"SwapFest: This was perhaps the single biggest surprise for me. The Dutch Auction model worked great and was a lot of fun. The SwapFest on Friday yielded more than $100,000 in sales across more than 200 auction lots."
~~ Rob Monster recapping in Epik blog
Some bloggers don't go to events but seem to know everything that happened at them blabbing misstatements and spreading uninformed gossip all over the web. Fortunately, there are cameras all around. So let's tell the DevCon story like it really is.
In this brief video taken during a break a DevCon, Seattle, three directory developers exchange ideas, investigate synergies and share the latest strategies for closing ad sales. One, Jay Lohmann owns an ad agency and the largest directory of lead generation domains for advertising, the other, Colin Pape, owns the largest portfolio of developed GEO domains in the world and the guy in the center, Chad Fisher, owns Pyramid SEO as well as his own domain portfolio.
Groups like this were plentiful. I learned the most at the bar.
I hung with the "secret sauce" to largest domain portfolio owner in the world, with over $100 million in PPC revenue over 10 years, and over $10 million in recent domain sales. I spent time with a early employee who played a key, hands-on role in shaping Oversee into what it is today. I met and chatted with representatives of eNom, GoDaddy and EvoLanding.
I met the brawn behind the brains at iReit. I met with Braden Pollock, a young guy I've followed on Facebook who owns LegalBrandMarketing.com which includes the largest portfolio of lead legal lead generation domains in the world. He enlightened me to the legal issues surrounding marketing to lawyers or for lawyers. Braden is bright guy who has a large staff and was buying up domains outside this space at the auction because they were "great deals." Bradon's story is told by Mike Berkens and he will tell us more as upcoming guest on DomainSuccess.com
I spent time talking to Andrew Allemann, one of the best domain news bloggers around- one of the few professional journalists who do this industry proud. Writing on DomainNameWire.com, Andrew pointed out: "Some people will call what Epik does “mass development”. In the history of the web there has never been a mass development effort that hasn’t flailed out after a few years. Google killed them all. But I don’t look at Epik as a mass web site developer. Instead, I look at it as a platform. A platform that gives users the ability to create meaningful, user-friendly web sites that add value. Epik can deliver part of the puzzle, but clients need to run with it. Hopefully both pieces of the puzzle will click."
I spent time with the owners of Earth.com, web design and seo company owner, the Human Ingenuity Group who holds one of the most impressive portfolios in the world and sets the record for most money spent at a live domain auction. I met Steve Moriarty, a monetization partner of mine from DDC that I never never met previously. Great guy and full of good tips and techniques as were all the smart people who opened up and shared their secrets wanting nothing in return.
Of course I spent a lot of time with various executives from Epik,. including a two hour one-on-one session with John Lawler, VP Products who took a domain of mine and build a video portal around it right before my eyes! This new product can make dotTV profitable. I see the potential.
I also spent time with the Epik "Power Developers" including Sevan Derderian, Morgan Schwartz, Gerardo Aristizabal, Vishal Vithlani and Kenny Hartog. Interesting approach that these guys start fresh buying drop catched domains that have the metrics to best exploit the full value of the Epik platform. A lot smarter buying domains with sites and revenue, then chasing good money after bad on new extensions and domains without traffic.
My most cherished meeting was with a brand new developer who is a prominent Wall Street banker by day read the article about Kevin Ham and found himself listening to Rob Montser on DomainSuccess and decided to take the plunge. We spent over an hour talking about Internet Marketing and by giving him the benefit of my knowledge and experience, he was able to see the play from a different angle and I was very heartened that here is this financial genius so grateful to be learning from me.
Of course dozens of readers of this blog approached me to let me know the liked what we are doing and to keep it up. I now assure you that TFF is required reading in the executive suites of juts about every domain company (evening, Mr. Parsons).
In conclusion, only 88 people attended and some would call that a flop. I call it a rare opportunity to have a 1/88 chance to meet EVERYBODY. Consider round tables of ten at the Brewery, two lunches and two dinners and that's 50 people you are assured of networking with. Owing to the quality of these people (may of whom I never heard of but who are out there making money an staying away from all the forums and sideshows).. I learned a lot of new stuff.
The quality of the people here were tops. No bs. They were here to do business and improve business. They do their homework and they are well-informed.
When Brian Gilbert, Jay Lohmann, Colin Pape, Frank Schilling's better half and Braden Pollock show up as just 5 of 88 people, one has to wonder not how much of a flop it was, but what they know that you don't know. I would agree with Andrew Allemann "I can say that the attendees at last week’s conference are some of the most open-minded and energetic in the industry. They aren’t looking at the past; they’re looking at the future." And did I mention that 200 domains changed hands there in less than two hours!
(btw, sorry again, my camera was lost on the last day and it had a ton of photos with all the people and activities mentioned)