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The Lowdown
October 2011 Archive
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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.

Overnight Sensation?: Lana Del Rey Featured in New Rolling Stone

I've been telling you for the past few years that Lizzy Grant (stage name Lana Del Rey) was going to be a star in the music business. Now it's happening. Lana is featured in a high profile color spread in the new November issue of Rolling Stone magazine. 

Lana Del Rey in the November issue of Rolling Stone Magazine

I owned independent music retail stores for many years and in one of my early comments on Lana (after hearing one of her independent label recordings) I said that her music is the kind I could have put on the store's audio system and instantly had shoppers stop in their tracks and ask who is that!? Now the world is finding out who that is.

Lana appeared on national TV in Great Britain a couple of weeks ago and she just signed with one of the world's top labels - Interscope Records. Those of you who have met Lana know that she is as sweet as she is talented and beautiful and we're extremely excited to see so many good things happening for her now. 

One other note today - we just published our comprehensive review of this month's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Fort Lauderdale Beach conference as our October Cover Story. It features many previously unseen photos and details from the year's only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference that we think you will enjoy. We also just published our October Newsletter that provides a breakdown of reported domain sales  from the latest quarter (3Q-2011). Check that out to see how the domain aftermarket is currently doing.

(Posted October 31, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Proposed  New Law Would Make "Rights Holders" Judge, Jury and Executioner With Website Owners in Their Crosshairs

ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin posted some news on the Internet Commerce Association's website Thursday that should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Some proposed new legislation (called the “E-PARASITE Act” - an acronym for ‘‘Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act’’) is being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives that would put domain and website owners at the complete mercy of "rights holders." 

Corwin, who is based in Washington, D.C. where he keeps an eye on all legislative matters that may impact domain owners, wrote this about the 79-page House proposal: "It would require payment providers and ad networks to terminate their services to a website upon mere receipt of a letter from a rights holder alleging that the website was one “dedicated to theft of U.S. property”. 

ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin

So much for due process! Corwin noted, "Any domain registrant who has ever received an aggressive and unsupported cease-and-desist letter from a trademark attorney has got to be concerned by the prospect of having a domain’s ad and payment services shut down absent any court review. The bill would provide the website owner with the ability to seek after-the-fact judicial lifting of the ad and payment suspension – but this expensive and uncertain option would occur during a period when the website had been deprived of all income! Overall, this approach creates major due process concerns and clearly tips the balance against domain registrants and in favor of rights holders."

I would urge you to read Corwin's post that has all of the details about this ill-conceived idea and follow his recommendation that you immediately contact your Representative to alert them that the House Judiciary Committee will reportedly hold a hearing on the proposal on November 16th, 2011 with the intention of holding a “markup” to report it out of Committee shortly thereafter. 

Corwin said that U.S. domain investors and developers should, at a minimum, request that the Judiciary Committee hold multiple balanced hearings to explore all the aspects of this complex and controversial proposal before proceeding to any votes. 

A complete list of members of the House Judiciary Committee can be found at http://judiciary.house.gov/about/members.html.

One other note today. The ICM Registry has extended the .xxx Sunrise registration periods (that were originally scheduled to end today) for an additional three days. That means that rights holders will have an opportunity to secure their domains and protect their brands up to the new deadline which is Monday, October 31, 2011 at 16:00 UTC (Noon U.S. Eastern time).

(Posted Oct. 28, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Popular Domain Name Suggestion Tool DomainsBot.com Unveils a Major Upgrade + An Update from the ICANN Meeting Underway in Dakar

For the past six years DomainsBot.com has been helping domain buyers and investors find suitable names through their popular domain suggestion tool. Many major registrars, including GoDaddy, Tucows, Register.com, eNom, 1and1 and DirectI, have also incorporated the DomainsBot technology on their own platforms. DomainsBot CEO Emiliano Pasqualetti estimates that 1.2 million domains get registered every year as a result of their name suggestion service.

Today, a new 2.0 version of the DomainsBot platform went live. It features an innovative
real-time search experience and new tools that make it easier for people and companies to search for domain names, Twitter handles and Facebook pages.

By offering an integrated domain and social identity search, the new service makes it easier for users to find and obtain unique, brandable identities. In addition to adding social identity search and revamping its website for speed and ease of use, DomainsBot now offers a downloadable mobile application (free in Apple's AppStore), for identity searches on the go. Pasqualetti said, " Our goal is to simplify an important and time consuming process creatively.” 

Francesco Simoneschi, VP of Product Development at DomainsBot noted, "Google Instant changed the way we search and browse the Internet by displaying relevant search results as words are typed into the search engine. As a domain search engine and a brainstorming tool, we’ve updated DomainsBot to provide a similar, real-time experience that gives users more control over results.”

The new site also features premium aftermarket domains from GoDaddy and Sedo - partnerships that enable DomainsBot users to browse for the largest selection of domains available on the secondary market. Additional features in today’s release include the introduction of DomainsBot Deals, a selection of top discounts for domain registrations and renewals in partnership with some of the most popular registrars, and a whole new selection of B2B services for domain registrars, registries and new TLD applicants.

While DomainsBot was founded in Italy in 2005, the company also has a strong U.S. presence after opening an office in San Francisco earlier this year. 

Elsewhere, the 42nd International ICANN meeting that opened Sunday is continuing in Dakar, Senegal where it will run through Friday (Oct. 28). Internet Commerce Association (ICA) Legal Counsel Phil Corwin told us some progress is being made toward initiation of a UDRP reform process. Corwin said, "It looks like a formal vote will take place by December with the process kicking off in early 2012, not withstanding resistance from the Intellectual Property Constituency and the GAC. Once the process gets going we'll need to be heavily engaged to help ensure a good outcome for registrants."

In an update from Dakar that Phil posted on the ICA website Monday, you'll find his take on other early developments at the meeting, including some emerging new TLD realities and the possibility of lower fees being instituted in domain dispute cases.  

(Posted Oct. 25, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:


The Work Week Can Wait, I'm Still Savoring a Very Special Sunday!

When Mondays roll around I'm usually revved up and ready to get back to business, but Sunday (Oct. 23, 2011) was such a special day I'm not quite ready to let it go. The day tied together two ends of my professional career - the present and the distant past (a past that doesn't seem distant at all after, for the first time in decades, re-uniting with with some special people from those days last night).

