The 2010 GeoDomain
Expo enjoyed a successful run at the historic Roosevelt
Hotel in the heart of New Orleans April 28-30.
Geodomain developers from around the U.S., Canada
and beyond converged in the Big Easy for the annual
event staged by Associated
Cities (a global association of .com city
geodomain owners). Don Jones and Bill Hammack,
the partners who own and operate AC member NewOrleans.com,
served as gracious hosts for the conference and thanked
attendees for coming back to a truly unique city that
has staged a remarkable comeback since being devastated
during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
We provided some daily show photos and highlights
while the event was underway in these posts in our Lowdown section:
||However when the show is going on, the busy
schedule doesn't leave time to provide detailed information
on individual sessions nor to edit and post a lot of the great photos
taken during the week. To remedy that situation and tie everything
together in one tidy package for posterity, we have put
together this comprehensive review article.
The show began Wedneasday night (April 28) with a welcoming cocktail party
in the famous Blue Room at the Roosevelt (a landmark
luxury hotel that recently completed a $145 million renovation
that restored it to its former glory after it had been shut
down following Katrina). In its heyday the stage in the Blue
Room was graced by music legends ranging from Frank
Sinatra to Louis Armstrong to Ray Charles.
the photo above Diana Jackson and Bob Olea in
the Roosevelt Hotel's Blue Room as a jazz trio plays
from the stage behind them at the GeoDomain Expo's
opening night cocktail party.
- part of the crowd gathered in the Blue Room for the
start on the 2010 conference.
Faces in the crowd opening night (Left to right) - Patrick
Ruddell (ChefPatrick.com), Ammar Kubba (Thought
Convergence Inc.), Don Lyons (Moniker.com) and Patrick
Carleton (Associated Cities)
Dan Pulcrano (Boulevards New Media) and Caroline
in the Blue Room Wednesday night (April 28),
got down to business Thursday morning (April 29) when
Hammack (at left
below) and Don
Jones (at right
below) kicked off the
day by welcoming attendees to the their city.
Part of the crowd on the opening business day at the 2010
New Orleans City Council President
also heard from the President of the New Orleans City
Council, Arnie Fielkow, who expressed the city's
appreciation for being chosen to host the conference.
He urged attendees to spread the word that New Orleans is
open for business and is welcoming visitors with open arms.
Having spent a delightful week there (we arrived a few days
before the show began so we could spend some time exploring
New Orleans) we can back Mr. Fielkow up 100% on that.
the Expo's first business session Thursday morning a panel
featuring Dan Pulcrano (Boulevards New Media), Sean
Smyth (Groupon), Tony Wills (AllMenus.com) and
Alisa Cromer (LocalMediaInsider.com) covered various
ways local media sites can compete against national sites
that have a local focus like TripAdvisor, Yelp!
and others. Ms. Cromer wrote about one solution, City
in a Box, in a column she wrote from the Expo
for her website. She also published another interesting
article from the show titled What's
in a name: Domain strategies for local media companies
that is worth checking out.
Media Vs. the Nationals panel featuring (left to
right): Tony Wills,
Alisa Cromer, Sean Smyth and Dan Pulcrano.
Next up the Castello
Brothers, Michael and David (Castello
Cities Internet Network) discussed Maximizing Geo Brand
Traffic Revenue. A lot of local advertisers use Google
AdWords to promote their businesses and the Castello
Brothers have come up with a formula to show those advertisers
that they can deliver the same amount of traffic from their
local sites like PalmSprings.com and Nashville.com
for less than a third of what it costs to buy traffic
through Google AdWords.
David said CCIN builds
a splash page for each client that appears on their local site
(a page that often gains its own high ranking in Google's
search results). They sell their ads at a flat rate but
are able to show advertisers that Hyatt, for example,
wound up paying just $1 a click from PalmSprings.com
while the cost per click through Google Ad Words ranged from $2.56
to $3.31. As David said, "When the advertisers see
that advertising with us is a no brainer."
(left) and David Castello of Castello
Cities Internet Network
provide tips on Maximizing Geo Brand Traffic Revenue
the Thursday luncheon I gave a media person's view of the prospects
for the geodomain industry. I reiterated something I have said a
number of times in the past - that I think .com geodomain owners are
perfectly positioned to reap huge benefits from the migration
of advertising money from traditional media to the web.
lunch Fred Mercaldo
of Scottsdale.com and Cathy Maddox of NewOrleans.com kicked
off a series of afternoon sessions with a seminar on Creative
Maddox (left) and Fred Mercaldo discuss Creative Local
Maddox detailed the many ways that NewOrleans.com drives traffic to
their site, including sponsoring and promoting community events,
media partnerships with local radio, TV and print outlets and
creative advertising included NewOrleans.com logos and artwork on
smart cars and special contests.
Cities Co-Founder Josh Metnick
of Chicago.com speaking during the
Social Media and GeoDomains Session
|A session on Hotel Marketing
followed featuring Chad Montgomery of Expedia.com, Bill
Marbach of GetARoom.com and Rob Kazmierski of
Advanced Reservations Systems.
The topic the switched to Social Media and
GeoDomains with Patrick Ruddell (ChefPatrick.com),
Courtney LeClair (ZCO Corp.), Josh Metnick (Chicago.com),
Jim Smith (Sobiz10) and Marian Mariathason
(Sobiz10) on the dais for that seminar.
