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December 16, 2013

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The Lowdown
October 2013 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.

Part One of Rousing Schwartz vs. Schilling New gTLD Debate Video is Here - Plus Industry Companies Form Association to Promote the New Extensions

Without question a highlight of last week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference at Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida was a rousing debate over the pros and cons of new gTLDs that pitted teams led by industry giants Rick Schwartz and Frank Schilling against each other on Monday, Oct. 21

Schwartz, the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder and immensely successful domain investor who is a bear when it comes to new gTLDs, recruited fellow investor Lonnie Borck to argue the case that .com will continue to thoroughly dominate the domain landscape. Legendary investor Schilling, who is also the head of new gTLD registry operator Uniregistry.com, was joined by three fellow new gTLD advocates - Tim Johnson (.kiwi), Jeffrey Sass (.club) and Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com) - in a quarter that tried to  counter Schwartz and Borck's arguments.

Frank Schilling (left) and Rick Schwartz trade punches in a lively debate about new gTLDs Oct. 21 at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East.  

In addition to being an informative give and take it made great theater so people were delighted when Schwartz promised to put a video of the debate online so everyone could enjoy it. You can see part one (of two) by clicking play below and Schwartz said the second part will be available early next week. Believe me, this is a show you won't want to miss!

 

While the debate over new gTLDs goes on, several companies involved in rolling out or supporting new extensions have formed a new association to promote gTLDs. Founders of the international nonprofit organization known as the Domain Name Association (located at TheDNA.org) said the association that was announced Monday (Oct. 28, 2013) was created to "promote the interests of the domain name industry by advocating the use, adoption, and expansion of domain names as the primary tool for users to navigate the Internet."

Their press released added, "The Domain Name Association will educate Internet users around the world about the benefits of domain names, with a specific focus on the imminent introduction of new Top-Level Domains," The DNA thinks new gTLDs "will revolutionize the way we navigate the Internet." Others are not so sure about that, of course, as shown by the Schwartz-Schilling debate above.

Membership in tne DNA is open to organizations involved in all aspects of managing domain names, including domain name registries, registrars, resellers, and registry service providers. Founding members serving on an Interim Board include ARI Registry Services, Demand Media, Donuts, FairWinds Partners, GoDaddy, Google, Momentous, United TLD, and WhatBox?. DomainsBot Inc., Minds + Machines and RightOfTheDot, LLC are also Founding members.

(Posted October 31, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131031.htm

Heritage Auctions Nationwide Marketing Campaign Puts Domains Alongside Art, Jewelry, Coins & Other Valuable Assets

Three months ago I told you about one of the world's three biggest auction houses - Heritage Auctions (HA) - opening a new domain division headed by veteran domain investor Aron Meystedt and how important this development was for the domain industry. For the first time an auction house in the same league as Sotheby's and Christie's is treating high end domain names as valuable assets displayed alongside traditional investment collectibles like art, jewelry and coins. 

With HA's first domain and intellectual property auction coming up November 21, readers of the New York Times got a first hand look at what I meant this past Sunday. HA took out a large ad to promote their fall auctions featuring various categories of art, timepieces and jewelry, Tiffany & Lalique art glass, fine wine and more, including, yes, domain names (listed right below the fold in the copy of the ad at right sent to us by Marc Ostrofsky (bidding the domain name auction is now open).

As you can see, domains are keeping some extremely good company these days, thanks to Heritage Auctions. Seeing domains listed alongside these other asset classes can only elevate them dramatically in the public's eyes. 

 Heritage Auctions ad in the New York Times 
Sunday, Oct. 24, 2013
Photo courtesy of Marc Ostrofsky

Ostrofosky (probably the most excited I've seen him since he sold Business.com in a $7.5 million deal) said, "If this auction works well, Christy's and Southeby's will jump in too and that one change in our world gets 10,000% more players looking at our assets and that drives prices UP." 

Ostrofsky added that domain investors need to seize this opportunity by letting everyone in their business circles, especially mainstream business, know about HA offering domain names now. If we help get that message out to the rest of the business world it could produce some huge long term dividends.  

Aron Meystedt, Founder & Director,
Domain Name & Intellectual Property Division
Heritage Auctions (HA.com)

Meanwhile Heritage Auctions is doing their part. To find out more about their marketing strategy I checked in with Aron Meystedt, the Founder and Director of HA's new Intellectual Property Division. "Our marketing and PR teams are working very hard to put premium domain assets in front of the right people," Aron told me. "We have another New York Times advertisement coming out in one week, which will highlight the domain name auction exclusively.  We’re also talking with several major media outlets about our story:  For the first time ever, a major auction house is holding an auction for domain names and intellectual property."

"Our PR team is reaching out to approximately 500 top media outlets with our story – we are confident our story is newsworthy, especially when we mention some of the names in our auction: MutualFunds.com, Animation.com, NL.com, QR.com, Bicycle.com, DVDs.com, Sociology.com, CurrencyExchange.com and others," Meystedt said.

"We are performing a great deal of direct marketing as well, via phone and direct mail.  We’ve spent a lot of time compiling lists of 

prospective buyers for the category defining domain names like LuxuryBags.com, DoctorateDegree.com, BusinessPhones.com and several of the names mentioned above (plus others, of course).  We are sending out FedEx mailers to the decision makers at these firms, including our brochure, a personalized letter, our capabilities catalog and a few other pieces. We don’t mind spending the time and money to make meaningful one-on-one connections. We will follow up this effort with phone calls to all recipients," Meystedt added. 

"We’ve also printed and mailed over 10,000 brochures to prospective buyers based on net worth or product category. We are also implementing other techniques to reach the affluent investors and the high net worth individuals. All of our outreach includes education. This education covers why domain names are great for business use and investment purposes.  We help potential buyers understand the business advantages of owning a category defining domain name as well as the advantages of owning a domain name for investment. The domain investment community has wanted to reach high net worth individuals with this exact message for a long time, and
I am very grateful for the opportunity to be an ambassador for our industry!," Meystedt concluded.

(Posted October 29, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131029.htm

The Domain Industry Joins Family and Friends Mourning the Loss of 45-Year-Old Trellian Founder and CEO Ren Warmuz 

It is always painful to lose someone you care about but when a person in the very prime of their life is lost way too soon, the hurt is even deeper. The kind of bad news none of us ever wants to hear came today when we learned that Ren Warmuz,  the brilliant 45-year-old Founder and CEO of Trellian.com (the parent company of Above.com and many other well-known Internet brands) had passed away Sunday afternoon (October 27) after a long battle with colon cancer.

I first heard about Ren's passing from his friend and colleague, Trellian Vice President Nancy Bianchi, who like everyone who knew Ren, is finding it difficult to believe this source of overflowing positive energy is really gone. Nancy pointed me to the moving comments Ren's brother and business partner David posted at Above.com today

David, who was with family members surrounding Ren when he passed, wrote about how Ren tackled his health problem the same way he every problem he faced in life - head on.  

(L to R): Ren Warmuz, Nancy Bianchi and David Warmuz 
at the 2012 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Fort Lauderdale.
(photo corutesy of Barbara Neu) 

David said, "The sheer pain endured throughout would have crippled most, but not Ren. Documenting his epic battle every step of the way on his blog - http://www.mcrc4.com/ - he leaves behind a legacy of research, treatment options, genetic tests to insist on, diets and supplements beneficial for treating cancer not known to most."

