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Rick Schwartz Floating TRAFFIC Without Sponsors Idea

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I received an email from Rick Schwartz this morning with the subject, “BIG News from T.R.A.F.F.I.C.” and I immediately read the email.  Rick and Howard are expecting a big show in Florida in October (I am not surprised about this), and they are already discussing the format of TRAFFIC in 2011.

According to Rick’s email.

“In 2011, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is strongly considering the possibility of having a “Non Sponsored” event. That means NO SPONSORS! Domainers only. The purpose is to keep the advertising and commercial part out and the ideas in.”

First off, I dig the idea of the more relaxed conference. I’ve hosted a few get togethers in New York, and because the crowd is made up of from anywhere between 15-35 people, it’s very relaxed and cordial. We haven’t had many sponsors for the events and that is usually intentional.

I think there will be a few big issues with doing a non sponsored event and I hope it doesn’t happen.

Most companies will still send representatives to meet with clients who attend the show. Right there, the idea of a non-commercial event is kind of thrown out the window. Even if Rick and Howard would try to limit the event to domainers and exclude larger companies, that would prove to be a difficult challenge in and of itself since many domain investors have become providers of some sort.

If sponsors are let in without booths and/or event sponsorships, it’s still going to be commercial, except sponsorship revenue won’t be there. This brings me to my next point. TRAFFIC is already known as the most expensive domain conference. The current rate for South Beach is $1,295, which is double what DomainFest costs (Howard corrected this in the comments). Without sponsors to defray some of the costs, I can only imagine the price increasing. Nearly every company is either facing cutbacks or not spending more, and a price increase or a smaller conference would probably keep attendance very low, which in turn would dissuade fence sitters from attending.

One of the reasons I think DomainFest has been so successful is that domain investors want to meet with their account representatives face to face at least once a year. Oversee has very long tentacles when it comes to the domain space, and they have thousands of clients in their lines of business. Having a personal relationship with certain account representatives is very important in a business like this, and attending DomainFest is that opportunity to meet with account reps in addition to other domain investors. Without the commercial sponsorships, it’s one less reason to attend.

I realize that many people who have been in this business for a while remember DeanFest (the first real conference), and most would relish the opportunity to relive that experience. Unfortunately, this business has grown so much over the years that reclaiming the old days is as likely as going to a college reunion hoping to relive the college experience of staying out drinking until 4am. Unless you happen to be Gregg McNair, you probably won’t be doing that and will wake up the next morning with a massive hangover.

Times have changed. Domain investing has become a larger industry in and of itself. New people have entered the space, and it’s not as collegial as it once was. The growth of domain investing has made a lot of people very wealthy, and there are plenty of negatives that come along with this. I don’t think having an unsponsored TRAFFIC event will draw a big crowd, and I think it could hurt the TRAFFIC brand.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and his company earns revenue from domain names. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Read this blog's disclaimer for information about the publisher, comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts.

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Comments (59)

    Alan

    Well this is yet another dumb idea for the dying TRAFFIC brand

    “That means NO SPONSORS! Domainers only. The purpose is to keep the advertising and commercial part out and the ideas in”

    Word of Advice .. the BEST ideas are outside of the domaining industry

    Continue to try and keep it just a domainer show and Rick Latona will have to give watches away for people to come.

    July 29th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Doh!

    Maybe that’s because they’ll have a tough time getting sponsors next year?

    July 29th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Jay Lohmann

    I agree with Alan, there are good ideas out there, but their not coming from the parking companies. Invite some affiliate, lead generation and SEO sponsors to the conference if you want new (monetization and marketing) ideas.

    July 29th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Donna Mahony

    I am hoping for a DeanFest reunion … those were the days my friend…..

    July 29th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Alan

    Jay.

    Maybe they want to sell some timeshares instead. Smaller groups are always more personal.

    just dumb dumb dumb.

    July 29th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Elliot

    @ Alan

    I happen to like smaller groups – but only when I can have some say over who makes up that smaller group ;)

    July 29th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Dean

    I am all for a DeanFest! Lol.

