Repost: Here’s Why You Go To A Domain Conference

Oct 20 2011

Just to remind people of the positivity of domain conferences I am reposting my article from my first TRAFFIC conference.  I think it shows my enthusiasm and excitement that I had (and still have) for the industry.  This is what I think should be promoted.  The auction may be important but the social and relationships are what last forever.  No app is going to replicate that.   Below is the original article

In the domain world there has been recent discussion on the value of domain conference.  What types we should have, how many, and if you should go.  My answer is yes.  I don’t care what type they have, who pays for it, as long as a large group of domainers get together, I’ll be there. There is no replacement for meeting someone face to face, having an in person conversation, and shaking their hand.

If you want to learn more about your profession you need to talk to others in it.  You are an idiot if you think you have nothing left to learn.  I have met many a person that no longer has the desire to learn  but that’s a sign of being burnt out.  A sign that you no longer enjoy what you do and that it has become a job and the only reason you continue is to make money.  For everyone else, there is always more to learn.  When I say learn, I’m not talking about the lectures and speeches.  I talking about conversations with others in the industry. Someone that shares your challenges or perhaps has the info to overcome them.   How do you get that info?  You go to a conference and start talking to people.

Some say there are too many conferences.   I say there are too many only because it dilutes the amount of people that come to each show.  On one hand, it can be advantageous because it can give you a better chance to meet one on one with other domainers but may not provide the opportunity for the veterans to meet anyone new.  I can guarantee that you’ll have no choice but to meet everyone at Patrick’s conference. He has you stuck on a frickin boat.  You are going to either talk to another domainer or Gladys the 72 year old grand cougar, grandmother of 8, who took the cruise to “have a little fun”.

I picked Vegas this year because it was my first conference.  I figure if it sucked then at least I was in Vegas.  It didn’t.  I have to admit, if you are the quiet type then you are going to be a very lonely person at a domain conference.  Nobody is going to come up to you and introduce themselves.  They already have their clicks and friendships.  I figured if there was anyone that could introduce me to people it was Patrick.  So I called Patrick and met him to go out.  He introduced me to Morgan, who introduced me to a few more people and then I met Ron Wells, Jason Thompson,  and Oscar Correa and the conference was off and running.

I’m going to let you in on another little secret.  One, that will make you a ton of cash.  When you meet someone introduce yourself.  A little casual conversation and and an introduction and you’ll be surprised who you’ll meet. The biggest obstacle as a newbie or someone that has only met people on the net,  is not knowing who people are.  I met a few people that I truly had no idea who they were.  I’d go back to my room and say “Damn” that guy is one of the top domainers in the world.  I sat next to Michael Berkens for 4 hours at a night club and I have to admit, I knew he was an important person and knew everyone , but I really didn’t know much about him at the time.  He certainly doesn’t remember me.  I would have struck up more of a conversation but as a non drinker, I was 6 drinks in and really wasn’t at the top of my game at that point. The next day I was sitting at the auction at a table in front of Howard Neu, Rick Shwartz, and Michael Berkens yet I didn’t have the balls to introduce myself.  They were busy and I felt more like a fan than a fellow domainer.  Next time, next time.

I also met Steve Brown, general manager of NameJet.  One of the nicest guys I’ve met at any conference and answered any question I had about domaining.  He and I  went out later that evening and I learned more about the domain market that evening than I had in all my years of online research.  The picture above is from an early evening party thrown by Rick Latona that was one of the most informative parties I’ve ever been to.  My domaining revenue tripled based on what I learned at that party alone.  The scantily clad waitresses and amazing appetizers (all paid by Rick) were merely the bonus. Without going to that part I wouldn’t have met 15-20 people that I talk to regularly to this day.

All it takes is one new idea, one new conversation, to pay for your few thousand dollars you spend on a conference.  Of course, you have to make the effort.  If you hide your identity or are unwillingly to share what you’ve learned as well, then you’re on your own.  This industry is a very small industry.  Everyone at the top knows each other but that doesn’t mean they don’t talk to us lower level players.  If you come across as a person genuinely trying to make a go in this industry then everyone will most certainly try and help you out.  They’re not going to hand you any domains or give you any info that is going to cost them money but they will help.

So forget what anyone else says, go to a conference.  I don’t really care which one it is.  Go………………. you’ll be glad you did.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Acro

    Please, not Gladys. ANYONE but Gladys, have mercy! 😀

    TRAFFIC is always top notch and both laid back and driven at the same time. Crowds attending vary on location.

  2. Ron Jackson

    Your analysis is 100% dead on Shane. In my experience the vast majority of people who say conferences are not worth going to have NEVER been to one. Go figure. It’s true there is an over abundance of them now but the people being hurt the most by that are the competing promoters. I feel for them because I know how hard they work and how expensive it is to put on a conference. However for show goers, the competition has brought prices down and created many more opportunities to meet with fellow domainers, often without having to travel too far to do it. Networking is the fuel that can really send you business into orbit. Sure, it is possible to be the Lone Ranger and still make it, but your odds are much better with industry friends and associates sharing their knowledge, encouragement and support.

