Location: Prague, Czech Republic How long have you been in the domain industry? Professionally since 2010 but owned domains since the mid nineties. Favourite extension: .com Domain name you wished you owned: traffic.com Now reading: "2030" by Albert Brooks Now watching: Ray Donovan on Showtime Best city for conferences: I attended 18 conferences last year, and the logistically obvious are NY and Vegas. But I love conferences in Malta, London, Prague, Cologne, Los Angeles, and Miami. Your mentor: That depends, I had a few. I have emulated and derived my professional skill set from many people. But in my early career a man named Louis Carducci was instrumental in teaching me how to read people and why you need to in business. He also taught me the value of showmanship in sales and why you need to trust before you are ever trusted.
Describe your company and how long you have been there? I founded HasTraffic in July 2012 two days after finding out my wife was pregnant with my youngest son and one day after being 'fired' as General Manager of ZeroPark.
Can you tell us about your last time at NamesCon and what you got out of it? I have presented and attended both previous NamesCon events, and last year's was excellent for both Namerific and HasTraffic. We picked up at least a dozen new domain publishers last year for HasTraffic and Namerific found excellent new .coms to brand and sell on the site.
NamesCon is all about business networking. Can you tell us a story about the success of a meeting at NamesCon? We essentially relaunched Namerific last January at NamesCon and developed more brand recognition from the supply side from that event than all others combined. HasTraffic also can trace at least 10 significant publishers to meetings held at the conferences in 2014 and 2015. Plus I got a free haircut at the WaterNight party in 2014!
Can you tell us about how your service or product helps deliver value to your customers? HasTraffic adds value to the domain traffic landscape by providing an transparent auction solution whereby direct advertisers not only compete for the domain traffic, but the domain owner can set min bids (reserve prices) and fallback to most parking companies (Bodis, Sedo, Parking Crew, Rook/Domain Sponsor, etc) if the min bid prices are not met. If you wanted to sell your Picasso, you would not give it to Google and let them sell it for whatever they wanted to, and give you what THEY felt was fair. You would bring it to Christie's or Sotheby's, set a reserve price and make them tell you what they sold it for. They would get a fixed commission and it would not be 57%. We treat your traffic like a Picasso, let you set the min bid, let you fall it back to Google or wherever you like, and take a 15% auction commission, regardless of how high the bids go.
Namerific provides an SEO optimized environment where domains are sold as BRANDS with logos and suggested uses instead of just rows on a Excel sheet.
What kinds of changes to you foresee within the industry in the next year? 5 years? Less Google, more direct advertiser solutions.
What fact about you would surprise people? I won on JEOPARDY! in the late nineties.
What was one of your biggest “Aha!” moments in life? In January 2009 I found my schedule suddenly and completely open in one of the worst economic situations the US had seen in my lifetime. I still saw the value in my skill set, but no one was knocking on my door to hire an entrepreneurial former magazine publisher. So I took 8 bags, 2 kids and 1 wife and moved to a new country and a new continent to find a new path. I had a sense that I needed to hone my skills in new media and internet advertising and that a humble approach in a startup, as opposed to a large corporation was probably my best path.
The day I interviewed with Elephant Traffic, which at the time had a significant inventory but almost no real advertiser base, the light went off. I walked out of the building in Prague and called my wife and told her I had found what I was looking for and that I would make this company hundreds of thousands of dollars within a few months. In fact we sold a few million dollars within the first few months, but the concept was proven. The moment I saw the inventory and knew how it could be developed, that was definitely a significant AHA! moment.
How does your career compare to what you envisioned in your youth? I actually trained to be a chef in my teenage years, but a pretty intense car accident when I was 18 prevented me from continuing, serendipitously pushing me more towards business pursuits. After some early successes, I 'retired' to university where I studied History, Geology and Philosophy while competing in Speech and Debate. None of these things really prepared me for a career of building multi-channel advertising networks, which I have been essentially doing for the past 20+ years since in online and old media. Not that I ever specifically envisioned a career in the way a boy dreaming of being a pilot or doctor, but I trained to be many things, none of which I specifically do.
How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger? "Imagine a typewriter with a television in front of it . . . "
If you had fifteen extra minutes each day, what would you do with them? Sell 15 more minutes of traffic per day, which is over 91 hours per year. There is a lot of demand out there!
What’s the most recent thing you learned (big or small)? Its harder than you think to get a good PHP developer in the Philippines.
What are you proudest of in your life? Getting back up every time.
What was the best surprise you’ve experienced so far in life? We never let the doctors tell us the gender of our babies during ultrasounds, so we were actually genuinely surprised all three times with all three sons. They continue to surprise us every day.
Name 3 things you can’t travel without. Bowties, cufflinks and good shoes.
Where is your favourite place to escape? Maybe Lake Tahoe in winter.
What was the best advice you were ever given? My first week selling professionally an older 'Willy Lowman type' said to me, "Don't wear bow ties, son. They make you look like a huckster." Sometimes the best advice is the one you ignore.