David added, "I always considered Ren an absolute genius, and was fortunate to have him part of my life, not only just growing up together but working together since 1997. We made a great team, creating and releasing many ground breaking software and web applications. It saddens me the most that Ren leaves behind his wife and two beautiful children, age 9 and 6."

While Ren is gone his fight continues. David said, "Ren's work is far from over and a Ren Warmuz Cancer Research Foundation will be established to help others beat their "little mutants", as Ren called his cancer. My best friend, my brother, you will be missed!"

Life is far too fragile. Just a couple of days ago I learned that a classmate from my high school class and her husband were both killed in a terrible car crash in Florida. When the news was posted on Facebook by a fellow classmate I didn't know what to say - nothing you can say in the face of such a tragedy is adequate. Instead I replied with a quote I had recently come across that I found comforting. It's not something I thought I would be sharing again so soon but in remembering Ren, I still can't think of anything that sums up my feelings as well: 

Ren Warmuz at the 2007 Domain 
Roundtable conference in Seattle.

"Death takes the body. God takes the soul. Our mind holds the memories. Our heart keeps the love. Our faith lets us know we will meet again." - Nishan Panwar

(Posted October 28, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131028.htm

Domain Hall of Fame Member Michael Mann Announces Plan to Start a New Political Party

Michael Mann

After making his mark in the domain industry T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Hall of Fame member Michael Mann is now seeking to overcome a much bigger challenge - establishing a new political party in the United States that he has dubbed the Better Government Party (as a wildly successful domain investor, leave it to Mann to choose a category defining name - and yes he owns the .com, as well as the .net and the .org).

Mann, a Washington, D.C. native,  explained why he decided to take on the daunting task of establishing a major third party in a new article just published by the Upstart Business Journal. Mann, who has been featured in two DNJournal.com Cover Stories - one in September 2003 and another in September 2007,  told author Laura Baverrman that the Republican and Democratic Parties are "are useless, corrupt and fraudulent" and that his party will be "built on transparency, trust and 

accountability." Mann added, "Americans are so used to Congressmen lying, cheating and stealing that they have been conditioned to think it’s acceptable. The government is broken, so there is no other choice. It doesn't have to be me. If someone else presents something rational, I'd join them. But where are they?"

Of course others, with even deeper pockets than Mann, have tried unsuccessfully to establish a viable alternative to the two current major parties. Mann is aware of that but told Baverman, "I'm very persistent and I'll spend years and years and years til I get it right." 

It is surely the longest of long shots but, you have to admit, it could be pretty interesting to have a domainer in the White House (especially one as outspoken as Mann). In the 1928 Presidential campaign, a Herbert Hoover ad crowed about putting "a chicken in every pot". Perhaps Mann could top that by promising "a category defining .com in every portfolio". I might even vote for that!

(Posted October 26, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131026.htm

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2013 Ends With Food, Friends & Fond Farewells at Wednesday Morning Breakfast  

The curtain came down on the 25th edition of T.R.A.F.F.I.C.  Wednesday morning when the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference closed with the show's traditional Farewell Breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Florida's Fort Lauderdale Beach

A scene from the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East Farewell Breakfast Wednesday morning (Oct. 23)

I've always thought the Farewell Breakfast was a perfect way to end a productive and thoroughly enjoyable week at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. It's a chance to spend a final hour or two with your business brothers and sisters in a completely relaxing environment - no more running to catch the next conference session or make a meeting. Of course, those sessions and meetings are why just about everyone left the show filled with energy and optimism about the year ahead, but at the same time, after being on the go pretty much non stop from sunrise to midnight every day, it's nice to sit back with friends and a cup of coffee to relax and recharge before beginning the journey home.

 

Above: Sedo's Jeff Wood (at far left) finishes filling a plate at 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East's Farewell Breakfast Wedneasday morning.

Below: Vincent Jacques (VinsDomains.com) and his wife Annette  at breakfast.

This was the last year of T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s 3-year run at the beautiful Ritz Carlton overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Next fall the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East show will move a few miles down the coast to Miami Beach where it will run Oct. 12-15, 2014 at the fabulous beachfront Fontainebleau Hotel. While the Ritz was a great location, many people go to every T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show, so it's good to give them a change of scenery every two of three years.

Before that Miami Beach show rolls around, many will attend the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference that will return to the world renowned Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas May 28-31, 2014 (you can see our review of the 2013 show at the Bellagio here). It will be very interesting to see how the months between now and next May play out. Those at breakfast Wednesday think we will have a lot to smile about when T.R.A.F.F.I.C. reconvenes in Las Vegas. 

At one breakfast table Wednesday morning (left to right) Bob Olea, Alan Hack, Lonnie Borck, Freddie Schiwek, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu, and Bill Sweetman enjoyed comparing notes before saying goodbye until next time.

We wound up taking over 1,500 photos at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. this week so we only had a chance to share a small fraction of those with you in our daily Lowdown posts (including those from the final day of business that I didn't get a chance to publish until we got back to Tampa last night). We've saved some of the best ones for a Cover Story Photo Review of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. that we will be publishing by the end of next week. That will put the highlights from a highly rewarding week in South Florida in one spot for easy future reference. 

In the meantime, thanks to the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. family - Rick & Alina Schwartz, Howard & Barbara Neu, Ray Neu & Kimberly Howard, for again making T.R.A.F.F.I.C. such a true home away from home.

(Posted October 24, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131024.htm

Photos & Highlights from the Final Day of Business at the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East Conference + Who Showed Up For a Business Session in a Bathrobe?

The final day of business at the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference Tuesday (Oct. 22) got underway with a 9am breakfast at the Ritz Carlton on  Fort Lauderdale Beach that featured some special guests. Victoria Castello, the mother of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Domain Hall of Fame members Michael Castello and David Castello was there with her friend John O'Hare and they stayed for the full day of conference activity (including the induction of two new Hall of Fame members). Also spending the day with her "domain family" was Carmella Savanello, the mother of T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s extraordinary hostess, Barbara Neu.

(L to R) Ron Jackson (DNJournal), Carmella Savanello, John O'Hare, Victoria Castello and 
Diana Jackson
Tuesday morning (Oct. 22) at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East in Fort Lauderdale Beach.

After breakfast, any T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendee that wanted to was invited to take the stage and give a Two-minute Elevator Pitch promoting their business. I followed that with a report on 3Q-2013 domain sales that were up dramatically from both the previous quarter (37.5% higher dollar volume across all extensions) and the same quarter a year ago (up 47%)! I'll have all of the details on that for you in a new newsletter next week.

At 10:30am it was time to hand out the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards recognizing excellence in various industry categories (as chosen by domain industry voters). The 2013 winners (shown in photos at right and below where winners were on hand to accept) were: 

Best New Monetizing Solution: InternetTraffic.com

Best Overall Domain Solution: Sedo

"We Get It" Award:
Amazon

Developer of the Year:
Michael Cyger

Best Domain Blog:
DNJournal.com (Ron Jackson)

Sponsor of The Year:
Go Daddy

Domainer of the Year:
Frank Schilling

Bandit Berkens Goodwill Ambassador Award: 
Gregg McNair

Domain Hall of Fame: (two new members are voted in each year):

Jeff Gabriel (The broker in the record-setting $13 million sale of Sex.com who is now with DomainNameSales.com and was  previously with Igloo.com (when the company was known as DomainAdvisors) and Sedo.com). Jeff had a good reason for missing T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East this year - he was with his wife Melissa who gave birth to their son Richard Tuesday - the same day Jeff was named to the Hall of Fame. Congrats Jeff & Melissa!

