March 2008                 DNJournal.com               The Domain Industry News Magazine

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Spring Domain Shows on America's Two Coasts Will Have Something for Everyone

March was a rare bird – one of the few months in the past year when there were no major domain conferences scheduled! Shows will be back in bloom for the rest of the spring though with major events on tap on both American coasts over the next 60 days. First up will be the 2008 Domain Roundtable conference at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco April 18-21. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East follows May 20-24 at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando

These are brand new venues for both shows. Domain Roundtable’s three previous outings were all held in the Seattle metropolitan area where conference organizer Name Intelligence, Inc. is based. T.R.A.F.F.I.C.’s previous Florida shows had all been held on the Sunshine State’s southeastern coast, with stops in Delray Beach in 2004 and 2005 then in Hollywood (a beach town just north of Miami) in 2006 and 2007.

The change of scenery is welcome even though the previous venues used by both conferences were great. Moving the events around keeps things fresh and for the show promoters that is more important than ever now that there are so many competing events on the annual calendar. 

To give you some examples of what I mean, Oversee.net’s DOMAINfest Global is also a marquee event and Oversee also helps stage regional events, like the upcoming Domainer Meeting in conjunction with EuroDNS June 19 & 20 in Paris. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is heading overseas next fall too (Nov. 18-20) for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under on Australia's Gold Coast that will be hosted by Fabulous.com. There are also top-notch specialty shows like the GeoDomain Expo, company specific gatherings like the SedoPro Partners Forum and special affairs in other markets around the world like Germany’s Domainvermarkter Forum (the next one is scheduled Sept. 4 & 5 in Berlin).

It is obviously getting harder to stand out in the crowd so organizers have to look for an edge to differentiate themselves from the competition, especially since attending any show requires a substantial financial commitment.

Conference goers can see San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge (top) and Cinderella's Castle at Disney World if they will be attending domain conferences in April and May. 

Compelling agendas, attractive venues and new twists are the key weapons conference organizers deploy to attract new registrants and bring back old ones. Domain Roundtable made a splash last year with a series of technological breakthroughs including the first televised live auction (via the Internet) that allowed people sitting at home to take part as easily as those in the auction hall. We just published an exclusive preview of the upcoming Roundtable show in San Francisco in which new show Director Susan Prosser filled us in on what is in store this time around. I will be there to cover the event for our readers (our comprehensive review of the event will be posted a few days after I return from the west coast).

I'm also looking forward to T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s first family oriented show at Disney World in May. I'll be bringing my daughter to a conference for the first time and she is looking forward to seeing what I really do for a living and what kind of people I hang out. She will have just finished her junior year in college so the timing is great for our whole family to do this event together. 

I've noticed at other recent shows that more and more veteran domainers are bringing one of more of their children along with them. At the last T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference in Las Vegas in February, Larry Fishcher brought along his son Jeffrey and Dr. Chris Hartnett was accompanied by his daughter Heather. The month before, Rob Grant introduced his daughter Caroline to colleagues at the DOMAINfest Global conference in Los Angeles and Howard Hoffman brought his son Mitchell to a show before he graduated from Yale

Veteran domain investor Larry Fischer and his son, second generation domainer 
Jeffrey Fischer at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West in Las Vegas in February 2008

Though the domain industry has grown much larger in recent years it still is small enough to have a "family" feeling about it. After all, there are very few people on earth who do what we do so there is a natural kinship there. That is reinforced when you get to know husbands, wives and children of your domain friends and colleagues. Disney World and its highly regarded Grand Floridian Resort will be a great place to do that. 

Old Scams Never Die

The steady growth in the domain business means a constant flow of newcomers are always entering the industry. Those of us who have been around for awhile tend to forget that and assume that everyone knows the pitfalls to watch out for. One veteran, Kevin Ohashi, decided to go the extra mile to help forewarn newbies about the scammers and spammers who prey on domain lovers who are just starting to learn the ropes. Ohashi set up a website at DomainSpammers.com where he posts a frequently updated list of schemes newcomers should look out for.

The new site is a timely one. I just got an email this week from a reader who was excited about a big offer he had gotten for one of his domains. All he had to do to make it happen was to pay for a domain appraisal the "buyer" requested before completing the purchase. I can hear all of the old-timers collectively groaning now! This is one of the oldest scams in the business. 

The phony buyer insists that you use an appraisal company he "trusts". Invariably it is a fly by night outfit that the "buyer" is either in cahoots with or owns himself. After the seller pays for the appraisal, the "buyer" suddenly disappears. There usually isn't a lot of money involved so the newbie who gets taken usually chalks it up to experience and is too embarassed to admit they got ripped off. The 

fact that these kinds of crooks are out there is a sad commentary on society but its the world we live in. Check Kevin's site from time to time to bone up on current scams you need to be aware of. Forewarned truly is is forearmed.

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