    July 29th, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Bill Hartzer

    It wouldn’t be an official “conference” without sponsors. Otherwise wouldn’t it be just a “get together” or maybe even a “domain summit” of sorts?

    I know TRAFFIC wants to be expensive to keep out certain (types of) people from attending, but if you’re really going to promote the domain industry as a whole then you need one LARGE conference, with a under-$100 price, with sponsors (SEO, lead generation, affiliate sponsors).

    July 29th, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Alan

    Bill,

    Yes, the message here sounds like pay $1295 to have dinner with a few people.

    The industry already has one LARGE conference – DomainFest

    No need to keep TRAFFIC around if there is nothing but a just a bunch of the same domainers showing up. In fact, I’ll have a BBQ at my house and only charge you all $500 for dinner and drinks.

    Seriously – the idea expressed above is on par with Latona’s quote last year .. “There is no Money in Web Design”

    Just a comedy show this industry at times.

    July 29th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    BullS

    If you all want to get serious in business dealings, get in the ho tub or sauna bark naked.

    The Japanese got it right—-nothing to hide.

    July 29th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Jay Lohmann

    I thought the price point TRAFFIC had in Vancouver was more than fair when they lowered it to $400. I’m sure that caused a big spike in sign-ups. Chef Patrick is doing the Domain Cruise for between $500 and $800, with the obvious benefit of a cruise. The Epik.com Developers Conference is $700 with a $500 development credit, so only $200 “net” to attend.

    In tough economic times, more people are concerned with value and how to leverage that into profit. No doubt the cruise will have some phenominal networking opps and, development is ‘all the rage”. I think those two conferences are doing good by pushing the typical conference experience.

    July 29th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    George Pickering

    For a new domainer (like myself), I don’t see the value in attending T.R.A.F.F.I.C.

    I have zero interest in parking.

    I don’t have enough DN traffic to support a viable business, so I need to develop my domains as real businesses with a business model, marketing (to drive traffic), and sales.

    With all the online networking, I don’t feel the need to get in the same room as other domainers when an online chat, quick phone call/skype, twitter, or blog offers 98% of the same collaborative services.

    July 29th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    HOWARD

    “The current rate for South Beach is $1,295, which is double what DomainFest costs.”

    I’m not sure where that came from Elliott as you know that it is not true. One week after we opened up registration for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. SOUTH BEACH at $995, DomainFest announced their February show at (drum roll)…………$995!

    I also wonder how many of those who dissed T.R.A.F.F.I.C. above have ever attended a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference and learned what the real value of our hard work has produced.

    T.R.A.F.F.I.C. has always been creative and copied by others who have something to sell, including the first Domain conference, the first Domain Auction, the First Test Track for Domains, and now, possibly, the first Domain conference for Domainers only. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. has always been a leader, not a follower, and will continue to do so whether the naysayers are happy about that or not.

    July 29th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Elliot

    “I’m not sure where that came from Elliott as you know that it is not true. One week after we opened up registration for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. SOUTH BEACH at $995,”

    @ Howard

    I was chatting with Rick about it and I thought I read the conference was $1,495 and he corrected me and said it’s now $1,295 (for a couple more days). I don’t know what DF is, but I thought it was in the $600 range. A client of mine (my only consulting client) paid for my ticket last year, so I don’t have a record of the cost.

    I just checked my accounting books, and the last DomainFest ticket I paid for was $495 back in 2008. The only prices I see on site for Domainfest are $175 for New York, but no price for the January conference.

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Dean

    These are tough economic times and if you do the math: $100=10.Com’s

    nough said…

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Alan

    Howard,

    Past results are not always indicative of future results.

    If you want to attract and grow more people and sponsors you have to grow with the industry.

    Anybody can put a gold star up on their wall for past performance. Its what you do tomorrow that counts in present day.

    Sure, there is a place in the history books for you and Rick but that doesn’t mean anything more than you have a name people know. What people are willing to spend money is measured by much more.

    As I said before the announcement above was dumb and will only attract people who want to park domains.

    That is not the future.

    I credit your past success but the future of TRAFFIC is TBD.

    I’m not a hater and nobody else is – I would say most people want TRAFFIC to be more. Doesnt like you get it but hey – its your conference not mine.

