I’m PPC Ian, the corporate pay per click search engine marketing guru. More than anything, I believe in the power of focusing exclusively on corporate PPC. When you’re dealing with huge budgets and intricate campaigns, often across multiple verticals, focus is everything. However, I’m also a huge proponent learning new things, especially subjects that are related to the world of online marketing. At the end of the day, all of the channels are interconnected and things you learn in the arenas of display, email, SEO, and domaining will only help your PPC efforts. To that end, I decided to attend T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas domaining conference and just got back. Today, I’m excited to share my experience and key takeaways with you. As someone who wants to see you succeed in the corporate world of pay per click, I want to highlight once again that focus is everything. I strive to spend 10% or less of my time on non-PPC activities (but that 10% is very interesting and high leverage). Let’s talk about T.R.A.F.F.I.C.!
What is Domaining and What Is T.R.A.F.F.I.C.?
I recently wrote an article about why PPC professionals make great domainers and I highly recommend checking it out. To quickly summarize, domaining is the business of buying, selling, and developing domain names. There are two main schools of domainers. The first school are those that buy domains with the goal of selling them for a profit (this is the more traditional side of domaining). The second school are those that buy domains, develop them, and then enjoy passive income.
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is one of the largest conferences for those who participate in the domain game for a living. As you may recall, attending a major domaining conference was one of my 2010 goals so I’m excited to have crossed it off the list so early in the year. More than anything I’m excited to walk away with some new perspectives on online marketing.
How Could I Pass Up The Opportunity To Go To Las Vegas?
I have been interested in attending T.R.A.F.F.I.C. for quite some time. However, as someone who’s not a professional domainer for a living and as something that’s outside the core focus of my company, I could never justify the out of pocket expense. However, this time things were different. As a Bido member, I was able to enjoy a half price ticket of only $897.50! Moreover, I was able to get roundtrip Southwest tickets for only $129.20 total. Last, add in the fact that I was able to stay four nights at MGM’s Signature for an unbelievable rate, and the cost of this great learning opportunity finally made sense. Moreover, Las Vegas is one of my absolute favorite places in the world so that definitely made the decision even more enticing because I was able to combine education with recreation.
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Day One Overview: It’s All About Networking
There are two events during the first day that were truly invaluable. The first was a session where anyone in the conference could go up on stage and introduce themselves to everyone. Being a guy that gets a real rush from public speaking, I decided to speak and discuss my PPC roots. It’s been a good nine months since my last opportunity to speak in front of that many people so I truly appreciated the opportunity. My advice to you: Try to practice your public speaking skills regularly to maintain and grow them. Get a little nervous up on stage? Conquer your fear and go for it!
The second event that really stood out was speed networking. This was a truly great event where you went around the room and had the opportunity to network and exchange business cards with everyone. It was not only an exercise in networking, but a great opportunity to practice my speaking skills. It was truly exciting to meet some amazing professionals within domaining and online marketing. My advice to you: Place yourself in situations where you can meet other professionals in online marketing as great way to expand your knowledge. I’m really looking forward to following up with each and every person I met.
One of my most interesting takeaways from TRAFFIC Day One: I was truly blown away with how few people were familiar with pay per click search engine marketing. While I was totally out of my element (I’m just starting to learn about the world of domaining), the folks I spoke to were equally out of their element in terms of PPC. The result: It was a great opportunity to introduce everyone to the PPC game while learning just as much about the domaining game. While I personally don’t have the time, I think there truly is a business opportunity for a PPC expert to work with domainers in generating more income for generic keyword domain portfolios. At the end of the day, my overall philosophy is a well-rounded one: Combine all the marketing channels for absolute success.
Some Other Interesting Takeaways From Day One:
In 2009, ccTLDs grew at a faster rate than gTLDs. ccTLDs are country code top level domains such as .ca for Canada. gTLDs are generic top level domains such as .com and .net.
Ron Jackson, the official journalist of the domain industry, had a very interesting presentation. He reported $102 million in domain sales in 2009 versus $116.7 million in domain sales for 2008. Most of the difference came from the very top of the market. Add to this fact that some lagging domain sales for 2009 are still being reported, the gap between 2008 and 2009 could be even less. Given the overall rough economy, the fact that domain sales are only down 12.6% is very encouraging for the domain industry.