  3. mano

    Well said Shane, There’s more important things in life rather than money only. What the hell you could do with tons of “face valued paper” if there is no one to spend on. I’ll definitely love to go any conference as long its serve as the platform to meet some one and have a glass of beer.

    Hope will have a glass with you one day, Shane.



  4. Dean

    I am not trying to begrudge anyone’s positive domain bonding experience, but truthfully if I had $900 to blow, I would rather hand register 60 domains, spend $300 on a nice meal and bottle of wine and do my networking online from the safety and comfort of my home.

    Now if someone like Frank Schilling was going to be there, I would pay twice as much just to shake his hand.

  5. Post author

    It’s that kind of thinking that further verifies that you need to go to a conference. It’s not a “bonding” event, it’s an event to learn how to make more money. Sometimes you have to leave the safety and comfort of your environment and take on new things. At times it will be uncomfortable but there is a hell of a lot to learn in this industry. You aren’t going to learn it sitting in your underwear hand registering domains.

  6. Dean

    Well either you are psychic or you hacked into my network?

    Makes you wonder why domainers have a bad rep, hulked over their computers “hand registering” at all hours of the night.

  7. Tim Smith

    Shane, another excellent post – from a business standpoint especially. No matter the business – even an ‘online’ one – you have to make face time happen in order to get to the next level. If one is a flipper or part-time or collecting names then they probably don’t need to go.

    BUT, if intending to make your place in this space a business then you have to get out and meet the others. Not for bonding (although that’s great and rewarding in it’s own way), but for the chance to learn, share and grow within the industry you’ve chosen. I’m still not sure how to make the conferences I ‘must’ attend (this isn’t my day job) but I will make some of them.

    Keep the posts coming. Even when I don’t agree (rarely) I can at least see your point and logic.

  8. Dean

    Face Time wtf is that?

    Look, Rick Schwartz is constantly driving home the point that you either “get it” or don’t. Bottom line either your domains are good or pigeon shit and no amount of schmoozing is going to change those cold hard facts. So why spend $900 making “face time”. I am neither a “flipper” or “part-time” domaining person, but I am wise enough AT THIS STAGE to know that everyday I see several domains that I think are worthy of registration and my money is better spent registering those domains than spending my money at a conference trying to “get it” or make superficial contacts.

    Yes, I do want to attend some conferences in the future and I don’t begrudge anybody who’s priorities are to go to one, but right now I have other priorities higher on my list. I mean sheeeez, why should I fill someone else’s coffer while depleting my own when some of the big muck a mucks who put on these events could give two shits if I died and went to pigeon hell!
    Further, I won’t go till the quality of speakers, events, etc,. are improved a notch or two.

    1. Post author

      FaceTime is an Apple app Grandpa. Domain conferences are no different than any business conference. You go to meet people that can make you more money. If you don’t think anyone can offer that to you then you’re a better man than me. My priority is not to go to conferences it’s to make money. There is always some one better than you at whatever you do. Conferences often give you that chance to meet them. I will admit though, with that attitude I’d advise you just stay home

  9. Rick Schwartz

    I don’t think folks understand the value of the energy you get hanging around and comparing ideas with like minded people that are looking to make something bigger happen. Sometimes that relaxed downtime can produce more results than anything else. When you go to any gathering of domainers you walk away with renewed energy. That’s a fact for most everyone attending.

  10. Duane

    In these past years, this business has changed dramatically. Entering and making my first footsteps back in 2003, it has went from preschool to the University faze. Now, at current time it is no more about what could be, it has proven that business can be made on the net. Also there is no guideline or a way of getting a bachelors in Domaining (which is no longer just someone who flipps). I usually don’t go to any conference, never really seen any need to, because my business runs smooth and I now have no worry’s (this has not always been this way). Anyway, this year I decided to attend a conference on a ship. I hate flying, so to hop on a airplane and travel for 16 hours is a real pain in the A$$ for me. It was absolutely worth it!

    You cant beat, meeting people face to face and exchanging information. It’s not only the the Old boy’s which have good info. Many new comers have great ideas and you will never meet them or heer from them unless you attend a conference which they might happen to be at. So even I was a newcomer for everyone attending at the conference, even though being in the business for nearly a decade.

    If you really want to meet people which are thriving in this business? The only way is to attend at one of these great conferences. You will find new friends, you will find open minded and great personality’s, you will find help, you will find new ideas and you defiantly profit from it.

  11. Poor Uncle

    What’s TRAFFIC? That’s like a trade show, right? I don’t know if trade shows are an American invention…but it was a brilliant idea. Want to learn and excel in an industry then go to a trade show. $900 is peanuts if you want to learn how to make $xxx,xxx – $x,xxx,xxx…that’s coming from a guy who only sold one name worth $108. Okay, so I am not ready to go to this show. There is a time and place for everything…but I wouldn’t say anything bad about the show purely based on the price. Plenty of trade shows are a lot more expensive than this one.

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