Diana Jackson (center) chatting with Pat and Rob Grant 
on their Anna Maria Island dock Sunday afternoon 
(Oct. 23) while I snap a photo from an adjacent dock,.

Before that reunion, my wife, Diana, and I had a wonderful afternoon visiting two people who are a big part of the domain business that we are all part of and love so much today - our friends  Rob Grant and his wife Pat

After last week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference at Fort Lauderdale Beach Rob and Pat headed across the state to Anna Maria Island where they have a vacation condo. Anna Maria is a relatively unknown jewel in the Gulf of Mexico, a little over an hour south of our home in Tampa

Since we were going to be passing so close to them on the way to the evening event a little further south in Sarasota, we took the opportunity to drop in and spend a glorious Florida day sitting on their dock enjoying the sunshine and chatting about events both personal and professional. 

We were happy to hear how dramatically the singing career of their daughter Lizzy (stage name Lana del Rey) is blossoming. Lana just performed on national TV in Great Britain and within the past 24 hours news came that she had won a prestigious Q Award declaring her to be "The Next Big Thing." As you can probably guess from what I've written about Lizzy in the past - that comes as no surprise to me at all - I felt she was destined for stardom the first time I met her.

Rob and Pat's place is directly across from the 100-year-old Anna Maria pier that has a great old Florida seafood restaurant located at the end of it. Before we retired to the dock, we had lunch there surrounded by the gorgeous Gulf waters. 

Sunday lunch on the Anna Maria Island Pier (left to right): 
Ron Jackson, Diana Jackson, Pat Grant and Rob Grant

Robert R. Nelson (with his wife Molly) holds up the original 
test pattern card that WXLT-TV viewers saw on Oct. 23, 
until Nelson's new ABC station went live on the air. 

Late in the afternoon we reluctantly said our goodbyes to Rob and Pat, but were excited about heading off to a special occasion in downtown Sarasota that would take me back in time to when I first moved to Florida as a 22-year-old looking to begin a TV career. 

Sunday night was exactly 40 years from the day a new ABC-TV station went on the air in Sarasota on Oct. 23, 1971. To mark the occasion, the original station owner, Robert R. Nelson (who gave me my start in that business) invited some of the people who were there at or near the beginning of WXLT-TV to join him for dinner at Mattison's City Grille. The station will also be airing features about the anniversary, including old news clips from our heyday, during their newscasts this week.

WXLT-TV 40th Anniversary dinner Sunday night (Oct. 23, 1971) at Mattison's City Grille in Sarasota, Florida. (Left to right: veteran news anchorman Bob Keehn, sportscaster Ron Jackson and his wife Diana, station owner Robert R. Nelson, weatherman Steve Newman (who went on to have a long career at major stations across America, including KRON-TV in San Francisco, and now runs Earthweek.com), Pauline Lunin (wife of the station's Chief Engineer), Reporter/Photographer/Producer (and good at all of them) Gordon Galbraith and Chief Engineer Dan Lunin). 

I spent 11 years at WXLT-TV, most of them as  the station's Sports Director, and had not seen Mr. Nelson and some of my former colleagues since 1983 when I moved up the coast to Tampa's WTVT. It was a huge treat to see them again and it truly seemed like just yesterday that we were all together, making local TV history.  

WXLT only made it on the air after Nelson spent five years planning the operation and overcoming multiple roadblocks put in his way by an ABC station in Tampa that did not want to see a competing network affiliate so close to them. His perseverance paid off when, a few years after I left for Tampa, he sold the station for $41 million, an eye popping figure for a UHF station at that point in time (the new owners changed the call letters to WWSB). 

He gave many, like me, their first jobs in the TV business and I will always be indebted to him for that. At the time I took the job I also had an offer to do radio in Pennsylvania for twice as much money, but I wanted to live in paradise and get a break in TV so I headed south. 

Ron Jackson on WXLT-TV in 1974 
(no I was not auditioning for a role in 
Prince Valiant
though the hairstyle 
could lead you to believe otherwise).

It was one of the smartest moves I ever made and I feel like the many good things that have happened in my life since then (including meeting Diana in Sarasota) has flowed from that one decision to choose doing what I loved to do over money. I've made that choice repeatedly over the years and I've never once regretted it.


This 1979 photo (including the captions) is from the cover of Sarasota Town & County 
. Left to right are Ron Jackson (not sure where I got the idea that tinted glasses were 
cool!), Wendy Ross (who took over weather after Steve Newman moved to a larger market), 
station owner Robert R. Nelson (standing) and anchorman Bob Keehn on the WXLT news set.

A lot was packed into the day Sunday and it went by way too quickly, as great days usually do. So, thank you for indulging me while I spent this day reflecting on and writing about it. Tomorrow it's back to business in another business (domains) that I have really loved being a part of.  Back to business, but not back to "work". The old saying is so true - "do something you love and you will never work a day in your life."

(Posted Oct. 24 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

42nd International ICANN Meeting Opens Sunday in Senegal - ICA's Phil Corwin Among Those to Attend 

The 42nd International ICANN Meeting gets underway Sunday (Oct. 23, 2011) in Dakar, Senegal where the conference will continue through Friday (Oct. 28). The introduction of new gTLDs in 2012 will be one of the main issues discussed at this meeting. ICANN plans to start accepting applications for new TLDs on January 12, 2012, with the application window remaining open until April 12, 2012.  

Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s President and Chief Executive Officer will join Board Chair Dr. 


Stephen Crocker at  a news conference Monday to discuss the status of the new gTLD program in depth. The two ICANN leaders will also answer questions on other subjects, ranging from IPv6 implementation to DNSSEC adoption.

ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin at a 
Verisign Symposium in Washington, D.C. 
Tuesday (October 18, 2011) 
Photo courtesy of Richard Meyer

Internet Commerce Association (ICA) Legal Counsel Phil Corwin will be in Senegal to monitor any developments that might impact the rights and interests of domain name registrants and investors. 

