This part of my report from Wednesday’s DOMAINfest Networking Event will be dedicated to the afternoon’s group panel discussions and live auction, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the best parts about going to DOMAINfest—the people!
One of the first people I recognized was Patrick Ruddell, of ChefPatrick.com fame, who joined Oversee.net’s team in April 2010 as a broker for Moniker/Snapnames. If you were following our Twitter feeds last week, you’ll know that we bonded over Coca-Cola, since we are both self-proclaimed addicts and champions of Coke products (he even admitted he used to have a Coca-Cola bathroom set, which I think takes the cake).
Patrick is extremely good at what he does, an all-around approachable dude, family man, and definitely one of the more entertaining characters at DOMAINfest.
There were also several key figures who were involved in the Affiliate Summit conference, which was held earlier in the week, including Andrew Hazen. Andrew’s company Prime Visibility is well-known throughout internet marketing circles for boosting SEO and conversion rates for Fortune 500 companies, and in addition to countless other online ventures, he is well-known in the Twittersphere. I’ve been a huge fan of his work for a long time, and he couldn’t have been nicer.
I’m anxious to tell you about the small group discussions, but I should point out a few of the other interesting folks I talked to, including Craig Rowe of WhyPark, Prabhjat Singh of CoolThings.com, Dan from eDomaining.com (you can follow him at @eDomaining), David Cox of TargetMarketing.biz, who specializes in home services and construction names, Kim Boswell, Lori Anne Wardi of DotCo and her intern Shira, and Christoph Grüneberg of Domainvermarkterforum.
The afternoon’s expert panels were divided into four groups – #1 Local Search Trends, #2 How to Get the Most Out of Affiliate Marketing, #3 Online Advertising Trends, and #4 Legal Q&A.
I spent the most time in Group #3, talking to Jay Berkowitz of TenGoldenRules.com, who stressed the importance of getting the associate assets related to your domain. Let’s take the example of TrademarkAttorneys.com. If you’re looking to build up traffic and repeat visitors to your site, you should really own ALL of the available assets related to that domain, so Facebook.com/trademarkattorneys, and trademarkattorneys.blogspot.com, as well. Set up a Twitter account and follow all of the trademark attorneys you can find, and RT (“retweet”) their posts.
Set up a newsletter that goes out on a monthly basis with the Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Trademark Attorney, and within the email newsletter, provide links back to your site. A lot of this is common sense, but it helps to be reminded that the domain name is not enough. If you’re looking to sell a name, you might even be able to offer these associate assets as a package deal.
John Berryhill and Ari Goldberger (pictured above) were the experts for the Legal Q&A, and I swear—they need to have their own podcast or TV show. They’ve both specialized in internet law and domain name disputes since before the UDRP existed, and they explained everything in a clear (and often hilarious) manner.
Group #1, Local Search Trends, which included experts Andrew Alleman (of DomainNameWire), Elliot Silver, and David Asplund (of Zco, mobile app developer) was also helpful. Andrew Alleman said that the biggest thing in local search marketing right now are the Google Listings (for businesses) that show local businesses on the map. You have to be a brick & mortar business (or at least have a business address) to sign up, but a lot of people have been finding ways around that, by using P.O. boxes or fake address. Andrew believes Google is going to start cracking down on that in the near future.
A lot has been said about the Moniker Live auction that took place on Wednesday, so in order to save space (and because I’m still sleep deprived right now), I’m not going to go into great detail. There were some good deals to be had, including FreeCreditReports.us, Companion.com, and GroceryStores.com. The folks at Oversee.net did a great job organizing and promoting DOMAINfest, and the Grand Hyatt was the perfect location for such an event. Lunch and the Power Networking Dinner were good, although according to some, they “skimped” compared to previous years.
Overall, I met some great people who I hope to keep in touch with post-conference, and I’m already looking forward to my next event!
As successful as DOMAINfest was from a networking perspective, there are a few things I’d do differently next time. If you’re considering attending a domain conference, don’t make the same mistakes I did: