On Friday, I wrote about the successful Traffic conference that concluded last week in South Beach. I wasn’t there for the entire show, but I can’t really offer much criticism because there weren’t many things I would change. Well, maybe one thing… the price.
Traffic is still the most expensive domain investment conference. With ticket prices ranging from somewhere between $1,295 – $1,995 depending on location and time of purchase, the cost of the Traffic conference is hundreds of dollars more than the cost of other conference tickets. It’s also more expensive than other similar tradeshows. (As Howard points out in the comments, I am incorrect and the cost was $995, and Rick emailed me to mention they offered an 895 price plus a $100 room credit for all those that acted early.)
I know that Rick and Howard said that the conference is for serious domain investors, and the price is high to reflect this. People who want to cause trouble for them or who aren’t professionals won’t pay the price to attend. I get that and understand that perspective.
I am not an affiliate expert or SEO expert, but on occasion, I attend affiliate and SEO conferences when they’re in NYC. I never pay for the full rate because I wouldn’t take away enough to justify the cost, so I either pay for a pass with less credentials, or I simply attend the exhibition hall for free. I meet with some of the exhibitors, and I generate business for some of them. My attendance is added value to them, and they are willing to pay for booths because they know there will be thousands of people in attendance, including many people who only go to the exhibit hall.
I believe there are a lot of people who buy, sell, and monetize domain names as a hobby or they own decent names and don’t know there’s an actual domain industry. The cost of a Traffic conference ticket is prohibitive to them, so they’d never show up. If there was an option to buy an exhibit hall ticket or a less expensive ticket, attendance would be greater and there would be more opportunities for everyone.
Sure, some amateurs might show up, and perhaps even some “riff raf” who don’t really belong, but I bet there would be a number of people who have an interest in learning more about the domain industry, and it could bring some new blood into the space.
I think it’s a great idea to have a Traffic conference in San Francisco right around the time of ICANN. However, if there is a hope for some attendee overlap, the ticket prices will have to come down. Otherwise, it’s going to end up being a bunch of meetings in the lobby, which will be annoying to show organizers.