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Domainer Mardi Gras Conference Ready to Debut February 19-21 in New Orleans

The latest addition to the domain conference line-up, Domainer Mardi Gras, will run for the first time February 19-21 at the Westin Canal Place Hotel in New Orleans. With so many other established shows already competing for business in a limited pool of registrants, this is a tough time to try to break into the conference game, but the Domainer Mardi Gras organizers from Modern Domainer Magazine have a couple of aces in the hole including one especially strong trump card - the world famous Mardi Gras celebration will be providing an incomparable backdrop for their event. 

Couple that with the fact that the Modern Domainer crew are natives of the Big Easy who can guide you through all of the magnificent nooks and crannies of the Crescent City and you have a persuasive case for attending - and that is before we even start talking about the conference agenda. 

For the lowdown on that we called on Modern Domainer's Seth Coman, who is a key member of of the team getting everything ready for the event. Our Q & A session with Seth is below:

DN Journal: Tell us how the decision to stage Domainer Mardi Gras came about, especially since you knew the new event would have to stand out on an already crowded conference schedule?

Seth Coman
Modern Domainer Magazine

Seth Coman Over the last two and a half years, I’ve been to just about every domainer-related conference, so I’ve learned a lot about the conferences. I know how they’re run, who attends them, what’s good, what’s bad – what things can be improved upon. And it seemed like everyone was doing conferences, so we thought “Hey, we can do a conference too – and we have a great place to do it in, New Orleans,” which is where I’m from. 

New Orleans is a great city and has always been a convention and tourist destination, and nobody had ever done a show here. I know that domainers are party people, they like to drink, party, and have a good time, at all hours of the night – and you can’t have a better time than in New Orleans .

It just seemed like the perfect fit to have it during Mardi Gras, which is the ultimate New Orleans party event. It’s the perfect place at the perfect time.

DN Journal: What can you tell us about the show venue - the Westin Canal Place - as a place to both experience a conference and the world famous Mardi Gras festival?

Seth Coman: The Westin Canal Place is located at the foot of Canal Street . It is in the French Quarter, it is walking distance from everything you would want to go to: it’s right next to the aquarium, it’s right on the Mississippi River, it’s right by the ferry that takes you to the West bank if you want to go to Mardi Gras World – it’s at ground zero for everything.

It’s a big, beautiful hotel with beautiful rooms – all the rooms either overlook the Mississippi River and French Quarter or the CBD (central business district) and downtown New Orleans . It’s the perfect place to enjoy the conference, or Mardi Gras – as the parades pass right by.

DN Journal: With the show just a couple of weeks away, I understand that rooms at the Westin are no longer guaranteed to be available. What accommodations are open to those who have not registered yet but decide they want to come to New Orleans for this event?

Westin Canal Place
Site of Domainer Mardi Gras

Seth Coman: As of this very moment, rooms are still available at the Westin Canal Place . Anyone interested in coming to Domainer Mardi Gras should book their room ASAP - there is a link to the Westin on DomainerMardiGras.com. That being said, New Orleans has more hotel rooms per capita than just about any other city you’ll visit. This is a city that thrives on its tourism and convention industry. There are many hotels in short walking distance from the Westin, but with the large crowd of carnival revelers expected, it would be wise to book your room quickly for this event. Some excellent hotels very close by are the Marriott, Sheraton and InterContinental.

DN Journal: There is no doubt that having the conference in New Orleans during Mardi Gras is a major drawing card. Some may view it as a chance to party non-stop for several days but business isn't taking a back seat on your agenda. Tell us about some of the session highlights and the keynote speaker you have in store, as well as the social activities that attendees can look forward to?

Tim Burns
One of two Keynote Speakers 
for Domainer Mardi Gras 

Seth Coman First of all, we have two keynote speakers.  Our first keynote is Arthur Hardy, who is the eminent historian on Mardi Gras. He will give a talk the first night on what to expect – and in general give conference goers a little taste of Mardi Gras so they’ll learn about the fun they’re experiencing.

Our second keynote speaker is Tim Burns. He’s a Louisiana state representative who recently ran for the U.S. Congress, and he has also worked as a business professor at Southeastern Louisiana University . He wrote a book a few years ago called “Entrepreneurship.com” on how to structure business for e-commerce. We feel that with him speaking to a group of people who have made their living on e-commerce, we have a good fit. He will offer domainers a new perspective on adapting business for e-commerce.

