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T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013: A Pictorial Review of the Big Show at the Bellagio

By Ron Jackson

After a five-year absence T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu took the pioneering industry event back to Las Vegas May 29-June 1, 2013 for a big show at the beautiful Bellagio Hotel

Schwartz and Neu had staged annual Las Vegas shows at the Venetian Hotel from 2005-2008 before an expansion into other cities around the world pushed Las Vegas off their itinerary (under a special licensing agreement, Rick Latona put on a January 2010 show at the Hard Rock Hotel under the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. banner).

 

I posted daily reports from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013 in our Lowdown section during show week that you will find at these links: 

Fun, Fountains & Friends: Pre-Show Photos & Highlights from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 

Opening Day Photos & Highlights from the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas Conference: Cabanas, Cocktails & Canadians!

Photos & Highlights from the Busy 2nd Day (and Neon Night) at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013

Photos & Highlights From Friday's Closing Day of the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas Conference

Breakfast of Champions: Why the Final Hour at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013 Was One of the Show's Best

With conference and related social activities going on almost 24/7 during show week, those daily recaps have to be done "on the run", so after every T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference, when I am back home and have a chance to reflect on the event that just concluded, I put together a full show review that provides photos and highlights in one comprehensive article. 

For the latest show in the 9-year-old T.R.A.F.F.I.C. series I decided to take a slightly different approach to this article than I have in the past. By getting up early on show mornings (several hours before breakfast, made possible by never quite re-adjusting from Eastern time to Pacific) I was able to provide fairly  detailed written coverage in the daily posts linked to above. So, rather than walking that same trail with this piece - and considering that neon lit Las Vegas provides endless photo opportunities, I decided to do a pictorial review this time around. 

The Bellagio Hotel's world famous dancing fountains also provide one of the best photo opportunities in Las Vegas. Every evening the fountains spring to life at 15-minute intervals, each time swinging, swaying and shooting skyward in a perfectly choreographed routine to a different popular song. 

The photo format will give me a chance to show you more faces and places while we cruise through the week that was in chronological order. Unless noted otherwise, all of the photos in this article were shot by either DNJournal.com or my friend and show hostess extraordinaire Barbara Neu who has been blessed with a wonderful photographic eye (as fan's of each others photo snapping prowess, we  exchange camera cards at the end of each conference to see what one caught that the other missed - and I invariably miss more than she does!)

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu (at right) with their wives Alina (at left) and Barbara at the Bellagio Hotel where T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013 was staged.

Having set the stage, let's get this show on the road!

Though T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013 didn't officially open until the Wednesday evening (May 29) Opening Night Cocktail Party, those who got into town early were able  to get in some pre-show networking Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s poolside cabanas at the Bellagio - set up specifically for that purpose.

Above: view of the Bellagio pool area from the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. cabanas that opened a couple of days before the show began so early birds would have a place to hang out and network. By the way, if you like the way this looks, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. will return to the Bellagio in 2014 for another show that will run the same week (immediately after Memorial Day).

Below: Among those seen chatting at the cabanas were (left to right) John Yeomans
Morgan Linton
, Sam Aidun and Escrow.com's Andee Hill.

Above: If it got too hot outside, guest could sit down inside the cool T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 
cabanas to chat and have a drink as Chris Baldwin (left) and Maxam Magnata did. 

Below: By Wednesday multiple parties were going on in the cabana area. Next door to T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s main cabana Igloo.com threw a re-christening party to celebrate the new name for the company formerly known as DomainAdvisors.com. Guests were welcomed by (left to right) Amanda Waltz, CEO & Co-Founder Tessa Holcomb and Christina Oklund.

Above: On Wednesday afternoon (May 29) at 4:30pm - an hour before the conference officially welcomed all guests, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. held its traditional orientation session for newcomers - and there were a lot of them this year, coming from countries all over the world.

Above: At 5:30pm Wednesday (May 29) T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013 shifted into high gear when the Opening Night Cocktail Party got underway at the Bellagio Hotel. 

