Time for TRAFFIC to be by invitation only, once again

When Rick Schwartz writes a blog post it’s usually some time in the early morning. His unique, direct style is what makes the readers of his blog going back for more.

At Rick’s blog there’s a lot of motivational information, dished with what I’d like to call ‘domainer tough love‘. Not everyone likes that approach; still, it worked wonders for many of us. The drill sergeant in the army did it for me, so did my teachers at school.

I’m not sure what would take for Rick Schwartz to become irritated but perhaps a hefty serving of bullshit would do it. After reading several comments that were attacking Rick’s intentions and overall sentiment in the domain industry, I was left with the impression that Rick is once again about to start telling it like it is.

And that is good.

TRAFFIC has faded as an institution in the eyes of many newcomers and outsiders to the domain industry. Not because of any lack of organization; both times that I attended the event was nothing short of superb.

The main problem appears to be the open door policy of the conference. For several years since it started, TRAFFIC was by invitation only. It was the type of VIP event that required a virtual tuxedo and a certain attitude; it was an initiation, if you must, to the domain brotherhood.

The comments at Rick’s latest post indicate that the amount of disrespect towards the organizers of TRAFFIC and Rick in person is increasing. It’s unfortunate that this is happening and I’m sure that Rick will be cracking the whip pretty soon.

It’s time for TRAFFIC to be by invitation only, once again.

I’ll end this post with a little story for entertainment purposes.

The potato was introduced to Greece in the late 1820’s by its newly elected governor, John Kapodistrias. Having ordered a shipment of potatoes, at first he ordered that they be offered to anyone interested. However the potatoes were met with indifference by the population and the whole scheme seemed to be failing. Therefore Kapodistrias, aware of the contemporary Greek attitude, ordered that the whole shipment of potatoes be unloaded in public display on the docks and placed severe-looking guards guarding it. Soon, rumors circulated that for the potatoes to be so well guarded they had to be of great importance. People would gather to look at the so-important potatoes and soon some tried to steal them. The guards had been ordered in advance to turn a blind eye to such behavior and soon the potatoes had all been “stolen” and Kapodistrias’ plan to introduce them to Greece had succeeded.

What is the moral of this story?


  1. “What is the moral of this story?”

    That Greeks only appreciate things they can steal?


    Just kidding, I couldn’t resist.

  2. Troy, touche. Try again πŸ˜€

  3. I recognize that the true meaning is that we desire most things that we are told we can’t have, or things that appear difficult to attain.

    Getting invited to Traffic (then buying a ticket) would be a lot more prestigious than simply buying a ticket.

  4. Rick just ignores them and calls them pigeons.

  5. I know the potato example is not perfect, but it’s the only real world example I could think of. πŸ™‚

    Exactly so: by offering something for free, you’re devaluing it in the eyes of potential suitors. When you safeguard it and make it harder to be approached, you maintain its high regard.

  6. There are too many TRAFFIC shows nowadays and it is not possible to organize six high quality shows in one year.

    My suggestion is to organize max 2 events: one in the US and one in Europe or Asia.

    That’s enough.

  7. What a bunch of malarkey. I think you are deluding yourself, if you think TRAFFIC should become an exclusive boys club or elitist Domainer hangout.

    I was one of the first ones to openly “bash” TRAFFIC not out of disrespect, but because I felt like it was becoming just that, an elitist Domainer hangout that was stagnating and was loosing it’s vitality. It seems as of late that Rick Latona has put a lot of energy into revitalizing TRAFFIC, trying new formats, honing things a bit and most importantly attracting outsiders and new blood. Making it an “invitation only” event is the worst possible thing that could happen to TRAFFIC.

    P.S. I read and comment on Ricks blog on a regular basis, I have the utmost respect for him, but I don’t agree with everything he says, does that make me disrespectful or a bullshitter? Also, I don’t get the whole potato thing!?

  8. Dean – You miss the point; then again by tagging as “malarkey” an observation that is shared among others you’re simply ostracizing yourself.

    Be as critical as you wish but at the end of the day it’s obvious that the opening of TRAFFIC to everyone and anyone with a credit card has allowed opportunists and bullshitters to dilute the importance of TRAFFIC as a primary domain conference. In the past 18 months the snake-oil salesmen and smoke-and-mirrors performers have diluted the domain industry and its dynamo is sitting idle.