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Andrew

    Without trying to start a pissing match, I’d like to point something out to Howard and Rick S:

    I don’t know how you can compare your conference to other conferences when you don’t attend those other conferences. When’s the last time one of you attended DomainFest? How can you say your conference is better than another conference if you haven’t been?

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Jay Lohmann

    We all want the domain industry to succeed and in order to do that, we need to provide an incentive for “main street” to get involved. Alan is right, no one is hating on you or Traffic or knocking it’s past successes. I think what you are seeing here is the frustration that flipping and parking arent enough for most domainers to make a living and we want more out of conferences, like how to build and develop Internet Real Estate into viable businesses. To do that, we need COMPLIMENTARY skill sets like webdev, SEO/SEM, SMM, affiliates, hosting, etc. The last thing I need to keep trading domains with domainers. I need to be developing.

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    hOWARD

    @Elliott

    The initial price of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. SOUTH BEACH was $995 with $100 room credit and a $100 gift which netted to $795, $200 less than what DomainFest was offering. To the best of my knowledge, they have not lowered their price since then.

    @ALAN
    “As I said before the announcement above was dumb and will only attract people who want to park domains.”

    What is REALLY dumb is this statement which makes no sense whatsoever. If there are no sponsors (ie. parking companies), why would it only attract people who want to park domains?

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Alan

    Because that is the major demographic of TRAFFIC attendees. Ok – let me reword this.

    You will only attract the same people that went last year and the year before – no new blood.

    Open your eyes Howard.

    i respect what you have done but could care less if TRAFFIC comes or goes. Why not focus on doing something different and reflective of the needs and wants of most domainers instead of clinging to your own reasons why TRAFFIC is so good.

    Ask around, Ask your sponsors – I’m not going to kiss anybody’s ass but I can tell you the popularity of TRAFFIC is not as much as you think it is because of exactly the points mentioned above.

    Anyway, good luck and you are certainly most welcome to my house for dinner should I decide to sell the tickets the same weekend :-)

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    wannadevelop.com

    Lol… Some funny comments on here from you know-it-all’s ;)

    Look… Domain conferences need to be about “domaining” stuff at the core which are parking, selling and buying / investing in… Drum roll…. Virtual real estate AKA domains.

    When they lose the main focus and get too much into everything else such as development / marketing, then they lose their identity.

    There are already a shitload of SEM/SEO conferences and everything else in-between such as marketing, leads, etc. These conferences happen every single week.. You can stay busy hopping from one to another all year round lol :D

    I haven’t been to any of the conferences mentioned because I made my connections early on and I am more than set since 2004/2005 for life.

    For those who are just starting out… You need to attend lots of these, and don’t expect for just one to get you on the fast track. It doesn’t work that way.

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Alan

    I never thought I would hear wise words from Mike Cohen :-)

    Amazing .. very true actually.

    Oh well, – all of this is not very important anyway – only to Rick and Howard and they will do what they will do. Doesn’t make an ounce of difference to my life.

    wasted enough of my time on the purple tie guy blog today – man, this little guy is addictive lol

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    jay Lohmann

    So, the lesson here seems to be that there is a need for a conference that goes beyond domaining. We need a Development Conference that brings TOGETHER all the informational sources and best practices of building and monetizing a business online. I shouldn’t have to go to an SEO conference one week, then an affiliate conference the next, then a design conference…and so on. Package that up into one hyper-productive event.

    THAT I would pay $1,400 bucks to attend!

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    George Pickering

    I only invest in domains where I can generate leads. Once you introduce parking to any conference, the conversation turns to domain monetization and you really need to present a broad view on how to make money with domain investments.

    Otherwise, discussing parking is akin to telling people to only invest in bronze at a conference on precious metals, while ignoring silver and gold.

    July 29th, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Louise

    What about TRAFFIC Ireland?

    July 29th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Luke Webster

    We need to bring the outside investors into the water. The cannibalism that consumes our industry/group is a dead end.

