As the curtain comes down, here’s a look back at last week’s conference in Los Angeles.
Oversee.net’s DOMAINfest Global 2009 was an excellent conference. Now that I’ve had time to relax and reflect on last week, I’d say the conference deserves five stars. Of course, there’s always room for improvement.
-Attendance was very strong at over 600 people. DomainSponsor handed out fewer “rebates” and free passes this year, so I suspect paid attendance was in line with 2008. That’s a heck of a feat given the economy.
-Google and Yahoo domain parking teams at the same show? Very cool. The session with Google’s Hal Bailey was OK, but the best part was meeting with the companies during Thursday afternoon’s networking session. Google brought down about 10 people from the Adsense for Domains and analytics groups. Yahoo’s team made the drive over from Burbank, where the domain parking team is located. The networking session with domain lawyers was excellent, too.
-DFG set the bar for professionalism at a conference. Sessions started on time and the moderators were well prepared. There were no blank stares waiting for the audience to ask questions.
-The entertainment was phenomenal. Although most people will talk about the party at the Playboy Mansion, I had a blast at Universal Studios. Imagine showing up to a theme park and having no lines, an open bar every twenty feet, and the cashier at the restaurants not charging you. I shared a few screams with the Domain Capital guys and Dark Blue Sea CEO Richard Moore on the Mummy ride.
-The exhibit hall was big and had plenty of meeting space. There were a number of exhibitors I’ve never seen before, so it was not just the same-old sponsors. With lots of couches and tables, many people held meetings inside the hall.
Nothing was “bad”, but here are some ways Oversee.net can improve the next conference.
-The legal session on the first day was too good to not be held during the regular conference (it was on the bootcamp day). Instead of the usual smattering of legal questions, the moderator walked the lawyers through an unfortunately common scenario that a domainer might face, including buying a stolen domain, receiving a cease & desist letter, UDRP, etc.
-With 600 people there, I didn’t get a chance to run into many people that I would have liked to. I found out on the last day some of the people who were there that I would have liked to connect with. DOMAINfest Connect was a good idea, but most people didn’t use it. I recommend sending an registration list to attendees a week before the show. It would only contain names and companies, and attendees could opt-out. This would allow me to set up meetings in advance without sending out a hundred “are you going to DOMAINfest?” e-mails.
-Dinner was held at the parties, which meant you didn’t get a chance to eat until after 8 pm. That’s late if you flew in from a later time zone.
Overall, this conference deserves the positive press it’s receiving. Now, all eyes are on New Orleans.