of DOMAINfest Global opened
Wednesday (Jan. 27) with a pair of structured networking sessions
that gave attendees a chance to ask questions one on one with
leading experts in two different fields. One group
congregated around attorneys John Berryhill, Paul Keating,
Will Delgado and Steve Atlee for a Q & A session
on Domain Names and Legal Issues.
John Berryhill (left) chats with attendees during
one of Wednesday's two Structured Networking sessions.
same time, in another corner of the exhibit hall, another group gathered to get
advice on Buying and Selling Domain Names from experts
Michael Berkens, Ari Goldberger, Larry Fischer,
Monte Cahn and Kathy Nielsen.
Fischer (at far left) answers a question in another networking
Wednesday (Jan. 27) devoted to Buying and Selling Domain Names.
it was time for one of the show's main events -
a fireside chat with Zappos.com
Founder Tony Hsieh. Oversee leader Jeff Kupietzky
interviewed Hsieh, a 36-year-old Harvard graduate who sold
his first company (one he started while still in college), LinkExchange,
to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998. Hsieh used part
of the proceeds to start up online shoe retailer Zappos.com, a
company he sold to Amazon.com last summer for approximately $850
Founder Tony Hsieh speaking at DOMAINfest Global Wednesday
a very relaxed and engaging speaker with a disarming send of humor,
said he thinks the most important keys to building a successful
business are building a strong culture and having a vision
that goes beyond just making money. In the case of Zappos.com,
the entire corporate culture is built around world class customer
service and engaging customers on a personal level. Hsieh
said the company's brand for great customer service is so strong
that people often ask his team to start an airline or run the IRS!
also revealed that he is something of a domainer himself and owns
several domains including BBQ.com which he bought around 2000
for $25,000 and still has. Hsieh also once owned Drugs.com,
a name he paid $823,456 for. Hseih said he came up with that
odd number because those were the first six digits of his cellphone
number and he figured it would confuse the other bidder! He said
later sold the domain for the same price because his phone number
had not changed! Interesting logic, but the guy has sold two
companies for a total of more than a billion dollars so I am
not about to argue with him! As a company, Zappos has also shown interest in
strong generic domains, having bought Clothes.com for $4.9
million in 2008.
of the capacity crowd that filled the ballroom to hear Tony Hsieh
Hsieih's single best piece of advice was to "make sure that
whatever you are doing is something you are so passionate
about you won't even care whether or not you are making money doing
it." He added that following that rule has practical advantages
too. "Vendors will sense your passion and it all feeds in
itself," Hsieh said.
business day closed with a pair of afternoon panel discussions that
were useful to anyone who is engaged in developing their own
websites. The first seminar, Turning Killer Domain Names
Into Killers Websites, featured panelists Brian
Management), Rory Holland (Credit.com), Rick Waters (Webcast
1) and Howard Wyner (Scentiments.com) with Ron Sheridan
serving as moderator. The panelists discussed the best practices to
follow to increase the odds of success for any development
for a session on Turning Domains Names into Killers Websites
(from left to right in the photo above): Brian Gilbert
(Thomason Management), Rory
Holland (Credit.com), Rick Waters (Webcast 1) and Howard
second session was headlined Domain Names: How Prime Internet
Real Estate Builds SEO and SEM Success. The discussion,
moderated by Oversee.net SVP and General Manager
Berryman, featured Bruce Clay (Bruce Clay Inc.), Dan
Ho (Adknowledge), David White, Danny Sullivan (Search
Engine Land) & Melodie Tao (MarketingMelodie.com).
the many interesting points made during this panel was Clay's
assertion that the Google "sandbox" is a myth.
You have probably often heard the theory that Google weeds out sites
developed primarily to spam the seach engines by putting new
websites in a so-called "sandbox" for up to six months
before allowing them to rise in the SE rankings.
doesn't believe it and said if you put up a site with highly
relevant and useful content - his example "a cure for
cancer" - Google would rank it highly within days. He
said sites that are doing poorly in the search engines more likely
have weak content or have triggered red flags typical of spammy
sites that automatically get discounted by the search engines.
The Wednesday night social event was a welcome
change of pace - a Networking Dinner Party at the fabulous
Center art museum in Los Angeles.