Igal Lichtman (the late great domain investor/developer and entrepreneur who was profiled in the first ever DN Journal Cover Story back in 

Sedo's Brad Lemire (center) accepts the Best Overall Domain Solution Award from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Howard Neu and Rick Schwartz.

DomainSherpa.com's Michael Cyger (right) 
accepts the Developer of the Year Award.

DNJournal.com's Ron Jackson (2nd from left) 
accepts the Best Domain Blog Award.

2003 and was featured again in our February 2012 Cover Story). Mr. Lichtman passed away in February 2013.

Sedo's Negar Hajikhani (4th from left) accepting the Broker of the Year Award 
(the first female to win the honor).

PPX International Chairman Gregg McNair (2nd from left) accepts the Bandit Berkens Goodwill Ambassador Award with the owner of the beloved late Yorkie the award is named for, Judi and Michael Berkens at his side (Bandit was a frequent visitor to domain conferences who showed unconditional love to everyone he encountered). The annual award recognizes the person who voters feel has been the industry's best goodwill ambassador over the past year.  

Above: Members of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Domain Hall of Fame that were in attendance at this year's show took the stage for the induction of two new members that were named Tuesday - Jeff Gabriel and the late Igal Lichtman. Two of Igal's close friends, Hall of Fame member Adam Dicker and leading industry attorney Ari Goldberger (2nd and 3rd from left, respectively) accepted Mr. Lichtman's Award and will present it to his widow, Michal Lichtman

The other current Hall of Fame members in attendance were Ron Jackson (far left in the photo above) and, to the right of Mr. Goldberger, Howard Neu, Rick Schwartz, Michael Berkens, Monte Cahn and Chad Folkening.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. also commissioned noted Florida sculptor Bradley Arthur to create a unique metal menorah that was also presented to honor Igal.

Sculptor Bradley Arthur

Tuesday's first business session was a Domainer and Broker View of the State of the Industry that featured John Ferber (DomainHoldings.com), Lonnie Borck (B52.com), Bill McClure (Coffee.org), Gregg Ostrick, Tessa Holcomb (Igloo.com) and Ammar Kubba (ThoughtConvergence,.com). 

This session began with a humorous twist. Kubba, who has been known to stay out late on occasion, was missing when the session began. Some assumed the pre-noon start of the session may have come while he was sleeping in. Five minutes after the session began Kubba - much to the audience's delight - was escorted into the ballroom still wearing a bathrobe! 

It turns out the whole thing was pre-planned but no one let  moderator Howard Neu in on the prank, though as the 

Ammar Kubba "apologizes" for being late for a morning 
panel discussion Tuesday as moderator Howard Neu looks on. 

picture above right shows, Howard was as amused as everyone else. As I watched this all unfold one scary thought crossed my mind though - Ammar might just create a new fashion trend with this bathrobe thing. My worst fears would be realized before the day was over as you will see later in this article.

In the session that followed, Kubba (still in his bathrobe) joined Adam Dicker, Rick Schwartz and Michael Berkens for The DomainSherpa.com Five Live! program. The fifth member of the quintet was interviewer Michael Cyger (DomainSherpa.com) who had the four veteran domain investors evaluate and appraise domains submitted by audience members. It was an extremely useful educational exercise that later morphed into a highly entertaining "registered or unregistered?" competition in the second part of the program. 

The latter portion required the panelists to guess whether or not certain domain names Cyger came up with were available or already registered. Perhaps aided by his distracting attire, Kubba wound up winning the contest by getting 5 of the 6 domains right.

The DomainSherpa.com Five Live! session featured (L to R) Adam Dicker
Michael Cyger, Ammar Kubba, Rick Schwartz and Michael Berkens.

Cyger does the show that was presented at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. every Thursday on the web at DomainSherpa.com with the originator of the idea, Page Howe, as one of the four regular guests (Ammar Kubba filled in for Page at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.).

The business day concluded with a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. staple - the Meeting of the Chiefs - in which leaders from nine well-known companies took the stage to offer their thoughts on current industry affairs and answer questions from the audience.

The Meeting of the Chiefs panel featured (L to R): Paul Nicks (Go Daddy), Adam Dicker (DNForum.com), Andee Hill (Escrow.com), Gregg McNair (PPX International), Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), moderator Howard Neu (standing), Donny Simonton (Voodoo.com), Victor Pitts (Above.com), Ammar Kubba  (ThoughtConvergence.com - and back in normal clothing!) and Joe Higgins (RookMedia.net).

The business portion of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2013 was now done, but there was still a lot of socializing/networking left to do!  At 8:30pm Tuesday night guests were welcomed to the traditional Closing Night Party with dessert, coffee, beer and wine. 

Above: Guests begin arriving at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Closing Night Party that ran until 11pm (an hour longer than scheduled).

At right: Negar Hajikhani (Sedo) and Judi Berkens model a lovely scarf custom made by Barbara Neu's mother, Carmella

Below: Also lighting up the Closing Night Party were (L to R) Barbara Neu (T.R.A.F.F.I.C.), Bill McClure (Coffee.org) and Bill's wife Jammie

As full a day and night as Tuesday had already been, there was still more to come with Gregg McNair opening up his suite at the top of the Ritz Carlton with everyone welcome.

Below: After the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Closing Night Party many accepted Gregg McNair's nightly invitation to drop by his suite for some late night networking at his Igloo.com party. I have it on good authority that the last man standing finally threw in the towel after 4am this morning!

Below: Guests at the McNair/Igloo.com party included (front row L to R); Tessa Holcomb (Igloo.com), Alan Hack, Andee Hill (Escrow.com) and (back row L to R) Igloo.com's Amanda Waltz and Holly Griesel

Below: Earlier I mentioned that I feared Ammar Kubba might have started a new fashion trend by wearing a bathrobe to a business session earlier Tuesday. My fears were realized at the McNair/Igloo.com party Tuesday night where more than a few guests showed up in bathrobes, including host Gregg McNair (in the red bowtie) and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2013 officially closed this morning (Wednesday, Oct. 23) with the traditional Farewell Breakfast. I'll have highlights from that event in tomorrow's post. Right now, I have to get back to my online shopping - I'm in the market for a good looking bathrobe!

(Posted October 23, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131023.htm

Photos & Highlights from Day Two at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East Conference Monday at Fort Lauderdale Beach

The 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference continued Monday (Oct. 21) with the first full day of business at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Florida's Fort Lauderdale Beach. Show co-founders Rick Schwartz welcomed attendees during a Power Brunch that opened at 9am.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-founders Rick Schwartz (left) and Howard Neu welcome attendees to 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2013 Monday morning at the Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach

Adam Dicker

The opening business session Monday was The Adam Dicker Show, hosted by interviewer extraordinaire Michael Cyger of DomainSherpa.com. Adam, who owns DNForum.com and blogs at TheArtOfTheName.com, gave attendees a treasure trove of practical advice on how to make money with domains that they could take home and put to use right away. The Adam Dicker Show idea was spawned by a similar session with Adam that was one of the biggest hits at last year's conference. That prompted Schwartz and Neu to make it a show staple. 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. may also want to make Monday morning's follow-up session - Team Schwartz vs. Team Schllling (in a spirited (to put it mildly) debate over new gTLDs) a regular show feature. 