    The comments at Rick’s blog display just that; outsiders with no understanding of the market, its mechanics and balance somehow accuse those that put the domain industry in orbit of self-indulgence.

    About the potato thing, read my explanation above; here’s the executive summary: an exclusive club loses its importance when everyone can join.

  9. Yeah … I’ve gone to the last two Traffic NYC shows, and was in way over my head. They shouldn’t let small-timers like me attend. (I’m not entirely kidding!)

  10. That was the magic of TRAFFIC. You knew everyone there was a serious, successful domainer with a few years experience.

  11. Why so many conferences in a year? People buy cars, bread, chicken, tvs, cellphones etc etc and they don’t need to go to conferences for these products. If something is wrong with the products or if there is something very important the consumers must know about the product to avoid accidents the companies producing the products and/or the government will deal with the problem. They will have a meeting. Conference is an event where people with a common purpose, with a common objective, with a common mission or with a common problem meet to effectively discuss their common problems and to coordinate their efforts to achieve their objectives. If the objective their are trying to achieve is in the interest of all members or society then conference will be free of charge. Whatever institution or organization that organizes the conference would used their own funds to organize the conference. Conference organizers can only charge attendees money if the organizers and the attendees do not have a common objective. The attendees, invited or not, because they are ignorant, would think that their objective with that of the organizers is common, but in fact it’s not. They do not understand that the only reason why they organize the conference is because the organizers want to get money offering people to attend and charging them fees. Not only that. The organizers would get a commission from the hotels for every attendee who stays there. That’s the reason why you see the conference always take place inside hotels. The organizers would also run domain auction in the conference. If anybody buys a domain name they get a commission from the domain owners. So the only people who benefit are the organizers. An attendee do not have to buy a domain name in a conference because Sedo, Afternic and Moniker have all generic and premium domains in their auctions and any body can buy it there, but an attendee, because he/she may be an ignorant, can buy what is coming from the mouth of the organizers and he would be led to buy a domain name as an asset, not to use as an end-user. And after finding nothing to use the domain for he would want to attend the next conference to try to resell it. The next buyer of that domain name, it will take long though before it finds the next buyer, would do the same, and this became a cycle, because it is very very difficult for a domain name, specially generic and premium domain names to land in the hands of end-users.
    AS long as domains are not making it to end-users domain business will be ignored. Articles, news, blogs or comments can only be useful to a market if the product is being consumed, if the product if making it to the end-users, if not, then soon or later the market or business of that product will be seen with indifference. That’s the reason why they are now more houses on sale than apartments for rent, because the house market was driven by speculator, not by the demand of end-users.

  12. tricolorro says

    “About the potato thing, read my explanation above; here’s the executive summary: an exclusive club loses its importance when everyone can join.”


    Desirability is in direct proportion to Exclusivity.

  13. Emma – Domain conferences, much like any industry type event, are not for everyone.

    It seems to me that you’re disconnected by choice from the purpose, function and service of both TRAFFIC and other such events, with a visible bias.

    By all means don’t attend, just don’t attempt to nullify their function, service and purpose for everyone else that desires to benefit from them.

    An important element of conferences is networking which cannot be attained otherwise.

    Talking on forums etc. is one thing but at conferences such as TRAFFIC you actually meet domainers, investors, developers and entrepreneurs, thus being able to establish a different type of communication. There are business deals and opportunities which cannot be found elsewhere.

  14. The educational aspect is appealing to one like me who wants to learn.

    On the flip side, I like the idea of networking while on a tour bus or cable car, to check off one tourist activity in all these great cities TRAFFIC is holding its conferences, to stretch the travel investment.

  15. Interesting post Acro. It has a few dimensions to it – while waiting in the airport I thought I’d chime in with a few thoughts:

    β€’ While Traffic could go invite only, it might effect it’s cashflow (Less attendees and therefore sponsors).

    β€’ Completely agree that conferences are great for networking.

    β€’ The “educational component” largely depends on your experience.

    β€’ IMHO, the major domaining conferences appear to have very different philosophies and attract different crowds.

    β€’ Emma: you are absolutely right. These conferences are businesses. Don’t like them? Well don’t go! πŸ™‚

    β€’ I haven’t seen the “disrespect” you mentioned. If that’s true, I’d just think that you are always going to get “haters” no matter why you do. That’s life unfortunately.

    Time to catch a plane!


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