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Domain-Domainer Conferences: Arranging The Deck Chairs On The Titanic?
How many self-described domainers have attended or will attend PubCon Las Vegas?

 7:58 pm on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Though I'm weaning myself from the "domain (centric) dialogue", as I venture further as a developer, I still like to do my due diligence by reading a few of the domain news sources. However, the last thing I'm going to do in 2010 or 2011 is to attend another domain conference.


For one thing, the dialogue has largely been about PPC's decline and "what are we going to do about it" . . but the conferences, by their own description, don't hold a candle to PubCon's agenda. So although the domainer's lament is "what are we going to do . . " they beat a path to what I consider pseudo-development conferences.

So, I have to ask, why go . . to another domainer conference . . when the handwriting, in your domainer-PPC-blood, is on the wall? To commiserate? To go bargain hunting?

I've been to a domain conference. x1. It was nice to meet some folks I've only known via message boards.

But really . . the auction activity has been in decline for years . . and auctions used to be a high point.

Go to talk about PPC? Really? Like you like talking about flesh wounds, dashed hopes and shattered dreams? :P

Does anyone really go to talk about domain development? Does anyone still believe that development means "mass domain development"? (Make me barf . . no, puke)

Any domainers going to their first PubCon this year? Or their second or third?

Anyone who used to spend more time in domain forums now spending more time in Webdev forums?



 11:52 am on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Actually, when the first two items for the conference agenda mention "cabana girls", they've lost me already.

The entire agenda of some of those conferences seems to be at least 90% partying and whining ("whining and dining?") But I was a developer to begin with ... I'm used to a little more substance.

Does anyone really go to talk about domain development? Does anyone still believe that development means "mass domain development"? (Make me barf . . no, puke)

Don't get me started on that!


 1:10 pm on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Does anyone really go to talk about domain development?

Like a few (maybe many) others I have admitted defeat and know that I'll never get round to constructing all those wonderful sites I had swirling around inside my head therefore I am only renewing very selected names these days and buying only very specific ones.

Good luck to anyone who picks them up for the regular price.

On that point I noticed a keyword .in name for sale. I contacted the seller and he came back with USD 50,000.00...obviously I laughed and said "No thank you".

He did come back to me aking me to make an offer and I was very genuine with him when I showed him two recent purchases. Both were the same keyword as his, one was .co.uk and the other .de...STG 300.00 for the .co.uk and EURO 500.00 for the .de.

I think he's still in shock!


 2:25 pm on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

There has been a massive shift in domain industry trends since 2008. Some of it is down to the artificial scarcity that was caused by domain tasting and kiting. When that problem was partially solved by ICANN, it effectively opened the floodgates again.

The domain bubble of 2005 to 2008 drove the explosion in domainer conferences and seminars. This kind of thing is actually quite common with bubbles and it is very similar to the property and real estate conferences. Naturally some of those at the top, as with real estate, had a grossly inflated view of what was really their own dumb luck and often mistook it for prescience or some kind of intelligence.

The auctions used to be interesting. The Dublin TRAFFIC auction was interesting for a whole different reason as it was almost a complete wipeout. The dodgy .eu domains that were being touted at a few of these auctions seemed to have dropped off the radar. I guess the big mistake that these guys made was in thinking that there was a viable English language .eu market. The real English language .eu market is probably around 100K domains in the UK and about 10K in Ireland. The rest of the .eu domains supposedly associated with those countries are owned by cyberwarehouser/direct navigation/cybersquatter front companies. But they also underline a very important point about a TLD - there has to be development or the TLD dies.

The principle of direct navigation is that people will type in a URL because they think that there should be a website using that domain. It makes sense when there is a: enough people using that TLD and b: a high level of developed domains in that TLD.

The mass development thing is a bit strange. It is like baiting a whole pile of fishing lines instead of using a single net. At worst it is cargo cult and at best, the cookie cutter design makes it very easy for a search engine to flag and, if necessary, remove such sites from its index.



