The Future of TRAFFIC: You Don’t Step Back, You Step Up

Feb 04 2010

That was a quote I read over at a DnForum thread yesterday regarding the recent and future Rick Latona run TRAFFIC conferences, a thread where he is getting blasted from everything from poor execution,to the 60 day exclusivity of the domain names at auction, and the poor quality of names. I don’t know Rick but I know his kind because his kind is like me.  If things don’t go exactly as planned you sit down and start planning to do better (or you take a really long bike ride to relax and THEN think about it).  You don’t step back, you step up.

After a few weeks to take it all in, I have a few thoughts and suggestions about the auction and the conference itself.  Off course, these are all suggestions, all from an outsider that has no idea of what goes on behind the scenes of producing a conference.  So feel free to bash me, or disagree with my opinions, I’m a big boy, I can take it.

Jodi Chamberlain:  A true asset to the Latona team.  Rick can come across as moody at times but Jodi is always all smiles.  A great face for the organization that always seems under control and willing to do what needs to be done. The perfect person to be the face and smile of Latona.

There was an odd mix of names for the live auction but Rick is known for not putting in his own names.   The “Rick loaded it with his own names” posts are false.  I’m pretty sure there were plenty of “friends and family portfolio” names but the odd mix and the poor sales have nothing to do with Rick putting in his own names.

Not enough lower priced good names to bring in the average Joe.  If you want to only have the wealthy guys bidding on the big names you are going to exclude all the thousands of people on the net that would buy up the lower priced domains . Thousands adds up to millions.  What would YOU rather have, passed names or names that fetched 2-5K?

They really need to watch the reserves.  Some were downright awful. Mentioned were for $50K and for 60K.  I agree the reserves on many were end user prices not domainer auction prices.  They had exactly 0% chance of being sold.

The extended auctions are dead.  With a stable online system I think it would be best to add more names to the live auction.  Do what Domain Fest did and have two live auctions.  One for the lower priced, one for higher

All in all, the networking was great, the parties were great, and everywhere I went I met someone and had a nice long conversation. I went by myself and went in knowing exactly 0 people.   I knew some names but not a soul knew me (actually there were a few readers that knew who I was) . I now feel I’ve met at least 10 people I’ve become good friends with and will keep in weekly contact with.  Anyone who didn’t get this out of it didn’t make an effort.  Rick produced a first class conference and did almost everything on his own dime but most importantly, gave everyone an opportunity to meet and learn from people in our industry.  So be an armchair quarterback, bash the thing but if you didn’t come your opinion doesn’t matter and if you came then and didn’t like it,  talk to Rick and tell him what you think.  I guarantee he wants to hear what you say and will try to make it better.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Bill

    Now don’t get me wrong Im not trying to bash anyone or anything, but do you feel the cost of spending maybe 2k+ was worth it? To meet 10 people face to face which you can talk to online.

    Just asking

    1. Post author

      This is an excellent question. I did get “the deal” and paid under a $1000. That being said, I have already made more than that through one person I met from a little tip he told me. I stand make a lot more than that from another relationship I’ve built. I would have never met these people online. I had no idea they existed. Many of them don’t blog, comment, or “hang out” with other domainers. They were there like me, by themselves, either on a panel or there to learn more. You get to know a person more in a few days hanging out with them, having lunch, a beer, and having a good time that you would in a year online. Online is not personal. In short, I would absolutely do it again and I highly recommend it to others but you have to be outgoing. Patrick (aka Chef Patrick) and I got along well because we both aren’t afraid to come up and start talking. A shy person most likely won’t get as much out of it. Because the panels were OK, but the people on them had much better info to give while sipping a beer. Hell, I talked to the auctioneer for 30 minutes and really enjoyed it.

  2. Bill

    Sounds like a great experience thanks for sharing and answering my question. I’m really hoping to make it out to the Vancouver show. Anyhow, best of luck with your ventures.

  3. Jim Holleran

    I been to many traffic conferences in the past, but I think they should lower the costs to bring “new blood” in. IMO, DomainFest is the best conference and I am going through Withdrawls right now from it. I plan on going to Traffic in Ireland this summer because I am a “drunken Irishman”:)

  4. Chef Patrick

    “Jodi Chamberlain: A true asset to the Latona team. Rick can come across as moody at times but Jodi is always all smiles. A great face for the organization that always seems under control and willing to do what needs to be done. The perfect person to be the face and smile of Latona.”

    So true, I love Jodi!!! Sorry, but I plan on writing about her in my review of TRAFFIC too 🙂

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