Argument for Traffic Price Reduction

35

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.

35 COMMENTS

  1. I believe TRAFFIC is intentionally designed for the elite domainer / developer. Thus, the admission price is meant to keep out hobbyists and those who are still learning the ropes. Despite the South Florida location, I couldn’t justify going – perhaps at some point in the future when my sites are ranking better and I have advertisers for my South Florida geos – especially Pembroke Pines, Doral, Hollywood Beach.

  2. The thing I find most peculiar really is the idea that ‘riff-raff’ somehow do not have any money. In my experience some of the biggest thieves, charlatans and downright undesirable individuals drive the flashiest motors and have no shortage of green stuff.
    I guess if the purpose is to have the same ‘elite’ bunch show up each year, ie the ones who both a) are interested enough to go and b) are both willing and able to afford the expense, then dont change a thing.
    I believe however that the domain market’s long term interest would be better served by making the domain market as deep and widely invested in as possible.
    My suggestions: Slash the price, or hold a part of the event at a more accessible rate. Hire a big mean looking guy to stand by the door on riff-raff detail.

  3. “I believe TRAFFIC is intentionally designed for the elite domainer / developer”

    Or maybe it’s a just to get as much $$$$ as possible, Occam’s Razor and all. If he wanted the ‘elites’ he would literally spam the entire domainospehere for months before the conference.

    And you had to see the war Howard New started over an admission ticket with Oversee: charges of being dirtballs (complete with Jewish terminology), ripping off invalid kids and all. It was fun, and despite being deleted by Howard, the comments and post are still in the Google cache

  4. @ Howard

    True that you don’t, but sponsors do (as do potential sponsors), so the more foot traffic, the better for them I would think.

    I don’t know if or how this would work, but just a suggestion 🙂

  5. Howard, I hear you guys say that you “have no product to sell” but like other shows you make additional money from the auctions right ? So hopefully you are selling people’s domains and you (or Rick) also tried to sell some touch screen thing in Orlando right ? Just sayin’ . . but really as an attendee I could care less as long as the stuff I’m expecting is there. . . I expect fun and good networking. Lots of shows pull this off .

    I like attending all the shows even if they have something to sell. I know several people who go to the DS or TZ or Parked sponsored shows but don’t even use those services. What does it matter that a show has something to “sell”. The ongoing drama is tiring. Would it be ok if we stop the finger pointing game some time soon?

    Oh and lastly, I think opening up some parts of the show to outsiders would be a good way to upsell those expensive tickets. Though I bet everyone and there brother would opt for the “tradeshow” ticket . I myself seldom hit the actual “sessions” so the most appealing part for me is the auction and the networking. That’s about all I make it to see. . . .unless of course Elliot is speaking. He’s a “can’t miss” speaker. 😉

  6. I am new to the domain world and I’m one of the people TRAFFIC would like to prevent at this point. It worked, I can’t justify spending that kind of money for a conference at this point.

    Does anyone have a conference specifically geared toward the “new guy” or more of a general attendance?

  7. “Otherwise, it’s going to end up being a bunch of meetings
    in the lobby, which will be annoying to show organizers.”

    As nearly every person knows, the best deals are made in
    the lobby. There you will also become acquainted with new
    domainers and you will get the hottest domain news.

    By the way: here you can read Howards original posting and
    the discussion about it: http://j.mp/dnforumhn

    Ahoi!

  8. My question could look stupid but I never assisted to any of these conferences:

    Does the prices we see by conference owners include the hotel, breakfast and meal or it’s just the price to attend and you have to add hotel and restaurant cost?

  9. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. means BUSINESS. More business was done at our cabanas then at any previous T.R.A.F.F.I.C (or any other) domain conference. Those who come do not measure or consider the cost as they more than make up for it in contacts and deals that they can make nowhere else. This is what also attracts those who want to do business and make deals without buying a ticket. Even THEY understand the value of being at a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference. It’s not just the great speakers, the sessions where successful people in and out of the Domain World impart their expertise, the auctions, the TEST TRACK or the parties. It is the MIX of people who understand the business, who want to increase their income, who know the value of talking to the right people that makes T.R.A.F.F.I.C. the success that it has been.
    I pulled my blog because I had made my point, others agreed that if you come to do business with T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees, you should pay for a ticket, and the nasty comments that were not on the topic were getting out of hand. The naysayers are generally the people who never attend, so their opinions of how T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is run and the benefits that can be derived from attending, are of no value to me or Rick. We will continue to provide the best conference with the best food, the best speakers, the best sessions and the best parties, all of which require us to spend our money to make MAGIC.

  10. I agree. If you want to give the domain industry the exposure it deserves keep the same pricing structure, but add a bargain pass to the exhibit hall. you can also add a one day pass or no parties pass…
    I used to attend the International Investment Conference at the New York Marriott Marquis every year for free! They send free passes for early online registration, and guess what – no “riff raf”.

  11. Howard,

    “I pulled my blog because I had made my point”

    No – you pulled your blog because you sounded like an idiot and you knew it. Additionally people started coming out with shady stuff from your own history. There is nothing worse than people whining online, attacking people personally then asking for industry support.

    The only point you made is how little class you have.

    The TRAFFIC show is great but NO ONE is coming to see you.

    • @ Yaron

      I *think* (not 100% certain) they or another domain conferenced offered a pass for panels but not parties or food… I can’t recall.

      @ Jon

      Howard is instrumental in making the Traffic conference happen. His efforts have been one of the primary reasons there is still a conference. People may not go explicitly to see Howard, but without him, Barbara, and Ray Neu, Traffic wouldn’t run nearly as smoothly.