The panelists emphasized the importance of using social
media channels like Facebook and Twitter to
promote your business. People have become used to having
two-way communications with the people they do business with
so you don't want to be left behind in the obsolete world of
The first day of business closed
with Don Jones of NewOrleans.com and Davis Asplund
of ZCO Corporation offering discussing why the explosion of
mobile devices is making it critical for you to Mobilize
With the business out of the way,
it was time for some fun with a night out at the famous Tipitina's
night club in the French Quarter. A New Orleans jazz
band led attendees on a procession from the hotel down Canal
Street and into the Quarter for a special evening that
included a buffet of traditional New Orleans dishes
including jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo and po boy
local jazz band leads GeoDomain Expo attendees on a
Canal Street to Tipitina's night club Thursday
night (April 29).
Tipitina's, Chef Patrick (front right) alerts a group
attendees that they are on Candid Camera.
in the crowd at Tipitina's included Cathy Hoagland and
Co-Founder Skip Hoagland of Domains New Media.
On Friday morning
(April 30), some of the early risers visited booths in the
exhibition area before heading into the conference hall for
the day's first business session.
Expo attendees visit the Local.com booth.
|The final day of the Expo
Friday opened with Ari Bayme (ModernCapital.com)
and Kim Mac Leod (Regional Media Advisors)
conducting a seminar on Finding the Exit Door -
Cashing Out Now or Later. They provided
valuable tips on partnership and development deals as
well as maximizing the value of your site should you
decide to put it on the market.
Bayme offered three rules be believes everyone
should follow before agreeing to a joint venture or
development deal: 1) Do not let go of your
domain, 2) Define development precisely and 3)
if it goes on your page it is yours.
Ari and Kim
were followed by Bruce Marler (Missouri.me
Network), Fred Mercaldo (Scottsdale.com) and Vic
Chabra (Chitika.com) who took part in a panel
discussion on Developing Any City - how
to make the most of any local geodomain asset. In this
session Mercaldo detailed how the City in a Box
solution that he developed (and that we referred to
earlier in this article) can speed up development of
any city geodomain.
ICA Legal Counsel
At the noon lunch
break the Internet
Commerce Association's Legal Counsel Phil
Corwin brought attendees up to date on ICANN
policy issues and legal threats to domain owners. A
few months ago it appeared that the ICA might disband
due to lack of financial support from the domain
community but thanks to generous donations from a
handful of companies and individual domain owners, the
organization was able to re-organize and allow Corwin,
who is based in Washington, D.C., to continue
doing his valuable work on behalf of the industry.
After lunch it was time for
the Expo's keynote address, delivered by GetARoom.com
Co-Founder David Litman. Previously Litman
co-founded Hotels.com and grew the company from
a $1,200 initial investment into a corporation
that sold in 2003 with a valuation of $5.5 billion!
The theme of Litman's talk was Conservative
Entrepreneurship - ways to build a business
with minimal risk.
Litman put a heavy emphasis
on being frugal
controlling expenses. His cardinal rules for running a
business include 1) Don't waste, 2) Don't spend unless
you have to, 3) If you spend, spend as little as you
can, 4) Make sure whatever you spend pays for itself
in a short period of time and 5) Know your down side,
don't limit upside.
Co-Founder David Litman delivering his keynote
The Expo closed with a pair of
afternoon business seminars. In the first Jessica Bookstaff
(eDestinations) and Sara Mannix (Mannix Marketing)
offered tips on Creating a Unique GeoDomain Image.
Jessica's company operates PigeonForge.com and Durango.com
while Sara's firm runs a number of successful geodomain sites
in upstate New York including LakeGeorge.com and
Bookstaff (left) and Sara Mannix offered
on Creating a Unique GeoDomain Image
Pauganan (Local.com) taking part in
a panel discussion on Building Your Local
Business Directory that closed the Expo.
|In the closing session, NewOrleans.com
Co-Owner Don Jones moderated a panel devoted to
Building Your Local Business Directory.
The panelists were James Chubb (eDirectory), Dawn
Paduganan (Local.com) and Doyal Bryant
(Universal Business Listings).
With Yellow Pages rapidly losing business to
the Internet, the panelists pointed out the enormous
opportunity geodomain operators have to profit from
online business listings. Their companies are all
involved in offering services to help website
operators do that. Jones, who has a background in the
Yellow Pages business, noted that local print
directories in many markets saw their revenue plunge
25% in the last full year reported.
Ms. Paguganan's company, Local.com,
currently powers directory listings on Atlanta.com,
SanFrancisco.com and Portland.com to
name just a few. She noted that one of the most
attractive features of their platform is that it costs
the site owner nothing to implement.
Attendees were left
with plenty to think about when the curtain came down on the
2010 GeoDomain Expo, but before heading home to put what they
learned into action, many stayed over to join other showgoers
for a Friday night
dinner at celebrity chef Donald Link's Cochon Restaurant
- a New Orleans hot spot famous for its Cajun food (Link was
on hand and autographed copies of his Real Cajun
cookbook for guests who wanted to take copy home).
of the three tables filled by GeoDomain Expo attendees
at a closing night dinner
Friday (April 20) at the Cochon Restaurant in New
This was the fourth straight year I
have attended the GeoDomain Expo and it has never failed to please.
If you have an interest in developing domains, this is a show
you be at when it comes around again in 2011.