Above: Monica Hans (KeySystems) and Gregg McNair (Igloo.com) have fun catching up at the Opening Night Cocktail Party.

Below: Those on hand also included (left to right) Andy Booth, Shane Cultra, John McKanna and Steven Kennedy

Above: Two first time T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees, Dan Anderson (left) and Anshul Goyal (who came from India) made a lot of new friends at the Opening Night Cocktail Party.

Below: Domain Holdings brought 11 representatives to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013, the biggest contingent from any one company. Barbara Neu got them all together for this group photo on Opening Night. 

On Thursday morning (May 30) it was time to get down to business. The day began with a 9am Power Brunch with opening remarks from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu

Above: A packed Food and Beverage Ballroom where the crowd heard opening remarks from T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s co-founders Thursday morning (May 30, 2013). 

Below: After brunch the audience moved across the hall to the General Session Ballroom for the show's first panel discussion - Selling to Start-Ups featuring Braden Pollock, Morgan Linton, Dave Evanson (Sedo) and Joe Uddeme (DomainHoldings). 

Above: Braden Pollock of LegalBrandMarketing.com offers some tips on Selling to Start-Ups in the first business session at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013 Thursday morning (May 31).

Below: A view of the audience on hand for that opening panel discussion

Below: Freddie Schiwek (left) and Rook Media's Joe Higgins grabbed a couple of seats along the back wall to see the opening panel discussion Thursday morning. 

In the second morning session Nat Cohen (Telepathy.com), attorneys Ari Goldberger and Karen Bernstein and NameNinja.com's Bill Sweetman debated the pros and cons of the current UDRP system that issues rulings in domain name disputes. 

Above: Attorney Ari Goldberger of ESQwire.com commenting on the merits of the current UDRP system in a Thursday morning panel discussion (May 31).

Below: Between (or during) sessions guests could visit the adjacent Refreshment and Exhibit Hall to grab a cup coffee, a drink or a snack and visit company representatives that also set up there including Above.com's team (left to right) Melissa Dafni, Victor Pitts and Nancy Bianchi.

The Thursday afternoon (May 31) program began with a Blog Roll discussion featuring eight well-known domain industry bloggers and reporters on the dais. Those were Shane Cultra (DomainShane.com), Morgan Linton (MorganLinton.com), Elliot Silver (ElliotsBlog.com), Andrew Allemann (DomainNameWire.com), Michael Cyger (DomainSherpa.com), Michael Gilmour (WhizbangsBlog.com), Adam Dicker (ArtOfTheName.com) and Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com).

Above: Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com) answering a question from moderator Howard Neu during Thursday afternoon's Blog Roll discussion that covered a wide range of industry issues.

Next up at 2pm Thursday (MAy 31) was the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Live Domain Auction. With veteran auctioneer Wayne Wheat directing the action the auction ended with just under $112,000 worth of winning bids booked. The highest of those was Bouquet.com bought by Bill McClure for the $30,000 reserve price.

Above: A scene from the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Live Domain Auction Thursday (May 31).

Below: The final business session of the Day Thursday was The Rick and Danny Show in which Rick Schwartz (at right) introduced his new partner in JointVentures.com, Danny Welsh (at left). The duo is building a new domain leasing/joint venture platform that they believe has the potential to be a game changer in domain monetization.

With Thursday's business out of the way it was time to shift gears and get ready for that night's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Water Night Vegas Charity Party sponsored by NameCheap - a gala that wound up raining $25,000 for the Water School (T.R.A.F.F.I.C. donated $50 for every show registrant that attended the party). 

Above: Guests arriving for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Water Night Vegas Charity Party held at Planet Hollywood's PBR Rock Bar got the red carpet treatment. With two Water Night models on each side of them, we snapped this shot of Axel Kaltz (ParkingCrew.com), Negar Hajikhani (Sedo) and Mark Stepken (Sedo)

Below: Once the guests got inside they were greeted by friends and endless food and drink on a beautiful night to be on the PBR Rock's Bar outdoor patio

Above: T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Water Night Vegas Charity Party guests Roy Messer (left) and Dan Adamson from DomainNameSales.com.

