Shortly after starting my blog in June of 2007, I wrote about the idea of selling domain names at industry tradeshows, although I never even thought about new top level domain names when writing the article. At the time, I said this:
“Small business owners are accustomed to dealing face-to-face with account representatives from the companies with whom they do business. Much of their business is done with a handshake in person at a tradeshow – especially when opening a new account with a supplier. For the most part, this is impossible to do on the Internet. To many small businesses, learning how to successfully operate with the help of the Internet is a daunting challenge. Why not meet with these business owners in person, make them feel comfortable and win their business? All of this can be accomplished by attending industry specific tradeshows.”
Meeting with business owners at industry specific tradeshows could be a great way for domain sellers to connect with end user buyers. In most cases, this isn’t cost effective since most domain sellers don’t have enough inventory to justify the cost of attending and exhibiting at an industry specific tradeshow. New gTLD registries, on the other hand, have the inventory for targeted marketing efforts like this, and I believe they are beginning to do participate in these events.
Here are a few tweets I found from new gTLD registries that have been participating in tradeshow marketing:
- Minds & Machines – .Horse (Pamona Horse Expo)
- Donuts – .Photography (The Photography Show at NEC Birmingham)
- .Build – (ConExpo Show in Las Vegas)
I am sure there are other companies and extensions that are exhibiting at tradeshows with the goal of pre-registering domain names or selling domain names, and I think it’s a good idea. There are some very specific TLDs, such as .Horse, and meeting directly with people in that line of business may be a great way to sell domain names. In addition, even if it doesn’t yield results, perhaps it is also a great way to learn about the target market and change marketing strategy, pricing, targeting, and other aspects of the business plan.
Most companies that operate new gTLD domain registries attend domain industry tradeshows. .Club, for example, is the Platinum sponsor of DomainFest and had a large presence at NamesCon and TRAFFIC shows. Obviously, domain investors will make up a sizeable percentage of domain registrations for most new TLDs, and meeting with them at their conferences is important. I think the end user buyers are the people and companies who will help build TLD awareness for the registries, and getting those companies to use their domain names is important. Attending tradeshows is a great way to make those important connections.
I think it would be fascinating to learn how industry specific tradeshows are impacting new gTLD registries, and I invite them to share some of their experiences.