Frank Schilling (Uniregistry.com) and teammates Tim Johnson (.kiwi), Jeffrey Sass (.club) and Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com) made the case for new gTLD success while Rick Schwartz and his lone teammate, Lonnie Borck, carried the .com mantle and explained why they believe new gTLDs will be left in .com's dust. All contributed points in the battle while leaving Schilling and Schwartz (positioned directly across from each other behind the podium) to do the heaviest infighting. Schwartz had the exchange videotaped and said he will have it posted online in the near future. When it is online ths somethng you will want to see.

Frank Schilling (left) and Rick Schwartz trade punches in a lively debate about new gTLDs Monday. It was a one of those rare hours that was both highly informative and wildly entertaining on a topic that will be front and center for several years to come.

The day's next session featured Domainer Success Stories from four panelists who had many of them to talk about.

Above: The Domainer Success Stories panel discussion featured (left to right) Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com), moderator Howard Neu (standing), Ari Goldberger (ESQwire.com), Gregg Ostrick and Adam Dicker (DNForum.com).

Below: After trhe Domainer Success Stories session, attendees enjoyed a networking luncheon in the adjacent food and beverage ballrooom.

After lunch it was time to Meet the Bloggers in a 75-minute session that featured seven of the industry's leading bloggers and writers who offered their opinions on industry trends and also fielded questions from the audience. 

The Meet the Bloggers panel Monday afternoon featured (left to right) moderator Howard Neu, Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com), Michael Cyger (DomainSherpa.com), Andrew Allemann (DomainNameWire.com), Owen Frager (The Frager Factor), Elliot Silver (DomainInvesting.com) and Adam Dicker (TheArtOfTheName.com).

If you take a closer look at the T-shirt DomainNameWire's Andrew Allemann was wearing Monday you see it advertised a new escrow platform that Thought Convergence is about to launch at Agreed.com. In an effort to raise money for The Water School, Andrew ran an auction on his blog with the highest bidder to be featured in a story on his site, plus Andrew agreed to wear a T-shirt advertising the winning bidder's company for a full day at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Monday. Appropriately enough, Agreed.com won the auction with a $2,750 bid from TC's Ammar Kubba.

Ammar Kubba (Agreed.com) and Andrew Allemann (DomainNameWire.com) in the Agreed.com T-shirts they wore Monday after Andrew's fund raising auction for The Water School

Monday's business day closed with T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s live domain auction. DomainNameNews.com live blogged the auction results as they came in. Most of the domains not sold in the live auction are being moved to the online silent auction that Above.com will be handling through the end of this month. 

A scene from T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s live domain auction Monday with auctioneer Joel Langbaum 
(who also filled that role in the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. auctions nearly a decade ago) at the podium.

With business out of the way Monday, attendees were able to take a break for a few hours before heading out to the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Party that ran from 9pm to 1am this morning at the Atlantic Surf Club, located next door to the Ritz. 

Above: T.R.A.F.F.I.C. guests begin arriving at the Atlantic Surf Club on Fort Lauderdale Beach Monday night for the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Party.

Below: Faces in the crowd included Andrew Reberry (NameBright.com, at left) and Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com).

Below: Also lighting up Monday night's party were (left  to right standing) Tessa Holcomb (Igloo.com), Liz Murray (CFO, Oversee.net), Andee Hill (Escrow.com), Debra Domeyer (CEO, Oversee.net), Judi Berkens and Diana Jackson, plus one lucky guy, Gregg McNair (seated) with Barbara Neu (T.R.A.F.F.I.C.).

The final day of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2013 (Tuesday, Oct. 22) is underway as I write this. I'll have all of the Tuesday photos & highlights for you in my next post from Fort Lauderdale Beach tomorrow. The conference will officially close with the Farewell Breakfast Wednesday morning (Wedneday, Oct 23).

(Posted October 22, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131022.htm

Opening Day Photos & Highlights from the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East  Conference at Fort Lauderdale Beach

The 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference officially got underway Sunday (Oct. 20) at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Florida's Fort Lauderdale Beach. Registration opened at 12 Noon and 30 minutes later champagne and mimosas were flowing at the opening day Cabana Party on the Ritz Carlton's pool deck. 

Frank Schilling (InternetTraffic.com) and Ammar Kubba (ThoughtConvergence.com) 
at Sunday's poolside Cabana Party that kicked off the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference.

Above: T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees visiting the Above.com cabana Sunday.

Below: Truc Tran (domain investor from Oslo, Norway) with 
Above.com's Nancy Bianchi Sunday at the Above.com cabana.

At 4:30pm T.R.A.F.F.I.C. held their traditional orientation session for first time conference attendees. Show organzers told us nearly a third of this year's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East registrants have never been to a domain conference before. That is a good sign of growig interest in the industry.

At 5:30pm it was time for T.R.A.F.F.I.C's traditional  Opening Night Cocktail Party held on the 4th floor of the Ritz where guests enjoyed a birds eye view of the Atlantic Ocean through the floor to ceiling windows. 

Among those at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Opening Nght Cocktail Party were (left to right) Steve Kaziyev, Jason Schaeffer, Dan Adamson, Cate Colgan, Russ Goodwin, Dave Evanson and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu.

A hghlight of the cocktail party for a lot of us was seeing veteran domain investor Roy Flanders walk into the room. Roy, who lives on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, has been battling some major health issues over the past year or two and travel is not easy for him so we weren't expecting him to make the trip. Roy said he decided to do it at the last minute and we are certainly glad he did. I'm hopeful his return to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. will be as therapeutic and uplifting to him as seeing him was for us.  

Roy Flanders (right) with Ari Goldberger Sunday night 
at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Opening Night Cocktail Party.

After the cocktail party a large group of attendees who do business with Frank Schilling's companies - InternetTraffic.com and DomainNameSales.com - boarded buses for a short trip up N. Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard to the S3 Restaurant where Frank hosted a dinner party for his many clients and friends.

Above: Frank Schilling, standing at far left, addressing his guests at the S3 Restaurant Sunday night on Fort Lauderdale Beach. With over 90 guests on hand Frank had to gve his welcome message twice to cover the two rooms needed to seat everyone (the shot above covers ony about a quarter of the crowd in one room)..

Frank Schilling (left) and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz took the opportunity to promote their .Coms vs. New gTLDs Battle Royal that was the highlight of Monday's agenda at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. (as expected it turned out to be one of the most entertaining and informative conference sessions of the past decade - more on that in tomorrow's post as sessions I need to cover are are still going on as I write this). 

Above: Rick Schwartz throws a "haymaker" at Frank Schilling Sunday night - a prevew of what he said was to come during their debate today.

Below: Afer their "fisticuffs" Frank and Rick, who are longtime friends despite their differing views on new gTLDs, kissed and made up (well...at least they made up, I'm still trying to get them to kiss as that would be the picture of the year). 

At the end of the night, a group of the last Schilling dinner guests to leave posed for the group photo below (Frank is third from the left in the front row with Ammar Kubba sitting on his lap (don't ask!). By the way, domain industry veteran Monte Cahn, at far right in the front row, is also an investor in the popular S3 Restaurant that hosted the event.

