Moniker would no longer have a monopoly
on the show's live domain auction as two additional providers, RickLatona.com
and Aftermarket.com, were added to the mix to give buyers and
sellers more options. The conference focus would change from PPC to
a new theme, "Beyond PPC", that resulted in new speakers
talking about fresh topics. More networking opportunities were built
into the schedule and the show itself moved to a new venue in Brooklyn,
across the river from more glamorous Manhattan where last
year's New York show was held.
gave the Brooklyn Bridge
Marriott high marks.
|Some thought that move alone would sink the
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. ship. It didn't. Attendance was up strongly
from the May
show in Orlando, jumping more than 50% to
350. Broadway and Times Square were a
little further away, but that would up being a positive
thing in many ways. More attendees stayed in the comfortable
Marriott rather than dispersing to various downtown
attractions. That produced better attendance at the
seminars, networking sessions and social events - making all
of those functions livelier and more productive than they
have been in cities that offer a multitude of distractions
that pull people away. The astonishing array of gourmet food
and drink served throughout the week also insured that show
goers had no complaints about moving to a new borough in the
In short, Schwartz and Neu shook the dice harder than
they ever have before and rolled another seven. The
|worked and the T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
franchise was reinvigorated as a result. In the rest of this
review we'll take you through conference week hour by hour
to show you how they did it.
As always a welcoming cocktail party kicked
things off Tuesday evening (Sept. 23) at 6pm. The first thing you
noticed, especially since the downturn in the general economy left
questions about how many people would spend the time and money to
make the trek to New York, was the sizeable crowd already engaged in
animated conversation across the ballroom. The next thing you
noticed were the serving stations piled high with lobster tails,
giant shrimp, rich desserts and all manner or delightful delicacies
- a remarkable culinary cornucopia, even by T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s lofty
At 7:30pm, while attendees were still enjoying
their opening night feast, the first of the week's four live domain
auctions got underway in the same room. This was an abbreviated no
or low reserve auction that Moniker served up as an appetizer for
their main auction event that would follow two days later. The short
inventory list produced close to $100,000 in sales and gave
attendees a little taste of the live auction atmosphere that would
be a bigger part of this week than ever before.
At 9pm, industry companies were free to stage
their own private events around town. NameMedia's
soiree at Brooklyn's scenic River Cafe drew the biggest
crowd. The restaurant sits at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge and
offers a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline across the East
of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge from
NameMedia's opening night party at the River Cafe in Brooklyn.
The venue also presented a striking dichotomy
between two different worlds. Within view, just across the river, Wall
Street was in complete free fall, the center of a near meltdown
in the general economy. Yet in this little cafe a stone's throw
away, unbeknownst to the outside world, was gathered a small group
of visionary people whose businesses were still thriving -
people who were perfectly positioned to benefit mightily from the
growth of the most powerful mass communications medium ever devised
- the Internet.
No wonder the mood at this event (and all of
the others held during show week) was so upbeat. The
sentiment I heard spoken more than any other was how incredibly
fortunate we are to be in this business at this time in history.
|Rick Schwartz echoed this theme the next
morning (Wednesday, Sept. 24) when he and Neu kicked off the
first full day of the show with their traditional welcoming
address. "There is no doubt that we are at the
epicenter of history in the making," Schwartz
said. "All the titans of business across the street are
crumbling and here this little tiny group of domainers is
becoming the next generation of "real estate"
barons in the world. Domains may turn out to be the safest
asset in the world. You can control them from anywhere in
the world at any time - you don't have to wait for the bank
to open - you can move them on whim. They produce income and
if you have good ones, the value is rising. So we have a lot
to be thankful for," Schwartz noted.
A lot of cool promotional items are always handed out at
conferences, but when it comes to unique swag, you would be
hard pressed to top the limited edition Rick Schwartz
bobblehead dolls that attendees received Wednesday
morning. The dolls were manufactured by domainer Warren
Royal who runs a bobblehead business at Bobbleheads.com
(now that's the kind of category killing name any domainer
would appreciate!). Royal handed out 250 of the dolls at no
charge to attendees. They can also be purchased through his
site for $19.95.
Schwartz - The Domain King
Bobblehead doll from Bobbleheads.com
Schwartz and Warren Royal (Bobbleheads.com) with
the Schwartz bobblehead doll.
The first seminar of the show got underway at
10:30am with Richard Chavez (Senior SEO manager for iCrossing),
Vaibhav Arya (CTO for Skenzo) and Jamie MacMillan
(Linkshare.com) discussing search engine optimization
techniques and ways to optimize your domains for maximum returns.
With interest in domain development increasing, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. plans
to make SEO, content creation and affiliate programs and a larger
part of their mix. This session was a step in that
panel (L to R): Richard Chavez, Vaibhav Arya and
Another twist, domain trading (as an
alternative to buying or selling names), was explored in the next
session at 11:30 hosted by Loren Stocker who holds a
portfolio of 4,000 domains. Though names were not traded during this
session, Stocker explained how trading can help portfolio owners
work together in a mutually beneficial way to fill in gaps in their
own collections. He invited attendees to contact him through DomTrader.org
where a form is available to list the kinds of domains you are
looking for and those you have available for trade.
sponsored the noon luncheon where one of their clients, John
Nguyen, CEO of Tightrope Interactive, spoke about
how Sendori's platform matching domain owners directly with
advertisers had helped his online marketing firm secure
highly targeted domain traffic that has produced excellent
results for his clients.
Sendori CEO Ofer Ronen then
joined leaders from five other companies that also offer new
domain monetization solutions for a session that featured a
brief "elevator pitch" from each company
representative. In addition to Ronen, the dais featured Peter
TJ Demas (E8.com),
Mark Michael (EVOLanding.com),
John Moran (Miva)
and Kindha Gorman (MightyThink.com).
