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October 19, 2013

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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.

How T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Pre-Show Networking Turned into a Crazy Mix of Mardi Gras and ComicCon 

Above: A brilliant full moon illuminated the pool deck at the Ritz Carlton's All Hallows Eve Party last night on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

A funny thing happened as the first day of pre-show networking at the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference wound down at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach last night - we found ourselves in the middle of a crazy combination of ComicCon and a Mardi Gras style masquerade!

Many early birds are already in town for two days of poolside and cabana networking before the conference officially begins Sunday evening, so conference organizers Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu and their wives Alina and Barbara arranged a table for them at the Ritz's All Hallows Eve Full Moon Party that was held on the pool deck Friday night. 

This is an annual public event so the domainers were vastly outnumbered but we certainly made our presence known as  you will see in the photos and highlights below. 

Below: Just a small section of a big crowd that was spread across the Ritz's Carlton's pool deck for last night's Full Moon Party

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz and his wife Alina at a table where the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. team hosted early birds who started pre-show networking Friday.

Above (left to right): Early birds Victor Pitts  (Above.com), Michael Gilmour (Park Logic.com), who arrived from Australia Thursday, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu, Barabara Neu and Diana Jackson.

Below: Two more key members of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. team, Kimberly Howard and Ray Neu.

Above: I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but for some reason Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com) looked 30 
years younger
last night!

Below (left to right): Judi Berkens and Michael Berkens  
and two kindred spirits from the general public found each 
other at the All Hallows Eve Party last night.

Okay, here is a test for you. Before you cheat and look at the caption, guess who the famous domain investor and blogger in the photo at left is. I know that with the disco chain he may look a lot like Andrew Allemann or Elliot Silver, but it's not them so keep guessing!

I guess some explanation is in order so you won't think our friend wears this getup every day (Of course, I'm not with him every day so I can't really swear to that one way or the other!) People were invited to come to the All Hallows Eve Party in costume if they wished (since I already look scary enough without an outfit - actually especially without an outfit - I declined that option). Having said that, and knowing that all of you cheated and already looked at the caption anyhow, yes that is indeed domain investor and blogger extraordinaire Michael Berkens of TheDomains.com and MostWantedDomains.com

In Michael's defense he said his lovely wife Judi put him up to it (or to be more precise - gave him no say in the matter). Everyone who knows Judi Berkens knows no party really begins until she gets there! And so it was last night. People flock to Judi like moths to a flame, so in no time at all another couple (non domainers) with a similar appreciation for the 70s disco era was at their side. 

I haven't seen so many masks and costumes since the last time I was on Bourbon Street in February. With all of the superheroes running around it felt like a South Florida version of ComicCon. There was Batman and Superman and Iron Man and - thanks to Michael - even Domain Man! I bet the other superheroes thought his uniform was cooler than theirs too.

Of course, the lady superheroes  were well represented too and though I'm sure they had an array of amazing super powers I know none of them could pull off the magic Barbara Neu does in making a domain conferene run smoothly.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Barbara Neu (center) flanked by two other female superheroes.

This superhero business is tiring work. When our party superhero Judi Berkens needed to recline for a few minutes to recharge her batteries, her boredom fighting partners protectively hovered over her until she was back at full strength. It was like the Avengers all over again.

Today's networking action has just gotten started on the Ritz pool deck and T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s cabana row under a bright sun and gorgeous blue skies. If you are coming into town today or Sunday before the opening night cocktal party tomorrow at 5:30pm, you can drop by the cabanas from 10am-5pm each day to see fellow attendees.

I'll have photos and highlights from today's (and tonight's) activity for you in my next report from Fort Lauderdale Beach tomorrow (assuming I am not abducted by a super villain of course!)

(Posted October 19, 2013)

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