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The Lowdown
October 2010 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.

Are You Ready for Another ccTLD Re-Launch? Coming Monday - Sunrise for .SO. Plus, DomainHacks.com Debuts and .Info Awards Voting Ends Tuesday Night

.CO enjoyed a wildly successful re-launch this past summer - now the .SO Registry hopes a little of that ccTLD magic will rub off on their extension too. Unfortunately, .SO has some 

big hurdles in its path. For starters, it is the country code for Somalia, one of the most unstable nations on the planet, so many will be leery of a regime change possibly resetting the rules in the middle of the game. A similar risk could be attributed to a lot of third world ccTLDs of course, but few have a political atmosphere as dicey as that of Somalia.

 

.SO also does not have the large promotional budget the .CO Registry was able to deploy to spread the word about their extension, nor the powerful business connotation that .CO benefits from (.CO is a common abbreviation for company). 

Still, some will go for for major keywords in any extension and that will be the case for .SO too. Administration of the ccTLD was re-delegated to Somalia's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MoPT) in April of 2009 and they are in charge of the re-launch that gets underway Monday (Nov. 1) when the sunrise period for trademark holders begins. The opening of Land Rush follows Dec. 16 with the start of Open Registration slated for March 1, 2011

The registry is holding a list of Reserved, Premium and Restricted domains (available on their website) with many of those to be auctioned off in a special sale to be conducted some time after the start of open registration.  

One area in which .SO could do well is with those who like domain "hacks" - names that utilize the extension to complete a memorable word or phrase. For example, UsedCa.rs or BabyCloth.es, two domain hacks that are available at DomainHacks.com, a new aftermarket sales platform dedicated to these kinds of domains. .SO examples could be things like ElPa.so or Paradi.so.

DomainHacks is run by Domaining.com Founder Francois Carrillo and is the latest in a string of specialty aftermarket platforms he now has online (NumericDomains.com, BargainDomains.com and Catchy.com are just a few of the others). 

One other note today - voting for the 2010 .Info Awards ends Tuesday night (Nov. 2) at 11:59pm (U.S. Eastern time). The annual contest, that began in 2007, is staged by the .info registry operator, Afilias to recognize the best websites built on .info domains. The winner will collect $7,500 with $5,000 going to the runner-up and $3,000 to the 3rd place finisher. You can get more details here

(Posted Oct. 29, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101029.htm

Court Approves $13 Million Sex.com, Paves Way for That Domain to Become the Top All Cash Sale Ever Reported - Also in the News: Epik, Bido & DomainConsultant.com  

On Wednesday (Oct. 27) Los Angeles bankruptcy court judge Geraldine Mund approved the sale of Sex.com for $13 million. Once the funds have been received and the domain transferred to its new owner - Clover Holdings of St. Vincent - it will officially become the highest all cash domain sale ever reported publicly. 

A completed sale will bring to a close another chapter in the wild history of Sex.com.  However another chapter will begin right away as the judge has to settle a dispute among the current Sex.com creditors over who will get how much from the sale proceeds. Kieren McCarthy published an informative piece detailing that situation at The Register today

Several other notes today. Amid reports that Google has de-indexed a number of Epik developed websites, we hear that company founder Rob Monster plans to update Epik publishers on the situation tomorrow afternoon at 5pm (Friday, Oct. 29) and tell them how the company intends to address the issue and maximize earnings both now and going forward.

Just in time for Halloween, Bido.com is back from the dead! One of the original founders, Sahar Sarid, had shuttered the auction site earlier this year, but this week Sahar confirmed to me that he has sold the operation to a new company that is reviving the platform. Sarid is no longer involved but his right hand man from the last iteration of Bido, Jarred Cohen, is on board again. We wish Jarred and the new team the best of luck.

Automated domain appraisal systems have always been greeted skeptically (to put it kindly) by veteran domainers. That hasn't stopped DomainConsultant.com from taking a new stab at it with something they call the DCV Pricing System. On a page detailing how the system works, DC says the system is comprised of three mathematical formulas that owners and buyers can use to produce a substantiated value and asking price for any domain or developed property. 

A reliable tool of this kind would be a huge breakthrough. The guys at DC have been around the block a few times so you always have to take any innovation from their shop seriously. You can check out their system for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

(Posted Oct. 28, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101028.htm

SnapNames Shill Bidding Scandal Ends With Oversee.net Settling Two Lawsuits Including One Filed Against Bogus Bidder Nelson Brady

Former SnapNames VP Nelson Brady created a world of trouble for his company and himself when he was caught shill bidding (under the pseudonym Halvarez) in company auctions one year ago. SnapNames fired Brady and parent company Oversee.net filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against him. Meanwhile a group of affected customers joined a class action lawsuit that was filed against SnapNames and Oversee.net. 

Today Oversee announced settlements in both of those lawsuits that it hopes will put the episode behind them once and for all. In the class action suit  the company said the settlement terms and amounts to be paid our are identical to the amounts affected bidders were offered in a rebate offer Oversee extended in November 2009, so those hoping to get more from the class action will be disappointed. More on that settlement can be found here

Terms of the settlement in the $33 million suit

Former SnapNames VP Nelson Brady 
("Halvarez") was sued after shill bidding
activity was uncovered at SnapNames.
 

filed against Brady were not disclosed but the company released a statement saying, "Oversee believes the financial penalty is appropriate considering the seriousness of the improper activity." Some hoped to see Brady face criminal charges as well as the civil suit to send a strong message on this kind of fraudulent activity but the settlements and compensation to customers will close the door on that possibility.

Mike "Zappy" Zapolin speaking at
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami last week.

One other note today - Mike "Zappy" Zapolin of the Internet Real Estate Group (that was profiled in our Sept. 2005 Cover Story) was one of the speakers at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami last week. Just before the show Zapolin, who authored a book about domain investing called Internet Warrior, released an informative 10-minute video to spread the word about how a good domain name can turbocharge a business as well as provide great investment opportunities for entrepreneurs.

In the video Zapolin provides tips on acquiring, developing and selling domain names. Several other well-known figures are also featured in the video including John Ferber (Advertising.com 

founder), Jeff Taylor ( Monster.com Founder), Deepak Chopra and Mike Milken. It is a nice piece not only to learn from yourself but to also forward to friends and acquaintances who want to know more about domains and why you spend so much of your time focused on them!

