As a new
industry, it is always interesting to see how the
colorful cast of characters in this business managed to
find their way here. In a sector that is unrivaled when
it comes to spellbinding biographies, the roundabout
route that brought Neu into the domain world has
produced one of the most diverse volumes in the
industry's rich library.
that the current chapter in Neu's life revolves around
names, it is appropriate
arriving at Ellis Island in the early 1900's
|that our story starts with an
account of how Howard's family acquired their surname
almost nine decades ago.
who was deaf and also could not speak, came to America from
) in 1920 with her two children, Howard's dad Maury,
who was five years old at the time, and Maury's
two-year-old sister. Neu told us "They landed at Ellis
Island, didn't speak any English and when asked what
his last name was my dad said something that the
authorities could not understand. It sounded like "Neu"
to them, so that' s how we got our surname!"
The family made their way to Chicago and when
Maury grew up he married a bright young woman from Toronto
named Phyllis. Their union produced three
children, with Howard the first to arrive on the
scene. Brother Les came along three years later
and sister VedaLynn followed three years after
Les to complete the family who lived in an apartment
just two blocks from Lake Michigan.
Neu family photo snapped in front of Howard's fraternity
house at the University of
Florida. (L to R): sister VedaLynn, Howard,
mother Phyllis, father Maury & brother
|America was in the
middle of World War II when Howard was
born and his father supported the war effort by
working in a local defense plant while his
mother worked as a secretary in a fruit and
vegetable business operated by Howard's uncle.
Howard's dad was not your
& son, Maury & Howard sing together
|everyday factory worker though.
"My father had a wonderful tenor voice and
sang in the choir at the world-famous Anshe
Emet Synagogue under Cantor Joshua Lind.
Lind, his three sons and my dad would travel all
over the country giving concerts and they were
very well-known in Jewish society," Neu
said. "He was also a championship ice speed
skater and would take me on a sled speeding
around the frozen-over ponds of
Though Howard would one day follow in his
father's footsteps as a singer, he almost died
before that day arrived. "When I was 7
years old, I was hit by a car while
chasing a girl across the street around the
corner from my apartment," Neu recalled.
"She made it across, but I didn't. I
am told that I was in a coma for two
|weeks and was in a
body cast for almost six months. In order to get
around, I became a master of walking and running
on crutches for over a year as I kept
re-breaking my leg."
same time, Howard's sister was suffering from asthma
that was aggravated by hay fever every fall. Maury and
Phyllis had also grown tired of the frigid Chicago
winters so they decided it was time to move the family
to a friendlier climate. Lured by "The World's Most
Famous Beach", Maury and Phyllis packed up the
three kids and headed for Daytona Beach, Florida.
|"While there, my dad owned a
gas station and became the Cantor of the
Synagogue there, so I started singing in the
choir," Neu said. Singing would become a
passion that has remained a constant
throughout Howard's life and T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
conference regulars have had the pleasure of
hearing him perform.
I particularly recall him singing the John
Travolta role in a skit based on Grease
during the very first
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Delray
Beach, Florida in 2004. There were also
memorable duets with Emily Anne at the 2007
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York show in Manhattan.
belting out "Summer Nights" with Felicia
at the 1st T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in
Neu and Emily Anne perform together at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
New York 2007
family, Howard, wife Barbara and her son Ray
Dillman (who is so close to Howard that many in the
domain business know him as Ray Neu )
live just north of Miami, an area Howard was
first introduced to 55 years ago. "In 1954, my
folks decided that they could do better financially in
South Florida so they moved to North Miami where
my Dad got a job at National Shirt Shops, located
at Lincoln and Collins in Miami Beach," Neu
to North Miami Senior High where he got good
grades and used his singing skills to earn leading roles
in several school musicals. He also got his first taste
of another discipline that would become a major part of
his adult life - politics. "I ran for Student
Council and lost a couple of times, but it didn’t
take away from me the thrill of running for
office," Neu said. By the time he graduated a lot
of different interests were competing for his
making a decision on what he would do with his life,
Howard wanted to earn a college degree and he set his
sites on the University of Florida in Gainesville.
It looked like that might not happen because, even
though his parent were doing better than ever
financially, the couldn't cover the tab for four years
was determined to be a Gator though and
he made it happen. As a member of the National
Honor Society, he was able to qualify for a
tuition scholarship to Florida and he paid for
room and board by holding down two jobs - one as
a waiter in his fraternity house and the other,
arranged by his dad, at a local men's store. Neu
was quick to add, "I was also Playboy
Magazine's representative on campus. But
that didn't pay anything - not in money
would actually wind up getting his bachelor's
degree (and his law degree) from the University
of Miami after transferring there for his
senior year. Neu explained why he made the
switch. "Some of the best years of my life
were spent at the University of
, but it didn’t do much to further my career -
I was having too much fun! Yes, I got good
grades and was very involved in campus life
including being a fraternity brother of AEPI,
soloist in the Men’s Glee Club and
President of Hillel House, but some
classes were a bore."