You can explore what those companies offer through the
company links next to their names, with
|the exception of E8.com who has
not yet posted details of their program. Demas, who has been
buying up numerical domains this year, hinted that he had a
time saving solution in the works. He was there to start
building name recognition for E8.com with details to follow
in the months ahead.
Attendees also had a chance to meet
representatives from many other domain industry companies face to
face in the conference exhibit area. Many of those companies told me
that this was one of the best shows they have had with respect to
establishing new customer relationships.
Richard and Christoph at the Nic.at booth
Leggett, Jothan Frakes, Wayne Wheat and Bari
Meyerson at the Moniker booth
Kesmodel also appeared in the exhibit area Wednesday to
sign copies of his widely acclaimed book, The Domain Game.
At 1:30pm, RickLatona.com
became the first company other than Moniker to present a live
auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Latona made he most of the opportunity by
bringing in 2008 world champion livestock auctioneer Matt Lowery
and his crew of spotters to run this sale. They wound up booking
over $700,000, creating an impressive splash in the live
auction pool for Latona, who plans to run another auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Down Under in Australia Nov. 18-20.
In this auction, Latona's top sales were MCC.com
at $195,000, CountryClubs.com at $85,000 and DayTraders.com
at $80,000. You can see a complete list of their results on Dominik
Mueller's domain blog (as well as results from all of
the other T.R.A.F.F.I.C. live auctions).
Preston Smith (left), Auctioneer Matt Lowery (at the
and Rick Latona (right) at the RickLatona.com live
After the Latona auction, a seven-man panel took
the stage in the conference room to talk about alternatives to
domain parking - finding a way for domainers who rely on PPC to free
themselves from dependence on Google and Yahoo.
Speakers included Gregg McNair, Jamie MacMillan, Divyank
Craig Rowe (WhyPark.com),
Mike Feeley (Sendori.com), Aram Fuchs (FertileMind
Capital) and Mike "Zappy" Zapolin (InternetRealEstate.com).
|I had spent a lot of time talking
with Zapolin at the NameMedia party the night before. Zappy
and his partner, Andrew Miller, have been two of the
most successful developers of prime
Internet Reasl Estate Group
|generic domains the industry has ever seen. In
addition to being exceptionally knowledgeable, Zappy has a
positive outlook that always makes him a pleasure and
inspiration to be around. During this seminar he focused on
what an exciting time this is for our industry, even for
newcomers to the space, because of the unlimited opportunity
presented by the Internet.
Zapolin noted that currently 21% of all media is
consumed on the Internet, but only 7% of the
advertising dollars are being spent there, indicating that a
huge wave of growth is headed our way as that gap eventually
closes. "Each additional 1% is $7 Billion,
so, with Internet ad dollars expected to spike above 15% in
the next few years that's another $50 Billion coming
online," Zapolin said.
"In order to grab your piece you only need credibility
and traffic. The more value you add for users
(development) the more of the pie you will be entitled
"Every company out their is cutting their
ad spend away from TV, Radio, Newspaper and Outdoor and they
only want to pay for performance and things they can measure,
of course this is the Internet," Zapolin added.
In another interesting
note form this session, Turakhia, who was the subject of our
Cover Story, said that contrary to popular
belief, parking companies are not profiteering at the
expense of their customers. "No one is really making a
killing," Turakhia said. "A lot of PPC companies
are actually subsidizing PPC revenue losses by covering up
10-15% of their customer's declines themselves."
Turakhia added that due to dramatically
improved parking pages that provide a better user experience
we have "already migrated to an alternative to
parking" that he calls "specialized search."
He said the most important factor in making more money from
parking is to spend the time needed to optimize your
After that seminar, it was time for Aftermarket.com's
debut live auction. The new division of Thought
Convergence (the parent company of TrafficZ) took
a different approach that
|Moniker and RickLatona.com,
focusing on a short list of 50 domains with lower reserve
prices than you usually see in live auctions. They also
brought in well-known local auctioneer Jill Doherty to
add a professional touch to their event. The end result was
just under $150,000 in sales led by Illinois.org
($31,000), MadisonAve.com ($17,000) and StayAtHome.com
from Aftermarket.com's live auction
The Wednesday night dinner featured a well
received keynote address from New York real estate legend Barbara
Corcoran, a frequent contributor to NBC's Today Show.
Corcoran was a pioneer in using the Internet to sell properties and
she credited the web for helping her build a company she went on to
sell for $70 million in 2001.
Corcoran regaled the crowd with funny
anecdotes, often sprinkling her commentary with mildly off color
language that NBC undoubtedly would have bleeped out. She told
the crowd that the often repeated story that the Dutch bought
Manhattan from the Indians for $24 worth of beads and
trinkets in 1624 was BS. In reality, she said it was the Dutch that
got taken. She said when they came upon some Indians who were
fishing in the area and offered to buy the land they accepted, but
only because they were only visiting the area and had no ownership
rights to begin with. Those Indians were typical New Yorkers!",
crowd around Barbara Corcoran after her keynote speech
With respect to domainers, Corcoran closed her
talk by saying, "How lucky you are! That this point in business
history (where everything is migrating to the web) happened in
your lifetime when you were young enough to get it. Take
advantage of what you have before you where is anything is
possible - Anything!"
Capping the night Wednesday was the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Party at Brooklyn's Water Street Lounge hosted by lead
The party ran from 10pm to 2am in the old brick-walled old pub
located on a cobblestone street near the East River. In the photo
below, a talented juggler entertains the crowd.
of the crowd at the TrafficZ Party at Brooklyn's Water
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