Below: As I noted earlier the Monday's first full day of business at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is still underway as I write this. I'll have all of the Monday photos and highlights from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. in my next post from Fort Lauderdale Beach tomorrow.

(Posted October 21, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131021.htm

Photos & Highlights From a Fabulous Day of  T.R.A.F.F.I.C East Pre-Show Networking in Fort Lauderdale Beach Saturday

The flock of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. early birds continued to grow Saturday on a gorgeous day at the Ritz Carlton Hotel at Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida. The conference doesn't officially gets underway until this afternoon (Sunday, Oct. 21) but dozens of attendees came to town early to enjoy a couple of days of preshow cabana and poolside networking.

The spectaular view from the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. cabanas shortly before they opened for preshow networking Saturday morning (Oct. 19) at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Florida's Fort Lauderdale Beach.

(L to R); Barbara Neu (T.R.A.F.F.I.C.), Tessa Holcomb (Igloo.com) and first time show attendee Rebecca (from the UK) at the welcome desk on the Ritz Carlton pool deck Saturday.

(L to R) at the .CLUB Cabana - Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com) and his handsome 
Yorkie Romeo, Jeffrey Sass (.CLUB) and Victor Pitts (Above.com).

After spending a beautiful day by the pool and cabanas, Saturday evening was open for people to enjoy the pleasant surroundings, all within walking distance of the Ritz. Most formed groups of various sizes to sample the many restaurants nearby. DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker hosted several dozen guests for a big dinner at Shula's on the Beach (a very pleasant repeat of one of the most memorable events from last year's conference week).  

DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker, flanked by sons Corey and Jordan, at Shula's on the 
Beach
where Adam hosted several dozen guests for a preshow dinner party last night. 

Above: (L to R) Gregg McNair (PPX), Jenna Ferber, John Ferber (DomainHoldings) 
and Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com) at the Adam Dicker dinner party.

Below: Also among those on hand were Ammar Kubba (Thought Convergence) 
and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu (right).

Host Adam Dicker with T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Alina Schwartz (left) and Barbara Neu.

The dinner hosted by Adam Dicker ended with everyone 
gathering for a group photo to commemorate a great night.

Though the Dicker dinner ran for three and a half hours many in this crowd had no interest in calling it a night when it was over. Thanks to PPX International Chairman Gregg McNair, there is always an entertaining place for everyone to regroup late and hang out together for as long as they like. Each night McNair traditionally throws open the door to his suite to anyone who wants to drop in for some quality late night conversation with like minded people. 

Above: Diana Jackson and Bob Olea were among those visiting Gregg McNair's suite last night - always the most popular after hours spot in whatever town Gregg happens to be in at the time!

Below: Youve heard the expression "too many cooks in the kitchen" - well, not in this kitchen! These "cooks" would be welcome behind the kitchen sink any time. A little before midnight last night Gregg McNair (front left) was surrounded by eight kitchen helpers - Judi Berkens (front center), Christian Calvin (front right) and in the back row (L to R) Frank Schilling, Ammar Kubba, Russ Goodwin, Andee Hill and Kimberly Howard

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference officially gets underway today (Sunday, Oct. 20) with Registration opeing at 12 Noon, a Cabana Party scheduled from 12:30-4:30pm and the Opening Night Cocktail Party getting underway at 5:30pm. I'll have photos and highlight from all of today's (and tonight's) activity for you in my next post from Fort Lauderdale Beach Monday.

(Posted October 20, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131020.htm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Posted October 19, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131019.htm

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East Gets Underway Today With Two Days of Pre-Show Networking Leading Up to the Main Event

We'll be driving south today, on our way across the state to Fort Lauderdale Beach for the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East Conference that is getting underway at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. It all starts with the first of two pre-show networking days on T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Cabana Row and the Ritz pool deck (the main event gets underway with the opening night cocktail party Sunday at 5:30pm). 

To set the scene for you, the cabanas and pool deck sit seven stories high providing a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean. In the first of the photos below (that we shot at last year's conference) you can see the pool and cabana levels sitting atop the lower portion of the Ritz building (the higher floors are directly behind in a portion of the unique structure that was built to resemble a cruise ship).

A view from the beach of the Fort Lauderdale Beach Ritz Carlton Hotel 
where T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2013 will be running today through Wednesday (Oct. 23).

We'll be arriving at the Ritz late this afternoon and I'll be filing daily reports from the show in this column starting tomorrow morning (Saturday, Oct. 19). After the sun goes down this evening an All Hallow's Eve Full Moon party will be held on the Ritz pool deck from 7-10pm and you will find most of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. early birds there.

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. cabanas are just a few steps down from the pool deck, accessible by stairs at either end of the deck. They will also be open from 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday.

Above: The view from T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Cabana Row at the Ritz Carlton.

Below: The Ritz Carlton pool deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean 
that will be a hub of pre-show networking activity today through Sunday.

You can see the full agenda for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference here. We're looking forward to seeing many of you there and if you can't make it we'll try to make you feel like you are there with our daily photos and highlights in this column.

(Posted October 18, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131018.htm

All Aboard! The First Rolling Domain Conference Took Place Last Week on a Stunning Luxury Tour Bus in Berlin 

Over the past 7 years Christoph Grueneberg and Thomas Mueller have staged the largest German language domain conference - Domainvermarkter-Forum - eight times in their home country. 

The two partners are also active domain investor/developers and this year they got so busy with their showpiece ecommerce site - Sale.de - that they didn't have time to organize their usual  conference. So, being the creative people they are, they come up with a different idea - the first ever rolling Domain Stammtisch aboard a luxury tour bus (in German “stammtisch” means a regular meeting of people in restaurants

Thomas Mueller (left) & Christoph Grueneberg

or bars).  Dubbed the Domainvermarkter Stammtisch, the event was held a week ago today (October 9, 2013) aboard a deluxe Gourmet Liner in Berlin. Thomas and Christoph (who will be at next week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Florida) were kind enough to share some photos from the unique event with us.

 

Domainvermarkter Stammtisch 2013 guests in front of 
the Schloss Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin last week. 

Domainvermarkter Stammtisch guests aboard the Gourmet Liner as 
the rolling conference cruised through the streets of Berlin.

Christoph Grueneberg told us, "This wasn't a typical city tour - it was a dining tour with cooking and eating in the bus. During the trip a three-course menu was served onboard and there were also plenty of drinks (these are domainers after all)!. Altogether over 30 domainers from Germany and Austria took part in the tour sponsored by Backorder.de, Domainers Registrar, InterNetX, Sedo, Hexonet and Realtime.at.

Cooks in the Gourmet Liner's onboard kitchen prepare the three-course meal 
served to Domainvermarkter Stammtisch guests during their ride around Berlin.

Grueneberg noted that Dima Beitzke, the new CSO (Chief Sales Officer) at Sedo GmbH, introduced himself for the first time (Dima succeeded the highly regarded Liesbeth Mack-de Boer in that position).

Sedo GmbH CSO Dima Beitzke (far right) with friends aboard the Gourmet Liner. Dima is holding one of the "I Love Sale.de" teddy bears that Grueneberg and Mueller brought along to promote their rapidly growing ecommerce site.