I really wanted to be was a Rock Star
as I had developed a good voice and stage
presence over the years and even wrote some
Neu & mother Phyllis
on his 1968 graduation day at the
University of Miami Law School
|I recorded with a
band at Criteria Studios where the Bee
Gees and the Eagles recorded hit
records. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any
parental support in that area, so I majored in
accounting at Florida and then Miami so that I
could be gainfully employed as an accountant
while I went to law school at night."
once recorded songs in the same Miami studio used by
the Bee Gees. Years later
the Bee Gees' Maurice Gibb attended Neu's
swearing in as mayor of North Miami.
appealed a lot more to Neu that accounting did. If he
couldn't be a rock star he felt that being an attorney
would be the next best thing. "Probably the most
successful relative that I had was one of my mother’s
brothers, Harry Spector who lived in
Detroit," Neu said. "He had a very
prominent law practice, so I decided early on that I
wanted to be a lawyer like Uncle Harry."
realize that dream, but not before going through a long
stint in the accounting business while he worked toward
that law degree at night. They say that the Lord works
in mysterious ways and that appeared to be the case
here. Even though Neu's heart was not in accounting, it
was that field that gave him the connections that
would lead to a very successful run in the world of
I graduated from UM with a B.B.A. degree in Accounting,
I went to work for a medium-sized C.P.A. firm in Miami
and, after a year and a half, left to work for a large
C.P.A. firm that eventually became Deloitte Touche
Ross," Neu said. "The principal partner of
the firm, Robert Morgan, was known as Mr.
and he was very politically connected. He knew of my
interest in politics and that Senator Hubert Humphrey
was my guest speaker when I was installed as
President of the South Florida Lodges of B’nai
B’rith and that I had become very friendly with
him and his lovely wife Muriel." (Several
years later Neu would chair Humphrey’s campaign for President
United States in
Senator Hubert Humphrey with Howard Neu at a
installing Neu as the President of the South
Florida Lodges of B’nai B’rith
introduced Neu to then County Commissioner Joe Boyd
who wanted to run for the
Public Service Commission against a long-time
incumbent. "I became his Campaign Treasurer and,
though he lost by the slimmest of margins, we became
good friends," Neu said. "Two years later, Joe
came to my
graduation party and told me that he was running for the
Supreme Court and wanted me to run his campaign
statewide. We traveled the state, won the race
and I was asked to enrobe Joe Boyd as Supreme Court
Two years later Circuit Judge Hal P. Dekle
decided to run for the Florida Supreme Court too. Word
had spread about the great job Neu had done on behalf of
Boyd, leading Dekle to call and ask Neu to run his
campaign. "I was practicing law then and told him I
was flattered to be asked, but I really didn’t have
the time anymore," Neu said. "He brushed my
protestations aside and asked me to give him whatever
time I could for scheduling speaking engagements and
buying T.V., radio, billboards and newspaper ads."
Neu relented and again shepherded his candidate to
victory. "I became the first (and I believe the
only) attorney in the history of
to enrobe two Justices to the Supreme Court,"
With those successes
under his belt, his accounting firm told him
that if he stayed with the company after he
finished work on his law degree he would be put
on a fast track to partnership. "It
took me five years to finish law school because
I took off one semester to study for and pass
the C.P.A. exam and another to have my first
daughter," Neu said. "When I graduated
in 1968, I went to a party for Hubert Humphrey
who was now running for President
. I met an attorney named William Goldworn
at the party who asked me if I
Neu on the campaign trail.
|knew anyone who was familiar with S.E.C.
work. When I told him that I had done a
lot of work in that area, he offered me a job
with his small law firm. I told him that
management really wanted me to stay at the
C.P.A. firm. He asked how much I was
making, and when I told him, he said that he
would double it. I gave the firm two
weeks notice and they were so upset that they
changed the rules so that no one could attend
law school while working at the firm," Neu
At the same time Neu was switching careers
from accountant to attorney, another door opened
that transformed him from campaign
|manager to candidate.
"After Judge Dekle won his race in the
Primaries he had space on a number of billboards
and signs left over. There was an open
seat representing my District on the
and he said that he would give me all his
billboards if I would run for the seat,"
Neu said. "I was one of five candidates for
the seat, and though I won every
African-American precinct, I came in 3rd with
27,000 votes. My record of losing elections was
still intact." That would soon change
had become active in the city of
and had been appointed as Municipal Judge
to hear misdemeanors before the Municipal Courts
were abolished by the State two years later,"
Neu said. "I became unhappy with the way
local government was being run and decided to
run for the City Council in 1975. I
won without a run-off against four other
opponents and served a four-year term."
it ended, I decided to run for Mayor and again
won without a run-off against two opponents.
