TRAFFIC WEST 2008…One for the history books!

Morning folks!!

Just off the red-eye
flight from Vegas and today we start working on the Orlando show in May. Before
I collapse I just wanted to thank all those that came and supported T.R.A.F.F.I.C. We
had one hell of a week!

In the coming days you
will read reviews from folks that were there. The seminars focused on
Transparency and with the help of some of the top monetizers in our space, we
are on the verge of publishing our standards that will help define things and
make it easier to compare different programs.

The highlight of the
show was the speech by Jim McCann of What few in the room knew
when he came to give his talk was that Jim was the singles longest domain
holder in the room. A 'Domainer' since 1992. The have
multiple websites and web businesses and they are aggressively expanding.


The surprise of the show
for many was Dr. Kevin Ham. (Ieft in picture next to Frank Schilling and myself. Picture courtesy of Kevin spoke at the very first TRAFFIC in 2004 and
has remained very quiet until a few weeks ago when he asked me for some time to
speak at TRAFFIC which I was happy to agree to. He told me 'There was
something he needed to say.' That was all I needed to know because as many
were about to find out, Kevin was much deeper than just the 2.0 story.

Kevin got up early on
Wednesday morning and without notes, gave a MOVING 50 minute talk about things
more important in life than the almighty dollar but at the same time just how
passionate he was about reaching new goals, bigger dreams and feels like he is
barely scratching the surface. I was watching, some were close to tears.
Including Kevin. Including me. Including many. The most moving part was when he
talked about 'Value' and put things in perspective when comparing
things of value next to each other talking about the value of his children
and asked what number do you put on their value. Not even billions would come
close to their value. Money may make us comfortable, but life is short and one
has to keep things in the right order. He talked about Ben Stein and how much
his speech at the first TRAFFIC in 2004 was an inspiration as Ben talked about
spending time with your mother and father while there is still time.

Dr. Ham ended his talk
to a standing ovation. A really warm standing ovation. That only
happened three times before at TRAFFIC. The first standing
'O' was in 2004 and that too was for Kevin.

So when folks talk about
the VALUE of going to TRAFFIC, listening to Kevin was priceless. I am sure
everyone there would agree that his words were worth the price of admission 10x
over. Sometimes the biggest value is found in an unexpected place and

I will let others review
the success and accomplishments of TRAFFIC X, but Howard and I walk away
knowing we gave it everything we had and hope we added value to everyone's
business and the industry in general. Like I have said since day
one.....'When you bring GREAT people together, GREAT things will

Have a GREAT Day!
Rick Schwartz

17 thoughts on “TRAFFIC WEST 2008…One for the history books!

  1. Robbie Ferguson

    Well by the sounds of it I missed another great TRAFFIC event. I really need to get my ass over the US to be at the next event but logistical it’s hard being based in Scotland. I think you should do a european event sometime in the future. Also Kevin Ham the man is a legend you were all so lucky to be there with and hear his speach are you going to put it online, I hope you have it on Video. Seen some of the reported sales also for 800K that another great sale.
    Well once again Rick, you and Howard have put on a great show.

  2. transparent

    Is this the show where being transparent was a focus. Would being transparent including explaining why you own ? Why you feel you must on top of getting away with the greatest extension scandal we may ever see feel you need to do this crap too, or is this how it all truly started and remains ? Just curious. Or like the mafia once the funds are obtained there is the desire to legitimatize and make moving speeches. Anyone with half a brain can see what I am getting at. Its disgusting. This comment is NOT aimed at Rick rather yet more of a reason transparency and the biggest players in the world do NOT go hand in hand.
    Response by RS:
    Stop talking out of your ass. I DO NOT own You came here with an agenda and it backfired because now you look foolish! Funny how know nothings never sign their REAL name. A real man that stands behind his words! NOT!

  3. transparent

    Rick, it was NOT ment to be aimed at you, perhaps you need to read slower, use whois, Jay’s tool maybe ! And then reread the comment. Perhaps you can put two and two together, I am starting to doubt that now though.

  4. Robbie Ferguson

    This guy is clearly trying to have a go at Kevin Ham but he really needs to get a life, he obviously doesnt know what Kevin and other people have done to help this domain industry grow and make people aware of us and our aim.
    Rick you were right to hit back at he or she. They dont even have the balls to sign there name or leave there website as they know they would get a backlash of support from people in the industry telling them what a prat they are.
    Lets keep making money!

  5. evian

    Robbie, the issue is not other people, don’t add to the pot. Nothing one man does can justify the unethical behavior on display as hard as one may try to hide it. Rick did not lash out at me, he merely misundterstood my aim to start, a misunderstanding is all. Your reply is weak, not well thought out and” let’s keep making money” ? I would be suprised with your lack of knowledge on display if you have ever made any real money at all. Maybe Hitfarm will step up for you and buy and… shall I go on ? Prhaps you can go into detail as to what exactly has been done for you, did they teach you how to register and make money off of other peoples backs too ? Seems that is the lesson you learned.