    I am thinking that the TRAFFIC idea was to get domainers away from the paid programming. I like that idea. I cant say its the right idea but I can say its out of the box and those are the things that we are going to have to explore in order to move this project forward.

    I appreciate people who make decisions and take action. There are many ways to skin this cat and its time everyone learned some new ones. There is no doubt some of those ways will fail but its better to try and fail then never to try.

    The end goal for any domain owner these days needs to be successful development. Going to conferences for parking solutions is over. That is the main reason behind the Epik Developers Conference. It is about development what works and what does not.

    You get 500 in development credit just for going and thats credit on a proven platform. With testimonials from successful entrepreneurs that have just entered the domaining world and are making real profits from domains they just bought. These guys are new to the game and holding new portfolios that are performing. How many domainers can say that there personal portfolio carries itself with a healthy increasing yearly on their investment? I am thinking its slim.

    We have new clients that know next to nothing about domaining, estibot, parking, etc… and they are catching your drops with our help and developing your (dead weight) on our platforms and making them successful. Domainers we need this kind of information and these solutions and your not going to find them from a Parking dinosaur your going to get them from a Development Company. Epik is that company. I am sure there will be others competition is healthy it will drive our industry forward.

    Drastic times call for drastic measures its no secret revenues are off for parking, convention attendance is fractured, sales are suffering and auctions are hit and miss… They are just exploring how to get a better ROI and provide a better product.

    Thoughts?
    Luke

    July 29th, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Elliot

    I am planning on going to TRAFFIC Hong Kong.

    July 29th, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    wannadevelop.com

    If anybody has a pulse on the industry and know’s it inside out it is the two old timers; Schwartz and Neu.

    For the past 6 years they have sold millions of dollars in tickets to the targeted traffic domain conferences and have taken the industry to where nobody else probably ever could.

    They have included development sessions and have had wacky keynoters but that’s what you do when you are running conferences… You gotta constantly innovate and throw new stuff into the mix.

    Right now, I’d say any new idea is a good idea because the old formats are old news. There have been dozens upon dozens of conferences and something’s gotta give.

    When I personally first heard about Rick Latona hooking up with Schwartz and Neu and creating some sort of partnership with the conference organization, I immediately e-mailed all three and told them:

    You need to launch an affiliate program for the conference and get popular and influential internet marketers / bloggers and the like to push it. Here we are, like a year or more later, and that has not been implemented.

    Nobody outside of our little industry, which is at most a few thousand deep is going to promote the conferences other than the sponsors who will be there… Which is why you have to create incentives. An affiliate program would have rewarded those who buy into the idea or at least wanna make some cash… But that never happened.

    Maybe DomainFest or one of the other guys will launch an affiliate program and continue to grow their get-togethers using the simple power of affiliate marketing.

    I even specifically pointed to a bunch of affiliate marketing conferences which were happening the following month which were all sold out, and this was all during a depression and one of the worst of all time recessions or whatever you wanna call last year lol :D

    At the end of the day… You gotta market things right in order to go places. The targeted traffic conferences so far this year have been low on attendance and being easily dismissed by even insiders… Not to mention quickly forgotten as not much even happens there anymore to generate buzz after the few days of mixing and bs’ around :)

    July 29th, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    RKB

    I like Rick and I know about him/traffic for a long time.

    I think Rick has done a great job promoting domaining in general.

    THE PROBLEM: As far as I remember, everytime the TRAFFIC comes RICK builds extremely high expectations. Many times he just writes BS articles claiming that TRAFFIC is going to present a great new way of monetizing domains blah blah blah. It has happened like perhaps for 5 years or so now and so far there has NEVER been a groung breaking domain development/monetizing method presented at TRAFFIC. I have finally lost faith in his hyped up BS. Go back and read all his write-ups for last few years and you will find out he has done it almost every time few weeks before TRAFFIC just to get people to register.

    That is exactly the reason domainers lost confidence in RICK and TRAFFIC and now people don’t trust his hyped up articles about TRAFFIC anymore.

    Again, I respect Rick for spotlighting domains but he has lost his credibility by over promising and under-achieving when it comes to domain development and monetizing methods for domainers.

    Nothing personal, I am taking time to provide an honest feedback about TRAFFIC.