I was re-elected two years later with
token opposition. We had term limits, so I could
not run for a third term, but when my
successor’s second term ended, I was urged to
run again and did so, winning without any
his years as mayor Neu promoted film
and was rewarded with the smash hit series
Vice being filmed at studios there. His
outreach to movie and TV production companies
yielded an unexpected bonus, as he also found
himself in front of the cameras.
and actor John Saxon on the set of Welcome
to Spring Break.
Neu in his role as a
high school biology teacher in
the movies Porky's & Porky's
"I was cast in a
number of movies as an extra, but had speaking
roles in Porky’s, Porky’s
2, The Opponent with Ernest
Borgnine, Welcome to Spring Break
with John Saxon and was cast as a judge
in a Miami Vice episode," Neu said.
"I also had my own TV talk show called South
Florida Speaks which I produced and
hosted. The half-hour interview program was
broadcast every Sunday afternoon for ten years
involved in the theater and starred in a number
of productions in
and also had my own radio talk show every Sunday
morning on WKAT called Can We Talk?;
all the while practicing law so that I could
make a living," Neu said.
"I had been doing extensive Estate
Planning and Trust work for a client who had
some very successful adult web sites," Neu
recalled. "He asked me to lecture to adult
webmasters on First Amendment problems and
Copyright and Trademark Infringement. Though I
wasn’t that familiar with the latter subject,
I studied up and was warmly received. I
found that there were literally only a
handful of attorneys who were practicing Domain
Defense Litigation. I saw that this
could be a very lucrative and not that difficult
niche that I could specialize in, so I gradually
did more and more ACPA
defense work in Federal Courts and later when it
became adopted, UDRP
Soon after he took up his new specialty, Neu
|gained a client who
has been an integral part of his life ever
since. "I represented Rick Schwartz successfully
on a few C & D Letters and Federal
litigation where we not only won, but the other
side had to pay our attorneys fees," Neu
"I then started
representing the notorious John Zuccarini
in a number of Federal lawsuits all over the
country, until he became so paranoid about
getting served with process on these suits that
he wanted me to go to jail when the Judge asked
me to give up his phone number so that he could
be served. We parted ways and soon
thereafter he was arrested and incarcerated.
But my position at that time was that though
John was a “typosquatter” with all of
his mistyped trademark domains, he was not a cybersquatter
as defined in the ACPA
|and therefore it should not apply
to him. Unfortunately, the U.S Circuit Court
of Appeals for the Third District in Philadelphia
did not agree and we made new law."
"Word got around on the web that I was a
fairly competent Domain Defense attorney along
with John Berryhill and Ari Goldberger,
so that phase of my general practice became so
prevalent that I no longer accepted new clients
in other areas of the law," Neu added.
John Berryhill, Howard Neu and Ari
Goldberger at the 1st T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
conference in 2004.
Neu's new association with Rick Schwartz
blossomed into something much bigger than the
usual attorney-client relationship. "Rick
was asked by Dean Shannon (the founder of
Dark Blue Sea, parent company of Fabulous.com)
to get members of his private chat board to
attend a “Deanfest” that he was
throwing in Beverly Hills to announce a
new product for Fabulous.com," Neu said.
"Rick asked me to help put an agenda
together for the board members who were coming
and the precursor to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. was born
when 40 folks showed up for a lunch just for
was so successful that we were urged to do a
"BocaFest" closer to home, so
Rick and I went to a number of hotels here in
south Florida to see what would work. We both
knew that the
Marriott was the ideal location and worked
to put together an agenda and set up a structure
for the conference (that structure would become
the World Association of Domain Name
We both put some money in my trust account to
fund the project, but never had to draw any out
except to cover incorporation expense. To this
day, our partnership has been on a handshake.
When we decided that we had to come up with a
catchy alliterative name for the event, I came
up with Targeted Redirects and Financial
Fulfillment Internet Conference and voila!
– we had T.R.A.F.F.I.C. The rest, as
they say is history, wonderfully recorded and
covered by DNJournal.com," Neu said.
and Neu forged a powerful partnership that has endured
despite the two having personalities from completely
opposite ends of the spectrum. Schwartz told us, "We
are definitely the "Odd Couple! It is funny
how we interact together. We never sat down and
discussed who would handle what when it came to
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. I take care of the things I am strong on
and Howard takes care of the things he is strong on. For
example, it took me five years to convince myself
that I could get on stage and talk to a large group of
people without having a panic attack. On the
other hand Howard is completely comfortable on stage."
Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu
"We first met on a cruise in
1999," Schwartz recalled. "We hit it off, I
needed to have some legal work done and we became fast
friends. The relationship developed and by the time
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. started in 2004 it was a natural.
