"One of the most memorable moments in T.R.A.F.F.I.C. history for me came at the 2007 Las Vegas show that drew a record breaking crowd of over 600. I'll never forget walking into the ballroom on the first day and having my jaw drop when I saw the crowd. That's when I knew that our industry had arrived - to quote Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, the domain business was "not in Kansas any more!" Loved it then and I can't wait to go back in 2013." ~~ Ron Jackson
Photo: T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu and his wife Barbara at the Paris Hotel's outdoor cafe with the Bellagio Hotel behind them (January 2010). Via DNJournal
The 10th Anniversary of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is a historic occasion that will be held at an historic hotel, the Fontainebleau on Miami Beach!
Writes co-founder Rick Schwartz, "Ten Years! In 2004, the domain industry came together for the very first time at the Delray Beach Mariott Hotel, at the very first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Nearly one year ago, Howard and I proudly announced our 2014 and 2015 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows would be in a hotel that could handle the volume and size of what is coming. Now we are here! The Fontainebleau awaits!"
One big change that has already come to the TRAFFIC domain name conference are the TRAFFIC awards.
But the biggest change said Rick, "If all works out, this will be the last TRAFFIC show I will personally produce. 10 years is long enough and I will release more info about that as we get closer to the show.”
Schwartz also had something to hint about the added role industry veteran Dicker, the owner of DNForum.com, would have with T.R.A.F.F.I.C. The well-known Canadian entrepreneur made well received appearances on stage at each of the past two T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences (in Las Vegas last spring and at Fort Lauderdale Beach last fall), in which he detailed the many ways he has learned to make money in this business. .
To make the most of this or any other domain conference experience, one of our smartest domainers alive, Alan Dunn, has some advice (buried deep in the annals of his long forgotten but so incredibly smart blog) for attendees.
He writes: So when next domainers gather in hoards to attend a conference produced by two of the most successful people online gather your cheat sheet well in advance and look around for answers to these questions about development:
# 1) Find SMARTER People
Remember the words “If you want to play chess never play someone you can beat”.
This is critical to maintaining your seek for knowledge during the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference or any other. Sure, there are a lot of people around you can have drinks and make new friends with and its ok to do this but don’t stand in the corner talking to another guy who has never developed hoping to find the magic formula for online success. Try to get an attendee list and hit people up who have more experience than you. Chances are you are not going to know their names from the domaining world so don’t be afraid to Google them even if you’re 10 feet away. It’s not considered stalking yet.
# 2) Narrow Your Domains Down
Instead of solving the Mass development issue, identify the most interesting group(s) of your domains and try to speak in more defined discussions. Think about the difference between these 2 conversations “I have 3,000 names – how can you help me develop them” or “I have 200 real estate names – any ideas how to get these online”. Not only does this show the beginning of a plan vs. needing someone to hold your hand it actually helps people who have experience in that sector want to speak with you more. Most development lessons can be carried over from one sector to another.
# 3) Give Howard and Rick a Hug
It would be kinda funny to have 600 people give Howard or Rick a hug over a couple days so this tip is for my humor more than yours
# 4) Expectations
Do you know it can often take six months or a year to fully realize the SEO value of a domain name previously parked? Ask others about general expectations about rankings and when to start seeing traffic results.
# 5) Affiliate Revenue Options
At a domainers conference they are bound to be people making money through affiliate programs so ask about what programs are good AND what programs are bad. Get contacts at these companies since direct payouts are a lot more than simply signing up online.
# 6) Mingle and Mix it up
Do not stay in a small circle. When you register its possible to meet a few people right away and simply stay in this group all weekend. Mingle and mix it up. A few minutes of charm will get you a long way and you can always call everybody next week. Meet as many people as you can. Of course, if you meet an incredible sexy blonde probably a wise idea to just leave the conference altogether or stay up in your room for three days – certainly no judging here.
# 7) How Much Money do you need?
Money makes the world go around or does it? Many developers start out with just a few hundred dollars and parlay money earned into thousands and then more. Part of attending a domainer’s conference will also be to manage or create cost expectations for development. Ask about the different options for development. You can always upgrade your site design later. Find a balance between your budget and the options available.
# 8) What da heck is Web Development?
Seriously, this is not a joke question. A lot of domainers think mini-sites are domain development but they are really not to any respectable developer. Inquire about the elements of development including web design, content production, link building, revenue generation and more. Ask questions like “Who writes the content”, “What platform should I use”, “How do I build links” and more. There are many SEO experts who are familiar with every aspect of building out a name attending the conference. Buy them a drink and get some answers or buy them a case and maybe get them all.
# 9) Stand Tall – Do Not be Shy?
It’s ok to respect other people because of their accomplishments but at the end of the day we all put socks on and eat breakfast the same way. Do not be afraid to speak to anyone. In fact the best way to approach someone you feel shy about is to comment on a particular project they own or have built, compliment them and then ask a question about web development and that particular project. Trust me, people love to talk about themselves.
# 10) Schedule a Future Call
Ask people if its ok to schedule a longer call after the conference. A lot of people run their lives by blackberry and calendars so if you find someone who seems interesting enough to have a conversation with then politely ask to schedule a chat in the future. Once the meeting is scheduled then you can slowly make your way to next guy and don’t worry – they will do the same.
Conferences are not only fun and practical but one of the reasons why people fly thousands of miles a year to attend conferences is because they have a formula for extracting the information they want from the attendees. You should do the same.
Most of all get some FaceTime with one of the smartest domainers alive and a man whose ideas and contributions have had direct impact on the success of thousands over domainers in over a decades worth of service of giving back to the industry hw loves so much.
One phrase most deftly describes Rick Schwartz: Go Where the Money Is. His advice that I will never forget, "Pound the pavement, work hard, be the pioneer, and be ready for turbulent times."
I'll have more to say about that at the time Rick releases his announcement. Meanwhile get over to the T.R.A.F.F.C website and grab yourself a seat.
Adam Dicker receives T.R.A.F.F.I.C Lifetime Achievement Award from co-founder Howard Neu, captured by Ron Jackson DNJournal