(Posted Oct. 26, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101026.htm

Events & Companies in the News: BlueGlass FL Conference 2010, TollFreeMarket.com and the AfternicDLS

Are your ready for another Florida conference?! Yes, DNCruise and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami just ended, but another event, featuring some familiar names in the domain industry, is coming up next week in Hollywood, Florida. It is the BlueGlass FL 2010 Conference, an event focused on online marketing that will feature industry experts in Domaining, SEO, search marketing, social media and entrepreneurship. The show will run November 2-3 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

 

The conference will have a series of educational seminars including an in-depth discussion about the “Evolving World of Domains” that will be moderated by new T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Domain Hall of Fame member Monte Cahn of Moniker.com. The session will also feature several high profile panelists such as Chad Folkening and John Ferber of DomainHoldings, Andrew Beckman of Location3 Media and John Andrews of UpperLeftPlacemet.

If you would like to go, the conference, being staged by Tampa-based internet marketing company BlueGlass, is offering our readers a 15% discount off registration. Use the code Dnj15 at registration to get the discount.

While I was at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami last week I chatted with veteran domain investor Loren Stocker of Chicago, a veteran of the toll free phone number business who runs TollFreeMarket.com. Loren was excited about the rollout of new 855 toll free numbers that is currently underway (they work the same way as 800, 888, 877 and 866 toll free numbers). Like domains, toll free phone number combinations that spell out keywords or brand names are always in high demand. 

Stocker. whom many of you have known for years, generously offered to help fellow T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees reserve their own vanity numbers at no charge. I had hoped to run an item about that during the show but ran out of time. Not to worry though, Loren said the offer stands through the remainder of this week (and he is extending it to others in the industry even if you did not make it to the show). He set up a special page at http://tollfreemarket.com/trafficshow/ that has the details. 

Loren Stocker
TollFreeMarket.com

While I was away covering conferences a lot of other interesting industry news and information was released. I'll be filling you in on those things over the next couple of days as I finish catching up following the trip. I'll close today's post with one particularly big development that should be beneficial for both domain name buyers and sellers. 

The AfternicDLS announced the addition of registrars Enom.com and Moniker.com as "instant transfer" partners (joining Network Solutions and Register.com) available to those who select the Premium Promotion level on the company's popular aftermarket sales 

platform. This is important because many potential buyers want to conclude sales instantly and on the spot. Since Enom and Moniker are two of the most popular registrars among large portfolio holders, this will make the instant transfer option available to many more sellers (a domain has to be registered with one of the AfternicDLS Premium partners and have a fixed price to be listed at Premium level).

The AfternicDLS, which will simplify its promotional options to just two going forward - DLS Network and DLS Premium (with the current Basic level to be phased out by the end of the year) - says prices on the Premium program average 33% more than on the Network program (which does not have instant transfer available). 

The company also announced a new commission structure - 15% for names on the DLS Network program (reduced to 10% if the domain is parked with Afternic and sold through the company) and 20% for the Premium level (15% if parked and sold there). The minimum commission will be $120 for both levels.  

(Posted Oct. 25, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101025.htm

Closing Day Photos & Highlights From T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami 2010 and Why the Glow Lingers Long After the Conference Curtain Falls

A triumphant 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami  conference came to an end Wednesday morning (Oct. 20) with an Epik.com Swapfest at the show venue - the fabulous Loews Hotel on world famous South Beach. Swapfest is a domain sale, involving thousands of domains, conducted under a Dutch auction format (prices start high and fall until they hit a price a bidder likes - or reach the minimum bid level without selling).  

Above: Epik.com CEO Rob Monster (at far right) conducts Swapfest on the closing day 
of the 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami conference Wednesday (Oct. 20). 

Below: Part of the crowd on hand for Epik's Swapfest event. 

Several things make Swapfest a unique sale. For one, all domains include a website developed on the Epik platform and for another, you can pay for winning bids with either cash of Epik bucks, a new form of currency invented by the company to bring added liquidity to the market. We had to begin the trek back home before the sale ended and the results have not yet been posted but I would expect to see a recap soon on the Epik blog

This was one of the best T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences ever (and many of those who attended have let show co-founder Rick Schwartz know that in comments on his blog). Schwartz and fellow Co-Founder Howard Neu, backed by a tremendous family support team in Barbara Neu, Ray Neu and Alina Schwartz, hit this one out of the park. The venue, the number and quality of people on hand, food service and programming all served to burnish T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s luxury brand. 

With so many new competitors cutting the conference pie into dozens of pieces, T.R.A.F.F.I.C., over the past couple of years, has experimented with different approaches (including lowering prices and trimming expenses)  in search of the best combination to continue standing out in an industry category that this

Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders

conference originated  in 2004. Ironically, the formula that wound up working best, as clearly demonstrated in Miami, was the one they began with - do everything first class or don't do it at all.

I posted from Miami daily during the show but with while the conference was underway there wasn't time to go into a lot of detail about individual events or to edit and share more of the many photos we shot during the conference. We will be doing that in a comprehensive review article that we will publish around this time next week.

In this last of the daily reports from the show, I wanted to leave you with a personal note about what to me has been by far the biggest dividend I've received from attending so many T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences over the years. The show has a slogan - T.R.A.F.F.I.C Means Business - and it does - a remarkable number of major deals are cut at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows - but the bigger reward has been meeting a very special group of people and forming many personal friendships that I think will last a lifetime. I've done no business at all with many of these people, but they have enriched my life immeasurably. After a few days, the lights at the latest show go off, but the friendships go on.

I'll give you one example from the trip to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami. Rob Grant (who I got to know well when writing a profile about him for an April 2000 Cover Story) lives in Lake Placid, New York, but also has a vacation condo on Anna Maria Island (a relatively unknown jewel on Florida's West Coast, about an hour south of our home in Tampa). 

On the final night of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference, Rob, who had not had a chance to stay at his condo for over a year, decided at the last moment that he wanted to stay over in Florida for a few days and go there. Knowing we would pass near Anna Maria on our way back home, he asked my wife, Diana, and I if we had room for him to hitch a ride to our side of the 

Rob Grant and Ron Jackson on Anna Maria 
Island
(Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010)

state. I was happy to have the opportunity to take him all the way to his front door because when I first moved to Florida from Ohio at the age of 22, I lived minutes away from his vacation getaway and for two years spent part of almost every day on the island's beautiful Coquina Beach. I was curious to see how much things had changed there over the past three decades.  Fortunately, not much - it is still a little piece of heaven on earth.

Above: the historic Anna Maria City Pier we visited with Rob Grant (Wed. Oct. 20, 2010)

Below: The Old Florida style restaurant at the end of the pier where Rob took Diana 
and I to dinner (the fresh seafood was some of the best we have ever had). 

Below: After dinner Rob showed us around the island and he snapped the 
picture of Diana and I below that was taken at a second pier, a short distance  
up the coast from the first one (a record-breaking 17-foot shark that people still 
talk about was caught off this pier several decades ago).

