We are now back from an incredible week in South Florida at TRAFFIC 2012 and as usual, there’s a lot going through my head. First I’ll say for the record that I have not had time to review all of the posts in the blogosphere of which I’ve heard there were many. I’m not sure I had chance to read a single blog post (except for Rick’s most recent one today) in the last week so my reflections are going to be my own experience and over the next few days I’m sure I’ll have fun reading what all the hoopla has been about. That being said, as you all know, I’m not about hoopla, I’m about business so let’s get to it.
We decided to come to TRAFFIC early after hearing so many good things about the pre-show from people who attended last year. Wow were they right and I can tell you we’ll be coming early to every single TRAFFIC show. The best part about coming early was to have the chance to spend some time with a smaller group, don’t get me wrong, I love the hustle and bustle once the conference is in full swing but there’s something nice about spending time with a smaller group in the beginning.
I met a few Domainers that have been in the business since the 90’s that I had never met before and had some really great conversations. As usual the more I learn about the industry, the more I realize I have to learn. While I give a lot of advice on my blog about running a business, it is being in the company of people that have done this a lot longer than me that opens my eyes even more. While I could have still met a few of these people once the show had started it was definitely much better to have some one-on-one time early on.
On Saturday I bought one of the goofiest hats I’ve ever owned and we hit the high seas with other attendees that were in town early for deep sea fishing. Yes, this hat does deserved to be teased but Daina and I wanted matching hats and decided to go ridiculous, rather than stylish. This was another great chance to connect with a smaller group of people and enjoy some time on the Ocean. All of us who were on that boat shared a great connection that brought us together for the entire show. Huge thanks to TRAFFIC for putting this together, a great idea and something we’ll definitely be doing again next year if it’s offered.
At this point I wanted to talk a bit about the behind-the-scenes at TRAFFIC that you only see if you’re at the conference. What I’m talking about is all the hard work that goes into making TRAFFIC happen and run as smoothly as it does. First I wanted to give a special thanks to Barbara Neu who has to be one of the hardest working people making sure that everything goes according to plan and beats me when it comes to taking photographs! Barbara greeted us the moment we arrived and every morning and at every event making us feel right at home, it is clear how much of her time and energy goes into making the show the best that it can be and Daina and I saw this every single day, in short, Barbara rocks!
Of course there’s a lot of other people making it happen like Barbara’s son Ray Neu who I still think is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and he makes me feel short every time I’m around him. Ray’s girlfriend Kim is at his side and the two of them definitely put a ton of working into keeping the gears turning and making sure that everyone had an incredible experience. Alina Schwartz was also a key person behind-the-scenes and together her and Barbara made everyone feel right at home each and every day.
This brings me to Rick and Howard, the creators of the show. Many times when people talk about TRAFFIC the focus is just on Rick and Howard and this is why I wanted to highlight all the people behind-the-scenes first since it’s the whole team that makes it happen. Rick and Howard make the magic happen by bringing together a great group and working hard to make great networking events and seminars that help every single person at the show take their business to the next level.
At the end of the day this show was all about the people. Sitting outside having drinks might seem like a great way to relax (and it is) but it’s also a great environment to do business. I had a very clear list of business goals for the show and had already exceeded them by the time the show started on Sunday. I’m not talking about little thousand dollar goals, I’m talking about six-figure deals and real relationships that are critical now and in the future. I used to focus on the small stuff, now I focus on the big stuff, it’s just what happens naturally as your business grows and develops and shows like this are an incredible important piece of the puzzle.
On this note I have to say that Mike Mann sure knows how to throw a party and the official TRAFFIC party on Monday night was a lot of fun. In case you didn’t know, Daina is a big Elvis fan and there was an Elvis song playing in the background when I proposed to Daina. Along with hundreds of Domainers, Elvis was in the building and made this an extra special night for everyone!
I know that many people will want to hear what I thought about the auction and I’ll keep this short and sweet (or at least my best attempt at it!). I bought more names in this auction than I ever have before, I’m happy with what I bought and I thought the pricing was fair. I don’t buy at end-user prices, I buy at Domainer prices and I felt this is what was delivered. A few people of asked me what I planned to do with the names, 100% of the names I bought were purchased to resell and I will be only selling these through inbound inquiries, not looking for quick flips as I want these in the hands of end-users that want them and want to put them to good use. I found the auction moved quickly, kept my attention, and was a lot of fun, it went by fast and I hope to be in more just like it.
I did have a chance to read Rick’s blog post today and some of the comments about the auction, the one that I think summed it up the best was:
I rarely comment on blogs, but I felt I needed to chime in here…
I had 9 domains in the auction and 6 of them sold for a total of $33K. Not a bad batting average and a solid return on my investment at 440%. I also had a domain that was bid up to mid 6 figures – a good reference point for that domain.
Could I have made more money if I waited a couple of years? Yes. Do I feel mocked that some famous domainer bought my domain? Nope. (Chris commenting on RicksBlog.com)
Along with buying names in the auction I also sold one name and I was happy from both sides of the equation. Like Chris said he made 440%, last time I check that is pretty darn good. Sure, with end user sales I like to get 10x on my names but 2x, 3x, 4x, etc. is still a great return on any investment.
Yesterday we rented a power boat and went cruising along the intercoastal and then out to the open ocean. It was a blast and a great last day in Fort Lauderdale. I have a few videos to post from our adventures but I’m still sorting through those so it may take a few days.
So what can I say, it was a great show and an amazing experience. I was able to get business done that would normally take 6+ months to do in less than 6 days and I’ll be very surprised if this doesn’t result in a few hundred thousand dollars of plus business between now and the next show. At the end of the day though it’s all about the people and TRAFFIC got it right by bringing together the right people in the right place at the right time. We will be registering for TRAFFIC Vegas today or tomorrow (still unpacking from the trip and the move!) and I can tell you that $995 is insanely cheap for a conference of this caliber.
Thanks again to Rick, Howard, Barbara, Ray, Kim, Alina and everyone else that made this all happen. These are memories we will have together and I can say with certainty that TRAFFIC means business. See you all in Vegas!
Of course I always like to hear from you my reader, good or bad you can always feel comfortable expressing yourself on my blog. Comment and let your voice be heard!