Scenic Vancouver, British Columbia provided a
perfect setting for the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
conference ever held in Canada. The landmark show was
staged June 8-10, 2010 at the Renaissance
Vancouver Harbourside Hotel that directly
overlooks the city's spectacularly beautiful Coal Harbour.
Vancouver was an appropriate location not only for its
natural beauty but also because the city has produced some
of the most successful domain investors of all time (Garry
Kevin Ham and Richard Lau are just a few
The highly anticipated event was produced by the same Rick
Latona team, captained by Jodi
Chamberlain, that is running all of this
year's six shows except one that T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founders Rick
Schwartz and Howard Neu will conduct on Miami's
South Beach October 17-20.
While the conference was going on I published daily show photos and highlights
from Vancouver in these posts in our Lowdown section:
posts gave our readers a flavor of what was going on as the show
unfolded, however with conference activities running day and night,
there isn't enough time when the event is underway to go into detail
about the many interesting sessions held during the week. As a
result it has become our custom to spend a few days after returning
home to sift through our show notes and photos to produce a more
comprehensive review article for the benefit of those who could not
attend in person.
Vancouver 2010 began on the morning of Tuesday, June 8 with
nearly all of the seats in the main ballroom filled to hear
welcoming comments from show promoter Rick Latona.
Show promoter Rick Latona delivers his opening remarks.
Part of the opening day crowd at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver June
Latona's opening comments, the show immediately got down to
business with a seminar titled ccTLDs are Taking Over
the World - Is North America Immune? The session
focused on the prospects for America's .US extension
and Canada's .CA as they try to gain recognition on a
continent where they have been overshadowed by .com.
for the ccTLDs are Taking Over the World - Is North
America Immune? session
were (left to right in the photos above) Ron Jackson
(DN Journal), Ken Hansen (Neustar,
operator of the .US registry) and Steve Smith (Co-founder
of registrar Webnames).
Moderator Rick Silver
This session was moderated by
Rick Silver (N49 Interactive) who, as the owner of one
of the best .CA (Canadian ccTLD) portfolios, knows
this subject matter well.
Silver said that while .com remains the dominant
extension in Canada, .CA has finally turned the corner
and is seeing more widespread acceptance and business usage.
Indeed I saw a lot of .CA domains prominently advertised
while I was in Vancouver. In fact the first URL I saw on the
trip into town from the airport was www.ADT.ca
on the back of a vehicle owned by the giant security system
provider. When I got to the hotel and went to get a soft
drink I noticed the URL on the Pepsi product (Diet 7 Up) was
a .CA address.
Silver thinks .US is following a similar
trajectory. After spending years in relative obscurity (as
.CA did), Silver believes the American country code is
poised for solid growth as millions of new businesses go
online for the first time each year and many of them,
with the Internet's increasingly local focus, selecting
I am also a .US fan and have accumulated a
|large number of them over the
years. Sales (almost exclusively to small business end
users) have made the portfolio profitable in recent years
and recently I have seen some promising results from
monetizing exact match product domains (like Linen.us,
JellyBeans.us, IceMachines.us, etc.) on SmartName's
new ecommerce shops platform. As of this writing the URLs
above (and many similar ones) are on the first page of Yahoo's
search results), so clearly the search engine is giving a
lot of love to exact match .US websites.
|I also see .US more often in local and
national advertising indicating that the extension
is finding a niche. As a .US investor, I obviously
have a vested interest in America's ccTLD but I will
also be the first to tell you that I don't believe
.US (or anything else) will ever be as pervasive and
widely recognized as .com is. .Com has benefited
from constant media exposure and mention in billions
|of dollars worth of advertising
over the years, making it synonymous with the
Internet. No other extension will ever be backed by
the kind marketing expenditure it would take to
However, while .com is the undisputed king that doesn't
change the fact that there are also opportunities outside of
the palace for those who make the right choices (domains
that are an exact match for commercially relevant
keywords in established extensions will improve your odds).
I have always looked for niche opportunities (DN Journal is,
after all, a niche publication) and fortunately the domain industry is
a place where niche opportunities of all kinds abound.
second session on opening day was devoted to speed networking with
everyone in the audience invited to take the microphone for 30
seconds and introduce themselves and, if they owned a business,
describe their services.
introduces himself during the speed networking session.
first day of business closed with a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. staple -
Test Track - a platform that gives founders of new
businesses that are seeking capital a chance to pitch their ideas to
a panel of potential investors (the panel for the Vancouver
conference included Richard Lau (DomainManager.com), Gregg
McNair (PPX International), Rick Latona (Latonas.com) and
Ammar Kubba (Thought Convergence).
founders of four businesses - NamePrince.com,
- were chosen to present at the Vancouver Test Track session.
While none of the presenters won funding on the spot, some of the
panelists wanted to meet later with LeftOfTheDot.com presenters
John Lyotier and Chris Jensen to learn more about their
Jensen (left) and John Lyotier of LeftOfTheDot.com
tell potential investors
about their company's prospects during T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test
business model revolves around monetizing sub-domains of generic
keyword domains. For example, one of their clients is Beef.com
owner Bruce McLeod (the Beef.com site explains the sub-domain
program). On his behalf, LeftOfTheDot finds companies in the beef
business (many of whom currently have poor websites or no websites
at all) who will pay to use the Beef.com brand by having
LeftOfTheDot build a website for them on a subdomain such as Angus.Beef.com
or Alberta.Beef.com. Jensen and Lyotier noted that names
following that convention do very well in the search engines, almost
immediately increasing visibility for their customers.
Test Track presentations it was time for the show's first big
social event - a 5pm cocktail party in the revolving
lounge at the top of the Renaissance Hotel - a 19th floor perch
that gave guests a spectacular view of Vancouver as the circular
lounge slowly turned in a 360 degree rotation.
Guests in one section of the rooftop circular lounge where
the opening night T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver cocktail party was
Frank Michlick enjoys both the food and
the spectacular view from the 19th floor lounge.
A highlight of the party came when PPX Internatational's
Gregg McNair was surprised by a birthday cake spirited into the
PPX's Tessa Holcomb and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. producer Jodi
cocktail party wound down around 7pm, the night was still young so
attendees scattered to various private functions around town or at
the hotel. My wife Diana and I were honored to join a group of 14
remarkable people at a dinner Richard Lau hosted at the
nearby Fairmont Hotel to honor The
Water School, a ground breaking charitable organization
that has become near and dear to the hearts of many domain
investors, including Lau and Gregg McNair who have been instrumental
in bringing the cause (providing clean drinking water that is saving
lives in developing nations around the globe) to the industry's
guests at this dinner included Fraser Edwards, who co-founded
The Water School with Bob Dell, and three amazing young
people who Edwards said are ready to step up and help carry on the
organization's life saving mission long after he and Bob are gone.
guests at Richard Lau's Tuesday night dinner honoring The
Water School were (left
to right) Sandra Getuba, James Morfopoulous, Brad
Pierik and Water School Co-Founder
Fraser Edwards who is counting on Sandra, James and Brad to
carry on when he is gone.
Up on Page 2
2 Photos & Highlights
fireside chat with John Demco, the godfather of .CA
Canada! An inside look at Canada's country code
featuring CIRA officials.
live domain auctions and a sky-high evening social
3 Photos & Highlights
to Page 2