Partners Forum Treats Domain Owners to Three Days in Paradise
|After two days of rest and relaxation,
the focus turned to business for the final day at the SedoPro
Partners Forum Tuesday (June 19) at the Mohonk Resort.
Sedo's Chief Strategy Officer Matt Bentley kicked
things off after breakfast with a discussion of what the
domain business might look like five years from now in 2012.
Such speculation is actually a key component of Bentley's
job which includes keeping an eye out for market changes and
developing scenarios that could create new opportunities for
his company or adversely affect their current fortunes.
Bentley predicted that those who are highly successful
five years from now won't be the same people who are highly
successful today. If you look back five years, he
noted that most of the people who were the largest portfolio
owners in 2002 are no longer on the scene. The only thing
that you can predict with certainty is that things will
With that in mind, Bentley warned attendees that it is
easy to get complacent when things are going as well as they
have in recent years. You need to stay abreast of what is
happening in the market at it is a good idea to hedge some
of your bets.
Sedo Chief Strategy Officer
After Bentley's talk everyone headed for Mohonk's Conference
Center where three consecutive 45-minute seminar sessions were
scheduled, with a menu of three seminars to choose from in each
session. Even then Sedo chose to keep the subject matter focused on
general industry issues rather than Sedo-specific topics. Only two
of the seminars related directly to the company's products. Bentley
conducted one of those in Session One with a discussion about
SedoPro Optimization and how to use the program's tools, including
keyword selection to get the most out of your domains.
Marzo, Sedo Director of
Spanish & Latin American Markets
|At the same time, COO/General Counsel Jeremiah
Johnston led a seminar on legal issues on one room while
Sedo's Director of Spanish and Latin American Markets, Antonio
Marzo was in another conducting an International
Investment Workshop. I settled into that seminar to hear
Marzo talk about opportunities in non-English speaking
Marzo noted the especially high growth rates in the Latin
American countries. Mexico's .mx grew 644%
last year and Brazil (.br) is also rocketing - it is
now Sedo's 4th largest market. Marzo also talked about the
opportunities in Asia and with IDN's. Everyone knows
China is an emerging powerhouse, but due to the slow
growth of ecommerce there Marzo thinks China's .cn is
a play that may take a little longer to develop than some people
After Session One ended there was a 15-minute break
before it was time to make your seminar choice for Session
Bentley and Johnston stayed on duty with Bentley conducting a
seminar titled Traffic 101 that covered tools for identifying the
type of traffic a domain is receiving and the best performing
keywords and commercial categories, among other things. At the same
time, Johnston oversaw a discussion about the effects of
international law on the domain industry. I decided to take a look
behind door number 3 where Sedo's Portfolio Sales Manager Jay
Finnan and Director of Customer Relations Martin Osusky
talked about portfolio valuation and marketing, giving tips on
selling portfolios and preparing for transfer.
Sedo Director of Customer Relations
Sedo Portfolio Sales Manager
In the final Session, Bentley, Osusky and Sedo President Ulrich
Essman gave a talk on Sedo's product pipeline, previewing
company plans and also getting feedback from attendees on what they
would like to see in the SedoPro program. At the same time, Director
of North American Brokerage Chrstian Kalled was scheduled to
talk about "revenue beyond parking" (the argument for a
sales based strategy), but Kalled was unexpectedly called back to
Boston headquarters to handle a major domain deal that was in the
works. Fortunately, broker Matt Rosebrook was there and
filled in admirably.
broker Matt Rosebrook
President Ulrich Essman
Sedo CEO Tim
Schumacher conducting the Forum's final seminar
I opted for the third seminar,
"Ripe Domain Investment Opportunities Within the Next
Five Years" conduced by Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher.
Noting that 70% of Internet users do not speak
English, Schumacher views IDNs as a good opportunity.
Using stock market
|terminology, he also rated major ccTLDs
including .us as "buys" along with .info,
.mobi and long tail .coms (.com domains that
define narrow but very targeted commercial segments).
Schumacher said he has downgraded .eu from buy to
hold, and also rates .com and .net as holds as recent price
increases may temporarily dampen the upside on those old
standbys. Schumacher's sell category includes .biz, .cc,
.ws and .tv.
While the market remain extremely
strong today, Schumacher cautioned that markets are cyclical
and that a contraction is inevitable sooner or later. He
also sees some major changes ahead in the aftermarket,
expecting the pool of decent expiring names to be dead
within five years. By then he expects the secondary market (buyers purchasing directly from
domain owners) will be the
most dominant sales segment by far.
CEO Tim Schumacher
|After the seminars, the curtain
was officially brought down on the 2007 SedoPro Partners
Forum with a closing lunch during which the Internet
Commerce Association's new Executive Director Michael
Collins made his first official on-the-job appearance.
Collins brings over five years of direct navigation and
domain name experience to the ICA. He is well-known in the
community as the co-founder and former VP of Marketing for Afternic.
Michael was introduced to the
domain industry when his brother and partner, Roger
Collins told him about the .us land rush.
Together they started NameBuySell.com as a part-time
venture. The business became a serious endeavor after
getting an opportunity to acquire the famous Afternic brand.
The Collins brothers aggressively grew Afternic from startup
to over $1.6 million in revenues in less than three
years. Afternic had developed into a market leader in the
domain sales business when the company was sold to NameMedia
in November 2006.
With the ICA, Michael is responsible for leading the
organization’s development and plans to focus on
recruiting new members. He said “We need a larger base
from which to draw our support and our ideas. This
association will only succeed by listening to its
constituency. Then we can be a voice for the industry.”
Executive Director Michael Collins
After Michael's talk it was time
to reluctantly reboard the buses and leave this little piece
of heaven on earth behind. However we left with sincere
appreciation to the entire Sedo team and to the Mohonk
Mountain Resort for an especially memorable event that will
be talked about for years to come.
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