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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
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.

Opening Day Photos and Highlights from the 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver Conference

Rick Latona welcomes attendees to 
the 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver 
conference Tuesday morning (June 8).

The 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver conference got underway Tuesday morning at the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel with show promoter Rick Latona welcoming attendees to the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference ever held in Canada. By the time day one ended for me it was 1:30am Wednesday morning in my home time zone (U.S. Eastern).

Opening day was all anyone could have asked for - delivering the first class experience T.R.A.F.F.I.C. has been known for ever since it staged the first major doman conference in 2004. With one of the world's most beautiful cities serving as its backdrop, the biggest T.R.A.F.F.I.C. crowd of the year showed up to network with fellow domain investors in a town that has produced some of the industry's most successful players (including Dr. Kevin Ham, Frank Schilling, Yun Ye and Richard Lau to name just a few).

Part of the opening day crowd at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver Tuesday (June 8).

After Latona's opening comments, the show's first business session got underway with Neustar's Ken Hansen and Steve Smith of WebNames joining me in a panel discussion titled ccTLDs are Taking Over the World - Is North America Immune? The session, moderated by Rick Silver, covered 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

(L to R in the photo above) Ron Jackson (DN Journal), Ken Hansen (Neustar, operator of the
 .US registry) and Steve Smith (registrar Webnames) discuss the prospects for .US and .CA.

With conference activity to cover almost around the clock, I won't have time to get into the specifics of the business sessions until we produce our comprehensive conference review article a few days after the conference ends but I can say that the overall consensus from this seminar was that .US and .CA are both making slow but steady progress as more businesses use the extensions (in the case of .US, Maserati.us, Shell.us, Transamerica.us, Hitachi.us, BASF.us and Carrabas.us are just a few examples) and search engines giving them favorable positions in local search results.

The next session was a networking event that allowed attendees to take the microphone and introduce themselves or their businesses. That was followed by the day's main event - T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track.

Representatives from four new companies pitched their ideas to a panel of 
potential investors during the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track session Tuesday.

Test Track allows founders of new businesses that are seeking capital to pitch their ideas to a panel of potential investors (the panel for the Vancouver conference included, left to right in the photo above, Richard Lau (DomainManager.com), Gregg McNair (PPX International), Rick Latona (Latonas.com) and Ammar Kubba (Thought Convergence). This has become a popular feature as it also exposes the audience to new solutions that are coming to the marketplace as well as insight into the process entrepreneurs go through in building businesses and the kind of tough questions they have to be able to answer when investors assess the prospects for their new companies.

After Test Track, 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 perch that gave guests a spectacular view of Vancouver as the circular lounge slowly turned in a 360 degree rotation.

A scene from the Tuesday evening T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vacncouver cocktail party 
in the revolving lounge atop the Renaissance Hotel.

A highlight of the party came when PPX Internatational's Executive Chairman Gregg McNair (who was the subject of our October 2009 Cover Story) was surprised by a birthday cake spirited into the gathering by PPX's Tessa Holcomb and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. producer Jodi Chamberlain.

Popular PPX International exec Gregg McNair (at far right) got a birthday surprise
from his many industry friends at the opening night cocktail party Tuesday evening.

After the 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 attention.

Richard Lau (seated at the head of the table at the center of the photo above) 
hosted a dinner recognizing The Water School at the Fairmont Hotel Tuesday night.

Special guests at this dinner included Fraser Edwards, who co-founded The Water School with Bob Dell, and some 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 (they include Sandra Getuba, at far right in the photo above, as well as James Morfopoulous and Brad Pierik who are seated to her right).

Day two of the conference will get underway at 11am local time (2pm in the Eastern U.S.) today. The Castello Brothers, Michael and David (Castello Cities Internet Network) will be joined by Victor Pitts (DomainIt.com) on the day's opening panel discussion about the future of domain names. That will be followed by a one-hour session recognizing industry's contribution to The Water School's work. The second half of the day will be devoted to a fireside chat with John Demco, the "Godfather" of the .CA extension and a panel discussion about the Canadian ccTLD. A .CA premium domain auction (scheduled to run from 4:00-6:00pm Pacific time) will wrap up the Wednesday business day. I'll have day two photos and highlights for you in my next post Thursday morning.

(Posted June 9, 2010)

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