    Thanks and goodluck.

    July 29th, 2010 at 7:47 pm

      Elliot

      @ RKB

      I have never been disappointed by a TRAFFIC conference. There are always people I want to see and meet there, and no matter which conference I attend, I don’t go to many panels. TRAFFIC is a place to conduct business and meet with friends, clients, and colleagues.

      @ Mike

      Seems like a reasonable idea. Wonder why it wasn’t initiated.

      July 29th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    RKB

    Elliot,

    I respect your opinion and perhaps you are right but not everyone goes to TRAFFIC for that.

    I just wrote what I thought is a major problem because RICK has over=promised and under-achieved it everytime when it comes to domain monetization/development. We have read his write-ups on this matter for almost 5 years and do we have any successful domain development/monetization method presented at TRAFFIC so far ever?

    All we get is recycled presentations from parking companies which many times also sponsor TRAFFIC.

    This is a MAJOR FAILURE of TRAFFIC imo.

    I may be wrong but that is just my opinion.

    I have always praised RICK and stood up in his defense on forums when he came under fire over the years because I believed him, but I don’t believe him anymore.

    Bullshit can take you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.

    And that’s exactly what is happening in the conference space these days.

    Conference organizers should focus on delivering his promises instead of hyping and stunts imo.

    Thanks.

    July 29th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Alan

    RKB

    Very well said.

    I will even go one step further and say when Rick Latona took over traffic and started promoting timeshares, cash for watches and other items it became just a ridiculous advertisement for hey – I’ll sell you anything to make a buck.

    In fact if I’m not mistaken somewhere he actually said his only goal in the domain industry was to sell domains.

    Yep – thats what we need. Someone who only cares about flipping a domain leading the “industry” conference.

    DomainFest is the industry conference — numbers, response, everything points to Oversee undoubtfully having the crown title for the Domain conference of the year.

    I hear comments they copied TRAFFIC all the time.

    Boo hoo — they kicked TRAFFIC’s ass is what they did. They created something much better when the industry demanded it – TRAFFIC did not.

    I am little elitist and have no problem admitting that but when you mix in timeshares and stuff it just shows the whole comedy of the TRAFFIC brand self-diluting itself by the owners and they wonder why the conference is not really that important anymore.

    In my opinion

    July 29th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    rob

    DomainFest is to TRAFFIC as iPhone is to Palm Pilot

    July 29th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    RKB

    Alan,

    DS also need to wake up and do something about their monetization system.

    Ad revenues are up and I even read somewhere I think when DS CEO said they are making more money.

    Q: Who is making more money?

    Not domainers who park with DS, so DS just makes more money imo.

    DS is a very stagnant company for last couple of years….I don’t think domainers will stay with them for long as they will either develop themselves or move where they make more.

    Again just my 2 cents based on my experience.

    July 29th, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Jay Lohmann

    @RBK, is that the same 2¢ you made on parking? :)

    The SMX Conference in Seattle was sold out, all of them are.
    http://searchmarketingexpo.com

    AffCon is a huge success with over 1700 attendees – and theirs is a free admission event! (I’d rather have 1700 free attendees than 100 paying ones.)
    http://affcon2010.com

    LeadCon was sold out last year, with an impressive list of company’s represented.
    http://www.leadscon.com/leadscon-las-vegas-2011/companies-attending.html

    The only developers convention I’ve ever found is in the UK, and its barely a meetup.

    Both Traffic and DomainFest have the leadership, contacts, infrastructure and brand cache’ to easily take their conferences to the next level – and if not, someone else will soon.

    July 29th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    RKB

    lol Jay L.

    I think it’s not a bad idea for us domainers to start going to affiliate conventions.

    May be…

    July 29th, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Louise

    Latona’s traffic events seem high-quality. The schedule looks almost too potent for one event, tiring, when I would like to tour the city it is held, instead of take notes in a class-like environmnet all day. I attended a half day – it was great!

    Epik Conference is one you can’t lose! Seattle is a pretty place, haven’t been in years, and it’s bound to be eye-opening about learning about Epik’s platform and its point of view of how to consolidate domainers, plus you get $500.00 credit!