It was a very special day with Rob. Talking domains with him with him along the way made the four-hour drive from Miami feel like it went by in four minutes. The evening with him on the island was even better - a reminder that it is not the business, it is the people who make this field the best on earth to be a part of.  T.R.A.F.F.I.C. brought us, and many other special people like Rob, together and, at least as far as I'm concerned, that is the greatest conference value of all

Above: After leaving Rob, on the way home we stopped at Coquina Beach to watch the 
sun go down. The perfect end to a perfect day and our latest T.R.A.F.F.I.C. adventure.

(Posted Oct. 21, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101021.htm

Photos & Highlights From Day 3 (Tuesday) at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami 2010 With Award Winners, Don King and the Live Domain Auction

The third day of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami 2010 conference at the Loews Hotel on South Beach Tuesday (Oct. 19) kicked off with the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards brunch. Awards were presented in seven categories and two new members were also inducted into the T.R.A.F.F.I.C Hall of Fame - Monte Cahn and Rick Latona

The award winners included the .CO Registry that was voted Sponsor of the Year after a very successful re-launch of their TLD. 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz (far left) and Howard Neu (far right) presented 
.CO Registry executives (left to right) Lori Anne Wardi (Director of Marketing), CEO Juan 
Calle
& Crystal Peterson (Senior Manager) with their 2010 Sponsor of the Year Award.

Also taking home trophies were:

Gregg McNair - Domainer of the Year

Epik.com - Developer of The Year

Sedo - Best Overall Domain Solution

WhyPark - Best New Monetization Solution

Elliot Silver - Best Domain News Blog

National A1 - We Get It Award

I'll have photos of all of the winners accepting their awards in a comprehensive show review article that will be coming out next week.

Don King addressing the T.R.A.F.F.I.C 
Miami
crowd Tuesday (Oct. 19, 2010)

After the awards ceremony, legendary boxing promoter Don King addressed attendees as a special guest speaker. King was a controversial choice as some questioned his relevance to a domain industry audience as well as incidents in his past that led to time in jail. King said those years of incarceration in what he called the University of the Penitentiary prompted him to educate himself (he is a voracious reader) and change his direction in life. 

The insight he could provide domainers most clearly came during the question and answer session that followed his talk. Rick Schwartz asked King what he would do if he owned domain traffic but received only a miniscule share of the proceeds from selling that traffic via upstream "partners" Google and Yahoo.

King said he had run into almost exactly the same situation in his business career. He said that he  essentially "made" the HBO and Showtime cable networks with his exceptionally popular boxing cards, however he was paid a pittance compared to the profits he generated for those companies. He said the answer was to find a way around them, perhaps by creating your own distribution channels to sell traffic directly to advertisers. He said he is planning to do something similar with a new People's Network to distribute his shows and promotions. The kickoff could come with a live event (details of which have not yet been released) that he said will be held in Miami December 17th.

King said domain owners are currently like "tenant farmers" who produce the crops but get a meager share of the profits from their landlords. "The boss decides what your cut will be," King said. He encouraged domainers to educate themselves so they can create new avenues from which to sell their product.

However you may feel about King personally he is an entertaining speaker who can still draw a crowd. After his speech many audience members crowded around him to take pictures and get autographs. 

Boxing promoter Don King draws a crowd after his talk at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami Tuesday.

Three afternoon seminars followed King's talk. Michael Berkens, Owen Frager, Michael Gilmour, Jean-Pierre Khoueri and Rick Schwartz discussed the The Anatomy of a Type-In - what surfers are looking are thinking when they type in an address. Next Monte Cahn, Larry Fischer, Ari Goldberger, Neil Kavanaugh, Kevin Leto, Kathy Nielsen and Rob Sequin offered advice on Prospecting for End Users. The final session covered Domain Security issues and featured Mike Robertson, Jeffrey Eckhaus, Divyank Turakhia, Donny Simonton, Dr. Chris Hartnett, Albert Angel, Michael Berkens and Gregg McNair. I'll have more on those sessions, including photos, in our upcoming show review article. 

The business day closed with a live domain auction conducted by Rick Latona Auctions that produced close to $500,000 in total winning bids. The largest bids went to Shock.com ($200,000), BVI.com + BVI.co ($110,000), Idle.com ($20,000), MZH.com + MZH.co ($15,000) and Coches.co ($15,000). (Update 10/26/10: Rick Latona announced that the winning bidder for Shock.com and BVI.com did not pay so those names were put back up for sale. Deadbeat bidders are the reason why we never list a domain as having been sold on our weekly or Year-To-Date sales charts until the domain has been both paid for and transferred to the new owner). 

Scene from Rick Latona's live domain auction Tuesday (Oct. 19) at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami

After the auction, NameMedia hosted a very nice outdoor cocktail reception at the Loews Hotel that ran from 7-10pm. The weather was perfect and the company just as good, making the three hours fly by as if they were minutes. No need to turn in just yet though. As the NameMedia event was closing new Domainer of the Year award winner Gregg McNair was opening up his suite at the Loews for a party (open to all attendees) that was still in full swing when I left to write this post.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami 2010 will conclude Wednesday morning with a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Advisory Board meeting and an Epik.com SwapFest. Immediately after those events end I will be jumping in the car and making the five-hour drive back to our home base across the Sunshine State in Tampa. I'll have closing day photos and highlights from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami fo you in this column Thursday.

(Posted Oct. 20, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101020.htm

Photos & Highlights From Day 2 - The First Full Day of Business - At T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami 2010

After getting underway Sunday evening with a welcoming cocktail party at the Loews Hotel on South Beach, attendees at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami got down to business Monday (Oct. 18). The day began bright and early at 8:30am with a speed networking session conducted under an entirely new format. 

Scene from Monday's one-on-one speed networking session at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami 2010

Participants had to register in advance so they could be matched up with people who worked in the areas that they were most interested in. That allowed show organizers to set up six extended one-on-one meetings (each lasting just under 10 minutes) for each participant. As you entered the room you were given a personal schedule that directed you to numbered pre-assigned seats for each of your sessions. 

I found the new format to be an improvement over previous ones that limited each contact to two minutes. The old format let you meet more people but many were from fields unrelated to your interests. The new one lets you target the categories you want to explore while giving you considerably more time to get to know each person you meet. 

After the networking session, attendees headed to a 10am brunch where they heard welcoming comments from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu. Schwartz told them that much of the conference would focus on the need for domain owners to re-take control of their own destiny from partners (Google and Yahoo in particular) that he believes are shortchanging domainers who send traffic to the search engine giants through PPC programs (you can read more details of Schwartz's views on this in a pre-show interview with him that we recently published).

