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11|19|2007 04:10 pm EDT

GeoDomain Expo Takeaways

by Ahmed Farooq in Categories: Domain Development, Editorial, Events

Geo-Domain owners are not domainers.

Most of the major cities (think top 50 US) were all taken before 1997. Often times they were taken by people in that specific area. For example, I met the guy who owns Austin.com. He has it because he had an ISP from there, and registered it. In March 1994. Few of them collect domains outside of their comfort zone (ie – their city). This is important to note. I see a lot of overlap at TRAFFIC/DRT/DF. But there were few domainers that I saw here. At the same time, few geodomain owners would bother with the before-mentioned conferences. I asked dozens of people, and the same standard response: “Not a domainer, waste of time”

The Auction was Boring.

I think that was a core problem. As I mentioned, geodomain owners aren’t domainers. So the auction to them wasn’t something at the top of their list. Furthermore – as many already owned a top city/state/country.com, why would they bother with domains with state suffixes or other inferior TLDs? I do believe geo-centric domains would have done better (Eg DallasPlumbers.com or AustinDoctors.com). If it wasn’t for Perth.com pushing up the energy for a while, it would have been bad.

Problems I saw:

  • Auction right after lunch. All those carbs = you just want to fall asleep. By the second hour I was ready to keel over.
  • ‘Pushing up’ of price. I didn’t like how the Auctioneer would start at $5000 and ‘push’ to $10000 (which would be the reserve). Stuff like this brings out the shill bidding accusations. As a phone bidder I wouldn’t necessarily realize that no one was bidding. Perfect example: here. None of the bids that the blogger thinks were ‘rejected’ ever existed. They were all from thin-air.
  • Poor planning. It started 30 minutes late. How many times have Moniker ran an auction? Seriously – get with it already.
  • Clueless Auctioneer. Can I say that here? He struggled with pronouncing ‘kazakhstan’ (why would the ‘z’ be silent?). And that was just one of the mis-pronounciations. This just cries poor planning. Why didn’t they go over the list of domains before the auction?

Parking? What parking?

The majority of exhibitors were either domain-oriented companies (eg parking) or reservation (hotels/travel). All the parking companies I talked to agreed that the match wasn’t there.

Disconnect with the ‘local’ field.

I was disappointed that beyond us (iBegin) and Local.com none of the big players in the local space actively took part in this (Neal Polachek from Kelsey Group and Gib Olander from Localeze did show up). No local advertising companies. No local tracking service. No YP publishers. No analysts. These CITY.com owners hold a lot of traffic. Local companies need to wake up to that.

Things are just getting started

The first domain conference I went to was Oct 2004. I’ve heard ‘we want to develop’ for the last 3+ years, and I have yet to see anything really happen. But when it comes to domain development, none get me as excited as geodomains. The amount of money in the local space is huge. People are starting to waken up to that. The fight has changed from just ‘local website’ to ‘local media.’ And contrasting the discussions about development from this to DRT – I believe geodomains will be developing out sooner and faster than other generic domains.

Overall, I enjoyed this more than most of the domain conferences. Of course this is with the skew that we do (business listings) meshes much better with geodomain owners. But there was definitely a much better feel for building out of a domain – instead of the typical ‘PPC company shootout’ or ‘Google vs Yahoo – the gloves come off this time’ panels (which always end up with each company saying ‘Hey we are the best!’) there were good panels on development, technology, and SEO. There was the sensationalist ‘Dot-Coms vs. Other TLDs: A Battle Royal?’ which ended up with the ICANN director skipping and was more a casual agreement than any sort of battle. But hey – you can’t have a domain conference without some hyperbole.

UPDATE: I just wanted to clarify as it seems like some wires got crossed.

1. I loved the actual conference. My favorite domain-oriented conference so far. Lots of real energy and work towards development (and not the same panelists talking about the same story). Friendly people, good energy, and informative sessions. I almost always skip all the sessions at a conference – this time I listened to most.

2. I did not love the auction. TRAFFIC & DRT were much more energetic. Much more organized. This one was the opposite.

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14 Comments

[…] I did write about my takeaways from the GeoDomain Expo. […]

Andrew

November 19, 2007 @ 10:02 pm EDT

You’ll see a lot of the “DallasPlumbers.com” type domains in the silent auction.

[…] 2. Monte Cahn en algunos momentos llegaba a suplicar a la gente que pujara. Según DomainNameNews, la subasta empezó media hora tarde, no hubo casi pujas, fue soporífera, […]

[…] commenter on this blog and someone who keeps asking me to write about local blog networks, posted his thoughts about the […]

Geo Joe

November 20, 2007 @ 9:15 pm EDT

There were other big names, like Andrew Conru, CEO of Friendfinder, on Saturday. It was nice to go to a conference and hear things broader than just how to make a fast buck.

AhmedF

November 20, 2007 @ 11:46 pm EDT

Right Geo – I mean’t more like the players in the local space (which there are a lot of).

[…] it would have been the main target of my trip.  I am glad, now, that I did not go.  According to Ahmed from Domain Name News, it was a poor showing.  This is not the only bad review I have seen of the domain and conference, […]

Ryan May

November 21, 2007 @ 5:19 pm EDT

Attended the GeoDomain conference in Chicago last year and had almost the exact experience that you’ve shared, Ahmed. Hasn’t changed much it seems. :) Still an OK show and a good crowd.

terry lancaster

December 7, 2007 @ 4:22 pm EDT

Has anyone seen the final results from the silent auction?

Steve Jones

March 6, 2008 @ 12:32 am EDT

Great article. I’m a GeoDomainer (www.virginiabeach.com). I loved this statement from you:

“These city.com owners hold a lot of traffic. Local companies need to wake up to that.”

This is very true. I’m still amazed that people don’t understand the true value of the URL name.

Steve

Mark

April 11, 2012 @ 12:52 pm EDT

That’s an interesting observation about geodomain owners not being domainers onthe whole.  I did an analysis of leading UK geodomains last year which showed that an extremely high proportion of UK geodomains were just parked (even with secondary extensions).  I write about UK geodomains at http://www.georeport.co.uk if any DNN readers are interested in the UK geodomain space by the way.

ImFM

April 11, 2012 @ 5:11 pm EDT

Thanks Mark for your comments. While you’re probably just trying to promote your site, I think I should point out that the article you responded to is 5 years old and doesn’t really so much refer to the UK domain space.

Mark at Georeport

April 12, 2012 @ 3:56 am EDT

Frank, you’re right that it doesn’t refer to the UK, but there’s so little written about geodomains that the point made about them in the first part of Ahmed’s article is still interesting.  Although it’s 5 years old the point is still relevant – things seem to happen slower in the geodomain space than in the rest of domaining

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