When I first planned on hitting all three shows, TRAFFIC Vegas, DomainFest and Domainer Mardi Gras, I thought to myself there was going to be a lot of repetition, lots of the same people, lots more of the same.
But in fact the three shows couldn’t have been more different.
Three shows, three completely different vibes, atmospheres, and surprisingly attendees.
I was expecting to see a lot of the same people at each of the shows and while there was a group of people that hit all three, for the most part each show had its own set of attendees, many of which I had never met before.
Even by the third show, Domainer Mardi Gras, I meet people who never attended a domain show before.
From sessions to auctions to parties and networking, each offered a special mix.
Domainfest certainly has become the largest domain show in terms of attendee’s. Oversee spends a ton of money on the conference and it shows.
Domainfest has of course some speakers and sessions you will only find there but they also give you plenty of time for networking and meetings. I really liked participating in the informal mini-session on domain investing in the exhibit hall. A pretty nice crowd gathered to listen to Larry Fischer, Alan Hack, Monte Cahn and Kathy Nielsen of Sedo. I just wish it was the setting was a little quieter.
The lunches in the garden were a nice touch, the 2 domain auctions were fairly successful and of course the Playboy party is now legendary.
I liked the Fairmont Santa Monica, better than the previous hotel, but it was far from any nighttime action which is mostly back in Hollywood.
TRAFFIC with its body of work and history always draws enough interesting people to make it worth the trip. Vegas is always a great setting for a show and being there on NFL Championship Sunday didn’t hurt.
The show itself had some good sessions, a very interesting auction in which is really paid to be their live if you were a buyer. There was also plenty of time for networking, which I personally took advantage of to do some business.
TRAFFIC had a nice event at the Goldbar, and another night in the Hard Rock, Sahar helped out with some Bido.com people purple eaters and Castello rocked the drums, We also got a chance to hang out with some cool domainers at Vanity the nightclub in the HardRock.
Attendance definitely seemed to suffer backing up to Domainfest. I would be surprised to see a TRAFFIC show scheduled in that spot next year.
Domainer Mardi Gras was simply just a great networking event. There was one day of panels, one of which I sat on and thought they were done very well and was pretty impressed that they were able to Skype in two speakers that got snowed in. The show with its all day, all night, liquor and bead filled balcony, gave attendees a change to just relax and socialize in a way no other show does. Although the show had, in some part due to the weather up north, the smallest attendance, it allowed you to build relationships in a way completely different of the other shows. I think I got more Facebook friend requests from that show than the other 2 combined. The fact that the hotel sat right on Canal Street allowed you to just walk outside and catch a parade (they all went past the hotel) then walk a few short quite blocks to the balcony overlooking Bourbon where food, liquor and beads awaited. You were of course just steps away from restaurants, live music and other Mardi Gras activities.
So I’m glad I attended each of the three shows, they were all worth the investment in time and money.
I will be planning on attending Domainfest and Domainer Mardi Gras next year (I assume TRAFFIC will not be held in this period)
I only plan on attending 2 more shows this year.
I’m seriously thinking about attending the ICANN meeting in Brussels in June.
I’ve been to a ton of domain shows but never have made it to the ICANN meeting.
With the new gTLD’s coming and the URS and/or some other trademark protection rules up for consideration along with other issues that can effect existing extension, coupled with the fact the next ICANN meeting in Nairobi looking more like a non-event due to security concerns, the Brussels meeting is shaping up to be a very important one one.
I think its time to see how the other half lives, meet a whole new set of people, including those who have a large roll in regulating the assets we own and give domainers a little more presence at the ICANN meeting.
The only other domain show I’m planning on hitting this year will be TRAFFIC in South Beach in October.
There are few places on earth for a great show as South Beach. It will be the last big domain show of the year and think it will be a special one.