The financially troubled newspaper industry met at the Newspaper Association of America’s annual conference in San Diego the second week in April, and Associated Cities held its annual GeoDomain Expo in San Diego from April 23-25. I think the GeoDomain Expo was quite a bit more upbeat! I attended my first GeoDomain Expo last year, and it was one of the most informative domain conferences I had attended, and this one was even better.
Nearly all of the industry leaders and many of their top employees attended the conference, and a large number of them participated on the panels. Most of the panelists provided great tips and advice, rather than self-promoting product advertorials, which I think provided more value to attendees, since these guys are out in the trenches and are happy to share what is working for them. This is probably the hallmark of the GeoDomain Expo.
On the development panel in which I participated, I learned a tactic from Shaun Pilfold (Kelowna.com), which could end up actually paying for the entire show once I integrate it onto my sites. I can’t remember learning something usable like this at other domain conferences, so this really stood out for me. I was also given a couple other valuable pieces of advice about sales from Shaun and his company’s General Manager, Mark Huttram, and I am going to focus on finding people who can execute.
Another panel had participants from data providers and directory development companies. While the directory panel might seem like an advertorial at first glance, it was great because there are so many options that companies are using and it’s helpful to know what’s out there and how they can be used. These are things that developers need to know about and can help new developers build a site quickly.
One of the primary undertones of the conference was that the time has come for entrepreneurial geodomain companies to take advantage of weakness in the newspaper publishing business, in order to take market share and become local market leaders. During one of the lunches, Gordon Borrell of Borrell Associates spoke about the opportunity we now have, and I was inspired by his saying that it is the time for entrepreneurs to make strong financial bets on geodomain names and to trust in the business models because we are likely to succeed. I think this is great advice, and it’s something I am analyzing right now. I think it’s better to invest in yourself and your business plan, and I have been doing that in the last few months.
In terms of networking, I think the geodomain industry offers great opportunities because everyone is approachable and down to earth. No matter where I was at the Catamaran, it was easy to meet people, and I was able to meet with a number of people who I haven’t met before.
Just a few other notes from the conference:
I want to highlight NewOrleans.com for its fantastic website and brand they are building. Aside from NYC, New Orleans is my favorite city in the US, and it’s great to see what the team is doing with their site.
I am looking forward to participating on the newly elected Associated Cities transitional board. Despite the fear that there could be political overtones at the conference, I didn’t detect any of it at all.
My top 5 choices for next year’s conference are New Orleans, Dallas, West Palm Beach, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.
I am in Burbank for the next couple of days, and it’s time to get some business done!
Thank you to Mark and the great team at SanDiego.com for hosting the conference. It was well executed and the city of San Diego is beautiful. Big thanks also to AC Executive Director Patrick Carelton as well. Despite the short time between confirming that the show would happen and the date of the show, the team pulled it off.