right): John Mauriello, Jackson
Hopkins and Richard Moore
Mauriello pointed out that despite the recession in the general
economy, the domain aftermarket is holding its own. He noted that
the average sale price at live domain auctions conducted by his
company and its Oversee.net sister company SnapNames.com
has been $20,000 in 2008, a significant increase over the $16,000
average they posted in their 2007 live auctions. He added that
anecdotal evidence shows fewer domainer to domainer sales at
wholesale prices while higher ticket retail sales to end users are
|Hopkins broke down the various aspects of domain value noting
that his company looks at over 50 different data points to arrive at what
they believe is fair market value for a domain. Moore, who is CEO of
the parent company of Fabulous.com (and their Domain Distribution
Network), said that as of six months ago domain sales had begun
producing more revenue for the company
| than PPC. That dovetails with my own experience this
year which has been my
year ever (with small business end users representing almost 100% of
my buyers). My sales revenue is far outstripping (and easily
offsetting) the PPC revenue decline that I, like most others, have seen. That underlines one of the most attractive aspects of
owning domain names - they can produce income in multiple ways so
that if one method is down another can pick up the slack and keep
overall revenue on an even keel.
That session concluded Wednesday's business agenda and opened the
door for a gala evening dinner that included "Domain
Stories" from DigiMedia President Jay Chapman and Dark Blue Sea
Partner Manager Jen Sale. Both talked about how their
companies added value to great generic domain names to produce
either an outstanding profit upon sale (as in Sale's case history of
BedroomFurniture.com) or increasing the flow of revenue to developed properties
they intend to keep (as DigiMedia has done with sites they built
and continue to operate on FantasyFootball.com, Jerky.com
That was followed by a charity auction (run by RickLatona.com's
auctioneers) that produced over $18,000 for the ICA,
the non-profit domain industry trade association. The top sales were
BodybuildingProducts.com at $5,200 (purchased by
T.R.A..F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu) and MovingCosts.com
at $5,000 (purchased by Darren Cleveland of the Recall
Media Group). Both of those domains were donated by show
Howard Hoffman of PPCIncome.com was also very active
in the auction. In addition to donating a name that sold for $1,000
(FreeRangeFoods.com), Hoffman purchased two domains.
auction raised funds for the Internet Commerce Association
The evening was capped off by a great comedy/magic show staged by
Australian entertainer Matt Hollywood. Dan Warner (Fabulous.com),
Ren Warmuz (Trellian.com) and Ammar Kubba (Thought Convergence) were
among those Hollywood pulled out of the crowd and made part of the
show - invariably with hilarious results.
comedian/magician Matt Hollywood has some fun with Ammar
The final business day Thursday (Nov. 20) got started bright and
early (8:30am local time) with a live domain auction conducted by Aftermarket.com.
With Australian auctioneer Chris Norris calling the action
(as he did in the RickLatona.com auctions as well) Aftermarket.com
rang up sales totaling approximately $165,000. The top sales
were Saws.com at $52,000 and Camera.co.uk at $35,000.
Several local .com.au ccTLD domains were also
sold, led by Jeweller.com.au at $9,200.
from the Aftermarket.com Live Auction Thursday (Nov. 20).
While the stage was being reset for the RickLatona.com
live auction that would follow, attendees headed for lunch where
they were also treated to the final informational session of the
conference, one devoted to the New gTLD Domains that ICANN
plans to start rolling out next year. The speakers were Page Howe
(President, Digital Brands) with a presentation titled Hype
or Hyper?, Edmon Chung (CEO, DotAsia Organisation)
on Intellectual Property Issues and Jothan Frakes (Senior
Director of Strategy, Moniker/SnapNames) exploring whether or
not the new gTLD process was A Loaded Deck?
Howe advises those interested in opening a new gTLD registry to
Howe's animated and entertaining presentation was a
real crowd pleaser. Having personally gone through the ICANN
application meat grinder at great expense with his .kids
project in 2000, Howe met with only frustration and heartbreak along the
way. It is a cautionary story you should hear in its entirety before
you commit the non-refundable $185,000 application fee (plus $75,000
annual renewal fees) that a new gTLD registry operator will have to
For those who still insist on making the plunge, Chung offered
some tips based on what his company learned in their successful
rollout of .asia. Frakes, who is one of the most
knowledgeable people in the business on ICANN affairs, laid out when
and how the introduction of new gTLDs is scheduled to go as well as
very useful information for those who intend to pursue a TLD of
their own. Fabulous.com indicated video from many of the conference
presentations will eventually be posted online. If that happens, all
three of the presentations in this session should be required
viewing for anyone planning to play the gTLD lottery next year.
After lunch it was back to the auction hall for the
RickLatona.com event. It racked up over $413,000 in sales.
Latona told me that was consistent with their pre-show projections
so he was happy with the outcome. His list was led by a pair of $150,000
|and SanJuan.com. Latona
also emphasized local .com.au domains and sold
several including History.com.au
($8,500), StockExchange.com.au ($7,500) and Snowboards.com.au
Chris Norris runs the RickLatona.com Live
Auction while Latona (center)
monitors bids coming in from the Internet.
The Latona auction marked the end of business for T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Down Under but there was still a ton of fun dead ahead. Right after
the auction and a change of clothes, attendees walked across the
street to the Mirage Marina to board a large party boat that
took them on a 40-minute cruise to a beautiful tropical island that
would be the site of an amazing afternoon and evening celebration.
boarding party boat.
route to the island
at McLaren's Landing
the island and ready for adventure!
Once everyone was ashore they could enjoy helicopter and jet boat rides,
parasailing, swimming or
just hanging out around the tiki bars talking and having a good
Domainers climb on board for helicopter tours of the island.
Below: Others strap themselves in for a jet boat ride across the
After night fell there was a terrific performance by a native
Aboriginal dance troupe. They must have been doing a rain dance at
one point because a ferocious rain storm blew up out of nowhere that
sent people scrambling for cover.
Merlin Kaufmann, Dan Warner and Howard Neu
the native dancers invitation to show off their moves!
Spirits were not dampened by the rain and the storm
passed while attendees were enjoying a sumptuous buffet dinner.
When the evening wound down and party goers
headed back to the dock for the cruise home they were
surprised and delighted by a major fireworks show that put a
perfect exclamation point on a great day Down Under.
on Page 3:
Learn to Surf (this time it's in the sea, not on the
Cutting Edge: See a group of domainers giving up their
hair for a good cause.
encounters with Australian wildlife at one of the
world's top animal sanctuaries.
more great photos you won't want to miss.
to Page 3