    Look at these two sites which got developed for $500.00
    TeenWatches.com
    ThickFoam.com
    and this geo directory is in development:
    Santa-Barbara-CA.com <== neat little widget on the side! That just appeared . . . can't wait for the logo, pics, ads, and full look! A geo-directory will use up your credit, but you can get TWO Epic stores for $500.00. Not a bad deal!
    - L :)

    July 29th, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    wannadevelop.com

    These conferences are a lot more about socializing / messing around / catching up it seems… It’s not a bad thing really, but there is now like 4x-5x more conferences around so the squeeze is on. Crowded field… Big time!

    July 29th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Borat

    Howerd and Rick are the senor men of domain bizness and must take the seat in the corner to pull on their man underpants because they are to olden . Sit out and be old and eat the lobster claw parts because you are very rich yes ? Old man idea is to make more money to eat more of the lobster and who cares of other. I must go to this party to find playboy girls yes ? Yougng man in business know that it is not old man game .

    July 30th, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Lukas

    Perhaps it’s time to move on. The people have changed, the revenue streams are different, and the expertise to make it big is also different. The skill set needed for the future is in a community outside of this one.

    Domainers should go to the leading conferences in affiliate marketing (your competition), learn about the ad industry (Madison Ave) (your customer), and learn to build a website (that’ll take a few different industry conferences). The prices are not too bad, because sponsors (ie the companies that will happily take your money to help you make money) bank roll a lot of the “industry conferences” out there.

    There are some examples from certain industries (Pharmam, Legal) were the conferences are cheap, if not entirely free for attendees. Why – because the attendees seeking the knowledge will pay for it after the conference by buying services from sponsors. What do we buy as domainers? Nothing, because we do work for others and they take a big cut of the revenue and flip us crumbs. The pyramid is upside down. Who is more important the network or a domain name owner? It seems the networks have made themselves importnat and everyone has gone along with it because it’s the easy way out to earn a buck (or a penney).

    Anyone hear of Eventbrite? If not, you’re not getting out much. You don’t need to be a conference organizer like the big boys and create super size conferences. With the meetup model, you can make a few dollars organizing knowledge sharing exchanges on the local level. If your stuff is good – people come back and happily spend another 10 or 20 bucks for 3 hrs time. If your sessions are crap, and your panelists have nothing to “share” in a public forum, than you’ll be going to someone else’s conference to learn something, and it will cost you.

    Advertising is local, real estate is local, domaining is changing. Have domain names… will do what with them?

    Let’s get educated in new areas. Make 2010 be the year of discovery outside the domain world.

    July 30th, 2010 at 1:08 am

    NetJohn

    @ Wannadevelop.com

    Mike…Have you ever attended a TRAFFIC show or a DomainFest ?

    Just curious…as I’ve been to a bunch and do not remember seeing you at any.
    ——
    @ Andrew

    I saw Rick S. at the live auction at DomainFest Ft. Lauderdale in May

    July 30th, 2010 at 1:15 am

    steve cheatham

    Talk about TRAFFIC and you bring a lot of folks out from under their rocks. Many dissing it.

    Domain Fest and other domain conferences are NOT TRAFFIC. They are very different. If you want to be with many more people for a cheaper price, please go to them.

    I love every one of the sponsors. But they are commercial entities looking for domainer business. They should not dominate the event.

    The price of TRAFFIC is not important. They massive crowds at other conferences are irrevlant. What you take awayfrom TRAFFIC is very valuable.

    I would like to see a domainer’s only meeting and party at TRAFFIC. An entire conference would be OK.

    Of course, that is just one man’s opinion. ;-)

    July 30th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Elliot

    @ Steve

    I enjoy meeting with domain investors as much as the next guy, especially because I work at home alone all day.

    However, I attend other industry shows like SES to see what companies can offer my company to help me grow. The domain conferences are different because it’s mostly the same. I am sure some sponsors feel the same because it’s the same (or similar) people at every show, and there’s only so much business that can go around in a small group. I think outside companies still look at domain investors as being lazy.