After the road trip the whole group continued on to the Spagos Bar at the famous Alexanderplatz. Many of the participants also visited the biggest German online marketing conference, OMCap, that  took place the next day.  At that conference there was a special Domainer Channel with lectures from  Christoph Grueneberg about the new Redemption-Grace Period at the German DENIC Registry and Markus Galler (InterNetX) on the subject New TLDs.

The Domainvermarkter Stammtisch looks like a great idea. When Grueneberg and Mueller are in Florida for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. next week maybe we can convince them to export this one to America!

(Posted October 16, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131016.htm

With Domain Investing Becoming a Bigger Game Elliot's Blog Gets a Perfect New Name

If you typed ElliotsBlog.com into your browser this morning you might have been surprised to see a different website appear. Have no fear, the 

 

popular blog written by veteran domain investor Elliot Silver hasn't been hijacked - it simply has a new home at an even more relevant web address -  DomainInvesting.com

Elliot explained his reasons for re-branding the six-year-old site in a post announcing the change on his re-located blog today. He acquired the new domain from friend and fellow domain investor Lonnie Borck and I think, given the subject matter Elliot so ably covers, it is the perfect name for his platform - one that instantly identifies what the site is about while also opening up a lot of new content and growth opportunities

Elliot said, "I believe rebranding as DomainInvesting.com will allow me to expand the audience of my blog, especially to people who are not familiar with the business of investing in domain names. With the continued growth of the domain aftermarket combined with the introduction of new gTLD domain names, I anticipate that there will be an influx of investment capital for domain name assets, and the DomainInvesting.com branding is more suitable for continued growth."

Elliot Silver
DomainInvesting.com

All of the most successful blogs have carved out their own unique identities. Elliot established his by detailing his own experiences in buying, selling and developing domains. No one gives a more personal account of their adventures in domain investing and thankfully that will continue alongside the additional content he plans to provide on what is becoming an increasingly hot area of investing interest.

The new gTLDs Elliot mentioned continue to generate both good news and bad. In the latter category I was sorry to hear the news that  DotGreen Community Inc. has decided to throw in the towel after working for six years toward winning the rights to operate a .green gTLD.

The group's CEO, Annalisa Roger, said there were too many other contenders (with deeper pockets) competing to win the extension for DotGreen Community to have any hope of acquiring it.  Though the TLD is yet  to be awarded their efforts have built up a lot of good will around the extension. The eventual winner of .green might benefit by bringing some of the passionate people from the DotGreen Community aboard when the extension is launched.

One other new gTLD note - 27-year old entrepreneur Daniel Negari, who was profiled in our latest Cover Story, was the one of the first to take advantage of an ICANN promotional video program being built around new gTLD operators. Daniel, the youngest new gTLD applicant, has already secured the rights to operate the .xyz and .college extensions. In the vide0 below he details his plans for .xyz.

 

(Posted October 15, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131015.htm

Demand Media Co-Founder Richard Rosenblatt Resigns as Chairman & CEO - Fellow Co-Founder Shawn Colo to Lead Company on Interim Basis

Demand Media Co-Founder Richard Rosenblatt (who was profiled in our April 2007 Cover Story) has stepped down as the company's Chairman, effective immediately, and has also resigned as CEO, effective Oct. 31, 2013. The company's board of directors has named Rosenblatt's fellow Demand Media co-founder, Shawn Colo, as interim President, effective immediately, and as interim CEO, effective upon Mr. Rosenblatt's resignation. James Quandt has been appointed Chairman, effective immediately. The board is to begin a search for a permanent CEO shortly.

Demand Media is a leading digital media and domain services company headquartered in Santa Monica, California. Over the years it has acquired several well-known domain industry companies including giant registrar eNom

No reason was given for the change but Mr. Rosenblatt said, "I want to thank everyone that helped to make Demand Media a leading content creation and media company. It has been a great honor to work with our investors, board and brilliant team over the past 7 years. I realize that all journeys must ultimately come to an end and want to wish Shawn and the entire team success as they continue to grow the business."

Mr. Colo said, "I look forward to working closely with our board of directors, executive team, and all of our employees to achieve our strategic goals. Since co-founding the company in 2006, I have been involved in all facets of the business and am more confident than ever in Demand Media's potential."

Mr. Quandt, the new Chairman, added, "The board is excited to have Shawn expand his responsibilities at Demand Media. Shawn has played a major role in the company's success 

 

Richard Rosenblatt

Shawn Colo

and is ideally suited to assume these added responsibilities because of his integral knowledge of all aspects of the business and his strong relationships throughout the industry."

(Posted October 14, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131014.htm

Why Bonus Networking Days Are Attracting a Growing Flock of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Early Birds

I've been covering T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences for almost a decade now (ever since the first one in October 2004) and from the start the only downside for me has been running out of time before seeing everyone I wanted to see during the fast paced event. So, it was a very welcome development to see co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu add a couple of

pre-show "Cabana Networking" days to the conference schedule in recent years. For the upcoming show at the Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach, those days will be Friday and Saturday, October 18 & 19, with the show officially opening Sunday evening, October 20 (and running through Wednesday morning, October 23).

A view of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. cabanas just before last year's show got underway at the Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale beach. The cabana row is just below the pool deck and guests can walk back and forth between the two levels via a short stairway on each side of the pool and cabana row.

The thing about T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is that a single conversation can lead to a business deal that pays for your entire trip to the show (and continue to pay dividends long after the show is over), so it obviously helps to have as many of those conversations as you can. In many cases, the more informal the setting, the better for chatting and that's where T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s cabana networking days shine

With just a few dozen early birds on hand there is a lot more face to face time with those people (in one of the world's most beautiful settings) than is possible once the show is in full swing with several hundred people on hand. More importantly, the few dozen that get into town early include some of the most interesting, successful and passionate people in the industry (if they weren't passionate they wouldn't be there early)!

Some of the 2012 T.R.A.F.F.I.C East early birds on the Ritz Carlton pool deck the Saturday before the show opened. 

If you are going to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. anyhow, it makes sense on a lot of levels to join the growing flock of early birds. The only added cost is a couple of more nights in a hotel. Those who come in Friday (Oct. 18), as Diana and I will, can enjoy an added free bonus (beyond a day of networking in the cabanas and around the pool). The Ritz Carlton will be hosting one of their most popular public events that night - their All Hallow's Eve Party under a full moon on the pool deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. crowd will stake out a prime piece of deck turf for that event so early birds can count on enjoying their first evening in town.

There will be another full day of networking in the sun Saturday (Oct. 19) followed by an evening when people can head out in their own dinner groups to the many restaurants within easy walking distance of the hotel (the Ritz is right in the middle of everything on Fort Lauderdale Beach).

A large group of 2012 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East early birds at a pre-show dinner hosted by DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker at Shula's on the Beach.

When the bulk of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. crowd arrives Sunday you will be well ahead of the game (with two days of networking already under your belt and a pretty nice tan to boot)! What more could you ask for? 

Whenever you will be getting into town we will look forward to seeing you there. October usually produces some of Florida's most beautiful weather (we are enjoying a gorgeous day as I write this) so pack your swimsuit and sunglasses alongside your business cards and come on down!

(Posted October 10, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131010.htm

Bidding Opens in a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silent Auction at the Above.com Domain Marketplace + Servers.com to be Sold in Bankruptcy Auction

The next T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference is coming up October 20-23 at the Ritz Carlton on Florida's Fort Lauderdale Beach. As always, the show will feature a live domain auction with this one scheduled for Monday, October 21 at 4:30pm. However, there is going to be an added twist this time around. 

