SXSW 2013 attracted a handful of domain companies, and I expect more next year.
SXSW 2013 is over, and what an event it was.
The Interactive portion drew over 30,000 official attendees. Add in the “shadow” (i.e. unpaid) attendance, and it probably topped 40,000 people.
SXSW Interactive attracts developers, tech startups, app companies, graphic designers, and other people who like to wear thick rimmed glasses.
It’s a ripe audience for domain companies since just about everyone in attendance has registered a domain at some point — and certainly will register more domains in the future.
That’s why domain companies have taken an interest in the show. It gives them a chance to interact with end users that register domains for their businesses.
.Co has been at the conference for three years running, and each year it has a bigger presence than the last. This year it offered VIP perks to over 70 startups that use .co for their domain.
Domain.com pulled out the stops this year as well. It sponsored a party and had a booth at the tradeshow.
.Org and .me also had booths at the tradeshow, which is open not just to Interactive attendees, but also Film and Music.
Based on the brief conversation I had with one of the exhibiting companies, the Film and Music attendees are just as much a prospect as the Interactive ones.
Which leads me to this prediction: next year there will be a lot more domain companies at the conference because this is a great event at which to pitch “new” top level domains.
Will we see .music here next year? Although it’s truly the perfect conference to market .music, I doubt that one is resolved by this time next year. But I’d be surprised if Demand Media — which has offices in Austin — doesn’t show up in 2014. SXSW just screams out for .ninja domains. It also makes sense for many of the other TLD hopefuls that want to make a big name for themselves.
All of which leads me to believe that you won’t be able to turn the corner at SXSW 2014 without bumping into a domain company.