This blog post was going to be only a comment to a blog post on Elliot’s Blog titled “Rick Schwartz Floating TRAFFIC Without Sponsors Idea” but it is long enough to post it also on my blog, so here it is – my take on domain conferences and TRAFFIC in particular.
I was attending three TRAFFIC shows in 2007, two in 2009 (NY and Amsterdam), one in 2010 so far (Milan). I have also attended couple of other domain conferences as well (DomainFEST in Europe, Domainer Meeting in Paris, Domain Channel in London, ICANN meetings, DomainvermarketForum in Cologne, Domaining Conference in Valencia and two MeetDomainers events in Poland).
So I have seen pretty much everything when it comes to domain conferences ;) US shows are different from European shows, except those in Europe dominated by US domainers – then they look exactly the same as US shows ;) I really like both of them – big US conferences and smaller domainer meetings in Europe – they both have different type of value.
There are three types of valuable things you can get for yourself attending domain event / conference / meeting:
1. Lectures, presentations, knowledge from session and discussion panels.
2. Meeting people (old friends or new ones).
3. Doing business (buying / selling domains, deals with other attendees, deals with sponsors etc.)
Each conference, in my opinion, is mix of all of those three things but in different proportion. Just to focus on TRAFFIC. In 2007 it was really BIG and I have learnt a lot of stuff there, meet a lot of people, did a lot of deals, earned a lot of money. $2000 tickets, airline tickets and hotel costs paid off many, many, many times + I had a LOT of fun spending time with my girlfriend (now wife) in Las Vegas, NY and Miami! :) I will definitely never forget those old good times. In 2008 I didn’t attend TRAFFIC shows, only some domain conferences in Europe – close to my native location Poland. When I came back to TRAFFIC in Amsterdam and NY in 2009 I was a little bit shocked – it wasn’t the TRAFFIC I remembered from 2007 – less people, less going on, less business, less fun, less partying, less everything. There are probably couple of reasons – shrinking US economy and PPC revenues going down are one of them. There are probably other reasons too.
The industry has changed and so the TRAFFIC (and each and every domain conference) should too. I think TRAFFIC should focus on ONE conference every year. Not two, not three, not five!! Maybe, but I only say MAYBE, one TRAFFIC in the US and another one in Europe / Asia / some other part of our globe changed every year. So altogether MAXIMUM TWO TRAFFIC shows every year. People don’t have so much time and money to travel all the time. And time is money too, add tickets, hotels, flights and you end up with pretty huge bill. From my perspective I want to travel to one, maybe two global domain events every year + two or three more local events like those in Germany, Spain or Poland. That’s already more than enough. I also attend couple of domainer get-together but these are “one evening / night” meetings, so they don’t really count but they also important.
What I would love to see in 2011? ONE BIG TRAFFIC in great location (I loved Miami event in 2007 with the venue right at the beach!) with great presentations, sessions, speakers, some BIG keynote speaker, great parties and a lot of networking opportunities. And of course great auction too – with 100 selected great names and not with 700 crappy names. That is the domain conference I would love to go to and I would definitely attend. I have nothing against sponsors if they organize a good party or dinner for attendees, so let them in. And last but not least – I would like to see there at least 400-500 attendees – that’s the right number for GLOBAL conference. I want to meet people, talk with them, learn from them and have fun with them. 100 people is not enough, as I want to meet also NEW people, not only the ones I already know. If Rick and Howard can organize such TRAFFIC for me, then I don’t care about the ticket price too much as long it is not higher than $2000 (of course $500-$1000 would be ideal).