 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C has enlisted Above.com’s Domain Marketplace to host an online Silent Auction in conjunction with the live event. Bidding has already opened in the Silent Auction which will continue until 3pm (U.S. Eastern time) on October 31. Domains that 

do not reach the reserve price in the Silent Auction before the live event October 21 can be moved into the sale at the Ritz Carlton (if show organizers wish to include them). Those that do meet the reserve beforehand will stay in the Silent Auction and names not sold in the live event will get a second chance by in the Silent Auction that will continue for 10 days after the live event. 

Above.com President and Founder David Warmuz said, "We are delighted that our Domain Marketplace was selected to host the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East Silent Auction. The Above Domain Marketplace is loaded with features that are not available in commonplace marketplaces which most people are accustomed to. We added innovative features such as Verified Traffic Stats, built-in domain pricing tool, and a seller’s personal auction URL, to name just a few."

Among the domains included in the Silent Auction are: 3DCopying.com, FloridaCharterFlights.com, WomensFragrances.com, BulkAdvertising.com, MensWatch.com and Tablets.co. You can view the entire 2013 Silent Auction inventory here

To participate in the auction, buyers must create a verified Above account to bid. Once an account is created, buyers can create a watch list to follow just the domains they are interested in. 

David Warmuz
President & Founder, Above.com

Another auction that will be of considerable  interest - even though it includes only one domain -  is coming up later this month. By order of the  United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, Servers.com will be auctioned off on October 29, 2013. The auction will take place at 2pm (local time) at the office of Trustee’s Counsel located at: 500 North Akard Street, Suite 3800, Dallas, Texas 75201. 

Only "qualified bidders" will be permitted to attend the auction. Interested parties must become qualified  bidders by providing financial information to the Trustee evidencing the ability to purchase the domain name and must deliver to the Trustee a deposit of $40,000 to participate in the auction (qualified bidders will be permitted to participate in the auction by telephone).

Daniel J. Sherman, Chapter 11 Trustee of the Ondova Limited Company, said he has received a "stalking horse bid" of $300,000 for the domain name. The Bankruptcy Court has authorized the Trustee to attempt to seek higher and better bids by conducting the October 29 auction. 

A hearing to approve the sale to the highest bidder has been scheduled for November 4, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. Central Time. For more information you can visit www.servers.com or email: serversauction@gmail.com.

(Posted October 8, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131008.htm

How You Can Help Escrow.com Secure a Spot in the Super Bowl Advertising Line Up 

With price tags that can run into several million dollars Super Bowl ads are reserved for corporations with very deep pockets. So deep that global registration giant Go Daddy has been the only one from our industry to have a regular presence in the Big Game (by teaming up with Go Daddy, the .CO Registry has also gotten some great exposure on Super Bowl Sunday). 

When the current pro football season ends with the February 2, 2014 Super Bowl game at MetLife Stadium (home of both the New York Giants and the New York Jets) the more than 100 million TV viewers around the world may see another name that is familiar to just about everybody in this business - Escrow.com - but it will take some help from you to put them in the super bright spotlight they deserve.

 

As successful as they have been in providing thousands of domain investors and buyers with secure domain transactions, Escrow.com's advertising budget doesn't have room for a Super Bowl spot. So, they decided to get into the trenches and compete for one in Intuit's Small Business Big Game contest. Intuit is going to pay the full cost of running a 30-second commercial for the contest winner in the 2014 Super Bowl telecast (including commercial productions costs). The good news for Escrow.com fans is they have already made the first cut

In the opening round of the contest that ran for two months (August and September) enough people went to the Vote for Escrow.com page and cast ballots that qualified the company for round two that runs through this month (the ballot page also has a creative video from Escrow.com's President and Managing Director, "Coach" Brandon Abbey that you will get a kick out of). At the end of  October the top 20 vote getters will move on to the semi-finals in which the 8,000 employees at Intuit will review each company still standing, with their vote determining the four finalists.

Once the final four is set, all previous votes are thrown out so the competitors can go at on an even playing field. They will tell their small business stories and the one that draws the most votes from the public wins the Grand Prize - their own Super Bowl commercial that will run Feb. 2, 2014. 

Brandon Abbey, Andee Hill and the entire team at Escrow.com have been valued friends and colleagues to countless people in our business, as well as steady supporters of charities that our industry has gotten behind 

Brandon Abbey
President & Managing Director
Escrow.com  

(The Water School being a prime example). Now they could use our support and it doesn't cost a penny to get behind them. Just go here and cast your contest vote for Escrow.com today!  

(Posted October 7, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131007.htm

People & Companies in the News:  Public Interest Registry, Demand Media's Steve Banfield and Hilco Streambank 

Several items to touch on today as we wrap another busy week for the domain business. The week started with the  Public Interest Registry, the not-for-profit operator of the popular .ORG TLD, announcing a major re-branding of the organization. By integrating the term "Your" into its new logo, Public Interest Registry aims to demonstrate its long-standing commitment to the individuals, organizations and companies that use .ORG and PIR's upcoming new gTLDs.NGO and .ONG. (The .ORG logo also got a stylistic makeover as you can see in the graphic at right).

PIR said the new symbol on the left side of the logos is meant to be a graphic interpretation of the organization's mission of being open to the public interest with a commitment to providing a platform that anyone, anywhere in the world can use to share their story.  

PIR's new company logo

 

New .org logo

 

Public Interest Registry CEO Brian Cute

PIR CEO Brian Cute said, "We're a small organization operating a huge domain that people around the world continue to choose year after year to engage their communities. "As .ORG continues to expand its international footprint and with the introduction of new internationalized domain names (IDNs), .NGO and .ONG launching in the near future, we felt the timing was right to update our brand to better reflect our unwavering commitment to the public interest and to those who choose these domains to give a voice to their causes, passions and ideas."

Each individual TLD logo includes the same graphic symbol found in the Public Interest Registry's logo but with its own unique color, creating a color scheme of greens, blues, and oranges to reflect the diversity of different voices, perspectives and people that Public Interest Registry serves.

Demand Media had some big news as well, announcing the hiring of 20-year Internet veteran Steve Banfield as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Registrar Services. In that role Banfield will lead Demand Media’s two well-known registrar businesses; Name.com and eNom (the world’s largest ICANN accredited wholesale domain name registrar)  as each team readies for the launch of new gTLDs. l

Banfield has previously built and overseen teams at notable technology and entertainment companies including Sony, Microsoft, Paramount Pictures and Real Networks. Demand Media's Executive Vice President of Registrar Services, Taryn Naidu, said, "Our registrar business serves many different kinds of customers – from consumers to business owners – with products that range from a single domain name to a comprehensive API for selling domains and services. Steve has spent his career creating

Steve Banfield
SVP & GM, Registrars Services
Demand Media

market share for new digital experiences – which is required knowledge as we move into a world with over a thousand new domain extensions coming to market.” 

One other note - Hilco Streambank is holding their second multi-asset premium domain name auction October 14- 17, 2013.  The auction will be conducted on Hilco Streambank’s recently updated proprietary online auction platform where registration and bidding are now open. 

The assets available in this auction consist of 15 domain packages, including individual domain offerings such as ROW.com, DL.com and brand packages that include both trademarks and domains like one involving  formerf consumer electronics firm Tweeter.com.