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Howard Neu (left) and Rick Schwartz welcoming attendees to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami

Keynote speaker Simon T. Bailey tells the 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. audience how to release their brilliance.

Author Simon T. Bailey's keynote speech was next on the agenda and his tips for unleashing your inner brilliance was a treat. Bailey believes that each of us is born brilliant. Then we spend the rest of our lives having our brilliance buried by people, circumstances, and experiences. He says that eventually we forget that we ever had genius and special talents, and our brilliance is locked away in a vault deep within. So we settle for who we are, instead of striving for who we were meant to be.

He details how to change all of that in his latest book, Release Your Brilliance, that is available on Amazon and can also be 

purchased for immediate download to iPads and iPhones. I sat with Simon at brunch prior to his talk and found him to a very inspiring person. The way he rose from poverty to become an internationally celebrated speaker, author, and consultant underscores that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

In another conference highlight, attendees had an opportunity to hear from the highest ranking government official ever to speak at a domain conference - U.S. Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-Florida), who was accompanied by former Congressman Mike Ferguson.

U.S. Congressman Cliff Stearns (left) and former Congressman 
Mike Ferguson speaking at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami Monday.

Depending on how the mid-term elections go next month, Stearns may become Chairman of a powerful House committee that oversees Internet issues. He expressed support for domain owner's rights and urged attendees to get involved in the political process to make sure those rights are not taken away by those who want to grab assets they did not have the foresight to acquire years ago when they were available to anyone who wanted to put their capital at risk.

Ferguson emphasized that it was crucial for domainers to join forces because they are battling giants in this fight. Unfortunately, as an industry we have a poor track record of working together, so whether or not Stearns and Ferguson's sage advice will be heeded remains to be seen.

The day continued with an afternoon schedule that three seminars, starting with one titled Where Do We Go From Here? devoted to next steps domain owners can take to develop domains or improve monetization prospects for the assets.

Above: A large crowd turned out for a Monday afternoon 
session called Where Do We Go From Here? 

This session featured a panel of seven experts who all have extensive development experience, including John Ferber (Domain Holdings), Craig Rowe (WhyPark.com), Rob Monster (Epik.com), Dan Warner (DomainAdvertising.com), Ted Olson (NameMedia), David Castello and Michael Castello (Castello Cities Internet Network). There isn't enought time while the show is underway to provide details on each seminar. However, we will be publishing a more comprehensive show review a few days after the conference ends.

The next session - Stop Whining and Start Doing Something Constructive - expanded on the theme of what to think about doing next.

Stop Whining and Start Doing Something Constructive panelists (left to right) were Adam Matuzich, Owen Frager, Ira Zoot, Zappy Zapolin, Lonnie Borck and Michael Berkens.

There was a new format for all of the business seminars at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami. No Powerpoint presentations were allowed. In every case, the time was spent in a free flowing discussion moderated by Howard Neu with the audience invited to ask their own questions as well.

In the last session, I joined five colleagues to discuss Is The Gold Rush Over, or Are There More Nuggets to Mine? The opinion I and several others expressed was that the gold rush is far from over but that some of the best opportunities are being found in places people haven't mined so heavily in the past - everything from ccTLDs to using CPA monetization methods.

The Is The Gold Rush Over, or Are There More Nuggets to Mine? panel featured Gregg 
McNair
(PPX International), Keith Levenson (Rio.com), Chad Folkening (Domain Holdings), 
Ron Jackson (DN Journal), Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com) & Rick Schwartz (T.R.A.F.F.I.C.).

The final event of the business day was the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track that allows those who have businesses seeking investments to make their pitch to a panel of judges who are also potential investors. 

Lori Anne Wardi (at the podium) of the .CO Registry, the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track's 
sponsor, introduced Monday's program. The judges/investors were (seated L to R): 
Dr. Chris Hartnett, Rick Latona, Gregg McNair and Rick Schwartz.

With business out of the way it was time for evening's big social event, a spectacular party, hosted again by the .CO Registry, at the fabulous Versace Mansion on South Beach.

Above: Scene from Monday night's party at the fabulous Versace Mansion on South Beach.

Below: Three of the many guests who turned out for the Versace Mansion party; 
(L to R) Diana Jackson, Dr. Chris Hartnett & Gregg McNair.

As I write this day three of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami is underway. This morning featured the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards Brunch. The award winners included Domainer of the Year Gregg McNair, Sponsor of the Year - the .CO Registry and two new members voted into the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Hall of Fame; Monte Cahn and Rick Latona. Tomorrow I'll post photos and highlights from all of today's activity, including more on the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards, a talk delivered by legendary boxing promoter Don King and an afternoon security session thatI am sitting in on now in which a panelist just said that a domain thief is lurking among the attendees at the show.

(Posted Oct. 19, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101019.htm

Photos and Highlights From Opening Day at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami 2010

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami conference  opened Sunday evening with a crowd of several hundred on hand at the Loews Hotel on South Beach. Many attendees arrived in town early and while waiting for the registration desk to open, spent time doing some early networking at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. cabanas by the hotel pool.

 

Early arrivers Sunday (Oct. 17) spent time chatting in T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s poolside cabanas

At noon, attendees began receiving the warm welcome they always get at the registration desk from Barbara Neu and Alina Schwartz (the wives of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Howard Neu and Rick Schwartz.

Barbara Neu (left) and Alina Schwartz welcome T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami 
attendee Steve Cheatham at the registration desk Sunday (Oct. 17).

Registration continued throughout the day, then the conference officially got underway when doors opened at 5:30pm for the show's welcoming cocktail party.

Part of the crowd at Sunday night's welcoming cocktail party at the Loews Hotel.

The cocktail party continued until 7:30pm with many guests then dispersing to various private company sponsored functions around town. In two of the larger ones, DomainHoldings.com held a launch party at the Yuca Restaurant on Lincoln Road and Aftermarket.com previewed their upcoming relaunch with a dinner party at Devito (a restaurant owned by actor Danny Devito) on Ocean Drive.

Guests at the Aftermarket.com dinner party at Devito on Miami Beach Sunday night.

After the conference I'll have more on the new company launches and other information I haven't had time to pass along while covering shows over what will be a 10-day stretch before I return home.

The first full day of business at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami got underway this morning and is still underway as I write this. I'll have photos and highlights from all of the Monday activity in a post here tomorrow. Today's schedule features a keynote speech from author Simon T. Bailey, an address from U.S. Congressman Cliff Stearns, several interesting panel discussions, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track and a party that is coming up tonight at the Versace Mansion on Miami Beach.