Corwin headed off to Dakar soon after attending a  Verisign “Building a better Internet” Symposium that was held in Washington, D.C. this past Tuesday (Oct. 18). The invitation only event brought approximately 125 Internet industry and technical leaders together to plan for challenges ahead, including fortifying the internet's infrastructure to accommodate the next billion users. 

Attendees included top Verisign executives, ICANN management, government staff (from the Department of Commerce, FBI and Congress), lobbyists, IP lawyers, academia, think tanks and other internet stakeholders. They heard from a variety of experts including ICANN Chairman Dr. Stephen Crocker and Wired Magazine Editor Chris Anderson.

(Posted Oct. 22, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Closing Day Photos & Highlights from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Fort Lauderdale Beach and Hints of a 2012 Show in Las Vegas

I'm back home after a wonderful week on Fort Lauderdale Beach for the 2011 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference that closed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Wednesday morning (Oct. 19). In my last 

Auctioneer Wayne Wheat conducting T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s live domain auction.
(Tuesday, October 18, 2011)

post Tuesday afternoon, the show had entered its final 24 hours with the live domain auction underway. After making a number of changes in the traditional auction process, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu entered the sale with high hopes but unfortunately the final sales tally was disappointing (Approximately $284,000 with some below reserve sales still subject to seller approval). 

They plan to make additional changes for the next event in a continuing effort to find a formula that will revive a live auction business that has been in a slump at all of the conferences for several years now. Obviously, the bad general economy has a lot to do with that but Schwartz and Neu think it is possible to reverse the decline by creating a better system for selecting and selling domains.  

They certainly drew a substantial crowd for 

the auction. I took the photo below while standing in the middle of the auction hall. There were as many, or more, people behind me as you see in the foreground. Some commentators on blogs who only saw an internet feed that showed the auctioneer and the first few rows of the audience erroneously wrote that no one was there (I've never really understood why people who were not even at an event feel compelled to tell people what happened there but that's another story).

At the auctions few want to sit in front because they don't want competing bidders behind them to see who they are and what they are bidding on. Auctioneer Wayne Wheat was having a hard time seeing the bidders all of the way at the back of the hall so he asked some to move to the front, but none accepted the invitation for the reasons I stated.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees following Tuesday's live domain auction 
(this view is from the middle of the crowd).

The auction was followed by the show's final business session, a Meeting of the Chiefs session that featured eight company leaders who provided valuable advice on running a domain business, as well as commentary on a wide range of industry issues. 

A Meeting of the Chiefs closed the business portion of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 
late Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 18). The dais featured (left to right): John Ferber
Michael Berkens, Adam Dicker, Michael Gilmour, moderator Howard Neu (standing), 
Ari Goldberger, Larry Fischer, Dr. Chris Hartnett and Scott Richter

The final evening at Fort Lauderdale Beach began at 8pm with a gathering for coffee and dessert. This was scheduled to run only an hour but everyone was so engaged in their conversations it ran until 10pm. 

Guests gather for coffee & dessert at the Ritz Carlton Tuesday night. 

Jothan Frakes (left) and Rick Schwartz breaking
 the ice Tuesday night. Is what appears to be a 
budding friendship between these two former rivals 
related to a possible return of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 
conference to Las Vegas next year?

One of the more interesting things I saw during the dessert hour was Rick Schwartz and Jothan Frakes off in a corner having what appeared to be a very warm conversation. That was surprising because relations between the two have been chilly for several years. Jothan was the executive director of the first two Domain Roundtable shows (the first conference to compete with T.R.A.F.F.I.C.) and later played a key role in organizing Oversee's first DOMAINfest conferences. So, he and Rick spent years going head to head.

Neither had anything specific to announce after their chat, but I can't help but think the talk may lead to  T.R.A.F.F.I.C. going back to Las Vegas in 2012, even though Schwartz has said he only wanted to do one show a year from now on.

The workload is too heavy and he doesn't need the money. Still, many (including me) have urged him to consider returning to the two-a-year, East/West combination that was so popular in T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s early years.  Schwartz wouldn't budge, but at the end of the auction earlier in the day, he asked for a show of hands from the crowd - how many wanted to see one show a year and how many wanted to see two, with Las Vegas back in the mix? An overwhelming majority put up their hands in favor of the two-show option. 

A couple of hours later, I see Schwartz and Frakes shaking hands and I have to think that Frakes's deep experience in putting conferences together could help T.R.A.F.F.I.C. kill two birds with one stone - give the show's fans the Las Vegas show they want and still take a lot of the second show load off of Schwartz's shoulders by letting Jothan carry some of that weight. It may just be speculation, but I don't think they spent an hour talking about who is going to win the World Series (even though Schwartz is a big baseball fan).

After the dessert hour (that turned into two hours), many in the crowd jumped on the elevators and headed to a party that Ari Goldberger and Larry Fischer (two of the most successful domain investors of all time) hosted in their suite near the top of the Ritz Carlton. 

Above: Some of the first to arrive at a party held in Ari Goldberger & Larry Fischer's suite Tuesday night (the soiree would later grow so big that hotel staff would move it from the suite to a larger location away from other guest rooms. The Ritz always aims to please and I'm sure their solution kept both Ari, Larry and their guests happy as well as the neighbors on their floor!

At right: two of the domain industry's most respected corporate leaders, NameMedia CEO Kelly Conlin (center) and the company's Senior VP, Jason Miner, chat with Barbara Neu and Judi Berkens at at the Goldberger/Fischer party. 

The next morning (Wednesday, Oct. 19) it was time to say goodbye to friends and fellow guests, but not before sharing a sumptuous Farewell Breakfast with them. This has been a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. tradition and it has always been a great way to wind up the conference - everyone loves going home with fond memories and a full stomach! 

A scene from T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Farewell Breakfast Wednesday morning, Oct. 19, 2011. The
two men in the foreground at left are Chris Leggatt and Danny Pryor, who are integral parts of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. team. They handle the conference's audio, video and technical details. 

Shortly after noon we were in our car and on the way back to Tampa with the 22nd T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show in the books. Many say it was the most productive one for them to date and that is saying something. 

While I have been filing daily reports from Fort Lauderdale Beach since last week, the show schedule is so hectic I had to leave a lot of details out. As always, I will now take a few days to assemble everything into a single comprehensive show review that we will publish soon. Attendees are making industry history and I want to continue making it all part of an easily accessible permanent record so that as we continue to move forward we can always look back (and learn) from where we have been.  

