One of the most common questions I was asked during the waning hours of the GeoDomain Expo was whether I planned to attend TRAFFIC up the road in Silicon Valley. As you can see from the title of this post, I am not at TRAFFIC, and there are a couple of reasons.
The first and foremost reason was that I went directly to Burbank for some ad sales following the show in San Diego. It was a 3 hour train ride along the Pacific Coast, and it was a great opportunity to catch up on some rest and to think about many of the things I learned at the Geo Expo. I must say, the Expo gave me added confidence in the area of ad sales, and I have 3 pending deals, two of which may be big deals.
The second reason I didn’t attend TRAFFIC this time was the price. Sure, I could have spent the money on my flight to San Jose, hotel rooms, and TRAFFIC ticket, but in this economy, I am cutting costs. It was more pertinent to my growing business to visit Burbank than it was to attend the show. I also plan to attend TRAFFIC in New York, and I look forward to seeing many of the same people who are now at the show.
BTW, don’t forget to tune in to the Moniker auction later on today. Now it’s time for some follow-up emails!
I’m with you on this one, Elliot. Even though Rick and Howard begged me to come because of their love for me, I had to pass ;-). If I went, I would bring my wife, because nobody would talk to me if she wasn’t there. There’s $4000. Then hotel costs, travel costs, buying Dub-A and Atom single malt scotch all night every night, and you with your 20 year old Cognac demands, dang, the costs add up. I added up the total expected expense, and I saw about $6500 going up in flames, just to see Jothan Frakes be swarmed by 15 domainers in the middle of me telling him how funny the last Simpson episode was. I hate having a genius for a good friend. Nobody pays attention to me when I’m talking to Jothan. Sure, he can make your company big bucks, but I can make balloon animals…
Plus, my boss Craig was going to be there to announce the Whypark/Parked.com deal, and I wanted him to be the focus, instead of me running around waving my arms.
But man, that $6500 I saved sure let my girl and me go on a nice spending spree! Just THINK of all the nice things you can buy, along with the restaurant outings… and since the TSV show started, I haven’t spent half of that money I would have spent listening to Rick tell me that his conference is — like, the first, the best, and everyone else is copying him. lol.
If Rick lowered his price to $600, I might be interested, because TRAFFIC may be elitist, but it doesn’t pay out if you already know everyone who is attending, unless you have something to sell. I got nothing but my good looks. 😉 It’s not like RS needs the money… or… ???
Here, let me say this again for the umpteenth time…
PUT ON A CONFERENCE WITH A THEME AND INVITE ALL THE ENDUSERS WHO FIT THAT THEME. SPEND SOME MONEY ON ADVERTISING TO THOSE END USERS THROUGH THEIR INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS. BRING IN THE NEW BLOOD.
Then maybe, just maybe, domainers will get something out of attending a domain conference and auction, and be able to talk to new blood and educate people who will might set a new trend of domain buying because we educated them.
I am waiting to see which conference producer will get THIS and move to make it happen. I fear that many of them just hope to get the same people/domainers over and over again, just paying the high price of admission so they can prove they can afford it.
I can afford it, but like you and many other domainers, do I want buy something I already bought three times before?
I’m a free agent now, so I can speak like a Viking again! yay!
Elliot I could not agree more with this post. I am a new comer building a small portfolio the last couple of years which has been an education in itself. Several months ago I posted this very similar post at Rick’s blog suggesting reduced fees so end users could be more enticed to attend. His response if you are interested can be seen at
http://www.ricksblog.com/my_weblog/2008/12/my-entry.html#comments under the heading The Look of Priceless and a Chance to Seize Opportunity. Here you can read the response to the my coment.
Thank you for all your posts and insight, I appreciate you sharing your experiences.
I always go to DomainFest which is my favorite conference (Playbody Mansion party did not hurt either 🙂
However, I was not going to spend the money on Traffic anymore. I rather spend it on buying a good quality domain.
I already know many of the people there from other conferences and I can read about it online.
I still think TRAFFIC offers the chance to meet with different people, and a smaller conference can be more intimate, allowing for better conversation. I am planning to attend the New York show though.
Would love a post about what you learned about ad sales. When calling on advertisers is it an issue that you are a one man shop? Do you use your cell phone for call backs, or did you get a business line set-up? Have you had success with hiring independent ad sales reps? etc
Your wish is my command:
More to come of course…
I’m with you Stephen, the spouse pass is a deal breaker. If they sold the spouse pass for a few hundred like DomainFest does I would have gone. I still want to go to amsterdam despite the nightmare I have with my schedule during that time, but they are gonig to have to work with me on the spouse pass. Sarah (my wife) will certainly not see any kind of return on her $2k ticket.