We have some excellent session highlights. The theme of our conference is risk-management for the modern domainer. We have legal experts, financial experts, SEO & SEM experts, 

experts on domain tax risks and issues. We have a session on lessons in offshoring, because we feel that that is an important issue for domainers. We will also have sessions on portfolio diversification, and on other ways you can make money within the industry. Overall, we’ve gathered some excellent speakers.

For example, we’ve got John Berryhill and Dan Altman on legal issues and a special forum on domain tax issues hosted by Matt Berman of Deloitte & Touche. Our lessons in offshoring will actually include a presentation by Jodi Chamberlain of Offshoring.com, the experts on offshoring. The diversification panel includes Rick Latona, a well known industry leader, Patrick Carleton from Associated Cities , as well as many others. We will also have a presentation on the future of domaining, focusing on what risks may appear to the modern domainer in 2009 and beyond.

Our social activities are going to include a New Orleans style crawfish boil, which is going to be absolutely wonderful. It’s going to be held the first Thursday night of the conference – and if you haven’t experienced a crawfish boil, you’re in for the best surprise of your life. 

On Friday night and Saturday night, we’re going to have Bourbon St. balconies, one night sponsored by Parked.com, the other sponsored by Thought Convergence/TrafficZ. It is going to be incredible – you’ll see things you’ve never seen before.

DN Journal: There is also the live domain auction that will be conducted by Aftermarket.com 

Mardi Gras crowd

on February 21 with both in house and online bidding. You attend and support all of the conferences out there and were just in Los Angeles where DOMAINfest Global staged a very successful show. Is the timing of Domainer Mardi Gras, just three weeks after DOMAINfest, creating any problems in motivating people to pack their bags again so soon?

Seth Coman: Well, Ron, that’s a good question. The reason we had this conference is because we wanted to have it the weekend of Mardi Gras, so we were at the mercy of the calendar. We would have loved to have this a month or two months after DOMAINFest – and I think in the future there will be more of a gap – but, that being said, a lot of people are coming to our show. People come to these conferences to network, and even though it’s just slightly less then a month after DomainFest, a lot of people are coming, they’re going to have a really good time, and they’ll just get another chance to network more.   

Some people have said that they weren’t going to be able to make it because it was so close to DOMAINFest, but unfortunately we can’t decide when Mardi Gras comes. Hopefully they won’t have to worry next year.

Registrants and speakers will be filling 
this conference room at the Westin 
Canal Place
for Domainer Mardi Gras.

DN Journal: As you noted earlier, having been to so many conferences staged by various promoters you've had a chance to get a close up look at what works and what doesn't. What are some of the ideas you have picked up and perhaps improved upon that will be featured at Domainer Mardi Gras?

Seth Coman: I’ve learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn’t. At this conference, attendees won’t be bombarded with constant panel discussions where speakers mainly engage in self-promotion. Our panelists and forum participants are experts in their fields, and will give educational-based lectures and discussions on their area of expertise.

Instead of simple panel discussions like you see at so many other shows, we’ll have an 

attractive mix of moderated forums, single-presentations, and traditional session-style panel discussions - all geared at educating and informing the attendees on risk management for domainers - education which is essential, with the recent downturn in the domestic and global economy. 

Also, we’ll have some light-hearted moments - including a traditional New Orleans second-line march and a very satirical Awards Ceremony - keeping in line with the classical nature of Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras was created to mock and poke fun at traditional European monarchies - hence the “king” and “queen” and “court” of each carnival organization). Expect a fresh format and wild entertainment like you’ve never experienced before at a domain conference.

DN Journal: Everyone knows about the devastating hit that New Orleans took from Hurricane Katrina and for many attendees this will be their first trip back to the Big Easy since the storm. Are there any lingering issues from that tragic event that would keep people from enjoying the kind of unforgettable experience this great city has provided millions of visitors through its storied history?

Seth Coman: This is a good question – and you know, a lot of people who haven’t been to New Orleans since Katrina have asked me the same question. For starters, New Orleans has come way back since the hurricane. There are, of course, still areas of devastation, and the city as a whole is years away from being the city that it was before the storm, however, what most people don’t realize is the French Quarter, the CBD, the downtown area – the tourist areas – were not really affected by Katrina. There was absolutely no flooding in the French Quarter. 

The French Quarter area bounced back immediately, so there shouldn’t be any concerns from anyone regarding any problems enjoying the conference due to 

Satellite view of Hurricane Katrina

Katrina. The places you’re going to go were not affected by Katrina. In fact, we’re going to actually have to get in a bus, and go to my neighborhood – which was affected by Katrina – to see the effects of the devastation.

DN Journal: Thanks Seth, looking forward to seeing you and all of the other attendees in New Orleans for Domainer Mardi Gras!



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