(Posted Oct. 20, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

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) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Opening Day Photos & Highlights From T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Fort Lauderdale Beach

When I posted from Fort Lauderdale Beach early Sunday morning I said the outdoor cabanas were expected to be a beehive of networking activity that day as people arrived at the oceanfront Ritz Carlton Hotel for the start of the 2011 T.R.A.F.F.I.C conference Sunday evening (Oct. 16). That possibility was short-circuited when rain started cascading down by mid-morning and continued non-stop well into the night. Show organizers quickly adapted and moved everyone inside where Alina Schwartz and Barbara Neu began registering the more than 300 guests in town for the big event. 


Paul Goldstone (iGoldrush.com) gets his T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 credentials from 
Alina Schwartz
and Barbara Neu (right) at the show's regstration desk.

After several hours of informal networking in a broad hall overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and a special orientation session for show newcomers, the conference officially got underway at 6pm with a big crowd on hand for Sedo's Welcoming Cocktail Reception.

Faces in the crowd at Sedo's opening night cocktail reception included (L to R): Freddy Schiwek, Markus Schnermann, Roy Messer, Sedo's Kathy Nielsen & Andrew Allemann.

After the two-hour cocktail reception attendees had free time to explore the area or go off to private dinners or parties. Diana and I had the pleasure of joining Frank Schilling (InternetTraffic.com) for a dinner party that he threw for several dozen friends and business partners at popular Fort Launderdale Beach restaurant Steak 954. It was truly a memorable night that started with guests being ferried from the Ritz to the restaurant in the biggest limo I've ever seen (the limo appeared to be to be longer than the four block distance to the restaurant!)

Standing at far right in the black shirt, Frank Schilling welcomes his guests at Steak 954.

Frank Schilling with two of his guests, Pat Grant and Diana Jackson

This morning (Monday, Oct. 17) it was time to get down to business when T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu welcomed their guests and gave them a preview of what was ahead. They also gave every attendee a free Apple credit card reading device for iPhones and iPads that allows attendees to carry a portable cash register around them (you can bet plenty of the smart entrepreneurs on hand will find a way to make good use of that gift). 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Howard Neu (left) and Rick Schwartz kicking off the 
2011 conference with their opening remarks Monday morning (Oct. 17). 

There was also another bonus, a new T.R.A.F.F.I.C. iPhone app that allows attendees to easily connect with each other. The app was developed by a company that Chicago.com owner Josh Metnick helps lead and Josh was on hand to unveil it (more details on that and other show happenings will be in a big comprehensive conference review article we will be publishing a few days after the show).

Part of the crowd on hand when T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 got underway today.

At 10am Keynote Speaker Bill Karamouzis (HallPass Media) delivered his highly anticipated talk in a format that I really enjoyed - a kind of "fireside chat" with DomainSherpa's Michael Cyger inteviewing Bill. Karamouzis gave a detailed account on how he built and sold several companies in the games space for millions of dollars by using category defining domain names as the foundation for his wildly successful sites (see our 2010 Cover Story on Bill for details on his career).

Bill Karamouzis (left) being interviewed by Michael Cyger in today's keynote.

Next up was a very interesting session on the new gTLDs that ICANN will begin rolling out next year. The history of the expansion program and its pros and cons were discussed by a panel of experts that included Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher, Peter Dengate Thrush (the former ICANN Chairman who now works with Minds+Machines), Michael Berkens (RightOfTheDot.com), Jothan Frakes (Sedari.com) and Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com).

The Impact of New TLDs panel this morning featured (left to right): Sedo CEO 
Tim Schmacher
, Peter Dengate Thrush (the former ICANN Chairman who now works 
with Minds+Machines), Michael Berkens (RightOfTheDot.com), moderator 
Howard Neu
, Jothan Frakes (Sedari.com) and Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com).

The afternoon began with Google critic Scott Cleland detailing what he sees as the sins of the search giant that he covered in depth in his book, Search & Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc. With PPC earnings down so drastically in recent years, and a complete lack of transparency at Google and Yahoo, Cleland found a lot of supporters for his position in the audience. 

He also sat in on the next session, a panel discussion that delved further into issues with Google and Yahoo. He was joined on the dais for that hour by Frank Schilling, Adam Dicker (DNForum.com), Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Tim Schumacher (Sedo) and T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Rick Schwartz, who, as most of you know, is also a vocal critic of Google.

Google critic Scott Cleland, author of Search & 
Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.
this afternoon (Monday, Oct. 17) at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011

As I write this three afternoon sessions remained in the opening day of business. This evening the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Party (sponsored by the .xxx registry) will be held at the W Hotel, four blocks north of the Ritz. I'll have more on all of those sessions and events, as well as the first Tuesday sessions in the next post from Fort Lauderdale Beach tomorrow. The show is off to a great start and the buzz in the halls has been highly favorable from the attendees I've talked to.

(Posted Oct. 17, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

More T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Pre-Show Photos & Highlights from Fort Lauderdale Beach: Conference Opens Tonight 

In my first post from Fort Lauderdale Beach Friday I gave you some T.R.A.F.F.I.C. pre-show photos highlights from our first 24 hours in town. Today I'll continue with more from Friday and Saturday that will serve as the final stage setter for the conference that gets underway this evening (Sunday, Oct. 16) with Sedo's 6pm cocktail reception at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

On Friday night Diana and I joined some friends for dinner at H2O, a popular sidewalk cafe just south of the Ritz.

Dinner at H2O on Fort Lauderdale Beach Friday night (Oct. 14, 2011) with 
(clockwise from left to right): Barbara Neu, Kimberly Ann, Ray Neu
Judi Berkens, Michael Berkens, Howard Neu, Ron Jackson and Diana Jackson

Shortly after the photo above was taken, we were delighted to have Dr. Chris Hartnett and his wife, Dr. Linda Hartnett, who had just arrived at the hotel, walk over to join us for dinner. Chris is a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. veteran but this will be Linda's first time at the event and we are looking forward to sharing the experience with her.

