What Conferences Are Worth Attending?

I assume that most people who are active in the domain investment space have attended a domain conference like TRAFFIC, DomainFest, NamesCon, or one of the other conferences that have gone on in the past. I know that domain investors also attend other industry conferences, and I am curious which ones you think are worth attending.

Some conferences that are popular amongst domain investors and domain industry companies include:

  • LeadsCon
  • HostingCon
  • AdTech
  • SES
  • PubCon
  • SMX
  • SXSW
  • Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

There are dozens of relevant conferences and trade shows that could conceivably benefit domain investors. I’ve attended several conferences (usually the free exhibition hall pass), and I’ve had some good meetings and introductions as a result. Not only are these other conferences excellent for people who are interested in turning their domain names into businesses, but they can lead to other sale or joint venture opportunities if the right connections are made.

One negative issue I’ve encountered at least a couple of times is the negative perception of domain investors. It seems that people outside of the domain investor space look at domain investors as either cybersquatters, people who got lucky by being in the right place at the right time, or people who are scummy for owning good domain names and asking for a lot of money to sell them. Obviously, I disagree with all three assertions, and when someone thinks what you do is scummy, it’s a pretty bad feeling.

If you have attended non-domain industry conferences or tradeshows, it would be great to hear your perspective on them. What are your favorite tradeshows to attend? Would you get the full conference pass or skip that and reserve a free exhibition hall pass?

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. We are all catfish, from the self proclaimed “King of Porn” aka “King of Porn Domains” aka “King of Domains”. The King got his start as the master of PORN, not for domain speculation, that just happened when porn didn’t make enough $$$$ anymore.

    We are all bottom feeders … we eat what others leave behind 🙂 I won’t go into what catfish eat off the bottom of the rivers/lakes …

    We are the door to door salesman you want to slam the door on, who don’t take no for answer, and keep bugging you until you buy/sell for the price they want …

    What have I missed???


    Catfish Hunter

    • I disagree a bit with that notion.

      The figurative (these days) door to door salesman sells crap that people don’t want or need. Professional domain investors tend to own some of the best domain names around, and people actually want what they have. They might be jealous or angry that domain investors are “hoarding all the good domain names,” but I think that is probably jealousy more than anything.

  2. Hi Elliot

    I hope all is well with you and your family.

    I have been to the TRAFFIC conferences and have just booked my ticked for the 10th anniversary conference TRAFFIC East 2014 in Miami which should be great event. I assume you will be there?

    I have also attended other Internet Marketing conferences such as CJU (Commission Junction University) in Santa Barbara and The System Seminar http://www.thesystemblog.com in Chicago run by Ken McCarthy ( Ken ran the first ever internet marketing conference in San Francisco back in 1994. You can watch it in full on You Tube.

    See you in Miami.



    • It’s worth it if you have never been to one before. You can’t say you won’t learn anything. 🙂 I haven’t had much exp with AdTech but heard there is some value / worth there.

  3. “or people who are scummy for owning good domain names and asking for a lot of money to sell them”

    Well of course “a lot of money” is in the eyes of the person trying to buy for sure but there are definitely sellers of domains who are a little wacky with their pricing no question about that. Not only that but they don’t even engage at all.

    I define “a little wacky” as (in part) a huge amount of money in which the seller is highly unlikely to get, ever.

    For example, if you own a 2 letter .com and you want $500,000 for it that is not wacky. If you own a 2 letter .com and want $5,000,000 for it that is wacky. Even though 2 letter .com’s have sold for over $5,000,000 the chance of a willing buyer, with money coming along is very low.

    Likewise, holding out for $700k for ireport.com is wacky even though the domain sold for $700k. (I understand that was just playing the buyer for sure). But the chance of, once you get to a certain point price wise, in getting way beyond that point, or even having a willing buyer again, is extremely slim for sure.

    I think the demarcation point is are you in the business of selling domains for the most you can get, or are you a gambler? You hear about the gamblers who win but you never hear about the gamblers who pass on deals and lose (just like in stocks and real gambling).

  4. I went to the last WordCamp out here in Phoenix and was surprised by the turnout (~700 people). While a good portion of the attendees were novice users looking to step up their WordPress game, I met a few local developers that had quite a bit of talent (with open schedules). My intention was to learn about new/upcoming WordPress features, but it seemed like a great setting to meet local developers face to face (especially if you have a new project in mind). There are Wordcamps hosted all over the world and you can find the upcoming locations listed at:


  5. I’m attending the Women 2.0 conference in San Francisco, and have blocked off time to go to SXSW next year. I’m a fan of non-domain events because of the breadth of topics covered; I find it’s valuable to learn about other fields and emerging technology, and you always end up making interesting connections with people.

    Last week, I went to a one-day Digital Analytics Symposium here in D.C. – topics ranged from search trends and consumer psychology to site testing and complex data visualizations. Moving forward, I don’t think domain investors can live in a bubble. Domains are an important part of marketing strategy, but it helps to be able to back that up with data and place it in context for the field and the audience you’re targeting.

    I also went to WeddingMBA in Vegas – but that’s tied to a specific development project. If I had unlimited time, I’d also want to check out CES, MozCon, LeanUX, and TED Global.

    While not a conference, per se, I did Lean Startup Machine last week and found it tremendously valuable. My team came in 2nd overall.

  6. I’ve attended PubCon Las Vegas for years and will be attending once again, this October. It offers a wide range of internet/digital marketing topics on separate “tracks”, there’s a vast array of expert speakers, there are interactive site review sessions all day- every day (which alone, at times, may be worth the price of admission), many opportunities to fashion your own networking (lunch provided daily, many parties / socials, certain bars will become hubs for late night discussions, etc.) . . and it’s Vegas.

    Conferences are usually what you/I/we make them. It takes a certain amount of planning (what sessions, etc), reaching out in advance (who or what will be good/best where when), friendliness or social skills (buying someone a drink can lead to discussions that can change people’s lives), intelligence, contribution (“takers” or leeching only goes so far; share insight and people often reciprocate), humility/openness (Sometimes “I don’t know but . . ” can be the best opening line), and sometimes luck (right place, right time) to extract value.

  7. Elliot Good Morning.

    We attend a number of conferences annually. TRAFFIC and Namescon (because of business relationships and friends) are a given. We meet a number our lead gen partners at LeadsCon. We have met a number of new merchants at the Affiliate Summit over the past 14 years. Last Month, Jammie and I were at the Net Suite conference in San Jose, then to Magento in Las Vegas and Chicago for Nama. I always learn something and meet someone I didn’t know.


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