  6. Robbie Ferguson

    You are entitled to your opinion but as you probably just googled Robbie Ferguson and seen that I owned names related to Hitfarm, WOW that’s amazing!
    For you information I own hundreds of names that make there own profits from operating unique websites.
    You say”Perhaps you can go into detail as to what exactly has been done for you, did they teach you how to register and make money off of other peoples backs too? Seems that is the lesson you learned”
    What the F*ck is that meant to mean? What have you done Evian?
    You clearly don’t appreciate how Kevin Ham, Frank Schilling and people like that have helped make the domain market the way it is today!
    Whether you chose to believe it or not these people have been key in the way we make our money online!

  7. Evian

    Yes I use google and whois, what else should I have used, like mocking a cop for using a radar gun to catch speeders.
    Glad to hear you are diversified.
    You claimed they have done all this good, when I asked what good your reply being both vulgar and lacking any answers speaks volumes.
    Do not throw Frank into the mix, this is the second time you are adding to the pot, please remain focused.
    The issue is not what they have done but rather how and continue to.
    It is clear you are not able to discuss the topic at hand. NEXT

  8. Robbie Ferguson

    “The issue is not what they have done but rather how and continue to”
    You mean that they were smart enough to work out ways to make money online?
    Are you pissed because someone like Kevin has the wildcard for the .cm? Is this what you are pissed about?
    Go on please explain your reasons for why you are so against a man like Kevin Ham and what he has achieved?
    I see that again you haven’t stated anything you have done!
    You have a go at me for stirring the pot! You’re probably just pissed that you weren’t smart enough to come up with an idea like Kevin’s.
    I look forward to your reply!

  9. Peter Frank

    Rick —
    I knew there was much to be gleaned from the seminars; but I had no idea how much was to be learned from simply networking with fellow domainers. It was truly a valuable experience for me, and I’m sure for most if not all of the attendees.
    Thanks for putting on the show. I’m sure I’ll be back.
    Peter Frank

  10. w00t

    Kevin Ham — I don’t know if he’s proud of his .cm wildcard and it doesn’t really matter, since what he did is illegal – SCAM. Whatever speeches of”value” he wants to give won’t make it any better. I can make a better speech btw, it’s not that hard.
    Others like frank schilling and whom you may call the”big players”, most people think they are”helping” you all making money, while in fact they are raising prices to their benefit and if a new bubble comes out, well you know who to blame.
    You guys think they are the good people of the industry, all of a sudden they are trying to help everyone else. Maybe you want to look at it from a different point of view. Perhaps those you see with a big smile are really thinking down deep how the hell they can get out of their self-made problems.

  11. Robbie Ferguson

    “Kevin Ham — I don’t know if he’s proud of his .cm wildcard and it doesn’t really matter, since what he did is illegal – SCAM”
    Wait a minute can someone please explain what he has done illegally?
    You do know that you can still register a .CM yes it is going to cost you over a thousand dollars but so what!
    If you think he is robbing you then why don’t you buy the names, It all about protecting your brand or website, I mean look at Google Inc they can buy any name they want but they haven’t bought – Some other New York based business owns this name and Google haven’t done anything about it, again is available but nobody had bought it so it currently goes to where Kevin reaps the awards.
    He is a smart man and remember he also still has to pay the Cameroon Government a chunk of money every month to have this wildcard.
    Frank has bought key names the same as Rick has bought key names – Again they aren’t doing anything Illegal, yes the price of Key names are expensive that’s because they are very rare! If we all were smart enough we would have bought the names or hung in there in the late 90’s when the big bangs happened.
    You need to remember that a lot of these guys have spend hundreds of thousands and even millions building up there portfolio’s of there own money there own risks and yes they have won!
    I am sure Rick could sell his 5,000 names very easily and pocked himself at least 50 – 100 million but he took the risk and has done well.
    Everyone needs to stop hating the players and start playing the game!
    “Together We Can Get Rich”
    Also anyone interested in owning, I just picked it up.

  12. Robert Franks

    I foresee big changes in the coming year or two.
    The price of virtual real estate has been going up every year. Income generated from this real estate is going down (PPC income is lower, no more arbitrage, etc.).
    The old parking model that made many large domain portfolio owners very wealthy does not have a viable future. Bland parking pages will soon run their course as end users won’t be clicking on those ads like they used to, reducing domainers’ revenue even further.
    So, large portfolio domain owners need to do something different to cover their annual renewal expenses. They either need to sell their assets while they can get a premium for them, or they need to invest serious money developing them into useful sites that will attract AND BRING BACK visitors.
    While some domainers are starting to develop sites that actually have value, most domainers don’t have experience developing websites or building businesses. They only know how buy domains and park them.
    It behooves the high profile domainers like Rick and others to tout what a great investment domains are, as it keeps rasing the value of their holdings. Then, they will sell them for a premium. You will probably soon see the one word generics (such as sell to a large corporation (such as Hershey) that will pay top dollar. Parked pages will start to disappear, as will the parking companies.
    I have a feeling that this phase of Rick’s 20 year plan is to sell off his domains to these corporations who will pay the most. Smart guy… buy low, pump up the market, sell high.