Attendees were taken to The Getty on luxury buses and found an
elaborate dinner buffet waiting for them in The Getty's entry hall.
dinner in the entry hall at The Getty Wednesday night
After dinner, a wing of the world class museum
was open for guests to stroll through and admire the many
masterpieces, a step up in class from typical conference fare that
in my view is just what the industry needs to broaden its base and widen
its appeal in traditional business circles. I'm sure that for
the increasing number of female attendees who are carving out their
places in what has traditionally been a male dominated business, The
Getty also served as a perfect counterpoint to the following
evening's more male-oriented soiree at the Playboy Mansion.
admire masterpieces in The Getty art museum's west wing.
final day of DOMAINfest Global on Thursday (Jan. 28) began with
three separate structured networking sessions that ran
simultaneously in the Exhibit Hall. In one corner a group discussed SEO/SEM
for Domain Names, in another the topic was Website
Development Tips and in a third corner a group got tips on New
End User Markets for Domain Names. Attendees were free to circulate from one
group to another during the hour-long session.
of the experts in SEO/SEM networking group, Bruce Marler
(with his back turned
in the photo above), was understandably a big hit with the .ME
Registry's Director of
International Sales, Nataša Djukanović
. Other experts in this group included
Richard Jalchandra, Dan Ho, Melodie Tao, Reed
Shelly and Dorian Quispe.
who joined the Website Development Tips group above
got advice from
Ron Sheridan, the Castello Brothers, Rick Waters,
Howard Wyner and Brian Gilbert.
make them easily identifiable the experts wore white coats
for the networking
sessions. In the New
End User Markets group above the experts included
Edmon Chung, Gregg McNair, Lori Anne Wardi and Nico
second Pitchfest session that we detailed earlier in this article
followed, then it was time for another one the show's main events - Moniker's
Live Premium Domain Auction. The four-hour sale (that included
both in house and internet bidding) produced over $920,000 in
sales. The top sellers in the auction were LoanCalculator.com
($215,000), GolfLessons.com ($65,000), PearlEarrings.com
($50,000) and a pair of names that went for $45,000 each;
Husband.com and Golfshirts.com.
Wayne Wheat conducts Moniker's
Live Premium Domain Auction Thursday
(Jan. 28) while Moniker CEO Monte Cahn checks bids coming in
from the internet.
with the results from the Low and No Reserve Auction Tuesday
night (just under $151,000) and the results from the
week-long extended online auction that continued after the show
(another 79 domains sold for $247,987) Moniker wound up
selling over $1.3 million worth of domain names through
Within an hour after the auction closed
DOMAINfest guests boarded a fleet of buses that shuttled them to the
world famous Playboy Mansion for a blowout party and
fundraising event (for Jenny McCarthy's Generation
Rescue Foundation) that ended the show in a manner that
no one who was there will soon forget.
this shot I took of the front of the Playboy Mansion you would
never know that a huge party was going on behind the house.
set up a massive tent on the side lawn
complete with a dance floor, buffets and a central open bar.
Ruddell AKA Chef Patrick (left) and David Castello
(right) visit Juan Calle, CEO of
the .CO Registry in one of the private corporate reception
areas set up inside the big tent.
was also nice outside and the area around the
and the Grotto was another popular meeting place.
Guests were free to roam the 5-acre estate,
complete with its own zoo, game house and famous grotto. They could
also take all of the photos they wished to save the event for
posterity and I'm sure everyone there was thankful for digital
cameras and memory cards that hold hundreds of images. With so many
photo opportunities, if people still had to buy rolls of film
and pay for photo processing I'm sure this one event would have
driven a lot of guys into bankruptcy!
closing night party capped an unforgettable week in Los Angeles. I
can't think of any better way to sum up DOMAINfest Global 2010 than
to repeat what I wrote in our last daily update from Santa Monica the
morning after the conference ended. "Despite the high standards
set by the three previous shows in this annual series, DOMAINfest
Global 2010 still
managed to exceed everyone's expectations....Going forward I
think two words will be associated with DOMAINfest Global - "Can't
Miss." When dates for the 2011 show are announced write
them down (in blood if necessary) and make sure you are there."