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05|27|2008 01:24 am EDT

2008 TRAFFIC Orlando Florida – A Quick Take

by Adam Strong in Categories: Events

I wasn’t going to attend the 2008 TRAFFIC East show. I’m totally burned out on “Domain Show Overload”. Really, how many freaking shows can we pack in to a calendar year ? While making my plans, I had only heard from a handful of colleagues that they would be attending, but I had some last minute business to attend to and a long-time friend was going to be in the US for this show. That was a good enough reason to head south to catch the tail end of the show on Thursday and Friday.    (keep on reading for my ‘quick take’)

I arrived on Thursday, in time for lunch, and sat down to a good earful of rumors and stories from friends and new acquaintances who caught me up on what I missed during the first days. I heard about the “Hal incident” from a handful of people. All of it seemed a twisted and contorted mess that I won’t give any more time to here. Let’s just say that the domain business is small, and the gossiping is unreal. Watch yourselves out there . . . You know who you are.

I also heard about “the pitch” by Rick Schwartz, the TRAFFIC conference owner/operator/promoter. Apparently Rick is promoting a new product/technology that he is invested in and he felt that domainers, who paid to attend the conference, would be interested in the product and an investment opportunity. Prior to the show, Schwartz had announced that he would be speaking about an opportunity which he said

“ties in nicely with what we all do (especially if you have business to business traffic) and then to marry it to a pay structure that can finally earn what a visitor is truly worth may be ground breaking.”

I didn’t make it to any of the sessions because of other commitments but I was able to attend the party Thursday night (of course) and the first half of the auction.  The overall vibe I sensed from discussions while socializing with a few domainers was that of “doom and gloom”.  In conversation, no one seemed really positive.  Rick, a guy I consider to be extremely optimistic and energetic, even seemed to be a bit sluggish in his usual enthusiasm.  Always the salesman though, he seemed to rally to wrap up the show with his final speech on the last day inviting everyone to come to the next “biggest TRAFFIC show ever” in New York City.

The show overall was small, not the smallest I’ve been to by any means (I attended the first few). I have heard reports of 200 attendees. In my eyes this show had a similar size/feel to the last Domain Roundtable show.  While teasing Jay Westerdal about the topic, he postured against my implication, claiming that the last Domain Roundtable was bigger than this TRAFFIC.  The exhibit area seemed empty the few times I peaked in. The “cashinator” and the Segway from Parked.com provided some minor thrills and free money, but the vendors seemed fairly bored. I took a count of the attendees during the auction as hoodia.com hit the block. To my count there were 87 in the room and 109 online viewers.  Pretty small again, but I counted 50 in the room during Domain Roundtable. Small for sure, but I think these sizes are much more manageable and allowed attendees to network better.  To me the bigger shows are always overwhelming. Sure the sponsors get more exposure, but the smaller venues are where you can focus and get things done. There’s none of the “What’s parking?” or “How do I get traffic to my domain?” questions to filter out.

After all the doom and gloom feel, I left with a fairly positive view after the auction.  Maybe it was the vibe I got from being in the room and involved in bidding, but good domains are still selling at reasonable prices. There were even some hotly contested domains. Postalcodes.com rose from $1,000 to $42,000 with several bidders online and live.  First time attendees even got caught up in bidding frenzy, running Saggitarius.com up to $33,500.  Ow.com had 2 phone-in bidders volleying to win.

The list still had domains that have “been around the block” with those daunting 7 figure or high 6-figure reserves that scare away all bidders.  Are you sellers really trying to sell these domains ?   I’m sure they help to make the auction appear “stacked” (before the reserve prices are posted), but how many times do we need to run these through the circuit with the high reserves ?  Many good one word domains seemed to be a hot commodity this show when they were reasonably priced : Grass.com, Athlete.com, Track.com, Maybe.com and Rainbow.com.

The auction was one of the lowest dollar amounts seen at recent TRAFFIC auctions.  Worse than the recent Vegas show. I don’t think expectations were high on this auction though given the small attendance numbers. Monte Cahn informed me the day before the auction that they had a bidder lined up for Israel.com, but minutes before the show he mentioned to me again that the bidders had backed out.  This shows how one domain can greatly alter the overall total sales of an auction and make the auction look less than stellar.  This is the lowest total dollar amount sold in recent TRAFFIC auctions, but with nearly 1/3 of the domains selling and none surpassing $225k, scoring over $2 million worth of sales seems pretty close to the mark.

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7 Comments

Shawn

May 27, 2008 @ 3:17 am EDT

Basically it all boils down to a few factors:

1) To many .com domain names with extremely high reserves.
2) To many .net domain names period.
3) A late list presented on the moniker site.
4) An auction in the same period people are spending thousands grabbing new .asia domain names. i.e. SexShop.asia just sold for 53,000+

Overall like you said however there is still quite an impressive list of domain names sold for high prices. I was actually shocked at some of the money given for these domains in comparison with previous auctions.

I think with a good well priced list and plenty of notice we could see a big bounce back shortly.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom in my books when you see Rainbow.com go for the price it went for. :)

David J Castello

May 27, 2008 @ 4:28 am EDT

There’s also the 2008 Geodomain Expo in Chicago (July 10-12).
Info at http://AssociatedCities.com.

Stephen Douglas

May 27, 2008 @ 7:33 am EDT

Does anyone get the overall sense that the reign of GW Bush, now that it is coming to an end, has weirdly forced the world to endure a huge rise in natural calamities, devastating financial scams, and tragic profiteering warmongering in the history of the U.S.?

What’s this got to do with domains? I don’t know… I’m trying to figure out the “doom and gloom” comments regarding a once-burgeoning industry hopped up on the anticipatory “smack” of our future success.

I can still retire handsomely by selling all my carefully gleaned portfolio of 3600 premium domains for $199. Anyone interested? ;-)

Nice article, Adam.

Raffaele Della Peruta

May 28, 2008 @ 1:11 am EDT

When you are ready for retirement, show me the list Stephen Douglas.

I don’t give a rats ass what the one auction tells me. The traffic level of domain names hasn’t been decreasing.

My mathematical equation is:
Domain names == Traffic
Traffic == $$$$

I own thousands of domain names and I don’t to stop buying until every good name is gone.

As soon as the dust settles for the .ASIA domain names, I’m predicting a huge auction result come back.

Raffaele

betty

May 28, 2008 @ 3:38 am EDT

Dear Resellers and customers:

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And catch your time, using cn domains to park is on of the best way to increase revenue as a reseller.

Sichuan earthquake since May 12, destroying more than 70,000 homes and more than 200,000 were in danger of collapsing. Building hardly remained. Authorities and relief organisations have been set up tents nearby the mountain for the couple, who have no children, and provided them with bedding, food, water and other necessities.

Regitering CN domains also can do a great effort to help our refugee through promote Chinese economy.
Unity is strength, earthquake relief work. We are one family.
email or MSN Betty@now.net.cn
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Antoinette

May 28, 2008 @ 8:57 am EDT

I wish they’d hold a short (2-3 day) conference for domainers with a regional registration fee ($200-400). You’d get a lot more people attending. Some of us can’t write everything off as a corporate business expense.

Grouse, grouse…everything is aimed at the millionaire domainer.

Frank Michlick

May 28, 2008 @ 12:05 pm EDT

@Antoinette: That’s the length I am planning for for Domain Convergence from October 6-8th in Niagara Falls, hopefully I can keep the registration fee in that range.

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