Journal: After making a successful debut as a conference
promoter last summer in Amsterdam, Las Vegas won't be your first
rodeo. What did you learn from that show that you think will make
your second outing even better?
In Amsterdam we didn't really know what to expect so we did
everything. More than anything, we are more focused now.
Vegas will be all about networking. There will still be nice
parties and everything that we are used to but we've really tried to
focus on the business aspects of the show. We want our customers to
have a return on their investment. It is supposed to be
profitable to attend industry events.
Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu have been the faces of T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
since the series began in 2004, but now you will take center stage.
What changes have you made to put your own personal stamp on the
Actually I'm going out of my way to not put my
personal stamp on the show. Self promotion isn't the reason
I licensed the rights in the first place. For one thing, I
don't have the time to focus on being the moderator like
Howard was. I prefer to be the promoter along with Rick and
Howard this time around. This is why we've hired Rick
Silver to be the official moderator for T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
2010. Anyone that has seen Rick speak will immediately
know that he is more than qualified. He also comes across to
me as unbiased and will be the perfect neutral party on
Again, this is not the Rick Latona
show. This is T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and it is for all of us in the
The previous T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences in Las Vegas have
been held at The Venetian. This show moves to the Hard
Rock Hotel & Casino. Tell us about the new venue and
how staging the conference there will change its overall
I love the Venetian but I hate the 30-minute walk it takes to get
from your hotel room to the conference area. Let's face facts. We
are not the type of show that will draw 5,000 attendees so why put
the show in such a large venue?
Besides being just the right size for us, the
Hard Rock is much more fun and laid back. It should appeal to
our age group more than the Venetian. It's also right in the center,
even though it is off strip. You can get anywhere in Vegas quickly
from the Hard Rock.
You solicited input from a broad range of show registrants to
see what they wanted from the conference. Tell us what you learned
from that research and if any of the feedback you got back came as a
surprise to you?
from networking session at Latona's T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Amsterdam show last June.
Rick Latona: We asked
people to choose two reasons they attend trade shows.
The options were parties, networking, location, auctions and
seminars. The overwhelming majority chose networking.
In fact, I don't think anyone didn't include networking as
one of their two.
Networking was followed by
auctions, then location, then seminars. Parties didn't get a
single vote. I'm not sure that any of the answers was
particularly surprising though I was a little startled that
parties didn't get a single vote.
One thing I immediately noticed when looking at the Las
Vegas show agenda is that no sessions will start before 12
noon. No one has done that before but I thought that it made
a lot of sense and really tailored this show to the city it
will be held in. With its many attractions Las Vegas is a
city where people tend to stay up late. Was this
scheduling change made because you are in Las Vegas or do
you plan to employ a similar schedule across all of your
All of our shows will be starting later but Vegas is particularly
late. The brunches do start before noon though and there is content
during the brunches that you won't want to miss.
One thing we learned from Amsterdam is that
many of the sponsors want to throw their own private parties. It's
also been a while since there was a show in Vegas for our industry
and I'm just anticipating late night crowds.
With respect to the agenda itself, what do you anticipate some of
the highlights will be?
Latona speaking at
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Amsterdam - June 2009
We are starting out with back to back networking events and
a cocktail party. The idea is that we want people to know
each other right away. That will pay dividends as the
Our legal panels in 2010 are going to
be very focused. We will be breaking down and analyzing
specific WIPO cases which have happened in the last
couple of months. Going to the shows and attending those
seminars will be a great way to stay up-to-date on the real
We have a lot of other noteworthy
events but another one worth mentioning here is our “Playing
the Drop Market” panel. I've yet to see such a thing
at a domain show but it is such a big part of our business.
This will be the first show where Rick
Latona Auctions will be the sole auction
provider after a couple of years where there have been
multiple auction providers at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
conferences. Do you think having one major event will
be better received than
|multiple sales have been in the
past and have you made any changes that you think will make
the upcoming sale a particularly successful one?
I don't think anyone wants to see two auctions at one show. I had
told Rick and Howard that whether they did a deal with me or not,
there should only be one auction.
That said, the auction isn't the only major
event. We have the Test Track which is main event 2. I'll
talk more about that in a bit.
With six T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows scheduled for 2010 it was inevitable
that you would bump up against conferences staged by other
companies. In this case, Oversee’s DOMAINfest
Global will follow almost immediately after
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas. Some have speculated that this will split
the potential registrant pool for both shows, while others think
having the two events back to back on the West Coast will make it
more likely that many will take in both shows because they can do it
on a single trip. Based on your early registrations what is your
take on what, if any effect, the dates are having on your event?
We realize that the dates are very close to the other shows
but we needed to do a show in January or February. Our other
alternative was to do one in Europe but that would
have been even harder for people. What if you had to do Milan,
L.A. AND New Orleans in three weeks? In the
end, we decided to do west coast and right next to Oversee's
event so people could go to one, have a day off then drive
or fly to the other.
One of the big events on the agenda, Test Track, provides an
people seeking capital for their businesses to throw their best pitch
to potential investors. Let’s close by hearing more about
that as well as your "elevator pitch" for
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas and why this specific show is one that
people are not going to want to miss?
With Test Track we are creating an environment where real
entrepreneurs are pitching their businesses to real
investors. We expect deals to happen. As for my
Rock Hotel - Las Vegas
will host T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Jan. 21-23.
pitch, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. remains the industry's event. All of the record breaking
auctions have happened at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. events. We all met
at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. events. The face of our industry is
Thank you for your time. It is not too late for those who want to
attend T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas to register.
We will be there to cover it of course. Look for daily updates from
the show in our Lowdown
section as well as a comprehensive conference review article that
will be published after the show ends.