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T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami Opens Tonight on South Beach With Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu Back at the Wheel

After a full year of preparation T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu will get back in the saddle this evening when the highly anticipated T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami conference opens with a 5:30pm welcoming cocktail party at the Loews Hotel on fabulous South Beach (you can see our in-depth show preview article here). It will be the first show staged by the industry pioneers since T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York in October 2009 and all indications point to this one being among their best ever.

Four other T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences have been held in 2010 (in Las Vegas, Milan, Italy, Vancouver, Canada and Dublin, Ireland), but those were all produced by Rick Latona under a licensing agreement with Schwartz and Neu. 

After tonight's cocktail party

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz & Howard Neu
ready for the opening of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami this evening
at the Loews Hotel on world famous South Beach.
 

ends, many attendees will move on to other domain related functions tonight including an 8pm launch party for Domain Holdings, the company behind Rapid Domain Builder. Co-Founders Chad Folkening, John Ferber and CEO Jason Boshoff will be on hand to welcome guests, including U.S. Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) who has taken an interest in the domain industry (Rep. Stearns will also be speaking at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Monday afternoon). 

Another rising political figure, Indiana State Rep. Todd Rokita also plans to attend. Space is limited so you are asked to RSVP right away to Chad@DomainHoldings.com if you would like to attend the DomainHoldings event.  

Though T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami doesn't officially open until this evening, a number of early arrivals have been in town all weekend and have been enjoying the opportunity to network at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. cabanas adjacent to the Loews Hotel swimming pool.

(L to R): Larry Fischer, Michael Berkens, Bandit, Judi Berkens and Jeffrey Fischer were
among those who arrived at the Loews Hotel early for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami on South Beach.

The cabanas, which will be open daily until dusk throughout the conference, are also just steps away from the pristine Atlantic Ocean beach behind the hotel. The weather forecast for Miami looks great for the conference days, so it should be a perfect time to enjoy the surf and sand.

View of the beach at the Loews Hotel on Miami's South Beach 

After tonight's activities end, attendees will look forward to the first full day of business that gets underway with a special networking session Monday morning (Oct. 18) at 8:15am. 

I'll be taking part in a panel discussion at 4pm Monday afternoon titled Is The Gold Rush Over, or Are There More Nugggets to Mine?  That panel will also include Keith Levenson (Rio.com), Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Rick Schwartz (RicksBlog.com), Gregg McNair (PPX International) and Chad Folkening (DomainHoldings.com). 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami continues through Wednesday morning, October 20 (you can check out the complete agenda here). I'll have daily highlights from the show for you in this column starting Monday. 

The Loews Hotel on South Beach
where T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami begins this evening.

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Photos & Highlights From DNCruise 2010 - The First Domain Conference on a Cruise Ship   

It's hard to stand out in the crowded domain conference field so Patrick Ruddell (ChefPatrick.com) knew he would have to do something different when he decided he wanted to put together an event of his own. His solution was to stage the first domain conference ever held on a cruise ship - DNCruise - an event that ran Oct. 11-15 aboard the Carnival Imagination.

The boat left the port of Miami on Monday (Oct. 11) with 55 domainers on board with another 25 or so spouses, friends or

The Carnival Imagination (docked in Nassau, 
Bahamas
Thursday, Oct. 14) hosted DNCruise.
 

guests along for the ride. The itinerary called for stops in Key West and Cozumel, Mexico, but Mother Nature had other plans, sending Hurricane Paula our way along with a new port of call. More on that in a moment. The more important thing to know is that the passing storm failed to dampen the spirits of the domainers on DNCruise. 

An hour after the ship left Miami under sunny skies, the first conference event, a welcoming cocktail party, got underway in the Illusions Lounge on the 9th deck of the Imagination. Chef Patrick was there to welcome guests with a huge DNCruise ice sculpture serving notice that his was going to be a very cool event.

Above: Host Patrick Ruddell (Chef Patrick) keeping his cool behing the DNCruise ice sculpture.

Below: The networking gets underway early as the first arrivals at the 
welcoming cocktail party start getting to know each other (almost half 
of the guests were attending their first domain conference).

It didn't take long for the DNCruise registrants to become one big happy family. Everyone dined together at 8:15pm each night. Guests could switch tables each evening so they could spend time with a wider variety of fellow domainers during the four-night cruise. 

Above: (left to right) Zezura Ruddell, Patrick Ruddell, Michael Castello 
and Diana Jackson at DNCruise's opening night dinner (Oct. 11)

After dinner every night, the maitre d' and waiters cajoled the diners into closing out the evening with an impromptu song or dance. In the photo at right, the first ladies of ccTLDs; .ME's Natasa Djukanovic (at left) and .CO's Lori Anne Wardi, show one of the waiters how to really cut a rug.

One of the best things about the casual cruise atmosphere is that everyone let their hair down and could feel comfortable just being themselves. It produced a great environment for getting to know each other better than would have been possible in a more formal setting. 

Day two of DNCruise opened with the Imagination docking early Tuesday morning under rainy skies in Key West, Florida. It turned out that a much bigger storm was brewing across the Gulf of Mexico in the exact location we were supposed to go next. Shortly after I woke up I got a text message from Michael Castello telling me Hurricane Paula has unexpectedly formed off the Yucatan Peninsula and was headed straight for Cozumel. While the captain kept an eye on the weather reports, some of the domain cruisers, including Michael, decided to go into Key West despite the downpour. My wife, Diana, and I decided to stay onboard but Michael sent me some photos from shore.

Above: You can see the storm clouds brewing over two cruise ships (the Imagination is the 
one at left) docked at Key West in this photo snapped by Michael Castello Tuesday (Oct. 12).

Below: Other members of the shore excusion party who joined Micheal Castello 
in braving the wet weather at Key West. (Clockwise from left): Chef Patrick's 
friend and DNCruise photographer Gene, Zezura Ruddell, Dan Warner
Morgan Linton,
Patrick Ruddell and Jodi Chamberlain

Everyone had to be back onboard by 2:30pm Tuesday. Soon after that, the captain announced that with a hurricane bearing down on Cozumel we were going to turn around and head the opposite direction with Nassau, Bahamas as our new destination. 

With the Imagination now headed east, the conference resumed with a networking session Tuesday afternoon. I really liked the way this one was handled. After making some opening comments Chef Patrick (while shedding a few tears of joy at seeing his DNCruise creation come to fruition) introduced the event's sponsors, then had every attendee step to the front of the room, one by one, to introduce themselves and tell the crowd how they got involved with domains. 

Time would prevent this from being done at a conference with hundreds of attendees, but it was perfect for a smaller gathering like this because it allowed you to learn something about every single person there. It was especialy interesting to hear how they arrived in this business and why they shared your own passion for domains.