The largest and most exciting ccTLDs in order of descending interest: .de, .co.uk, .ca, .fr, .es, .mx, .nl, .pl.
A new ccTLD .co is going live this year. Between April and June, owners of .com.co will have first priority to register .co. Between June and July trademark owners will have the ability to capture their .co domain. Then, in July, 2010 the general public will be able to register .co domains. Personally, I was able to pick up some interesting .me domain names when that TLD was first released. I’m personally excited about .co because it’s very similar to .com and could be a very strong TLD in the future.
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas Day Two: Great Motivation and Latona’s Live Auction
Just like day one, the second day of TRAFFIC was quite interesting. I’d like to share with you the two key events in day two that influenced me the most. The first was the keynote speaker, Joseph McClendon III. I’m a big believer in the power of motivation and motivation is exactly what Joseph McClendon delivered. I’m excited to have left the keynote with new knowledge that will help me be even more productive and powerful in my corporate PPC career, awesome! In my opinion, success in corporate PPC (or any field for that matter) is all about passion, execution, and drive. The tools I learned in the keynote will allow me to be even more effective in my career. My advice to you: Find a source of motivation in your life and leverage that source. If you can consistently arrive at work totally motivated and empowered, at your peak performance, you’re going to win the game!
The second event that I truly enjoyed during day two was Rick Latona’s live domain auction. While the auction had some technical difficulties with online bidding and had to stop early (it resumed on day three), I truly enjoyed the auction while it lasted. This was my first experience ever attending a live auction. It was a true rush! As someone who loves to buy domain names (and stuff in general), I decided not to register as a bidder. I felt that it would not be prudent to bid at my first live auction. So, I decided just to watch and observe. While I didn’t participate in the action, the education around the live domain auction process was invaluable. I especially enjoyed the human element of the auction. As a PPC professional, I’m involved in keyword bidding each and every day. Watching people bid on domain names was a very interesting parallel to my career in trading keywords. I absolutely love the psychology of it all. Whether it’s online or in person, I’m hoping to participate in a future T.R.A.F.F.I.C. live domain auction.
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas Day Three: This Is When It All Hit Me
Day three of TRAFFIC Las Vegas was actually the most powerful day for me. This is the day where I finally took a step back and realized that I have a lot to learn about domaining. As a Director of Search Marketing at a large public company, it’s easy to have an elevated ego. Because I’m the best at PPC, I naturally have the tendency to think I’m the best at everything related to online marketing. However, day three really hit home that I have a lot to learn about domaining. At first, this scared me a bit. However, after a while I began getting extremely thrilled that I have yet another media channel and discipline to study over the coming year! My advice to you: Try to stay humble and never stop learning.
There were many specifics that I learned over the course of day three. I started out learning all about parked pages and the 0 click, 1 click, and 2 click models. I was also thrilled to learn that type in traffic converts extremely well (nearly double PPC). I also got a super introduction to the drop name market, a super way to acquire great domain names that I’m currently not leveraging at all.
Perhaps most exciting, I learned that the major parking companies (such as Sedo, Skenzo, and Parked.com) actually have deals with the major search engines (Google and Yahoo). They have feeds with the search engines and will trigger your parked page if the search engine does not have more relevant results to deliver. This absolutely shocked me! As someone who’s always focused on quality score and always been told that those pages of links are bad, this was a real eye opener. Repeat: The search engines approve of parked pages (and have special processes in place to index them) as long as the system is not abused. Go with a quality parking company and you can make money with your parked domains via search engines! This all sounds super simple, but for someone who has been extremely focused on PPC quality score for years and years it really was eye opening.
To close out, I had an amazing time at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2010. It was an energy-packed three days of learning all about domaining. I’m thrilled to now have some new tools in my online marketing toolkit. Moreover, it was really amazing to make some great new friends! I’d like to close out and advise you to closely focus on the core area of your career while always leaving 10% of your time to learn new things. Domaining, in my opinion, is a great compliment to PPC, SEO, display, and email, the most popular corporate online marketing career paths!
All Images In This Post © PPCIan.com