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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.

Opening Day Photos and Highlights from the Domaining Europe 2012 Conference

The Domaining Europe 2012 conference officially got underway Thursday afternoon (April 26) at 4pm (local time) in Valencia, Spain. That left time for the many attendees who had already arrived in town time for a full day of sight seeing before returning to the Hotel Soralla Palace for the show's opening session.  


My wife Diana and I used that time to continue touring Valencia aboard the double decker hop on hop off tour bus that I wrote about in my first post from Spain Wednesday night.  We had only covered half of the available route Wednesday, so went back to see the rest of the picturesque circuit Thursday when Braden Pollock of Legal Brand Marketing and his fiance, best selling author Lisa Bloom, joined us to enjoy the ride around the city and the balmy 80 degree day. While sitting on the open upper deck of the bus under glorious blue skies we were treated to one stunning panorama after another.

Above: A scene from Valencia, Spain shot from the upper deck of our tour bus Thursday.

Below: Our bus-mates, Braden Pollock and Lisa Bloom at their window seat.

Soon after we returned to the hotel, a crowd comprised of domain investor/developers from 23 different countries filed into the Sorolla Palace ballroom for the show's opening session.

Part of the crowd at the opening session of Domaining Europe 2012 
Thursday afternoon, April 26

DomainHoldings CEO Jason Boshoff delivering 
the opening address at Domaining Europe 2012 

DomainingHoldings.com CEO Jason Boshoff got things started with an opening address highlighting new opportunities that are opening up in the domain industry. After several years of declining PPC rates Boshoff predicted that domain owners will see monetization revenues start increasing due to innovation from new companies that are offering more finely tuned pay per click  services or alternative monetization options such as zero click, niche lead generation and ad networks. 

As a service provider, Boshoff also believes the impending wave of hundreds of new gTLDs will have a positive impact on many companies in our space. Quoting Michael Berkens, Boshoff said new investors will be spending over $400 million on new gTLD applications alone. That will be followed by even more money spent on new web site development and optimization, marketing and publicity that will raise the general awareness of domain names to previously unseen levels.

After his address, Boshoff took a seat on stage to moderate the show's first panel discussion, an insightful Domain Brokers Roundtable that gave the audience expert advice on what they need to do to increase their aftermarket domain sales. 

The Domain Brokers Roundtable featured (left to right): moderator 
Jason Boshoff
, Frank Tillmans (Sedo.com), Jeff Gabriel (President, 
DomainAdvisors.com) and Toby Clements (Toby Clements.com)

With more domain owners looking to increased sales as the best way to offset PPC declines, the role  of brokers in the industry had gained tremendously in importance in recent years. In addition to selling tips (prime among them - setting a realistic selling price), the brokers weighed in on how new gTLDs might affect sales of existing extensions. Tillmans thinks a flood of new gTLDS will create confusion and only increase the value of .com and leading country codes like Germany's .de. Gabriel agreed that the general public does not understand domains requiring companies that use a new extension to have a matching premium .com address to avoid a high percentage of traffic loss. Clements observed that the market will ultimately decide as brokers will sell any extension as long as there is a demand for that extension.

The CEO and Founder of one major new gTLD applicant, AnnaLisa Roger of .Green, following with a presentation detailing why she believed .green will be one of the most widely adopted new gTLDs. AnnaLisa then joined a panel discussion that I moderated on New Business Opportunitues in New gTLDs

The New Opportunities in New gTLDs panel featured (left to right): moderator 
Ron Jackson
DNJournal.com), attorney Paul Keating (Law.es), AnnaLisa Roger 
(DotGreen Community), Phil Kingsland (Nominet, operator of the .UK registry) 
and Sergey Gorbunov (from leading Russian registrar RU-Central.)

I should first note that not all of the panelists, especially Paul Keating, think there will be many (if any) good new opportunities for domain investors in new gTLDs. Keating cited the lack of promotion provided by operators of previous new registries, .eu in particular, that he said left those extensions to die on the vine, leaving him skeptical of promises made by would be operators of new gTLDs who he believes are unlikely to have the tens of millions of dollars needed to market a new TLD. Ms. Roger on the other hand thinks the the relevancy of an extension like .green (and the public movement behind green efforts) will make it a success. Others agreed with the point Jason Boshoff made in the speech that started the show - that the introduction of so many new gTLDs at once will increase awareness and lift all boats.

That session closed the opening day of business at 8pm Thursday evening. In Spain the dinner hour is typically 10pm - late by the standards of many other countries, so Domaining Europe organizers Dietmar Stefitz and Jodi Chamberlain moved it up to 9pm. On a very pleasant evening attendees took a short walk to the Business Day Restaurant  for a dinner that received excellent reviews. 

Toby & Stephanie Clements (front left), along with Diana Jackson and David Clements 
(front right) at one of the many tables filled with Domaining Europe 2012 guests at the Business Day Restaurant in Valencia, Spain Thursday night. The conference had cut off 
ticket sales after running out of available seats for dinner guests prior to the show.

The evening continued well after the dinner ended at well-known broker Toby Clements threw an open house party in the Presidential Suite at the top of the Sorolla Palace. That event was still going strong when Diana and I finally threw in the towel at 1 o'clock this morning (Friday, April 27). 

Part of the crowd at the after dinner party hosted by Toby Clements (TobyClements.com) 
that closed the opening day of business at Domaining Europe 2012 Thursday night.

As I write this day two of the conference is underway with a full slate of presentations and panel discussions on tap. I'll have photos and highlights from those as well as tonight's social events in my next post from Spain.

((Posted April 27, 2012)

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