After dinner Judi and Michael Berkens invited everyone up to their penthouse suite at the Ritz for a champagne toast. Rick and Alina Schwartz and the ParkLogic.com team headed by Michael Gilmour also joined us there to help cap off a perfect evening.

Drs. Chris and Linda Hartnett

Michael and Judi Berkens welcome their guests after dinner Friday night (Oct. 14, 2011) 

More early arrivals reached the Ritz on Saturday (Oct. 15) when networking on cabana row got into full swing. Various companies rented the oceanfront cabanas to provide a comfortable meeting place for their guests. 

Our favorite photographer, Barbara Neu, snaps a picture on cabana row 
at the Ritz Carlton Saturday, October 15, 2011

At the NameMedia.com cabana Bob Mountain (seated at left) with two special 
visitors; Michael and Judi Berkens's Yorkie Bandit (on Bob's lap) and Ian Andrew 
of DotComAgency.com. Standing with them are two of the many beautiful 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. models serving as hostesses this week. 

At the ParkLogic.com cabana Saturday we found (seated left to right): Scott Smith, Laci 
, Michadl Gilmour, Catherine Harry, Peggy Ploss and Brian Wick enjoying the day. 

From their vantage point on cabana row, guests also got a perfect view of world champion speedboat racer Mike Seebold and his team making some test runs in the Atlantic Saturday afternoon aboard the Miss .XXX boat that is sponsored by the ICM Registry (operators of the new .xxx TLD and also the lead sponsor of this week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference). The team will be competing in next month's World Championships in Key West.

The Miss .XXX speedboat making a pass in front of the Ritz Carlton Saturday afternoon (Oct. 15).

The cabanas stayed busy until well past 6pm Saturday and with the vast majority of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees arriving today (Sunday, Oct. 16), they will be a beehive of activity throughout the day. The show's first big event, Sedo's Welcoming Cocktal Reception, gets underway at 6pm. They have been planning to hold the reception on the Ritz's pool deck but with windy weather and some rain in the forecast today, there is a very strong chance the event will be moved indoors. Guests will still will be still be able to enjoy the gorgeous ocean view while protected from the elements if the party moves to one of the Ritz's glass-walled halls overlooking the Atlantic.

The first full day of business gets underway tomorrow morning (Monday, Oct. 17) and I'll have a post midway through the day then to fill you on the what has transpired beween now and then. A sell out crowd will be here by the end of the day for 2011's only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference.

(Posted Oct. 16, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Pre-Show Photos and Highlights: The First Post From Fort Lauderdale Beach

Diana and I arrived at the Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach Thursday afternoon to start getting ready for 2011's only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference. The big show officially gets underway at the luxurious Florida oceanfront hotel Sunday evening (October 16) but guests have already begun arriving for the big event that will continue through Wednesday morning (Oct 19).

Those of us who got into town early gathered on the pool deck at the Ritz last night to take part in one of the hotel's monthly Full Moon Parties that raise funds for worthy local charities (Conde Nast Traveler name this the "Party of the Month" in Fort Lauderdale). 

The money collected last night will benefit the Miami Dolphins Foundation's annual Dolphins Cycling Challenge, an event that generates money for the University of Miami's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Ritz Carlton on Ft. Lauderdale Beach where 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011
will run Sunday through Wednesday, 
October 16-19
(photo taken this morning).


The group in the foregound in the photo above from last night's Full Moon Party at the
Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach included some of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees 
who arrived  in town a few days early to enjoy the beach before the show begins.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu (left) say early arriver 
Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com)
is THE Man. Michael routinely 
comes all the way from Australia for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. events.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz and his wife Alina 
joined the conference early birds at last night's Full Moon Party.

When I woke up to a beautiful morning today on Fort Lauderdale Beach I found T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s cabanas were just about ready to turn over to the companies that will use them to meet with clients and friends (the shot at right was taken just as the sun began to rise today).

The cabanas have been outfitted with refrigerators, flat screen TVs, constant food and beverage service and a variety of other amenities that will make them one of the most popular places to meet from now right on through the conclusion of the conference.

Tthe cabanas will be especially busy Saturday and Sunday as more and more attendees arrive at the Ritz to take advantage of the networking opportunities on Cabana Row before the show begins with Sedo's welcoming cocktail reception Sunday evening. 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s "Cabana Row" at the Ritz Carlton

An inside view of one of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. cabanas. The companies 
that rented them will add some of their own personal decorating touches 
as they get ready for their guests to join them Saturday and Sunday.

By lunch time today, T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Barbara Neu, Ray Neu and Kimberly Ann had set up the poolside registration desk where they will be signing attendees in this weekend. Some of the early arrivers joined them for the photo below.

Behind the outdoor T.R.A.F.F.I.C. registration desk today (left to right) are 
Ray Neu, Steve Cheatham, Barbara Neu, Diana Jackson, Kimberly Ann and Eric Rice.

I'll have another post from Fort Lauderdale Beach for you on Sunday before the show starts to give you a look at some of the preshow networking that will fill most of the next 48 hours. I will also have posts from the Ritz Monday through Wednesday to provide you with daily photos and highlights from the show. For those who are coming in I look forward to seeing you. For those who can't make it, I wish you were here but since you can't be, I'll try to make this column the next best thing to being there as the show unfolds.

(Posted Oct. 14, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Off to Ft. Lauderdale Beach for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and a Reunion with Lana Del Rey's Dad

I'm heading out for Ft. Lauderdale Beach this morning so I can get settled in at the Ritz Carlton a few days before the crowd arrives for  big T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference that starts there on Sunday (Oct.  16). This will be the only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show in 2011 and show promoters Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu have spent the past 12 months putting  together an event that promises to be one of their best ever. Take a look at the jam-packed agenda and you will see what I mean.  

Yesterday Schwartz released the final catalog for the live domain auction that will be a highlight of Tuesday's schedule (the sale is scheduled to run from 2:00pm to 4:45pm U.S. Eastern time that day - October 18). T.R.A.F.F.I.C. adopted a completely new domain selection process this year and a lot of people will be eagerly watching to see if the changes they made can breathe new life into live auctions - events that have been producing lackluster results at all of the various conferences in recent years. 

