Last week, we sent some of our people down to TRAFFIC, which bills itself as the domain industry's premier conference. Among those attending was our very own Adam Eisner, whom I interviewed yesterday about the conference and what he saw. I captured the interview as a podcast, which is a 4.8 MB MP3 file. The transcript for the podcast appears below.
Transcript of the “Tucows Goes to the TRAFFIC Conference” Podcast
Joey deVilla: I'm talking with Adam Eisner, Tucows' product manager for domains and today we're going to be talking about the TRAFFIC conference. Last week you attended it; tell us a little bit about it.
Adam Eisner: Well, TRAFFIC is a trade show of sorts; it brings together domain owners, search engines, internet marketers and together they discuss the latest developments in things like domain names and marketing. It's held a few times a year, and the last one that was held was held last week, June 19th to 22nd in New York City.
Joey: What typically happens at TRAFFIC?
Adam: What you usually get is a couple of straight days of conference sessions focused on the newest developments in the domain name industry, internet marketing, e-commerce, online sales, things like that. You know, the industry is moving so quickly — especially as the domain name aftermarket keeps growing — that it can be really, really difficult to keep up with the latest developments and what's going on.
So TRAFFIC is a really good place to meet with some of the leaders in the space around domain names and internet marketing and to learn about some of what the “next big things” (and I'm making quotation marks, but you probably can't see that because this is a podcast) might be in domain names and internet marketing.
You know, there's also a really popular domain name auction that usually takes place, and that gets a lot of press and attention as well, and this one had a lot of big sales. CreditCheck.com and FreeCreditCheck.com together sold for about $3 million and Seniors.com sold for $1.8 million, interestingly. It was a really interesting auction to attend live for domain names — you know, intangible assets.
Joey: So…is it like an antique furniture auction, where everybody sits and there's a guy at the front going “Okay, what do I…?”
Adam: It is! It actually is. It's really interesting. There is an auctioneer, a real live auctioneer, that you might expect at some sort of event where you were auctioning cattle, and he's sitting around going “Seniors.com, one million, one million one…”
Joey: Is he actually doing the [mimics auctioneer-style talk]?
Adam: He's doing the whole thing, and everybody has paddles, but what people are bidding on are domain names. It's really, really interesting.
Joey: And is there anything beside him like — I don't know — an easel with the domain name for sale? Beside him, or is it projected?
Adam: It's pretty funny. It's projected, and this time — I believe this was new, I hadn't attended the actual auction component before — there was a bank, kind of like a telethon, of people on a riser, toward one side of the room that were sitting in front of telephones, and people were calling in with telephone bids. And so they would yell up in the middle and go “Five hundred thousand dollars!”
Joey: I was going to ask if there were remote bidders like that, like in an auction for tanglible goods.
Adam: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It was — not that I've been to a lot of live auctions before; I haven't had the need to buy livestock of anything — it was a real auction. It was really, really interesting.
Joey: Can anybody attend TRAFFIC? If I happen to have the money for an attendance fee, could I just go, or is it invitation-only?
Adam: I believe it's an invitation-only event of sorts, but if you're involved in the industry and you request an invitation, I believe it's pretty easy to attend.
A wide range of people go to this conference: domain name registrars, domain name registries, folsk who own domain name portfolios, internet marketers, investment bankers, anyone with an interest in how the domain name market is developing and how the developments can affect things like online sales and online marketing tend to attend this show, so it is easy to attend, I blieve if you show the genuine desire to go and get involved.
Joey: Okay, and what were we doing there?
Adam: We were there first and foremost to talk about our new Premium Domain Name offering, which includes name from two of the larger players in the space, Fabulous.com and BuyDomains, two larger aftermarket players. We wanted to talk about how we now integrate these names for sale from these providers directly into the Tucows domain name search process, and as fewer and fewer names become available, this feature's only going to become more important.
So, we want to get some information on new market development on the aftermarket, talk about this new feature, see who is interested in this sort of technology and meet a lot of different folks. And when Tucows goes, we go to have a look, and it's also really important to attend and see where the industry is headed.
You know, as the domain name market changes and the aftermarket grows, a lot of participants in these conferences are pretty much down in the middle of things, so to speak — they're heavily involved. So, it's always important to hear what they're thinking, what their thoughts are, and you also get to meet a lot of customers and a lot of partners, all in one central place. It's always worth going.
Joey: Anthing else that you'd like to say? Any interesting observations, funny anecdotes, even?
Adam: You know, what was interesting was — as Tucows, to attend this one and because of our Premium Domains offering, we're becoming a lot more recognized at conferences like this, so it was very productive for us to go because we got to talk to a lot of people about our premium names offering.
Our Premium Names offering is something that is, at this point, more or less ahead of what most registrars have introduced. There are very few registrars out there, particularly on a wholesale level, that have introduced anything like this, so there's a lot of genuine interest from attendees there about what we're doing the in space right now, so it was really good for us to go.
Joey: Cool! Well, that's Adam Eisner, Product Manager for Domains at Tucows. I'm Joey deVilla, Tucows' Technical Evangelist — thanks for listening.