I know, it’s ridiculous. Maybe charging 30-40% of the ticket fee to cover food expenses if your spouse attends, but full price for spouse is trumpeting the word “gouge”.
Heck, I’d do a “team price” where one person pays full price and then brings as many attendees as he/she wants with a 30% discount for anyone in his/her group. But then, I don’t cloak myself in that invisible mantle of 2004 “I’m an insider” mentality. So I believe all people interested in investing in domains should be invited to attend, at a reasonable price. I’d even break it down to “per day” costs.
Some domain conference producers still believe that they have this “magical special quality” because they “know everyone important” in the industry, have a recognizable name, (but so does everyone else who’s been active in the industry for more than three years – look at Elliot, who commands universal respect and knows anyone who is anyone in this business). When your marketing angle is consistently “only the best people attend”, and “invitation only” (then you provide a link for noobies to sign up as a cold lead – lol) blah blah… then you’re just pulling on your name, instead of the benefits you can provide BEYOND meeting other people who think they need to “pay” your sucker high ticket prices to seem as if they are “successful” enough to afford to attend.
I don’t like that marketing angle, because some of the millionaires I know made their money by being thrifty, thinking and buying smart, and saving every possible penny.
Charging ridiculous high prices to attend a domain conference is purely a profit chute, especially when marketing the event mistakenly based on the assumption that the conference is the “best” for you because only those who can afford it are worthy for you to meet. lol… This is an old, flawed and cheezy marketing practice. Why is it flawed? Because it works a few times, but after that (2006)… zzzzzzzzzz
Man, for $2000, you should get your room for free, and all food functions from breakfast to dinner covered (room rate per day average $200 x 3 = $600; food 3×3 at average $25 = $225, total gross cost per attendee = $825). Throw in a few other significant premiums ($175 of nice events/products/speakers per attendee) that benefit your domain business, then I’d be impressed. So $1000 of gross expenses per attendee is not a “gimme” to charge double that, unless you can! And if you can, you got moxy, and more power to you!
But what do I know? Producing a conference is not easy, and most domain conferences make a nice profit after sponsorships and tickets are sold. However, bragging that your conference is the “first and best and everyone else is copying us”, which is kind of pitiful…still sings “Bad Taste” even if nobody says that to your face. If my friends didn’t tell me all the time what an obnoxious person I was, I’d be worse than I already am. Those are friends who truly are friends.
NOTE: Best conference of all the ones I attended, (including the one I produced), is Domainfest ’09. By far. I would try to repeat that same event, same location, maybe new after-event locations (but the same locations of ’09 would suffice). Why? Because most domainers I’ve talked to about Domainfest 09, those who attended told me that conference was the best, and those who DIDN’T attend said they really wish they did, because they HEARD from everyone that it was the best.
Listening Oversee? If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it!
I totally agree with you. DomainFest is what I attend every year and that will be it. Rick considers Traffic an investment but I feel buying a good domain name instead of spending money on Traffic is a better investment. I like Rick and I read his blog all the time and respect what he has done, but the price of traffic needs to come way down and you will see many more people attend.
Guys… I think Rick likes the exclusive nature of the show and many people at the upper echelon can and will pay the listed price.
The NY Yankees had an issue where the price of their field-level seats were very high and many didn’t sell. Despite the fact that the Yankees put out a quality product with some of the best players in the league, they dropped their prices because of the economy last week. People are still saying the tickets are overpriced, as scalpers are selling them for less, but it shows that sometimes price drops are necessary.
You know what else I dont’ get is why they have so many traffic shows, all one after another. For $2k a ticket (or $4k in my case with the wife) you can afford to fly to New York or San Jose right? I think they’d sell more tickets if it was really an exclusive show that happened only once a year. I’d be more inclined at least myself. For me the big issue is the spouse ticket. I think its a good show to attend but seriously $2k for my wife?
If you want to make it exclusive do it once a year and charge $3k and do the spouse for $1k. Makes more sense to me. I don’t exactly feel pressured to buy tickets to Traffic because I can always attend the next show next month. Do the same people attend all 3 shows, or is it a completely different crowd each time (ignoring the vendors/sponsors).