I'll make my first post from Ft. Lauderdale Beach tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 14) when other early birds will start arriving, just in time for opening of the first cabanas - luxurious secluded getaways where a number of companies will welcome guests throughout the week.  Informal cabana networking will be going on for three days before the show officially opens with Sedo hosting the opening night cocktail party on the pool deck Sunday evening at 6.

Lana Del Rey

In addition to meeting new people, I'm looking forward to seeing many old friends at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. again. One of the first things I'll do is congratulate Rob Grant on the latest major development in his daughter Lizzy's blossoming career as a recording artist. 

Lizzy, whose stage name is Lana Del Rey, sang her new hit "Video Games" live on British national TV Wednesday night when she was a guest on Jool's Holland's show Later Live. Music aficionados know Jools is one of the founders of Squeeze who has also worked with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Sting, Bono and countless others - a man who knows talent when he sees it. You can see Lizzy's performance on the show at YouTube

Rob told me that Lana's management informed him that "Video Games" is now #1 on iTunes in five countries: France, Holland, Ireland, Norway and Australia and is in the top ten in three others; Sweden, Spain and Italy.

Lana has spent the past several years working with top musicians in England and Europe and it is now paying off in a big way. America won't be far behind. Lana has accompanied Rob to several domain conferences and she is a real sweetheart. Aside from being a friend, as a former radio DJ and record store owner, I've followed Lana's career from the beginning and am just delighted to see the success that I knew was coming for her is becoming a reality

(Posted Oct. 13, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Left of the Dot Launches First GeoDomain to Use Their Innovative Domain Monetization Platform & Darren Cleveland's CityAdvertising.com Makes Inc. 500

We first told you about Left of the Dot Media back in June 2010, right after the company had stepped into the spotlight for the first time with a presentation made during the Test Track session at at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver conference. Left of the Dot allows multiple businesses to lease sub-domains off a premium domain name like, for example, Importers.com, a major success for them that we told you about in August


The company's latest launch involves their first geodomain project - Oahu.com. Oahu.com lists more than 35,000 businesses from across the popular Hawaiian island and caters to both locals and tourists who are seeking information and deals from Oahu-based businesses. Oahu is the most populated of the Hawaiian Islands with 953,000 residents (75% of the state’s population) and in 2010 Oahu welcomed 4.3 million tourists. 

Chris Jensen
CEO, Left of the Dot Media

Chris Jensen, CEO of Left of the Dot Media, said, “For the first time, businesses can use our brand and lease sub-domains direct from the website, examples of which include Hotels.Oahu.com, Golf.Oahu.com or Tours.Oahu.com."

Jensen noted, "When a business uses one of our marketing names, they get an instantly memorable website address that can define an entire category. Marketing names can boost click-through rates for online advertising, contribute to search engine rankings, be used as a landing or splash page for any marketing campaign, and even used to brand an entire web presence for a small business struggling to find the right domain name to use with their business.”

Jensen believes the Oahu.com foundation will helps those businesses connect with the more 

than 10 million web users who search for Oahu-related information every year. That will give them an opportunity to claim a larger share of the vast amount of money tourists spend on the island each year ($5.5 billion in 2010 alone). For more information, you can visit Oahu.com or call 1.808.638.4085.

Congratulations are also in order today to City Advertising CEO Darren Cleveland, whose Delray Beach, Florida based Internet advertising agency  has been named one of the fastest growing companies in America by Inc. Magazine. In their annual Inc. 500 rankings, City Advertising came in at #189 and they were ranked #7 among the fastest growing companies in the South Florida area. 

Inc. calculates the growth rate of tens of thousands of companies to determine who makes their elite list each year. After bringing in just over $129,000 the year the company was founded (2007), City Advertising's revenue soared 1,595% over the next three years coming in at $2.2 million in 2010. 

Cleveland, whose company operates several  directories based on generic domain names, including FuneralHomes.com, PaintingContractor.com and PropertyAppraisers.com, said, "Our team has 

Darren Cleveland
CEO, City Advertising

worked hard to get our company to this level in a short period of time...as more small businesses shift their advertising budgets online from traditional media and the yellow pages, our organization is very well positioned to take advantage of this shift and grow for years to come." 

(Posted Oct. 11, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Paul Goldstone & Morgan Linton Partner to Provide Free Educational Videos on Turning Domains into Brands at iGoldRush.com

Two friends and well-known figures in the domain industry, Paul Goldstone and Morgan Linton, have teamed up to make a monthly series of free educational videos available exclusively at Paul's iGoldRush.com site. Morgan will produce the videos  about turning domain names into brands to increase profitability, with the first video going up today (Monday, Oct. 10, 2011). 

Goldstone, iGoldRush.com's CEO said, “Our goal has always been to help visitors succeed in domaining, from buying to developing to selling. Morgan’s hands-on approach to domaining fits right in with our 

PaulGoldstone (left) & Morgan Linton

philosophy, giving iGoldrush visitors expert insight and advice to help move their top domains from parked pages to profitable online businesses.” 

In the new video series, Linton will share the knowledge that he has gained in developing more than 150 online brands since 2007. “Having a great domain name is one of the key elements but a successful online brand requires more than just a parked page of paid links.” Linton said.

Linton and Goldstone said they finalized the partnership while on DNCruise last month, in between swimming with stingrays and jet skiing with legendary domain investor 

Frank Schilling. Linton said, "Paul and I share a passion for education in the domain industry, so I couldn’t think of a better person to partner with."


Morgan Linton (left) and Paul Goldstone 
after sealing their deal on Grand Cayman (September 2011)

iGoldrush.com has been online since 1996 (originally under the ownership of Edwin Hayward) when the site began offering resources that helped many domainers get their businesses off the ground or improve those that were already flying. The new video series is the latest in a string of upgrades announced by iGoldrush over the last few months, including the addition of new domain brokers and the re-launch of their news distribution service featuring more news and authors and an auto-scrolling feed.

(Posted Oct. 10, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Inside Domainerwiesn (Domainer Oktoberfest) in Munich: When it Comes to Combining Business and Pleasure, Germany Shows Us How It's Done!