Veteran domainer Chad Folkening introduces himself at the Tuesday afternoon 
networking session. Many of you know Chad, who is one of the industry's biggest 
hitters, but the many newcomers on DNCruise were meeting him for the first time.

Michael Castello and I had been scheduled to conduct an open forum discussion after the networking session, but since each of us had already spoken at length during the individual introductions we called an audible and opened that time for everyone to chat one on one. Having just heard some remarkable stories many of us wanted to learn more from the people whose accounts particularly intrigued us.

After dinner, Chef Patrick introduced another new wrinkle to the conference game - a Game Night - in which attendees chose up teams and competed head to head in a variety of old school games with a load of cool prizes up for grabs (including a Macbook Pro, Ipods, a free cruise, cash and more).

Chef Patrick, assisted by Morgan Linton (both standing), explain the game rules 
for Taboo to the teams that were ready to go head to head on Game Night.

Game Night turned out to be a big hit with participants who raved about the networking and team building experience. It went over so well that Patrick scheduled a second game session for the final night of the cruise.

Day 3 of DNCruise (Wednesday, Oct. 13) was a Day at Sea (the Imagination would not arrive in the Bahamas until Thursday morning). With the weather still iffy that made it a perfect day for a full round of seminars covering a broad range of domain topics. Craig Snyder, the General Manager of Oversee.net's Registrar and Aftermarket divisions (including Moniker and SnapNames) kicked things off at 10am with a detailed discussion of the Drop Game (covering the stages that expiring domains go through before they become fair game again).

Oversee.net's Craig Snyder conducting a very informative session 
on the domain Drop Game Wednesday morning (Oct. 13).

This was the first time I have heard Craig speak at length and it was a revelation. The U.S. Naval Academy graduate did a great job of making a very difficult subject understandable, even for the newcomers in the crowd.

He also showed tremendous grace under fire. The audience peppered him with questions throughout his presentation, something that few speakers can handle well. Questions are normally held until the end so a speaker does not lose his train of thought or have disruptions shatter the presentation into dozens of no longer recognizable pieces.

Craig Snyder, Oversee.net

For Snyder, it seemed to be a piece of cake though. He adroitly addressed every question while still managing to keep the overall presentation on track. A thought that crossed my mind after his session was that everyone who paid $400 to be on the cruise got their money's worth from Craig's valuable session alone. I hope Oversee will utilize his obvious talents at their next DOMAINfest Global conference in February 2011. The industry needs more people like this who can make an arcane subject like domains less of a mystery to the mainstream business world. 

The morning continued with three more seminars. Next up was a panel discussion on the rise of ccTLDs.

What, Not .Com?! - A session moderated by Morgan Linton (standing) about the rapid
rise of ccTLDs. The panelists, seated left to right, were Tony Kim (Hexonet), Crystal Peterson
 
(.CO Registry), Lori  Anne Wardi (.CO Registry) and Natasa Djukanovic (.ME Registry).

Batting third in the morning line up was attorney Karen Bernstein, who has clients raving about her expertise on domain and trademark related issues.

She was followed by an all-star panel that covered domain parking and alternate methods of monetization. That session, moderated by Parked.com's Michael Ward, featured (left to right in the photo below) Donny Simonton, (President, Parked.com), Gregg McNair (PPX International) and Dan Warner (CEO, DomainAdvertising.com)

Attorney Karen Bernstein

People could drift in and out of the conference sessions to grab a drink or relax on the deck of the Imagination (shown the in the Wednesday photo below), but attendance for the seminars was quite high, likely fueled be the large number of newcomers who were determined to absorb all of the information they could get about how to succeed in the domain business.

After a lunch break it was time to get back down to business with four more seminars Wednesday afternoon. Morgan Linton kicked it off with a talk about website development, his preferred method of monetization. Rick Waters followed with more details about site developmengt and successful SEO practices. Brad Waller, a expert on mobile apps was next with tips on adapting to an increasingly mobile environment. 

Brad Waller

Rick Waters

David Sams, a world class TV producer who helped launch syndicated classics like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and the Oprah Winfrey show, closed out the business day with an inspiring talk about online marketing and video. At least, that is how it was listed on the agenda. It was more about dreaming big. It is something Sams has done throughout his life while following one key principle - don't let anyone tell you NO or that something you dream of doing cannot be done. 

He pointed out that in the media world, the gatekeepers who used to be in control, have been washed away by the Internet. Now everyone has ready access to low cost worldwide distribution platforms in domain names.

David Sams delivering an inspiring talk in DNCruise's final business session.

David's talk provided a fitting end to DNCruise's seminar program. Chef Patrick returned for some closing comments (during which he thanked his wife Zezura for pitching in and helping him pull off a very successful debut event). He and Zezura also surprised five attendees who were celebrating birthdays by rolling out a cake for them, as well as one celebrating the birth of DNCruise.

Above: Birthday cake helped give the business portion of the DNCruise agenda a sweet close.

The business sessions were over, but the fun was just beginning on DNCruise. Gregg McNair, the Executive Chairman of PPX International, saw to that. After dinner McNair, the most energetic person you will ever meet in your life, opened the door to his spacious cabin to all attendees for a late night party that brought day 3 to a rousing close.

Gregg McNair is a one-man party. Gregg brings a smile to the face of everyone he meets. 
Whether you are with him one on one or in the midst of the crowd at one of his famous late 
night parties, Gregg's enthusiasm and good humor will leave you feeling like a million bucks. 

Day 4 of DNCruise (Thursday, Oct. 14), a day of leisure, opened when the Imagination docked early that morning in Nassau, Bahamas. Some attendees made the short walk into town to explore Nassau. Others took a taxi ride to the fabulous Atlantis Resort (where the Domain Roundtable conference will be held in March 2011) and others elected to stay on board and enjoy the beautiful day lounging by the pool or enjoying other activities on the Imagination.

Above: A view of Paradise Island in the Bahamas, snapped from the upper deck 
of the Imagination whle it was docked in Nassau Thursday (Oct. 14). 

Below: Another view from the ship looking at the Atlantis Resort
located just across the channel from the cruise ship docks.

Everyone was back onboard by late afternoon when the Imagination departed Nassau for the final leg of the cruise back to Miami. After dinner that evening, attendees enjoyed another Game Night in the last group event on DNCruise 2010.

Oscar Felipe Correa acts out a clue for his teammates in Guesstures, a game 
similar to charades, that generated a lot of fun Thursday night (Oct. 14). 