 3:35 pm on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

The effect of domain tasting can be seen in this Flash graph: [hosterstats.com...] You can remove a line by clicking on the New/Deleted/Transfers boxes at the top of the graph. The removing the Deleted and Transfers lines shows that the .com growth (new domains) is almost back at early 2005 levels. The ramp-up of domain tasting really started in 2005 and the first steps can be seen as the deletions begin to resemble the previous month's new domain count.

In late 2007, legal action over the abuse/infringement of trademarks was taken by Dell against a group of registrars who had been rather active in domain tasting among other things. The next big fall was in mid 2008 when ICANN was encouraged to do something about domain tasting. By that stage, the market was changing anyway but ICANN's board resolution hit the economics of domain tasting by adding a nominal cost.



 4:50 pm on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

The principle of direct navigation is that people will type in a URL because they think that there should be a website using that domain.

This action has always puzzled me.

Who, what, where, why, when did anyone teach anyone this?

In the early WWW 90s days I went to schools and colleges teaching how to use the basics of the Net in the UK and never, ever saw any teacher do this. Is it an American "thing" or did someone one day accidentally type in a domain name, actaully found what they wanted and then disinformed all the newbie users?

Or was this a domaining industry marketing ploy?

</sorry, a bit off topic>


 5:00 pm on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

It is strange behaviour but people often will do it because they expect that such a website exists. There's a similar effect when people have a search engine set as their homepage. They will enter the url of the site in the website's search box rather than on the browser's address bar.

Direct Navigation is a very real effect though. However it was related to the size and growth of .com TLD. There seems to be a difference with Direct Navigation in ccTLDs though because of how people remember ccTLD URLs and of course there is a big difference in traffic.

There are many generic/Direct Navigation keyword domains in .co.uk as well as most other ccTLDs. However with .com, .de and .uk, it is like fishing in an ocean. With some of the smaller ccTLDs, it is like fishing in a puddle. The growth of ccTLDs and the inward focus of many countries with strong ccTLDs has affected .com Direct Navigation. It is just a theory but I think that some of the decline in PPC on parked keyword domains over the last five years or so could be due to shifting registration patterns and the rise of the ccTLDs.



 12:19 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

In a somewhat sad turn of events one of TRAFFIC's organizers, Howard Neu, is now publicly disparaging another domain event organizer, Oversee, for sending a few of their employees to attend the event's "outside the meeting hall" events and gatherings and for a few other not so nice acts.

Ya, it was not quite a class act what Oversee did, but most folks already know something about the character and/or characteristics of the players. So what does the "calling out behavior" do except make the industry's "leaders" look a bit ______. (You fill in the blank.)


 1:43 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have been releasing un developed domain names since last year, tis hard enough to develop a few sites and there was never going to be enough time to get round to my fringe interests

personally, I think the economics of domain investing are problematic, it appears to me that the few headline hits mask the gadzillions of unsold unprofitable domains, financed for years

its been a relief releasing these domains


 3:48 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

There was a similar conference organiser clash a few years ago. It seems to be a start of bubble/end of bubble thing.

The TRAFFIC Dublin thing turned out to be something not even a few pints of Guinness could save. It might have been great for tourists but it was poorly attended by the locals. The .ie ccTLD has rules about domain sales and also is far more stringent in terms of what can be registered. So it was not possible to auction any .ie domains at the show. The .eu is almost unused extension here and of the supposed 50K or so "Irish" .eu domains only 10K or less are genuinely Irish owned. (Most are owned by non-EU cyberwarehousers and direct navigation operations.) In terms of usage (I'm currently building an Irish search engine index) the .eu ccTLD is just a non-core TLD in Ireland. There are more .co.uk domains registered in Ireland than either .eu or .net. In reality the Dublin TRAFFIC show seemed to be some kind of tourist event.

There's a gradual shift to ccTLDs and the TLDs on the periphery of the com/ccTLD axis are getting hit hard. Some of these conferences had made their money on .com domains but they seem to be vulnerable to lower priced competition and, ironically, the conference is a volume business.


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