entered the domain business in the spring of 2002.
Two and a half years would pass before I met any of my
fellow domain owners and business associates face to
face. The event that made those personal connections
possible was the first
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference, staged by Rick
Schwartz and Howard Neu at the Delray
Beach, Florida Marriott in October 2004.
those few days spent with people who shared the same
interests and belief in the domain industry that I did,
I was able to make several lasting friendships and
established some key business relationships that
continue to pay dividends today.
session at last year's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in
Delray Beach, Florida
the domain business is based online, there is simply no
substitute for the kind of interaction and
increased knowledge available to you offline at key
industry conferences. Having found that first experience
at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. to be so valuable, it has been
extremely gratifying for me to see domain conferences
flourish over the past two years, presenting multiple
opportunities for domain owners to meet in great
locations around the world. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. itself has
grown by leaps and bounds and, after outgrowing their
original site, will stage their biggest show ever this
month at a new Florida location, the Westin Diplomat
Hotel in Hollywood. We just published a
preview of that event as our October
Cover Story (we'll also be publishing a
complete show wrap-up November 1).
from 2006 Domain Roundtable
conference in Bellevue, WA last April
LA attendees hit the
buffet table at last month's conference
and the Domain
Roundtable conference that has been
held in the Seattle area the past two
springs are what might be called
mega-conferences. They have very ambitious
agendas featuring well-known speakers and are
held in first class facilities with great food
and accommodations. As a result, in terms of
dollars and cents, they are expensive to attend
(though we have never heard anyone complain that
it wasn't well worth the cost to be there). Now,
thanks to the appearance of some well-run local
and regional conferences, there are
opportunities to enjoy a rewarding show
experience even if you can't fit T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
or Roundtable into your budget yet.
example of a smaller scale conference that still
delivers a big bang was DomainFest
LA, held at the Marina del Rey
Mariott in Los Angeles last month. DomainSponsor.com
(who is also the lead sponsor for T.R.A.F.F.I.C.)
provided most of the financial backing for
DomainFest LA, making registration completely
free of charge, so the only cost involved was
transportation and hotel accommodations. Space
was limited so you did need to apply for and
receive an invitation (T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is also an
invitational event while Roundtable is open to
all comers). DomainSponsor also recently helped
stage a similar show in Barcelona, Spain
and we understand they are considering similar
events in other locations in the year ahead. Sedo.com
also held an invitational conference for their
partners and clients in Cologne, Germany
is all a sign of an industry that is coming of age and
one that represents a "hot market" that a lot
of people want to learn about. With more opportunities
than ever before to meet fellow domain owners and
industry leaders in person, I encourage you make it to
one of these events as soon as you can - your business
will thank your for it!
on ICANN About to Open
the next 30 days we plan to open a new
section at DNJournal.com called Eye on
ICANN. As most of you know, ICANN is the
non-profit organization commissioned by the U.S.
Department of Commerce to administer
Internet domain names. In that role, ICANN has
the authority to make decisions that could be
disastrous for your business and domain
registrants everywhere. That became evident this
summer when ICANN proposed new contracts for the
.org, .info and .biz
registries that triggered a near unanimous
protest from domain owners. See last
month's newsletter for more on that.
As of this writing,
thanks to the outcry from domain registrants who took
their complaints all the way to Congress, ICANN
has postponed a decision on those contracts. Still that
threat, and others, hang over everyone's head. What
ICANN does can no longer be taken for granted by domain
owners. Our new section will provide a central location
for us to bring you updates on what is going on at ICANN
that you need to be aware of.
To help us do a better
job of that, we are applying to become part of the ICANN
process as members of the organization's Business
Constituency. This group is meant to provide
the Internet business world's input in formulating
official ICANN policies. Despite the BC's important
role, only 36 companies have joined and only two of
those members, Name Administration and Leap of
Faith Financial Services, are run by people from the
domain investor's community. In fact it was Leap of Faith's
George Kirikos who first detected the dangers in
the .org, .info and .biz contracts and sounded the
Internet business, large or small, can apply for
BC membership. If more domain owners are
represented on that body we will have a better
chance at blocking policies that have the
potential to harm business registrants. We urge
you to follow the Business Constituency link
above and check it out for yourself. There are three categories of membership.
Category One is for large companies and global associations and it costs
1500 euros (approx $1,900) annually to join.
Category Two is for regional associations and costs
1000 euros (about $1,270) and Category
Three is for small businesses with less than 10 employees and revenue of no more than 500,000 euros annually. That costs only
250 euros (about $320) a year to join.
One members get 3 votes in the BC. Category Three members get 1 vote. So
three small business members would have the same voting power as
Verizon, Nokia, Time Warner or any of the other giants who have joined the BC.
Those votes help formulate BC positions and elect the BC
officers that represent the constituency on the GNSO
Council (a key group within ICANN comprised of leaders
from all six ICANN constituencies).
In the current fight against the .info, .biz and .org contracts I think
one of the most effective deterrents was that ICANN was
heavily criticized simultaneously by individual registrants
posting on their public comment boards and some of
their own constituencies - the groups they are supposed to listen to in formulating policy. That
has put the ICANN board in an indefensible position on these contracts in my opinion.
To show you the kind of impact the BC can have on an issue, go to
www.bizconst.org and in the left column under
Archive click on Statements, then To US DOC March 2006 (sorry there doesn't appear to be a direct link to this document). It is a letter drafted by the BC and sent to the
U.S. Department of Commerce, calling ICANN on the carpet for
poor negotiating on the .com contract - which
still hasn't been approved - quite possibly in part because of this influential letter. When the DoC or Congress hears directly from the constituencies that are supposed to carry great weight in ICANN's
supposedly ground up policy formulation system, it has to make an impact. We can and should be part of that process and so I
hope many of you will consider applying for membership as
well. All of our futures could very well depend on it.
Land Rush Drawing to a Close
other note before we go - the .mobi
land rush ends at 10am (U.S. Eastern time) Wednesday,
Oct. 11. At that time the higher land rush
registration prices are to be replaced with lower general
registration rates that will be in effect from that point
on (the exact prices will vary from one registrar to
another). By all accounts, .mobi has enjoyed a successful
rollout with very few of the kinds of complaints about the
"fairness" of the process that dogged previous
new extension rollouts like .eu and .info.
.mobi extension is intended for sites designed to display
well on the small screens found on cell phones and other
mobile devices. Total .mobi registrations broke the
six-figure mark just four days into the land rush period.
With lower prices coming with the conclusion of land rush,
the extension should see another wave of new
looks like an aftermarket has already developed for .mobi
domains with reports of several auctions at Pool.com ending
with high bids in the four-figure range. We understand
that some premium .mobi domains will also be up for grabs
in a big live domain auction at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
East conference in Florida later this month.