The Imagination cruised through the Atlantic throughout the night, bringing us back home at 8am Friday (Oct. 15). As we disembarked, we said our final goodbyes to old friends and the many new ones we made during DNCruise. People were already talking about when they could do it again. Chef Patrick undoubtedly already has the wheels in motion. He said he is aiming for a 2011 event that would likely be held next July with the cruise moving to the West Coast for a Los Angeles departure. If you are looking for a new kind of conference experience, DNCruise's maiden voyage showed that you can depend on Patrick and Zezura to deliver it. 

A view of Miami from the deck of the Carnival Imagination on DNCruise 2010.

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Anchors Away! Domain Conferences on Land and at Sea Will Bring Domainers From Around the World Together Over the Next 10 Days  

The Carnival Imagination will host DNCruise - the
 first floating domain conference - this week.

A pair of extraordinary domain conferences will be held over the next ten days with domain investors and service providers getting together on both land and sea. The first half of this tropical twin bill - DNCruise - the first domain conference ever held on a cruise ship - gets underway Monday (Oct. 11) when the Carnival Imagination leaves Florida's Port of Miami for a round trip that will include stops in Key West and Cozumel, Mexico

I will be among those on board and that means I won't have another Lowdown post until after the ship returns Friday (Oct 15). Internet access is very costly on cruise ships (the base rate is 75¢ a minute) so I will likely limit my online activity to checking email while we are at sea. However, I will  have conference photos and highlights for you in this column when we return to Miami at the end of the week (that post should be up either late Friday or Saturday morning).

I'll be staying in Miami for the second half of what promises to be a unique doubleheader - T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami - which gets underway at the Loews Hotel on South Beach Sunday night (Oct. 17) with a welcoming cocktail party. That event will run through Wednesday morning (Oct. 20). 

I've written a lot about this show over the past few weeks, so by now you know that this will be the only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference this year that is being staged by the show's co-founders, Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu. They are pulling out all the stops to make this show one to remember. After already landing a U.S. Congressman - Cliff Stearns (R - Florida) - as a featured 

Loews Hotel - Miami Beach
will host T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami Oct 17-20, 2010

speaker (the first Congressman to appear at a domain conference), Schwartz, who is known as the Domain King, announced Friday that flamboyant boxing promoter Don King (who is a Miami resident) will also be there to speak. 

Putting the colorful and controversial King, who made millions promoting championship bouts involving Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and countless others, in the same room with this industry's colorful and controversial conference promoter, who made millions selling domains names, is the kind of match King would surely appreciate.  

I look forward to seeing all of you who will be at one (or both) of these events. For those who can't make it, I'll try to bring you the next best thing to being there - photos and a play by play account covering both events, starting with my next post Lowdown after DNCruise returns to Miami at the end of this week.

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Photos and Highlights From 2010 DOMAINfest Europe in Prague   

After a welcoming cocktail party late Tuesday afternoon, the DOMAINfest Europe 2010 conference in Prague, Czech Republic got down to business Wednesday (Oct. 6) with more than 200 registrants on hand at the Intercontinental Hotel. There were lots of new faces in 

Oversee.net CEO Jeff Kupietzy addresses the crowd
at DOMAINfest Europe in Prague Wed. Oct. 6, 2010

 

the crowd, there to talk about the burgeoning European domain name and monetization marketplace. 

Wednesday began with a presentation by DomainSponsor General Manager Peter Celeste,  who announced the 2011 lineup of locations for DOMAINfest events (DOMAINfest Global, as previously announced, will return to Santa Monica, California Feb. 1-3, DOMAINfest Europe will be in Barcelona, Spain in June 2011 and there will be Power Networking Days in New York City (August 2011) and Las Vegas (November 2011). Specific dates for the latter three events will be announced later.)

Oversee CEO Jeff Kupietzky followed with a discussion about his now well-known five myths of the domain name marketplace, with an view toward how Europeans are affected (Jeff first tackled those myths at the DOMAINfest New York conference in August).   

Next up was the keynote address from Bas van den Beld, a well-known expert on search trends. Bas told the audience that if they wanted to benefit from search you have to understand that search engines think "like humans – if others say it’s good, they believe it’s good!" He added that they still don't have it right - sometimes they think you’re thinking one thing when you’re thinking the other and present the “wrong” data, so the engines are now trying to learn more about your intent.

Other points that Bas made included the fact that YouTube (not Yahoo) is the second largest search engine so it is important to remember video as a way to find your site and that users look at a Google search results page for just 1.8 seconds, and look only one time, making it imperative that you stand out.

Bas also identified important trends in the search space, saying that universal search is arriving – producing results that include news, video, images, etc., and pushing the rest of the search results down the page. It’s getting harder to get to the top spot. To improve your positioning in a universal search world it will be important to optimize your images as well as your text. Also, try to get Google to include you in their news

Keynote speaker Bas van den Beld gives
attendees tips on search engine strategy.

distribution and, if you have a locally oriented site, look for a way to get it into Google Map results. Bas's bottom line was that search is evolving and is presenting more in results. Time to adapt.

comScore VP Jeremy Copp

comScore’s Jeremy Copp was next on stage to talk about Europe's Internet vital signs. Copp noted that 84% of net population is outside North America. The top five Internet users in Europe, by country, are Germany, France, Russia , UK and Spai n, however the top five by average searches per month are, in order, Poland , UK , Finlan d , Turkey and Irelan d

Another interesting fact was that 84% of users don’t click on ANY ads, however Copp said that doesn’t diminish their value to you. He advised testing with control groups for behavior measurement so you can find ways to arrive at “lift metrics" - ad effectiveness is more than just talking about click-through rates"

Copp's talked closed out the morning session. Attendees were then treated to a lavish buffet luncheon at the Intercontintental Hotel.

DOMAINfest Europe luncheon at Prague's Intercontinental Hotel Wed. Oct. 6, 2010

After the lunch break attendees were able to take advantage of a one on one power networking opportunity as experts in four different disciplines set up around the hall. Guest could visit any group they pleased to listen in and ask their own questions. The themes for the four groups (with the participating experts noted in parenthesis) were: European ccTLD and IDN Opportunities (Daniel Dryzek, Sergey Gorbunov, Hennie Groot Lipman, Christoph Grueneberg), Alternative Ways to Monetize Domain Traffic (David Hauser, Ralf Hein, Freddy Schiwek, Art Shaw), Selecting Keywords That Produce Traffic (Jan Bednar, Thomas Bindl, Matej Novak, Florian Stelzner) and European Legal Issues Impacting Domain Investors (John Berryhill, Paul Keating, Christian Kerschbaum).

The Moniker/SnapNames live domain auction closed the day with over $250,000 in sales booked, plus another $200,000 when a deal for one of the names that did not sell in the auction, DayTrading.com, was closed right after the sale ended. 

