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Dutch Treat: RickLatona.com Ready to Stage T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s First Show in Europe June 1-4  

Europe's first ever T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference will be staged June 1-4 at the historic NH Grand Krasnapolsky Hotel in the heart of Amsterdam. Rick will be running the show but this time it will be a different Rick than the one you have always associated with T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences (conference co-founder Rick Schwartz). This time it is Rick Latona who is taking the reins in a licensing agreement similar to the one that allowed Fabulous.com to stage T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under in Australia last November. 

Latona and his conference team, headed by RickLatona.com President David Clements, are putting their own unique stamp on this show, starting with its unique theme - ccTLDs. In a world dominated by .com, the theme surprised some people but this looks like the right time and the right place to put the spotlight squarely on the country codes. 

Resale values for many of them have soared over the past year and Europe has been at the epicenter of that surge. European nations like Germany (.de), France (.fr), Spain (.es) and the Netherlands (.nl), as well as close neighbor Great Britain's (.co.uk), are represented by some of the strongest ccTLDs on earth.

To get the inside scoop on what is about to go down in Amsterdam, we hooked up with David Clements, who has been handling the day to day preparations for the conference, for the exclusive interview below:

DN Journal: Given the expense and workload involved in staging a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference, the decision to build one entirely around ccTLDs was a very bold move. It is one that I applaud because we are in a global industry and the key role (and I believe huge potential) of the individual country codes deserves more attention. Even so, from a show promoterís standpoint, as you know, some people said it canít be successful without the usual emphasis on .com. Tell us why you believe otherwise and the factors that led you to take this groundbreaking approach?

David Clements
President, RickLatona.com

David Clements: There is huge potential for the individual country codes. Certainly the European market is not as mature as the .com market, but in Germany, they look for a .de. If the one they want is taken, they look for another .de. The billboards are all predominantly .deís. The businesses advertise in .deís. There is no emphasis on .com in the German market and this is typical of each country in Europe and most around the world. These are all young, emerging markets with nothing but potential. They will all eventually mature, and we are betting that it will not take nearly as long for these markets to mature as it did for the .com, which has been around for almost 25 years.

DN Journal: As a follow up to why you chose the ccTLDs theme, why did you pick Amsterdam as the venue for the first ccTLD themed show and the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference ever in Europe?

David Clements: The Dutch are some of the strongest linguists on the planet. Over 95% of Dutch persons speak English, and in Amsterdam

that percentage is closer to 100%. The city is rich in history, and some of the venues that we have selected were picked for their historical significance. Really, the city is a virtual time capsule of the 1600ís but it also had city wide wifi. You can use your laptop in many areas in and around the city using their wifi network. We also think that .nl will be one of the top traded ccTLDs in the marketplace.
DN Journal: On that point, Rick Latona told us "The Dutch were some of the original first movers in the internet and domain space and The Netherlands (including Amsterdam) includes some of the most tech savvy individuals and companies in the world."

While major conferences have been an industry staple in the U.S., most of those held outside America have been smaller, low key affairs. I understand that for the European market the cost to attend a show on the traditional T.R.A.F.F.I.C. scale has come as a shock to many there. What have you done to make the show as inclusive as possible given the high financial overhead involved in putting on a world class conference?

David Clements: We think this goes back to comparing a mature market with an emerging market. Domainers in the US pay for exclusivity at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Not everyone can attend because the tickets are 2,000 USD each but a lot of domainers want to attend. In the end, those that see the value in making the investment are 

Rick Latona
In his travels around the world he noticed the widespread use of ccTLDs and started pouring resources into acquiring and promoting them. 

there. You very rarely run into a part-time domainer or someone that only has 200 or 300 domains. This works because the .com mature market is paying more at the current time. 

Most European domainers are not seeing the revenue yet that their US counterparts have been seeing, but we do not believe that this will be the case for long. It took the .com market almost 25 years to mature, but with the easy availability of broadband these markets are going to mature in a comparatively short period of time. Eventually, there may be such demand in Europe that 2,000 USD admission prices are requested because it keeps the quality of the attendees high. OK, maybe they wonít be requested, but at that level, the rooms would still fill up with successful domainers.

DN Journal: Your ccTLDs theme will extend to the auction where I understand the majority of domains for sale will be country codes. This is also new territory for a major auction Ė what kind of reception and results are you anticipating for this event?

David Clements with T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder 
Howard Neu (right) and Howard's wife Barbara at 
the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference in April. Howard will be among the speakers in Amsterdam.

David Clements: The ccTLDs theme will remain throughout the show. We are at the front line and very excited about the opportunities. The buzz is really positive and we are expecting a very strong showing in the ccTLD marketplace.

DN Journal: With respect to the informational sessions at the show, you have lined up a remarkable roster of ccTLD representatives from around the world. The positive response from them has to be very gratifying. Tell us a little about who will be presenting and the kind of value you think this will have for registrants.

David Clements: Please take a look at the most updated schedule of speakers. We have top registry representatives from Denic, Nominet, SIDN (.de, .co.uk, .nl respectively) in Seminar I. Top domainers in Seminar II. Top legal experts in the domain space (Paul Keating, John Berryhill and Howard Neu) in Seminar VI.
Seminar IX includes Edward Russell (NameDrive, Donny Simonton (Parked), Xavier Buck (EuroDNS) and Tim Schumacher (Sedo). 

DN Journal: Amsterdam will give you a great backdrop for this international program. The show itself and many of the social events are being staged in historic locations that will make this conference something special. Tell us a little about the show venue, surrounding area and some of the evening events you have planned.

David Clements: The show itself is at the NH Grand Krasnapolsky in Dam Square which is across from the palace (literally right across the square). The West Indian House is where the paperwork was signed and the city of Neu Amsterdam was founded (now called New York). The Five Flies restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in the world, and many chairs have brass plates on the back indicating who has been there in the past century. They have four Rembrandt sketches hanging on the walls!

DN Journal: You have been working on this for months now. With the conference just days away, how do you feel about the way things are going and the show experience you will be delivering at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. ccTLDs?

David Clements: We couldnít be more excited about the way the conference has come together. This will truly be an enriching experience for all that decide to attend. I should add that we are not sold out yet and while it is last minute, there are still tickets available, starting as low as $395 for daytime passes.

DN Journal: Is there anything you would like to add that we havenít covered before we say goodbye?

David Clements: If anything I just said sounded like an opportunity for you to expand your business and your income, and you are not already booked for the show, you should go to targetedtraffic.com and buy your ticket(s) right now and make the time to go to the conference. This was only a very brief snapshot of what is going to

The NH Grand Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam 
will be the venue for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. ccTLDs

happen in Amsterdam. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is and remains the number one conference for our industry, and this will be one show that you wonít want to miss.

DN Journal will of course be in Amsterdam to cover T.R.A.F.F.I.C. ccTLDs. We will have daily posts in our Lowdown section while the show is going on and will publish a comprehensive show review soon after we return from Amsterdam. 

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