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The Lowdown

Jan. 30, 2009 Post

Here's the The Lowdown from DNJournal.com! Updated daily to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry!

Compiled by Ron Jackson
(DN Journal Editor/Publisher)
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The 2009 DOMAINfest Global Conference in Hollywood, California closed last night with a spectacular party at the world famous Playboy Mansion that helped draw hundreds of people to

a fundraising charity auction to benefit Autism Speaks. While people representing several organizations attended the star-studded private event, the DOMAINfest contingent was by far the largest. Show organizer Oversee.net's DomainSponsor unit has long been famous for unforgettable conference parties and last night they delivered a one-of-a-kind experience that set an entirely new standard that will be difficult if not impossible to top.

The party was a fitting conclusion to a top notch conference that managed to attract 600 attendees despite extremely weak economic conditions.

David Castello (Castello Cities Internet Network) 
& wife Natalie in front of the Playboy Mansion 
during last night's DOMAINfest Global party.

Partygoers greet each other around the Grotto on 
the lush grounds of the Playboy Mansion last night.

Inside the giant DomainSponsor tent reserved for DOMAINfest Global attendees. 
The Autism Speaks auction of signed entertainment and sports memorabilia 
was conducted from the stage at the top of the photo,

Prior to the grand finale at the Playboy Mansion, the final day of the conference got underway with a pair of morning seminars including a highly anticipated session featuring Google's Hal Bailey and Matt Parry. Bailey emphatically denied that Google's recent move to offer direct parking services to the public meant they planned to distance themselves from their current PPC company partners. Bailey said those relationships are highly valued and, in a good sign for domain owners, stated "We support the domain channel, trust it and it is a good advertising vehicle."

Matt Parry (left) and Hal Bailey filled attendees 
in on Google's view of the domain channel.

After a lunch break it was time for Moniker's big live domain auction. Though the economy did not keep people from coming to the show, it clearly impacted how much they were willing to spend to add additional domains to their portfolios. Just over 30% (62 of 200) of the domains offered were sold for a total take of just $665,000. Two nights earlier 60% of the domains offered in a no or low reserve auction found buyers, underscoring the fact that low to mid-priced domains now dominate the aftermarket while high ticket names are left on the shelf (the same trend we are seeing in the general retail world).

Spotter Jeffrey Johnston tries to coax bids from reluctant buyers while Moniker 
CEO Monte Cahn looks on during Thursday's live auction at DOMAINfest Global.

The top sales in the auction were Wife.com ($100,000), RodeoDrive.com ($60,000), FreeWireless.com ($50,000) and ConsumerElectronics.com ($45,000). Michael Berkens has a complete list of the names sold on his blog. Incidentally Michael's wife Judi celebrated a birthday during this week's conference but looked younger and lovelier than ever. Birthday wishes also go out to Directi Co-Founder and Skenzo founder Divyank Turakhia who celebrated his 27th birthday at last night's Playboy Mansion party. 

Diana and I will be staying over in Los Angeles for a couple of days to visit friends, starting with a short trip up to Moor Park today to have lunch with Michael Castello and his wife Sheri. We will fly back to Tampa Sunday and are due in just minutes after the Super Bowl kicks off in our hometown that evening. 

We will spend most of next week putting together our comprehensive DOMAINfest Global conference review article that will be packed with new photos and show details that you won't want to miss. Oversee.net made a real statement with this conference - no matter what the economy throws at them, they are here to stay and expect to be stronger than ever when the inevitable rebound in the general economy finally occurs.

(Posted Jan. 30, 2009)

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