Above: Auctioneer Wayne Wheat (at right) conducts the Moniker/SnapNames live auction 
DOMAINfest Europe Oct. 6 while Moniker CEO Monte Cahn (center) tracks Internet bidding.

Below: Part of the crowd on hand for the live auction.

After the auction, Moniker and SnapNames hosted a networking dinner party Wednesday night (Oct. 6) in a spectacular setting at Prague's National Museum.

DOMAINfest Europe ends today with a day devoted entirely to Relationship-building Excursions (plus a closing dinner party tonight). The excursion schedule allowed registrants to pick from among ten different activities (five in the morning and five in the afternoon) including everything from Grand Prix Go Kart or Bobsled Racing to Shooting AK47s and M16s! Not sure how close I would want to get to domainers armed with automatic weapons but it surely breaks the usual conference entertainment mold!

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Domain/Identity Theft Incident Prompts T.R.A.F.F.I.C. to Add Security Session for Miami Show + Guests Who Arrive Early Are Invited to Use Poolside Cabanas

On Monday Michael Berkens reported on an especially egregious case of domain and identity theft that victimized well-known domain investor Dr. Chris Hartnett (Chris was profiled in our June 2008 Cover Story). In a second story today, Michael followed up with information about an alleged theft of Prince.com, a domain that was sold just a few weeks ago for $235,000. In response to concerns expressed in the wake of these incidents about how domain owners can 

protect themselves against theft of their assets and/or identity, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz said a panel session on security, that will include Dr. Hartnett on the dais, will be added to the schedule for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami conference coming up October 17-20. Schwartz is also trying to line up registrar representatives and security analysts to provide information and advice.

Yesterday I told you about three conferences that are running back to back this month (starting with DOMAINfest Europe in Prague that opened with a welcoming cocktail party this evening in the Czech Republic). DN Cruise (October 11-15) and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami will follow over the next two weeks. 

A lot of people who will be on Chef Patrick's cruise/conference will stay over in Miami for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. at the Loews Hotel on South Beach. However, with the cruise ship returning to Miami at 8am on Friday (Oct. 15) those going on to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. will have a long wait before they can get into their rooms (check in time is 4pm). Today, Barbara Neu, wife of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu, told me T.R.A.F.F.I.C. has that problem covered. They will have poolside cabanas open all day Friday (Oct. 15) from 9am to sundown, so registrants who arrive early will have a comfortable place to relax. 

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami conference will have poolside cabanas (above) at the 
Loews Hotel available for show registrants to relax at starting Friday, Oct. 15

So, if you are heading to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. right after the cruise (as I will be), you can go directly to the Loews Hotel where they will hold your bags until your room is ready. Then head down to poolside for some relaxation and pre-show networking. The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. crew plans to have fresh fruit, soda, water, champagne, and snacks at the cabanas. With the pool, spa and world famous beach just steps away you may not want to go to your room even when it is ready!

Above: View of the Loews Hotel spa and pool area looking out from the cabanas.

Below: View of main pool at the Loews Hotel with the ocean beyond the tree line.

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Three Special Conferences Over the Next 16 Days Will Bring Domainers Together in the U.S., Europe and Aboard an International Cruise Ship

Another big burst of domain conference activity gets underway tomorrow when the doors open at DOMAINfest Europe in Prague, Czech Republic. That show, featuring an opening presentation from Oversee.net President and CEO Jeff Kupietzky, will run through Thursday at the InterContinental Hotel in Prague. One of the main events will be a Moniker/SnapNames live domain auction Wednesday from 4-7pm local time (10am-1pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time). Today show officials announced that Bid.com has been added to the auction catalog. Several other top tier domains will be on the block including Digital.com, Tools.com, Plan.com and Zip.com, to name just a few. 

 

Next week the action shifts to the high seas when the first domain conference aboard a cruise ship - Chef Patrick Ruddell's DNCruise - launches from Miami on Monday (Oct. 11). The event, that will be held aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Imagination, won't end until the boat returns to Miami Friday, Oct. 15, following stops in Key West and Cozumel, Mexico

I'll be on the cruise and am looking forward to having good friend and legendary domainer Michael Castello (President of Castello Cities Internet Network) join me on stage for a wide ranging discussion with audience members (who will be able to ask questions about any topic they wish) on Tuesday evening, Oct. 14. In a post on the cruise's Facebook page today Ruddell said there were still 3-4 rooms available for anyone who wants to join the fun.

Just two days after the DNCruise ends in Miami, the year's biggest T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference will get underway at the Loew's Hotel on Miami's world famous South Beach. This is the only 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C conference being staged by conference co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu (read our exclusive - and explosive - conference preview interview with them here). 

Today show organizers announced that the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Party (sponsored bu the .CO Registry) will be held at the spectatular Versace Mansion on Monday night, Oct. 18. This is shaping up to be one of best T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences in years. 

I'm looking forward to being one of the panelists for a Monday 

afternoon session titled Is the Gold Rush Over, or Are There More Nuggets to Mine? I'll join Keith Levenson (Rio.com), Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Rick Schwartz (RicksBlog.com), Gregg McNair (PPX International) and Chad Folkening (DomainHoldings.com) for what I think will be an especially interesting hour.  

Jeff Bennett
CEO, Swap.com

One other note today - I received a couple of interesting article links from two former top executives at NameMedia that I wanted to pass along to you. 

One is from Jeff Bennett, who served as NameMedia's President before moving to his current position as CEO at Swap.com. Jeff has been writing about how the recession has spurred a return to sharing and what Jeff calls a "collaborative consumption movement." His insightful analysis caught the attention of the Huffington Post and last week they syndicated an interesting column by Bennett headlined "With Recession Comes a Return to Sharing." Check it out - this movement might spark some good domain ideas for you (though topping Swap.com might be a tall order!). 

I also received an article link from Pete Lamson, who served NameMedia for several years as a Senior VP and General Manager

of the company's Domain Marketplace. Pete directed me to a story at Dealer.com titled Who Does Your Domain Name Belong To? that was full of good advice for business owners (in this case auto dealership owners, but the advice applies across all categories). 

Too many business owners fail to realize just how vital the domain name is to their operations and often lose track of who actually holds ownership of the domain name. In some cases it may be held  in the name of whoever designed the company's website or some other service provider. I have personally seen one friend burned by a hosting company that retained ownership of his business's domain name. Another friend had a former employee, who had been responsible for overseeing the company's Internet operations, make off with the company's 3-letter domain name because he kept it in his own name, rather than the company's. If you run a small business, there is something you need to pay attention to.

(Posted Oct. 4, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101004.htm


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