We have a gift of filling in each other's shortcomings.
When he is angry I calm him down and when I am angry he
calms me down. We laugh a lot and at the end of the day
it's only business," Schwartz said.
"What attracted to me to
Howard as an attorney to begin with is many lawyers just
are out to scare you," Schwartz said. "Howard
does not operate that way. I remember early on I got
some cease and desist letter from some company and I
called him up and asked him what to do. He said
something like...."Ignore it, toss it in the
garbage and let me know if you ever hear from them
again" At that moment I knew this was a guy I
could do business with...Old school. Practical. Down to
|"In those early
days you needed an attorney to "Ride
shotgun." It was like hiring
protection. Armed with a good attorney, those
trying to STEAL domain names from the
weak were put
|on their heels when Howard came
out with all guns blazing. He secured a
number of early and big victories against the
likes of Godiva, Lilly Inc. and Register.com.
Those victories had others thinking twice before
over reaching or trying to take advantage of
what I was building," Schwartz said.
"Over the years we have grown very
close. He is more a brother than a partner. Of
all the things I have accomplished in the domain
industry and if it ended tomorrow, my friendship
with Howard would have been worth it all. His
wife Barbara, son Ray and my wife Alina
are all very close. We are family and when you
come to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. we embrace you as family
"While others want us to go corporate
with all the trappings, we just won't fall in
line. We would rather do it our way or not at
all," Schwartz added.
and son Ray at a time when
Howard was still taller (Ray is 6'6"
& Rick Schwartz at left with Barbara &
during preparations for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2008
at Disney World in Orlando.
When asked about the special
relationship he has with Schwartz, Neu said, "We
have been polar opposites though I must say that we are
seeing more eye-to-eye now than ever before (primarily
because my previous liberal outlook has become more
conservative). He is a new-born Republican
Conservative while I have been a lifelong somewhat
liberal (though more middle of the road) Democrat and
that has led to a number of very heated discussions.
But right from the start we knew each other’s
strengths and weaknesses and played off each other and
capitalized on each other’s strengths."
"My background was as a
C.P.A., lawyer and movie, TV, radio and political
personality while his was in sales, numbers, knowing the
domain industry inside and out and having an
uncanny ability to see the future and trends that
others could not see. So together we have been
able to bounce things off each other and stay creative
and more than one step ahead of anyone else in the
domain conference industry. For that matter, we
believe that before the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C., there
was no "domain industry", just a number of
individuals doing business with parking companies and
affiliates," Neu said.
Barbara and Ray vacationing together in Alaska.
Schwartz noted above, the domain business has become a
family affair for the Neus. Barbara has served as an
exceptional hostess at all of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
conferences. Ray has been helping out at the shows from
the start, has grown into a full time domainer and is
now also an executive in Rick
Latona’s organization. It would be fair to
say that the Neus are the First Family of Domaining,
something that Howard finds very gratifying.
great when a family that domains together, stays
together. Ray is a genius when it comes to
the domain business and I know that if I ever retire,
that business will be in good hands. We couldn’t
do a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference without Barbara, not only
acting as hostess with the mostest, but behind the
scenes providing counsel and advice and doing all the
secretarial work that is required. We have a
wonderful relationship with Rick and Alina, who are not
just business partners, but also the closest of
friends. Life is good when the whole family is
involved in what you do."
actually has seven more family members he hasn't yet
coaxed into the domain business, but that could be just
a matter of time. "I have three beautiful
daughters, Carol Stolarski, Wendy Goldberg
and Andrea Neu and four wonderful grandchildren, Brandon
and Brian Goldberg and Chad and Alexa
Stolarski," Neu said proudly.
|In addition to all of
the other balls he has in the air, Neu is
getting more involved in buying and developing his
own portolio of domains. It is hard to spend
much time around this business without getting
bitten by that bug. "I am working with Danny
Pryor who has done some amazing work in
developing web sites for my lottery domains
and every other state that has a lottery. He is
putting them all together in a portal that we
are developing that will encompass all lotteries
everywhere. He is also working on two other
niche groups which I cannot presently disclose."
"I am working with Jeff Beasley
on developing my dotMobi domains and my
medical domains. I have developed
mini-sites with aeiou.com
and work with my son Ray in domain businesses in
which he has gotten involved," Neu noted.
At the time of this writing, Neu was also
preparing for the 15th T.R.A.F.F.I.C
conference, to be held at the Santa Clara
Mariott in California's Silicon Valley
April 27-30, 2009. "T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Valley is happening at just the
right time and in just the right place to bring
life-changing ideas and business to the
domainers who attend," Neu said.
"New thoughts, New ideas
and New solutions to increasing income
|domaining will be
brought to the fore and all serious professional
domainers need to be there to stay one step
ahead in this tight little business of being
domain investors and developers that we all
love," Neu concluded.