Below: Also on hand (left to right) were Jos Lipman, Jodi Chamberlain (who helped organize the party) and Hennie Groot Lipman. Jos and Hennie came to the show from the Netherlands.

The next morning (Friday, May 31) the final business day at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013 got underway at 10am with a one hour breakfast that include two talks. I gave one on the latest sales trends in the domain aftermarket and India's Anshul Goyal, whose company Email.biz sponsored the breakfast, detailed his company's innovative new services in the second presentation.  

Above: Before taking the stage at breakfast Friday morning (May 31) Anshul Goyal from Email.biz (left) goes over his presentation with T.R.A.F.F.I.C tech whiz Danny Pryor.

Above: A highlight of the Friday business schedule was The Adam Dicker Show featuring DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker and TheArtOfTheName.com blogger Adam Dicker (right) who was interviewed by DomainSherpa.com's Michael Cyger (left). Dicker shared many of the tricks of the trade  that have made him one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the domain space.

Below: Between sessions, Guests continued to mingle in the refreshment hall where they could also chat with sponsors like GoDaddy.com. (Left to right) Brad, Alfredo, Paul and Alan were all available to talk about the wide ranging services offered by the world's largest registrar.

Above: Back in the conference hall Australia's Michael Gilmour of ParkLogic.com opened the afternoon session when he shared his expertise in domain monetization in a discussion labeled "The Truth About Your Traffic."

A 2:30pm Networking Lunch Break followed and it featured SEO guru Jason Hennessy from EversparkInteractive.com (left) being interviewed by Braden Pollock. Jason shared a string of valuable SEO tips that were of special benefit to domain investors.

At 4pm it was time for the conference's grand business finale - the always popular Meeting of the Chiefs featuring eight industry leaders who covered a broad range of territory under questioning from moderator Howard Neu

Above: On the left side of the dais for the Meeting of the Chiefs were (left to right) Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Dwayne Walker (Oversee.net), Adam Dicker (ArtOfTheName.com), Donny Simonton (Voodoo.com).

Below: On the right side of the dais were (left to right): Ammar Kubba (ThoughtConvergence.com), John Smrekar (InternetTraffic.com), Dr. Chris Hartnett (Global Media) and Joe Styler (GoDaddy.com).

Above: With business at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2013 conference now out of the way, it was time for the show's closing night social event - a Dessert, Coffee, Beer & Wine Party at the Bellagio Hotel Friday night (May 31). Left to right at the table above are Brett Napoli (WebsiteSchool.com), Kimberly Howard and Ray Neu (both representing T.R.A.F.F.I.C.) and Benjamin Evans (Kname.it).

Below: The five lovely ladies captured in this shot from the closing night party are Barbie Goldstone, Diana Jackson, Barbara Neu, Abigail Harris and Mary Alvarez.

Above: There was something extra to celebrate in the closing night party (May 31) - it was Vishal Manjalani's birthday. Vijal (standing at center in the black jacket above), who represents Directi's Skenzo unit, got a big surprise when T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Barbara Neu (seated at left) had  one of the most elaborate and beautiful birthday cakes I've ever seen brought in to help Vishal and his many friends celebrate the occasion. 

Above: The 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas conference officially closed the next morning (Saturday, June 1) with the show's traditional Farewell Breakfast. In addition to some great food before you hit the road, the breakfast is an opportunity to spend a final  hour or two visiting with great friends and colleagues in the show's most relaxing environment. I wrote a separate post right after the show about why, in my opinion, the closing breakfast is one of the best parts of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. experience.

With T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s 25th conference now history, everyone is looking forward to the next one  coming up in South Florida where it all started in 2004. The event will run October 20-23, 2013 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach

If past history has proven anything it has proven that Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu with the indispensable help of their wives Alina Schwartz and Barbara Neu, Barbara & Howard's son Ray Dillman Neu and Kimberly Howard can be counted on to stage another great conference when T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2013 convenes this fall. I hope to see you there!

*****   


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