September and October have been accompanied by quite a run of cool domain conferences this year. For me it started with DNCruise 2 in early September, then last week's inaugural GeoPublishers.com Expo in Chicago, with the granddaddy of them all, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. still to come at the Ritz Carlton in Ft. Lauderdale Beach Oct. 16-19, 2011

If I could have been in two places at once there was yet another conference I would have loved to have been at - this one on the other side of the ocean. While I was on my way to Chicago for the GeoPublishers.com event, the 3rd annual Domainerwiesn ("Domainer Oktoberfest") was winding down in Munich, Germany. That event, held right in the middle of the world famous Oktoberfest beer festival, was staged by the upcoming new domain monetization service - ParkingCrew.com. The three-day event ran Sept. 27-29, 2011 at the Sofitel Hotel with a crowd-pleasing agenda filled with one-on-one workshops, networking and - of course - lots of beer!

Munich's Hotel Sofitel Munich Bayerpost hosted Domainerwiesn September 27-29, 2011

Michael Berkens of TheDomains.com was among those who were in Munich. While he was there Michael mentioned to lead organizer Stefan Wiegard that I would love to get some photos and highlights from the event. Stefan came through in a big way allowing me to share the Domainerwiesn experience with you. 

When attendees began arriving Tuesday morning, Sept. 27, they were outfitted in traditional Bavarian clothing (dirndl for the girls and lederhosen for the boys) and gathered at the hotel for an opening  round of networking and catching up on industry gossip. In the afternoon, the entire group departed for their first visit to Theresienwiese where Crown Prince Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hidlburghausen in 1810 – a wedding that is commemorated every year with Oktoberfest

The party then got started at Schützenfesthalle, a tent located directly underneath the Bavaria statue that seats more than 5,300 people, where guests enjoyed traditional Bavarian dishes and  world-famous Löwenbräu beer. The tent even features its own private shooting range! With all of the beer being consumed I'm not sure how good an idea that is but no one seemed to mind. 


Above: Domainerwiesn attendees under the Bavaria statue.

Below: View of the Oktoberfest grounds with the Schützenfesthalle on the left.

After seven hours at Schützenfesthalle the action moved to Munich's famous P1 Club where the group was greeted by a 9-liter bottle of Salmanazar Champagne to end the first day in style!

Hakan Ali from InternetX.com decided the best way to wash down beer is with champagne!

On Wednesday morning (Sept. 28) it was back  to business with attendees gathering at Hotel Bayrischer Hof's Blue Spa to network one-on-one in a relaxed setting that also provided an opportunity to recover from the night before. In between meetings attendees could get various spa treatments,  take a swim, enjoy sunny Munich from one of the best rooftops in town and eat some healthier food than the heavy Bavarian dishes that went so well with beer the day before.  

Wednesday evening at 7:30 attendees met at the highly rated Restaurant 181 where they were were joined by industry veterans Michael and Judi Berkens and Michael's partner in RightOfTheDot.com, Monte Cahn, who were in town for a New gTLD Conference. The restaurant, which sits atop Munich's Olympic Tower, provided a birds eye view of the Oktoberfest grounds that illuminated the night sky. 

View of Oktoberfest from Restuarant 181 on top of Munich's Olympic tower.

Another highlight of the night at Restaurant 181 was an appearance by  Melissa Payne who gave attendees an update on the great work being done by the Water School to provide clean drinking water in those parts of the world where it is needed most. 

After hearing Melissa's inspiring account of Water School projects and enjoying a great dinner, along with the best possible view of Munich, Domainwerwiesn guests headed back to the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost Hotel to help Michael Berkens celebrate his birthday as soon as it arrived shortly after midnight.  

Melissa Payne from The Water School

The final day of Domainerwiesn, Thursday (Sept. 29), got started with guests boarding a double decker bus for a sightseeing tour that would give them a much closer look at Munich. The trip was made even more enjoyable by generous servings of Bavarian beer and pork knuckles (I'm going to have to take their word for it on the pork knuckles)! This also turned out to be a good environment for discussing business deals.

Some of the Domainerwiesn guests who got Thursday 
off to a great start with a morning of sightseeing and networking.

After the tour it was time for a farewell visit to Oktoberfest. This time the fancy Hippodrom tent was the setting for an unforgettable afternoon. In this case it is probably best to let the pictures do the talking:

Stefan Wiegard from ParkingCrew.com and Martin Andersson from RookMedia.net 
show the world that true friendship can exist between
parking competitors.

Kamila Sekiewicz from NameDrive.com (looking lovely in her red hat) says Prost! (Toast!)

Another tray of tasty Bavarian food arrives for appreciative Domainerwiesn guests!

Stefan said, "The final day at Domainerwiesn 2011 concluded with one of those legendary champagne nights at 089 Bar that only domainers can throw (enough said)." He added that  ParkingCrew.com is already  looking forward to hosting another Domainerwiesn next year. After seeing these photos I bet a lot of you are already counting the days to September 2012!

(Posted Oct. 8, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:


Final Countdown to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Ft. Lauderdale Beach Underway - Here Is What's In Store at the Shore

Just 10 days from now on Sunday evening, October 16, 2011, one of the most highly anticipated T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences to date will convene at the fabulous Ritz Carlton Hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Florida. The Ritz will remain the center of the domain universe through the show's closing day, Wednesday, Oct. 19.  

The design of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale Beach (at top center in photo above) was inspired by cruise ships. From every level you can see the ocean stretching to the horizon. 

I paid a preview visit to the show's new venue - the Ritz Carlton - earlier this year and I think it is T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s best venue to date (and that is saying something because the event has played in some great locations since debuting in Delray Beach back in 2004 as the first large scale domain conference ever held). I was so impressed by the site that Diana and I will be checking in three days early so we can enjoy the surroundings and hanging out with other early birds before the show gets started in one of the world's most beautiful locations.  

The Ritz is in the middle of everything at the beach including bars, restaurants, shops and two spectacular waterways - the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Intracoastal Waterway just a block to the west. Here is a tip - walk over to the Intracoastal water taxi stop a block west of the Ritz, get one of the cheap all day tickets (that allow you to get on and off any time you want along the way) and cruise the the Intracoastal to see some of the most spectacular homes and yachts in America (photos and highlights from when we did that in April are here). 