  12. I don’t know, it was a relatively big attendance. The laws of supply and demand dictate the price wasnt far off. We are not an industry of huge numbers of people. How many more people would have realistically bought at a lower price, and perhaps at what profit to the show? An interesting stat would be what percentage of attendees bought at which price.

  13. Howard states, “T.R.A.F.F.I.C. means BUSINESS. More business was done at our cabanas then at any previous T.R.A.F.F.I.C (or any other) domain conference.”

    This is BullShit…i would like to know what business was done at the cabanas?

    Nothing was done…just people drinking and meeting each other and taking pictures with those models!

    I am guessing less than 5% of people attending did any business deals…is this what you call doing business?…so most people actually lost money attending this conference…no wonder people are sneaking in these events without paying…

    it’s mostly the same damn crowd attending these things…and they just come to meet up with old friends and drink…no business gets done!

    Elliot, please make a new post…and ask the people that attended Traffic to make a comment about what exact business they done at Traffic…

    We would like to know!

  14. the thing that pisses me off is that there’s never any free popcorn. i mean seriously… popcorn only costs a few cents to make. giving it away free is a no brainer.

  15. I wrote a post on my blog on TRAFFIC conference three months ago and it is still actual (originally it was a comment to Elliot’s blogpost).

    I would like to see ONE or maximum TWO TRAFFIC shows in one year (there are already to many events in this industry). We all should focus, so should domain conferences organizers.

    Domain auction should be also organized in a different way – better 100 good names with low reserves than 700 crappy names with sky high reserves. And I tell it from my own experience as I organize domain conference in Poland each and every year. And we sell ~50% of the inventory. Rick announced recently that he will choose names and organize auction by himself and that’s the right way to do it as auction companies can’t deliver proper live domain auction (as for now at least).

    I made also other points in my blogpost. And the ticket price isn’t really that important if the show gives me what I am expecting from it. Anything between $1000-$2000 is OK. Perfect price would be $500-$1000.

    Full post is here:
    http://danieldryzek.com/2010/07/30/my-ideal-domain-conference/

  16. While I’ve never been to a TRAFFIC I can not comment. I was hoping it’d come to Hong Kong but sadly it was cancelled. I really haven’t a clue what these speakers actually talk about that isn’t already readily available to us on the internet by doing a little internet research. However the networking itself, I know is gold. The auctions a great lil entertainment listening to a babbling number guy on stage and the parties an added bonus.

    Heres a question, the parties include free drinks? If so, then $1k is nothing…I can drink through that in one night :-p

  17. Anunt,

    A lot of business gets done at TRAFFIC regardless of what you may think. Is the price of entry justifiable? Sure it is but it can also be done cheaper and this is why a lot of people online complain.

    Note that most people who go to TRAFFIC do not comment on these blogs so for anyone reading this don’t get wrapped up in online comments about a conference someone most likely never attended.

    In fact, ever since the conference wrapped there has been lots of ongoing drama which is basically childish and representative of why it is hard for domainers to come together as a group. As mentioned by a couple people here Howard’s post (which he removed) was simply ridiculous and unprofessional at the highest level.

    Remember when NameJet came in and everybody spoke about how nobody would use them?

    Well, they did.

    People go where the gold is and DomainFest and TRAFFIC are the 2 industry conferences. The only difference is you have one team acting more professional than the other however at the end of the day people are still going to go to both and business will get done.

    If you have to make a judgment of whether or not to attend a conference based on the opinion of somebody else who did not attend then its really not smart business is it?

    The only loser by not going to at least one of these events is the person staying home.

    We can all complain about personalities. Rick and I rarely see eye to eye but no one can argue the guy is able to get a lot of people together at the same venue and that is priceless.

  18. @Anunt

    You are a good example of what I am talking about. Guys with their own agenda who seek to knock T.R.A.F.F.I.C. every chance they get, but who don’t come to the conference. It makes you look like a fool.

  19. @ Anunt

    You sound like a moron. I don’t have to write a post to ask. I’ve done at least 5 figures in business from people I met at Traffic and the deals wouldn’t have been done had I not been at Traffic. This might be 6 figures, but I don’t want to waste my time searching through my records when I know of mid 5 figures in deals off the top of my head.

    After seeing some of the things you’ve said on Rick’s blog, you sound like a joke, and you are certainly wasting your time commenting on domain blogs. Maybe it’s time you found a new hobby or found something else entertaining because you’re turning into the laugh.

    I actually feel a little sorry for you.

  20. 1) I should think the biggest deals are also often the quietest so most people (probably in some cases including the taxman) never hear about them til long after the fact, and even then with tailored details. If this wasnt the case then it would be a bizarre conference for sure.

    2) Will the owner of the red mazda mx5 parked outside please contact security. lol no really, if anyone owns an mx5 and wants a sweet domain name give me a shout.

    (sorry elliot 🙂

  21. I’m amused by speculative comments like

    “This is BullShit…i would like to know what business was done at the cabanas?
    Nothing was done…just people drinking and meeting each other and taking pictures with those models!”

    If people feel Traffic is overpriced then DON’T ATTEND.
    You won’t be missed.

    Every Traffic I’ve attended, I was glad I did.
    And, yes I alway got my money’s worth out of it.

    I already made my verbal commitment to attend Traffic-SF. I’m looking forward to it.

  22. LMFAO I wanted to ask about the flowers thing too but I thought I’d at least try and keep it civil. LOL did you hook it up to a server yet and see traffic data or anything yet :p

  23. Hey Howard and Rick made the best offer ever- they accepted Epik bucks which you can get simply by trading in domains you might be dropping any way.

    Above Dan Rubin
    October 24th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I spent $48 to go – I traded 6 domain names to Epik.com –

    And Epik resold 5000 domains at the SwapFest, many to holders of EpikBucks

    This gets no attention but is a milestone in conference creativity

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