(Posted October 4, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131004.htm

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Just Two Weeks Away - Agenda for the Fort Lauderdale Beach Show Includes a New gTLD Debate 

I don't know where this year went but with T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s annual fall show in Florida coming up in just a couple of weeks, I know we are in the home stretch for 2013. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is always a highlight of the closing quarter and the upcoming show October 20-23  at the Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach (preceded by two days of cabana networking Oct. 18-19) will be no exception.

Things officially get underway Sunday evening, October 20, with T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s traditional opening night cocktail party. The full agenda is out now and the first full day of business (Monday, October 21) has one session (at 12:45pm) that may spark some fireworks - T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s first public debate on ICANN's controversial new gTLD program

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz said that he and an as yet unnamed fellow domainer will trade punches with as many as four new gTLD proponents 

The Ritz Carlton Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach
Site for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2013 coming up October
20-23 

(a group that will include Jeffrey Sass of .CLUB, Monte Cahn from  RightOfThedot.com, a representative from Frank Schilling's Uniregistry.com and possibly one more combatant). 

Rick Schwartz
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder 

Apparently Schwartz feels confident enough in his position to give the opposing team twice as much manpower as his own. :-)

Later that same day (Monday, Oct. 21), the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Live Domain Auction will be staged. Today Schwartz posted his personal auction "picks" on his blog

Another Monday highlight for me will be the opportunity to sit in on a 2:45pm Meet the Bloggers panel discussion with some of the industry's top reporters. We will be fielding questions on a wide variety of topics. 

By the way, another Meet the Bloggers panelist, DomainNameWire's Andrew Allemann, has come up with a cool idea to raise some extra money for The Water School. As he detailed in a post at DNW today, Andrew is holding an auction with the high 

bidder getting to advertise their company (or individual project, domain for sale, etc.) in a unique way. Andrew will wear a T-shirt bearing the winner's logo or message for one full day at the conference and also give the company or project a brief write up on DNW. It's a win win all the way around and a nice way to support a worthy charity.

One other note, if you are going to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and haven't booked your room yet, you have until tomorrow night at midnight (Friday, Oct. 4) to save $124 a night at the Ritz. The show's discounted rate of $275 at the fabulous oceanfront hotel has been extended to that time, with the rate scheduled to revert to the Ritz's full $399 fare after that. 

The rooms at the Ritz are all exceptionally nice (the shot above is from the room we had last year) and the show experience is much more convenient and enjoyable if you stay on site in the middle of all of the action. You can find room information for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. here

(Posted October 3, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131003.htm

Sedo Founders Sell Remaining Shares to United Internet - Co-Founder Tim Schumacher Comments on Deal That Will Take Sedo Private 

European internet giant United Internet has acquired the last 4.46 million shares of Sedo that were still held by the company's co-founders, a move that will allow United to take Sedo private.

After paying €2.60 per share for the co-founders remaining stake, United now holds 96.05% of Sedo stock, a threshold that allows them to "squeeze out" any remaining shareholders by paying them fair market value for their shares (German law has this squeeze out provision that can be exercised when one entity controls 95% or more of a company's shares).

United Internet said they plan to "integrate the 

 

Affiliate Marketing and Domain Marketing business fields operated by Sedo Holding AG more closely into the strategic development of the United Internet Group."

Tim Schumacher
Sedo Co-Founder and Former CEO 

In a note this morning, Sedo Co-Founder and former CEO Tim Schumacher told me, "This is a good step for Sedo. Taking Sedo private will remove significant unnecessary costs and distraction of being a public company, and will thus allow more intensive focus on the core: customers and products."

Schumacher said, "For me and my co-founders personally, by selling our remaining shares, we will close an important chapter of our life. Thank you again to everyone who was - and especially to everyone who still is - part of the Sedo story, as customer, partner or team member!"

Schumacher added, "All the best also to Tobias & his team - we trust him to lead Sedo well into the next successful decade!" (this in reference to current Sedo CEO Tobias Flaitz who took over those duties from Schumacher on Feb. 1, 2012).

United Internet is a major conglomerate with nearly 13 million customers and just under 

6,500 employees. In addition to Sedo they are the parent company of 1&1, GMX, WEB.DE, United-Domains, Fasthosts, InterNetX and Affilinet.

(Posted October 2, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131002.htm

Igal Lichtman's Domain Monetization Legacy Lives on With ParkingCrew Picked to Serve TrafficMedia Clients

The domain industry lost a legendary figure this past February when Igal Lichtman lost a fierce battle with cancer (one of the few battles the gentle giant ever lost). The pioneering domain investor/developer amassed a sterling portfolio (including his favorite lovingly developed gemstone - Jerusalem.com) but he excelled in many other areas as well. Domain monetization is a field where Igal had an especially large impact - so much so that his innovative DomainSpa.com parking service was the subject of the first ever DNJournal.com Cover Story a decade ago. 

DomainSpa evolved into Lichtman's latest baby, TrafficMedia.com (a venture we profiled in our February 2012 Cover Story). With Igal's passing, the TrafficMedia team decided to look for some kindred spirits to serve the company's clients in a way that would carry Lichtman's ideals into the future. They have made their choice with the honor going to ParkingCrew.com (a company we profiled in a February 2013 Newsletter).

Igal Lichtman
TrafficMedia Founder 

Current TrafficMedia clients were the first to get the news which came to them in a joint letter from the TrafrficMedia and ParkingCrew teams. Here is the letter in its entirety (courtesy of a friend of Igal's (and ours) - Steven Kaziyev of NamePursuit.com):

Dear Steven:

As you know Igal, the vision behind Traffic Media/DomainParking.com, had passed earlier this year.

Igal was one of the first members of the domain community to recognize domain parking as an important income stream for domain owners. Many standard concepts behind today's domain parking platforms were pioneered by Igal more than 10 years ago.

We at Traffic Media were looking for a partner to support all of our customers, emphasizing the fact that Igal’s vision and way of service will be continued.

ParkingCrew.com was found to be a great match.

ParkingCrew will continue to follow his visionary path and continue to provide innovations to the domain parking world.

On September 17th, 2013, ParkingCrew.com acquired the TrafficMedia/DomainParking.com customer base. We are confident that this move will further improve revenues for our customers.
ParkingCrew is welcoming all active TrafficMedia/DomainParking.com customers with the following benefits:

  • Net15 payments (that's right, 45 days earlier than you were used to)

  • a 10% bonus on your September TrafficMedia/DomainParking.com earnings if you continue to monetize with us

Revenues previously generated with TrafficMedia/DomainParking.com will be paid out by TrafficMedia/DomainParking.com. Moving forward, all revenues generated with ParkingCrew.com will be paid out by ParkingCrew.

For you there is only one thing to do:

Please go to this page to claim access to your ParkingCrew account. Once this has been done, you will receive your login credentials for ParkingCrew.com and can continue to check your stats and manage your domains from within our interface.

With regards to your domains and landing pages, you don’t have to do anything. We have made sure they stay up and running and you are all set. Since some accounts had ownership conflicts, please log in to your account and make sure that all domains you currently control have been added to your account.

Should you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to get in contact with support@parkingcrew.com.

Your TrafficMedia and ParkingCrew teams.

(Posted October 1, 2013) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131001.htm


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