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April 19, 2015

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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.

Goodbye T.R.A.F.F.I.C. - Hello THE Domain Conference!  Neu Event Coming to Florida in Late September

Rick Schwartz

Before last fall's 10th anniversary edition of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference was held at Miami Beach, show Co-Founder Rick Schwartz said  that event would be his last. After teaming up with Howard Neu to stage the first major domain conference ever held back in 2004 and following it with over two dozen more shows around the world, Schwartz decided it was time to ride off into the sunset and start enjoying the fruits of his labor. Many thought he would change his mind about retirement but it's a safe bet that when Schwartz sold one of his domains, Porno.com, for just under $8.9 million earlier this month, any chance he would put his nose back up against the time consuming conference grindstone evaporated for good.

With his long time partner's mind made up, Neu huddled with his wife Barbara and their son Ray (who have both also played integral roles in staging T.R.A.F.F.I.C. over the years) to make a

family decision on how to proceed. All three love producing the shows and hosting domain industry participants from around the world, so the first decision - to continue doing what they have done so well for the past decade - was an easy one. The more difficult choice was whether to continue calling the show T.R.A.F.F.I.C. even though the Neus had a lot of new ideas they wanted to try, or to adopt a new name to reflect the new direction and honor T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s place in industry history as a Schwartz-Neu collaboration that changed the fortunes of countless attendees for the better. 

(L to R) Howard Neu, Barbara Neu and Ray Dillman Neu

Even though it meant giving up a universally recognized conference brand for their future productions, the Neus (with Rick's blessing) decided to go forward with a new name, a new logo and a new venue for their first solo flight. Allow us to introduce you to THE Domain Conference, an event that will make its inaugural voyage September 27-29, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The event will be preceded by two days of poolside cabana networking on Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 26 & 27 with the conference opening on Sunday evening (Sept. 27). 

 

One of the primary things the Neus wanted to do was make their show much more affordable so a lot more people would be able to attend. To that end they managed to get a $109 a night room rate at the beautiful Pier 66 Hotel for September show attendees and have dramatically lowered registration fees which start as low as $499 with discounted group rates and free admissions for sponsors and speakers.

Above: A ground level view of the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where THE Domain Conference will be held September 27-29, 2015 (with pre-show cabana networking starting September 26). 

Below: A spectacular view of the area surrounding the hotel taken from the revolving meeting room at the top of the Pier 66 Hotel.  (Photos courtesy of Barbara Neu).

Despite the low cost to attend, THE Domain Conference will still be providing full lunches and  parties, along with increased networking opportunities with the return of Speed Networking putting more people face to face with other domain investors, service providers and operators of gTLD registries and registrars.

Colin Campbell, Jeff Sass and the team at .CLUB (winner of T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s 2014 Best New gTLD Award), who have proven to be ingenious marketers, are so convinced the Neus have come up with a wining formula they have already signed on as the Premiere Sponsor for THE Domain Conference. While the show has the .com version of their name, .CLUB's role is reflected in the official URL for the inaugural show - THEDomainConference.CLUB

For those who can't wait to see the new conference venue in person, those who will be in South Florida next week will have a golden opportunity to do so. As we reported last week, the South Florida Domain Pros trade association will be holding a meeting at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 on Thursday evening, February 26 starting at 6:30pm. While it is designed to be a regional event, several industry people from locales across the country will be there. We will be among them and will share a close up look at the new venue with you after we get a chance to explore the premises. 

One last note about THE Domain Conference - the capitalized letters in the new name are there for emphasis but they could also be an acronym. There isn't an official one but given the show's South Florida location we are already thinking of it as the Tropical Haven for Entrepreneurs. Acronym or not, THE Domain Conference in many ways represents the Neus coming full circle. When they started T.R.A.F.F.I.C. with Mr. Schwartz it was  the first and only domain conference in the world - literally THE domain conference. With T.R.A.F.F.I.C. now a part of our industry's brief but rich history, it seems fitting that if anyone was going to use the name, it would be the people who helped start it all. 

(Posted February 16, 2015)  


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