“Are you going to NamesCon?”
That is the question now. Who is going? Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Is this the place to be? Well to tell you the truth, It is not a “for sure” anymore.
The question of who is going to NamesCon is really a big deal. With ticket prices being so high now, many people are unsure if they will attend. Do a lot of people want to pay the higher prices for tickets to attend NamesCon this year? No. Many are still on the fence and most likely will not attend. I believe the prices are being raised based on the past years successes at NamesCon.
It seems like it is is a game of chicken now. Based on past years of successful NamesCon events, the demand is higher since everyone in domaining just HAS to be there. So, lets charge more now. Well, that is not the case if you make it too high. They might have screwed the pooch here w/these prices now. GoDaddy took over the event and as much as I love GoDaddy, I have to say, things have changed now with the increase in prices and not much additional added to the show from previous years.
I have just now decided I am not going. I will not be attending NamesCon this month and it is a damn shame. Last couple years I attended and had a really great time. I got to meet some of the people I have looked up to and listened to for years. I also have actually met people face to face that I have worked with for past 10 years online. That was so cool finally putting a face to an avatar, or email address.
But probably most importantly to organizers, auction house, sponsors and exhibitors, (I spent a LOT of money there). This year, I really wanted to bring a friend/partner who has always wanted to invest in domain names. Matter of fact he just bought a car on auction at a recent Mecum car auction out here in Chicago for investment purposes only. So this is the absolute perfect new attendee to have at NamesCon. I told him I would buy his ticket this year if we go. Well, ticket prices at this point are beyond ridiculous, $700 for a standard ticket and $900 for a VIP ticket. I wanted to buy (2) VIP tickets, it would be $1800. That would be more than my room for the (5) days and my airfare round trip from Chicago to Vegas and back. Not worth it. What is in it for me at this point? Did anything change there? No. Only thing that changed is most likely less domainers and higher prices to attend. Most likely less people will be there because everyone I know and talk to in domaining are not going since prices are too high now.
What is in it for NamesCon to have us there? a LOT! When I say “us” I am not just talking about me and my friend/partner, I am talking about all potential new domain investors, and regular guy/gal domainers like myself. I bid on names the past couple years, spent $xx,xxx on a half dozen domains at the auctions. Plus I spent money with exhibitors there as well. I financed a domain there when meeting the dot club guys. I bought emoji domains there at Dot WS/Emoji booth. Opened up an account at DomainCostClub. Re-opened up my UniRegistry account, as they rebranded from DomainNameSales to Uniregistry, Re-opened up my Sedo account after seeing them, opened up an Epik account, etc. The list goes on of the amount of actual business I have gotten done there, and the amount of business the exhibitors/sponsors have gotten from just little ole me.
NamesCon should be begging people like us to go. They lose our foot traffic and our money also. I am not talking about me as one person. I am talking about us as the domaining regular guys/gals and new investors. How many other regular people are not attending this year? Not sure but my money is on, much less than past few years.
In Vegas, which is an awesome place to have the Event, there is so much to do outside of NamesCon. This is another reason, many attend the event there. It’s Vegas!
NamesCon should treat domainers like Vegas treats tourists who spend big money in their town. If you spend money at a casino, then you get perks. You get Players club cards and they give you free drinks, hotel rooms, etc. They make money off of you not just coming there but more importantly they make money off of you “NOT leaving” there. I am really surprised NamesCon raises prices and expects people to flock there in droves just to spend MORE money. Wouldn’t you think they would cater to people who spend money there? Here are a couple free NC tickets to anyone because you spent $5k, $10k or whatever. The sponsors would appreciate it since they are probably spending $10k – $100k and want to see as many faces as possible. Otherwise, It is just same ole people who cannot justify spending their money on a booth there anymore because it does not justify their $10k – $100k costs to be a sponsor/exhibitor there.
If I was an exhibitor/sponsor there at NamesCon I would be upset that ticket prices are so ridiculously high that there will be less traffic to my booth.
Think of it this way, Think of NamesCon as a domain name. That domain name is worth so much today with no traffic at all. Add thousands of visitors daily to that ordinary domain name and it becomes so much more valuable. Do that in reverse and domain becomes less valuable. Traffic is key here. Domain names and an actual domaining event is the same. That is what NamesCon should want. Tons more visitors to spend ridiculous money at their Live Auction, tons more visitors to all of the booths there of domaining companies who are trying to get the word out on their new-fangled domains, services, ideas etc.
This seems like a lot of babble here but it is something that really bothers me as I try to get more involved in the domaining community and try to increase my sales, increase my portfolio value and try to create more relationships with other domainers and domain service companies.
I take 50% of the blame here though. I really should have not waited for prices to go down. I honestly believed the prices would have to go down and they really never did. I spent $200 on my ticket’s both of the past couple years of NamesCon’s. So, I really kept waiting for NamesCon to have a reasonable price ticket offer with some real sale, not just the 25% off that they kept introducing with coupons every month. 25% off of $700 and $900 priced tickets still bring you up to $525 and $675 each. Not reasonable at all, especially since I was going for (2) this year.
I just tweeted a question to NamesCon and asked them if the Live Auction is open to the public or only ticket holders. They have not tweeted back. But I am hoping they are open to the public because i have a couple domains in there and want more traffic to that auction. Maybe that one extra person at auction might hear my name on the big stage and bid. More traffic is key. I really hope they answer my tweet and they say the auction is open to the public. I am sure they have people right there who could sign them up and check their credit, etc. We shall see.
Update: NamesCon just answered my tweeted question…
Ok, so that answers my question. Nobody can participate in the auction from the public. Only the paying attendees. I really wish they let the public enter these auctions as well. Tell you the truth, I had a friend who lives in Vegas meet me there at the Tropicana during the auction. I couldn’t direct him to the auction on the cell when he called me because I was bidding on a domain so I told him to hang downstairs at the bar and I would meet him down there in a few. So, I won my name, then went down there to meet him. I was excited because I had just won the 3rd domain I really wanted to win just a couple minutes before seeing him. Told him about it and he was almost as excited as me. This was weird because he was not a domainer at all. He wanted to come up to the auction, so I brought him up to see some of the bidding action. He loved it. I didn’t know he couldn’t come in at all until just now…lol
Imagine letting the public come into the auction. The domain names that are auctioned off there are more than Newsworthy. It is similar in some ways to high stakes gambling at it’s best. It was cool to see an outsider watch the auction and then get so curious about the whole domaining thing. I just believe that letting the public be part of at least the Live Auction, could only help all investors in the long run.
Either way, I am a little bummed that I am not going this year. Yes, I could pay for the tickets but the prices are just too darn high now and I dont see any added value to the event. I am grateful for the past couple NC events I attended though. Just not worth 3-4 times the price I paid for tickets the last couple years. I am not writing this article looking for a handout at all. I am just writing it hoping for a change that I firmly believe would help entire domaining community for any future domaining events.
To all of you that paid your hard earned money for booth space, sponsorships, events or even just for attendee tickets this year, I really wish you all the best.