  13. Roderick Pagnossin

    I am more than a little dissapointed.
    I don’t know who I am upset at, just a bit let down from this Traffic convention.
    I have been debating, talking about and looking forward to the”transparency” debates at”Traffic”. I have seen no meat from the Traffic theme, except a few comments on Dnj that the theme was”Transparency”.
    What transparency?
    I was hoping we would see some knock out punches to the industry leaders, such as the parking companies being somehow forced to make stats of earnings crystal clear to domainers who park names in the future. What the hell came out of the convention that has teeth in it for us who are more than pissed about this thing called”hocus pocus” or domain parking. After this big focus to help domainers get”transparecy” does it just boil down to the old status qou of parking companies putting on a magic show with our ppc profits? Are we still where we were before the show, having no power with the parking profits. Getting bread crumbs form them and when asked,”what the hell is this a few pennies from our clicks? When asked why, the parking companies answer by giving mumble jumble that only a insider could decipher.
    I guess then we really should be looking at our change from the Mcdonalds $20.00 we gave for a cheap hamburger. We are not going to be getting more respect from parking companies.
    The show has not changed one aspect of”transparecny for domainers?
    Is the theme for the big parking companies still,”parking for profits with the hidden non truths for parking companies to provide smoke and mirrors, so domain owners cannot see true parking profits”, sign up today!
    Parking companies are growing profits so fast it is almost obscene. The average domainer has seen ppc sliding and parking companies profits zoom.
    Traffic has done what about this?
    I have yet to see anything that is improved for the domainer. Unless some big annoncement is in the works, I see nothing Traffic has done for”transparecy”.
    I was not an attended, so let us in on what I missed.

  14. Tony S

    This is to address Robbie Ferguson comments”If you think he is robbing you then why don’t you buy the names, It all about protecting your brand or website, I mean look at Google Inc they can buy any name they want but they haven’t bought – Some other New York based business owns this name and Google haven’t done anything about it, again is available but nobody had bought it so it currently goes to where Kevin reaps the awards.”
    Dear Robbie I hate to tell you that the Cameroon Government is in love with Kevin Ham’s money so much they won’t let people register some names that have high traffic potential. I have tried to register a name from them last year that was”Supposedly Available” (No is wasn’t I had to prove to them I had a legitimate trademarked business mark in a US city, and the Registrar, Rightway Gate, Inc. said everything looked fine. Month’s went by and they still had my $450 registration fee. No Registration was processed. I called them every week and they told me every time their contact person in Cameroon Government wasn’t responding to their emails or phone calls.
    Then all of a sudden my money got refunded to my credit card. No notice!! I email back and ask if my application was rejected or if the name was taken and I get a lame excuse email saying”Dear Anthony,
    This matter would best be resolved on the telephone. I tried calling you this morning but I received your voice mail.
    There is no one that told me the application was rejected; it simply was not processed. Please feel free to contact the Cameroon registry directly regarding your application.
    Please contact an intellectual property lawyer for further consultation.
    Kind regards,

    Rightway Gate, Inc.
    So, you see, they want to keep all those traffic domains for themselves. They want to play TM officials also, which is not a registrars job. They then raised the price of registration price to $750 the same week. I don’t speak French, and why should I have to contact a Government Directly???? What B.S.! Obviously they want the revenue stream to continue from there own parked pages, so forget about registering let alone any other type in or misspell.
    I wish Kevin Ham could address this issue, but I doubt he would touch it in a public forum.

  15. Jennifer

    In response to Tony —
    First, I would like to say that I am no longer working with the above referenced company. I just wanted to clear your story up a little bit because it is not entirely accurate from what I remember. While you did provide documentation for a company in the U.S., you were attempting to register a trademarked name without being the owner of the trademark. While I highly doubt that this was even taken into consideration by the Cameroon registry, it was not entirely ethical that you were attempting to cybersquat on a well-known trademark.

  16. Jennifer

    Also, to add a comment to the last paragraph – I believe you were referring to the Cameroon registry (not the registrar) with regards to them playing”trademark officials.” Well, as most professionals in the domain business know, most ccTLD registries do have policies in place to protect registered trademarks. Obviously, there is a history of lack of oversight in Cameroon with regards to trademarks, but it should be noted that it IS within a registry’s position to protect trademarks.


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