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Back to the Future: After a Domain Conference Shakeout T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Shines in 2011 Show on Fort Lauderdale Beach
Page 2

By Ron Jackson 

Day two (and the first full business day) at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 got underway Monday morning (October 17) with a 9am power brunch. About 30 minutes into the sumptuous meal, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu took the stage to deliver their opening remarks. They also surprised the crowd by giving every attendee a new gadget that enables them to turn an  iPhone or iPad into a cash register

The device is the new Square Credit Card Reader that attaches to the Apple devices and reads credit cards swiped through it. The manufacturer also provides the credit card processing service (for a simple 2.75% per transaction fee) making it a snap for anyone to accept credit cards. I'm sure many of the smart entrepreneurs in the crowd had the device activated before the brunch was over.

Above: Rick Schwartz shows T.R.A.F.F.I.C. guests one of the Square Credit Card Readers 
that he and fellow conference Co-Founder Howard Neu (seated) gave each show attendee.

Below: Part of the capacity crowd on hand when the first full day of business 
at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 got underway Monday morning (October 17).

Schwartz and Neu had a second gift for their guests Monday morning - a new T.R.A.F.F.I.C. iPhone app developed by Network Research Group. The app lets domainers set up individual profiles (including the domains they have for sale) and to recommend others they have done business with. The app can be downloaded at no charge (search "Targeted Traffic" in Apple's app store) however only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees were given a code that allows them to use the app at no charge for two years (those who attended last year's show can also use it for a year at no cost).

Tien Yuan and Chicago.com's Josh Metnick (who is a major investor is Network Research Group) were on hand to introduce the new app to the audience.

Tien Yuan and Josh Metnick introducing the 
new T.R.A.F.F.I.C. app to the audience.

Metnick holds up his iPhone with the new T.R.A.F.F.I.C. app installed.

At 10am Keynote Speaker Bill Karamouzis (HallPass Media) delivered his highly anticipated talk in a format that I really enjoyed - a "fireside chat" with DomainSherpa's Michael Cyger interviewing Bill. Karamouzis gave a detailed account on how he built and sold several companies in the games space for millions of dollars by using category defining domain names as the foundation for his wildly successful sites (see our 2010 Cover Story on Bill for details on his career).

Keynote Speaker Bill Karamouzis of Hallpass Media (left) was interviewed 
by DomainSherpa's Michael Cyger Monday morning (October 17, 2011).

At 11am T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Exhibit Hall opened, giving attendees a chance to learn more about the companies whose services they are interested in using (or already use) as well as get to know leaders of those companies personally. 

Above: Manning registrar InternetX.com's booth at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 
were (left to right): Claus Barche, Hakan Ali and Thomas Mörz.

Below: Catherine Harry (ParkLogic.com) gives Roy Messer a demo of 
the company's innovative domain monetization and management platform.

Shortly after the Exhibit Hall opened, the first panel discussion at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 - From Here to Eternity: The Impact of New gTLDs - got underway in the conference hall. 

Above: The Impact of New TLDs panel Monday morning (Oct. 17) featured Sedo CEO Tim Schmacher, Peter Dengate Thrush (the former ICANN Chairman who now works with Minds+Machines), Michael Berkens (RightOfTheDot.com), moderator 
Howard Neu
, Jothan Frakes (Sedari.com) and Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com).

At right: Peter Dengate Thrush makes his case in favor of the unlimited number of new gTLDs that ICANN will begin rolling out next year. The history of the expansion program and its pros and cons were discussed during this lively hour.

The afternoon sessions began with Google critic Scott Cleland detailing what he sees as the sins of the search giant that he covered in depth in his book, Search & Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc. With PPC earnings down so drastically in recent years, and a complete lack of transparency at Google and Yahoo, Cleland found a lot of supporters for his position in the audience. 

Cleland also sat in on the next session, a panel discussion that delved further into issues with Google and Yahoo

At left: Google critic Scott Cleland, author of Search & Destroy: Why You Can't Trust 
Google Inc.
speaking Monday (Oct. 17)

Below (left to right) are  Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Tim Schumacher (Sedo) and Frank Schilling (InternetTraffic.com) who were panelists for the next session - Barbarians at Our Gates: Does Google and Yahoo Turly Understand Traffic and Intent of the  User? They were joined on the dais by Scott Cleland, Adam Dicker (DNForum.com), and T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Rick Schwartz.

Next up was T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track, a session that gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to persuade one or more members from a panel of investors to put a specified amount of money into their venture in exchange for a percentage of the business. Marco Marcovici presented a pitch for his NGrams.com project while Kevin Wood sought a development partner for Companion.com. Marcovici and Wood both got some tips on their ventures but neither secured an investment at this stage of their projects.

Marco Marcovici of NGrams.com (standing at left) tells a panel of investors why 
they should back his plans for the domain. The panel included (left to right): 
Roy Messer
Gregg McNair, Michael Mann, Adam Dicker and Dr. Chris Hartnett.

In the next session, Stuart Lawley, Chairman and CEO of ICM Registry (operator of the new .xxx extension and the lead sponsor for this year's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference) discussed prospects for the TLD with the biggest early investor in .xxx domains, Frank Schilling. Among other things in their wide ranging discussion, they revealed that Frank paid $1.65 million for a prime portfolio of .xxx domains.

Frank Schilling (left) and Stuart Lawley fill attendees in on the new .xxx extension. 

The business day Monday (Oct. 17) closed with the most well attended Speed Networking session I've seen in years. Those who took part were able to spend 10 minutes each with a half dozen different people from fields the attendees specified in advance that they want to make contacts in. The software that T.R.A.F.F.I.C. uses to match up speed networking participants is made by Network Research Group, the same company that developed the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. smartphone app detailed earlier in this article. 

The  T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Speed Networking session Monday (Oct. 17) drew a full house 
(just one corner of the crowded room is shown in the photo above).

With the day's business now done, guests got dressed up for the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C Party sponsored by the ICM Registry. They were bussed to the W Hotel for an event that started at 8pm and was still going strong when we left shortly before midnight.

Above: Guests in one of the two club rooms set up for the 
ICM Registry's Official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Party
Monday night (Oct. 17, 2011)

The ICM Registry came up with a very well received set up for their party areas. There was a front room with a buffet, bar and dance floor that gave the space a nice modern night club vibe. Then for those who like a quieter environment to talk (and domainers love to talk) they set up a second room (seen in the photo above) adjacent to the first with comfortable tables, lounge chairs and sofas, its own bar and a coffee station. 

It made for a great place to hang out and chat while also being able to easily go back and forth between the two rooms whenever you felt like a change of atmosphere. It was very well done and I didn't see anyone who wasn't having a great time in an atmosphere enlivened by a dance troupe that appeared in a multitude of colorful costumes.  

At right: Four of the beautiful belles at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C./
ICM Registry ball
: (left to right): Diana Jackson, Peggy Ploss, Judi Berkens and Dr. Linda Hartnett


Below: T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu (left), his wife 
Barbara Neu
and the ICM Registry's Director of Sales Vaughn Liley 
with two of the dancers  that graced the Monday night party.

Though many had a late night out there was a larger than usual crowd on hand back at the Ritz ballroom Tuesday morning for the start of the final business day at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011. For full details on what happened Tuesday (October 18) proceed to page 3


Coming up on Page 3:
  • Winners of the Annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards announced

  • Panelists provide tips on developing domain names into businesses

  • The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. live domain auction

  • Company leaders sit down for a Meeting of the Chiefs

  • Not just one, but TWO closing night parties

  • Farewell breakfast


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