    Just like many real estate and property investors (not developers) would probably not go to a home show to see the latest hot tub technology unless they were also developing homes, I don’t think outside companies look at us as potential targets. Most of us with lots of names have 50 projects going on and very few are completed as originally intended or as should be completed to make a business.

    July 30th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    steve cheatham

    @ Elliott
    I think we are agreeing.

    BTW, I am not lazy. I just working at higher productivity with less effort. ;-)

    July 30th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Elliot

    @ Steve

    I think the perception is laziness – not the reality. In reality, I work 10-12 hour days frequently.

    July 30th, 2010 at 11:17 am

    steve cheatham

    @ Elliott
    Only 10-12 hours? ;) Me too. Work at home alone? Me too.
    50 sites in progress? At least that many for me. Some are finished and have been working for years.

    PS I enjoyed the webcast with Rob Monster yesterday. I have already sent him about 50 domains to see if they fit his network.

    July 30th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Elliot

    @ Steve

    I like to test as much as I can… I don’t have results from my Epik site yet but will certainly post them once I do in a couple months or so.

    July 30th, 2010 at 11:24 am

    steve cheatham

    @ Elliot
    Test test test.

    Keep us posted on Epik. I will do same.

    July 30th, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Rob Monster

    Great thread here.

    I think one of the points that needs emphasis is the theme of targeting non-domainers. There are really two classes of domain owners that I believe will be able to justify investing at a premium level versus the wholesale level that domainers seek:

    1. Financial investors: We are directly approaching folks in real estate, hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, family funds and investment management. I am meeting with people from these industries. The thesis of domains as asset class absolutely resonates. It requires some explaining but they get it. If these funds allocated 1-2% of their asset base to domains, it would be enormously high impact.

    2. Retail developers: A domain like IceCreamMaker.com may make 4 figures on affiliate monetization, but to a retail end-client, who can convert these hundreds of clicks per DAY not at $0.18 but at $5-10, the economics could not be more obvious.

    One X-Factor in terms of the future of domain pricing is going to be overseas speculators. By this, I am particularly noticing Chinese and Indian investors stepping into the mix and swinging for the fences. I have a theory on why this is happening and will comment separately on that one. Europe and US will be living with austerity for a while, but not so in “Chindia”.

    As for the conference, it looks like it is going to be a hit. It was a huge leap of faith to put on this conference — talking about being “out there”. However, momentum is building and it should be a great event. I really appreciate folks making this first conference a success, and in the process taking the industry to the next level by making the trek to Seattle and helping to introduce non-domainers to the domain name asset class. The folks at Moniker are also doing an excellent job, and I expect we’ll also be seeing some impact from our new Gold sponsor, Godaddy as well.

    July 30th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    emma

    Why all these conferences? why why why why? Domain names is not getting to end-users. It’s just changing hands between speculators. What kind of business is that? The world does not need domains at exorbitant prices.

    July 30th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    steve cheatham

    @rob
    What you said. Ditto

    July 30th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Daniel Dryzek

    I was attending 3 TRAFFIC shows in 2007, 2 in 2009 (NY and Amsterdam), 1 in 2010 so far (Milan). I have also attended couple of other domain conferences as well (DomainFEST in Europe, Domainer Meeting in Paris, Domain Channel in London, ICANN meetings, DomainvermarketForum in Cologne, Domaining Conference in Valencia and two MeetDomainers events in Poland).

    So I have seen pretty much everything when it comes to domain conferences ;) US shows are different from European shows, except those in Europe dominated by US domainers – then they look exactly the same as US shows ;) I really like both of them – big US conferences and smaller domainer meetings in Europe – they both have different type of value.

    There are three types of valuable things you can get for yourself attending domain event / conference / meeting:

    1. Lectures, presentations, knowledge from session and discussion panels.
    2. Meeting people (old friends or new ones).
    3. Doing business (buying / selling domains, deals with other attendees, deals with sponsors etc.)

