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August 27, 2012

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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.

Monday & Tuesday Photos and Highlights from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Fort Lauderdale Beach

In my last post from the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Fort Lauderdale Beach conference yesterday (Monday, Oct. 17) I signed off with three afternoon sessions left to attend in the business day. The first of those was Test Track, a session that gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to persuade one or more members from a panel of investors to put a specified amount of money into their venture in exchange for a percentage of the business. Marco Marcovici presented a pitch for his NGrams.com project while Kevin Wood sought a development partner for Companion.com.  

Kevin Wood (standing at left) tells a panel of investors why they should back 
his plans for Companion.com. The panel included (left to right): Roy Messer
Gregg McNair, Michael Mann, Adam Dicker and Dr. Chris Hartnett.

Marcovici and Wood both got some tips on their ventures but neither secured an investment at this stage of their projects.

In the next session, Stuart Lawley, Chairman and CEO of ICM Registry (operator of the new .xxx extension) discussed the TLD with the biggest early investor in .xxx domains, Frank Schilling.  Among other things, they revealed that Frank paid $1.65 million for a prime portfolio of .xxx domains.

Frank Schilling (left) and Stuart Lawley fill attendees in on the new .xxx extension. 

The business day Monday closed with the most well attended Speed Networking session I've seen in years. Those who took part were able to spend 10 minutes each with a half dozen different people from fields the attendees specified in advance that they want to make contacts in.

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Speed Networking Session Monday (Oct. 17) drew a packed house. 

Once they were done with business for the day, guests got dressed up for the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C Party sponsored by the ICM Registry. They were bussed to the W Hotel for an event that started at 8pm and was still going strong when we left shortly before midnight.

Guests in one of the two club rooms set up for the ICM Registry's Official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Party

I liked the way the ICM Registry set up the party areas. There was a front room with a buffet, bar and dance floor that gave the space a nice modern night club vibe. Then for those who like a quieter environment to talk (and domainers love to talk) they set up a second room adjacent to the first with comfortable tables, lounge chairs and sofas, its own bar and a coffee station. 

It made for a great place to hang out and chat while also being able to easily go back and forth between the two rooms whenever you felt like a change of atmosphere. It was very well done and I didn't see anyone who wasn't having a great time.

Though many had a late night out there was a larger than usual crowd on hand back at the Ritz ballroom Tuesday morning for the start of the final business day at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011. 

I kicked things off with an update on third quarter domain sales which showed a nice 

As the club filled up, seating became scarce, so Scott 
(TheParkingPlace.com), gallantly offered to 
share his chair. Who said chivalry was dead!?

improvement over the same quarter a year ago (the stats I shared will all be published in our next newsletter that will be out in a week or so. A series of two-minute elevator pitches followed, giving attendees a chance to promote their own companies or events (one big project being worked on by Gregg McNair and Bob Olea was especially interesting - I'll tell you more about that in our full conference review article that will be out in a few days.

Then it  was time to hand out the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards. The winners, in the order they were presented were: Best New Monetizing Solution - InternetTraffic.com, Best Overall Domain Solution - Sedo.com, The "We Get It" Award - Citrix, Developer of the Year - Rob Grant, Best Domain Blog - Mike Berkens for TheDomains.com, Sponsor of the Year - InternetTraffic.com, Domainer of the Year - Frank Schilling, and this year's two new inductees in the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Domain Hall of Fame were Adam Dicker (DNForum.com) and Howard Neu (Co-Founder, T.R.A.F.F.I.C.) The winners were all selected in voting by the peers. Our congratulations to each one.

Adam Dicker (left) and Howard Neu were voted into the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Domain Hall of Fame Tuesday (Oct. 18). 

The mornng closed with one of the show's best sessions titled The Hard Work of Developing a Business Out of a Domain Name. It featured a half dozen guys who have done exactly that and generously provided the details on how they did it.

The Tuesday panel on how to develop a domain into a business featured (left to right): 
Warren Royal
(Bobbleheads.com), Ari Goldberger (EsqWIRE.com), Sean Sullivan 
(Tier 1 Development), Richard Swerdlow (Condos.com and Houses.com), 
plus Joe Melville and Greg Balestrieri (both from Candy.com).

Next up ICM Registry Chairman and CEO Stuart Lawley returned for a solo session in which he talked about why he invested more than $20 million and many years of his life to get the .xxx extension approved by ICANN.

After a short break, The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. live domain auction got underway at 2pm and was still going on at the time I wrote this. It will be followed by a final business session: Meeting of the Chiefs, that will feature eight company leaders who will comment on a variety of industry issues. 

Another party is coming up tonight then the show will officially close with a Farewell Breakfast tomorrow morning (Wednesday, Oct. 19). I'll have highlights from the auction as well as the final business and social sessions in tomorrow's post (we will be making the return trip to our home base in Tampa after breakfast, so I will most likely be doing that post Wednesday evening when we are back there after a very rewarding week on Fort Lauderdale Beach). 

(Posted Oct. 18, 2011)

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