Even T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz's penthouse apartment is only steps away in a luxury tower just south of the Ritz.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Howard Neu & Rick Schwartz (right) on Schwartz's penthouse 
balcony on Ft. Lauderdale Beach. You can see the Ritz Carlton over Howard's shoulder.

You will be able to enjoy the ocean view from just about every show vantage point, including the halls outside the conference rooms as well as the pool and cabana decks that will be at the center of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. networking and social swirl. 

The private cabana row (seen in the photo below) will be especially busy. Various companies and individuals have rented the cabanas so they will have a special place to host clients and guests (many will be open a day or two before the show to welcome guests who arrive in town early). The cabanas sit just below the pool deck and can be accessed by short outdoor staircases located on each side of the pool area.

Above: The private cabana deck at the Ritz Carlton will be a special refuge at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.

Below: The pool deck at the Ritz Carlton will host networking events
 in the most beautiful environment you can imagine. 

The pool is actually located on the 7th floor of the Ritz Carlton, far above the hustle and bustle on the street below. Looking east (as in the photo below) the hotel's unique cruise ship design lets you see the vast expanse of ocean behind the pool with nothing to obstruct the spectacular view.

The Ritz Carlton's spacious rooms are sure to delight you too (if you booked one before they sold out). As of this writing, the hotel was full but you can always check with the organizers to see if there have been any cancellations or for advice on other hotels nearby.  

Above: View of one of the Ritz rooms from the work desk 
that sits in front of the balcony windows.

Below: View from the opposite side of the room, looking across to the balcony windows.

Below: The beach and ocean view from the balcony of the room above.


The venue is so nice I haven't left much space for the show agenda, but if you review it at the preceding link, you can see it is packed with timely sessions that will help you advance your business. One thing that has always set T.R.A.F.F.I.C. apart is that it is a conference staged by domain investors for domain investors. You are at the top of the food chain at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. with the program tailored to your needs and information delivered in the no holds barred manner that the organizers are known for.

A lot of eyes will also be on this show's innovative new format for its live domain auction. Schwartz and Neu have turned the old model upside down with hopes of bringing back the glory days for these sales events. Over time the traditional format has grown stale and sales results lackluster across almost all of the industry's shows. If T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s grand experiment works it will be a major coup for them. 

One other thing - while you are at the beach you can help Ft. Lauderdale celebrate the city's 100th birthday! Look for the huge oceanfront centennial sign a few blocks south of the Ritz that commemorates the special occasion that is being observed throughout 2011. 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu and his wife Barbara in front of the 
oceanfront sign commemorating Fort Lauderdale's 100th birthday this year. 

I'm looking forward to seeing you at the beach next week. If you can't make it, I will of course be posting daily photos and highlights in this column in an effort to bring the beach and the best of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. to you.

(Posted Oct. 6, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Sedo Adds Domain Industry Veteran Frank Michlick to the SedoMLS Team

Sedo has added a prominent new member to their SedoMLS team. Frank Michlick, who has been involved with Internet technology since 1993 and registered his first domain name in 1995, 

Frank Michlick has taken a position
with the Sedo MLS Network 

has come on board to help the company expand a domain sales promotional network that currently has close to 60 partners, including many leading registrars. Those partners offer their customers direct access to any domain name listed for sale at Sedo, and the ability to purchase a domain from its current owner directly at that partner’s site.

Michlick's resume includes over five years with major registrar Tucows. He went on to found DomainCocoon, where he continues to provide domain development and management services, as well as custom registrar creation, ICANN and ccTLD accreditation consulting. He is also a co-founder of DomainNameNews.com

“I am thrilled to be joining Sedo, and to having the chance to work closely on the SedoMLS Promotion Network,” Michlick said. “Given my experience working with some of the world’s leading registrars, and with domain management and consultation, it seemed a natural fit to join 

Sedo’s team. I look forward to the exciting opportunity to help the largest global domain distribution network grow.”

Sedo President Ulrich Essmann added, “It is wonderful news that we have Frank on board and working with our SedoMLS team. His years of experience in the domain name industry are perfectly suited to his new role, and we look forward to seeing the SedoMLS Network continue to expand.”

(Posted Oct. 4, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

First GeoPublishers.com Expo Provides a Wealth of Information During Weekend Run in Chicago

I'm back from the first ever GeoPublishers.com Expo that was held at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Chicago over the weekend. The event got underway with a reception hosted by GeoPublishers.com President Fred Mercaldo Friday night (Sept. 30, 2011) and continued with a jam-packed business day Saturday that featured 10 separate sessions. Two more Sunday morning before the show closed at noon sent attendees home with some great tips and invaluable information that will help them strengthen their geodomain based businesses. 



A scene from one of the Saturday (Oct. 1, 2011) business sessions 
at the first GeoPublishers.com Expo at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago

I sat in on every session (and stood for one - the keynote talk that I gave Saturday morning) and am working on a wire to wire conference recap with photos and highlights that will be up before the week is out. In the meantime, two friends and fellow conference attendees have already commented on their experiences at the show; Nat Cohen wrote about on his DomainArts.com blog and Michael Cyger (who, like Nat, is a geodomain owner) posted at DomainSherpa.com

GeoPublishers.com is guided by a board that includes many former members of Associated Cities, the pioneering geodomain trade association that was supplanted by the new group after some widely publicized internal political issues unfortunately caused the AC effort to stall. With many taking a wait and see attitude following the past turmoil and subsequent transition to GeoPublishers.com, attendance at their first Expo was light. However, those who went enjoyed a heavyweight program at a superb venue - a promising first step that should help the geodomain industry move forward and realize its massive potential. GeoPublishers.com has assembled a powerhouse Board of Directors who are all dedicated to making that happen. 

The GeoPublishers.com Board of Directors (left to right): Michael Castello (CCIN.com), Peter Niederman (DenverRealEstate.com), Don Jones (NewOrleans.com), Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt (PigeonForge.com), Bill Hammack (NewOrleans.com), GeoPublishers.com Executive Director Andrew Martin, President Fred Mercaldo (Scottsdale.com), David Castello (CCIN.com) and Gordon Borrell (BorrellAssociates.com). There is one more board member who was unfortunately unable to attend - Scotland's Tommy Butler (Glasgow.com).

(Posted Oct. 3, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

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