    Each conference is in my opinion mix of all of those three points but in different proportion. Just to focus on TRAFFIC. In 2007 it was really BIG and I have learnt a lot of stuff there, meet a lot of people, did a lot of deals, earned a lot of money. $2000 tickets, airline tickets and hotel costs paid off many, many, many times + I had a lot of fun spending time with my wife in Las Vegas, NY and Miami! :) I will definitely never forget those old good times.

    In 2008 I didn’t attend TRAFFIC shows, only some domain conferences in Europe – close to my native location Poland.

    When I came back to TRAFFIC in Amsterdam and NY in 2009 I was a little bit shocked – it wasn’t the TRAFFIC I remembered from 2007 – less people, less going on, less business, less fun, less partying, less everything. There are probably couple of reasons of that – shrinking US economy and PPC revenues going down are one of them. There are probably other reasons too.

    The industry has changed and so the TRAFFIC (and each and every domain conference) should too. I think TRAFFIC should focus on ONE conference every year. Not two, not three, not five!! Maybe but I only say MAYBE one TRAFFIC in the US and another one in Europe / Asia / some other part of our globe changed every year. So altogether max TWO TRAFFIC shows every year. People don’t have so much time and money to travel all the time. And time is money too, add tickets, hotels, transport and you end up with pretty huge bill.

    From my perspective I want to travel to one, maybe two global domain events + 2-3 more local events like those in Germany, Spain or Poland a year. That’s already more than enough. I also attend couple of domainer get-together but these are “one evening / night” events, so they don’t really count but they also important.

    What I would love to see in 2011? ONE BIG TRAFFIC in great location (I loved Miami event in 2007 with the venue right at the beach!) with great presentations, sessions, speakers, some BIG keynote speaker, great parties and a lot of networking opportunities. And of course great auction too – with 100 selected great names and not with 700 crappy names. That is the domain conference I would love to go and I would definitely attend. I have nothing against sponsors if they organize a good party or dinner for attendees, so let them in. And last but not least – I would like to see there at least 400-500 attendees – that’s the right number for GLOBAL conference. I want to meet people, talk with them, learn from them and have fun with them. 100 people is not enough, as I want to meet also NEW people, not only the ones I know already. If Rick and Howard can organize such TRAFFIC for me, I don’t care about the ticket price too much as long it is not higher than $2000 (of course $500-$1000 would be ideal).

    July 30th, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    domainer

    Conspiracy theory lol

    They don’t want sponsors and decide to form a company and cut out parking companies and tell these parking companies a big fuck you

    All the people who attend traffic are ballers and deal with massive traffic why not form there own company and announce it at conference without sponsors.

    Or deal direct end users and advertisers.

    Maybe its far fetched but know we are all wondering what’s up. Franks 20 mill a year is more like 8 million and everyone feeling one impact. The big ones. Also some are selling there .com left and right

    July 31st, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Priv

    Bottom line: they are maybe a dozen or so ‘domainers’ that make money they rest need to develop sites because they missed the boat. Kissing Ricks @ss or living by what a real successful domainer said years ago is no way to run your life. You do not need 10 conferences to try to recycle the same names to the same people, more or less everyone knows the value of those names now. And if a new way to make 20 cents a click vs 15 you can find that out online

    July 31st, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Dietmar Stefitz

    If you don’t want the Sponsors any more, we would like to have them. We are charging 250.– Euros per attendee and this is only possible because of Sponsors. And yes, also we here in Spain have a lot of fun at our Networking !

    Our event is from 23rd to 25th of September and we have Tim Schumacher and the Castello Brothers not only as Keynote Speakers, but also as attendees at our Networking activities. Ahh, as for Sponsors, the Gala Dinner ticket is still waiting to be picked up. :)

    August 4th, 2010 at 6:07 am

    steve cheatham

    @Dietmar
    From what I read in your post, you already some heavy hitters from USA as sponsors and speakers. Listen up to these guys, they know what they are doing.

    I suppose that satisfies your request to send the sponsors over. ;-)

    Good price too. Now if I could only afford the plane ticket and other expenses. Really. ;-)

    August 4th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Domain Lords

    It’s more likely the sponsors are balking at his sponsor fees than SCHwartz saying no to that revenue. LOL Read between the lines…

    April 23rd, 2011 at 10:16 am

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