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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
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to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Friday (Day 2) Photos and Highlights From the Domainer Mardi Gras Conference in New Orleans

By the end of the first full day of business at the 2010 Domainer Mardi Gras Conference in New Orleans Friday (Dec. 12) I had enough bracelets around my wrist to make even Madonna jealous. The green Parked.com band went on Thursday night for admission to the welcoming cocktail party and Crawfish Boil that they sponsored to kick off the event. On Friday, the conference hotel - the New Orleans Marriott - required all of their guests to put on the copper-colored middle band to get in an out of the building. The Marriott is right in the middle of the French Quarter Mardi Gras craziness and 

the ID bands helped them keep the fort from being over run by wayward revelers. Then Friday night DMG guests were given the orange band to gain entrance to Parked.com's private balcony on Bourbon Street. From there they had a birds eye view of one America's best known spectacles - a seemingly endless sea of colorful Marci Gras celebrants flowing by into the wee hours of the night.

Part of the sea of people celebrating Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street Friday night (Feb. 12)
Photo taken from Parked.com's private balcony for Domainer Mardi Gras guests.

Day 2 at DMG, the first full day of business, had begun at 10:30am Friday with welcoming comments from the show's Executive Director Michael Ward and fellow executives from conference organizer Parked.com, Sig Solares and Donny Simonton. Simonton said the theme of the conference was "Show Me the Money" - something the event set out to do with sessions devoted to learning how to earn revenue through domain monetization, buying, selling and development. Appropriately enough, Show Me the Money! was also the title of the first panel discussion devoted to new revenue oppotunities in the domain business.

Scene from the first panel discussion, Show Me the Money!, Friday at Domainer Mardi Gras.

Panelists for this opening discussion were (seated left to right in the photo above) Patrick Carleton (Executive Director of Associated Cities), Bruce Marler (Missouri.me Network) and Sean Stafford (Comwired.com). Moderator Sig Solares is at the podium and the video screen at left has a close-up view of Carleton. I'll have details on this session and all of the other DMG seminars in a comprehensive conference review article that we will be publishing a week or so after the show ends (we will have hundreds of photos and conference notes to go through in compiling that wrap up report).

After a lunch break, Moderator Michael Ward turned the tables on industry reporters Andrew Allemann (DomainNameWire.com) and I in a 45-minute session during which he asked us the questions, reversing the roles Andrew and I are used to. Michael did such a good job as an interviewer we are hoping he doesn't get into the news business too - the competition is already fierce as it is!

Next up was a session on Building Websites, featuring a panel of experts who have learned the ins and outs by building and operating their own successful sites.

Building Websites panelists (left to right above); on the video screen - Elliot Silver 
(ElliotsBlog.com), who took part via a Skype connection after a snowstorm in New York 
prevented him from flying to New Orleans, Craig Rowe (WhyPark.com), Michael Castello 
and David Castello (CCIN.com) and moderator Donny Simonton

With the historic snowstorms that shut down much of the northeastern U.S. this week, I was impressed that the DMG crew went the extra mile to set up Skype connections enabling panelists who couldn't travel to still take part in their sessions. In addition to piping in Elliot Silver for the Building Websites seminar, they did it with attorney John Berryhill, who was snowbound in Philadelphia, so he could be part of the next session - New TLDs: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Despite the distance seperating Dr. Berryhill from New Orleans, he managed to get into a full Mardi Gras mindset for his appearance, popping up on screen wearing a jester's hat and beads while accompanied by a bottle or two of his favorite liquid refreshments. I won't mention those by brand name as I suspect they may have been part of a product placement deal John had on the side, but for the record I should note that you have to be over 21 in most states to buy these particular beverages.  :-)

New TLDs panelists (left to right): John Berryhill (on the video screen live from 
Philadelphia), Mike Rodenbaugh (IP attorney and consultant), Ken Hansen (Nesutar), 
Michael Berkens
(TheDomains.com) and Jeffrey Eckhaus (Demand Media/eNom). 
The session was moderated by Andrew Allemann.

This was an exceptionally interesting discussion (one that Dr. Berryhill helped enliven with his patented blend of salient points and off the wall humor). As Allemann pointed out, the varied and often opposing viewpoints expressed during this session underscored the many difficult issues ICANN is having to wrestle with in the process of activating their plan to roll out an unlimited number of new gTLDs. 

The opening day panel discussions were also one of the most pleasant surprises I have had at a conference in a long time. Naturally, people are going to expect that a conference tied to the world famous Mardi Gras celebration is going to be all about the partying. However, Michael Ward and his staff put together some of the best content I have seen anywhere on the conference circuit. Every session has held my interest from start to finish with fresh information, lively discourse and truly expert advice on a wide range of topics. I'm sure many attendees came because of Mardi Gras, but they will go home with more than just a hangover thanks to the outstanding job Ward and his staff have done with the business program.

Night fell soon after the final panel discussion ended but the 24-hour Mardi Gras day was just beginning for many. The doors to the Daisy Dukes Restaurant, adjacent to the Marriott (and owned by Parked.com's Sig Solares) were thrown open to DMG guests at 6pm so they could grab a bite to eat before heading over to Bourbon Street for the balcony party.

Judi and Michael Berkens grab a snack at Daisy Dukes 
before heading to the Parked.com balcony party.

DMG attendees throw beads to Mardi Gras revelers from 
Parked.com's private balcony on Bourbon Street Friday night (Feb. 13).

The balcony party ran until 3am Saturday morning but I was in bed way before that! Had to rest up for the final day of Domainer Mardi Gras today. It gets underway with a 10:45am panel on Domain Name Investing, followed at Noon by a brief summary of a week-long Moniker Showcase Online Auction that continues until Tuesday. Show organizers will have closing comments at 12:15pm after which lunch will be served, with the remainder of the afternoon open for guests to go view the Mardi Gras parades. The Parked.com balcony on Bourbon Street will also be open again for 13 hours, from 2pm today until 3am Sunday. I'll have highlights from today's activities for you in a final post from New Orleans Sunday morning. 

(Posted Feb. 13, 2010)

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