Updates: As I update this post, you’ll find the additions either as UPDATE asides like this one, or at the end where I extend the post to reveal some of the activities I secretly engage in when on conference travel in foreign lands.
DomainingEurope.com is an annual conference held in Valencia, Spain every year. I’ve been the past two years, and it is one of the best trips I make in the web publishing industry. Thinking of gaining some fresh perspective? Fancy a trip to Europe?
I’m going to post some stories and pictures, but in the mean time let me just say Spain is very easy and fun to visit, the host is a top quality person (Dietmar Stefitz), and the conference is totally worthy of the time and attention (practical discussions of real world issues obtaining, using, selling, and the future of Internet domains).
UPDATE: I have a significant discount code if you need it… just contact me behind the scenes at USA @ DomainingEurope dot com.
The Euro is at a 9 year low compared to the dollar, and Spain is one of those countries where the people simply insist on living a good life no matter what the economy or external geopolitical climate might be. In my experience you are never more than 15 feet from someone who speaks English, and never more than 5 feet from someone who is friendly, considerate, and willing to answer a question or share a pleasantry.
For business, I meet more independent-thinking, open-minded entrepreneurs there than at big US conferences like NamesCon… they seem less mainstream, less likely to be working scams, and more thoughtful, and are more deeply involved in their domains and publishing on the web. I also meet vendors close up and personal… there are fewer “invite only” private dinners, for example, and in general a more open community than at US-based events.
Update: After NamesCon, I am even more thrilled to be headed to Europe. The energy behind some of the gTLDs is catching on, and I am very curious what my European friends think of the potential of cross-border names like .club and .buzz in their countries. FYI, jeugos.club just sold for $6000, suggesting that the Spanish langiage market likes .club (juegos is “games” in Spanish).
If you are interested, let me know via social media (Twitter @johnandrews DM me) or email USA @ DomainingEurope dot com… I have deep discount codes available.
If you are a domain industry player and want some insider comments about how good this would be for your brand or gTLD or whatever to engage with, I’m happy to share insights. There is no better venue to continue the meomentum of the new gTLDs in front of an audience of domain investors and developers, than DomainingEurope.
More about Visiting Spain
I enjoy traveling and especially traveling into Spain, for many reasons. While of course it’s great to visit trendy and amazing places, I like to trek through “real” places, where I can participate in the community as other than a tourist. Spain is very easy for solo travel, and interesting.
I tend to “skip out” very often during conference travel. It’s a way for me to scout out neighborhoods and pathways before I have any vested interest in actually getting anywhere at a particular time. In Valencia, the metro is very convenient but it is also a very walkable city.
Secotel Hoteles Sorolla Palace
The Sercotel Hoteles Serolla Palace is a fine hotel and the conference hotel. It is a modern steel and glass vertical hotel in the business district of Valencia. Stay there, to enjoy the guest hospitality and comforts of a conference hotel. The food is excellent, and the spread put out is tremendous. The hotel clearly caters to upscale international travelers and business people.
A few of my European domainer friends chose to stay in apartments and VRBO-like flats nearby in the neighborhoods. They were not high-quality. They were fine, according to them, but very very cheap and you do get what you pay for when choosing cheap, local accommodations off the tourism map. I did not get to visit any but will try harder this year… it’s part of my kind of travel: get to see what others are doing, without having to do it myself ;-)
The food put out by the hotel was always very impressive. There is simply no way you would not be happy with any of the meal buffets they offer. The coffee machines are real… not this Keurig crap we see in the states, but 4 or 5 real automated espresso machines set out with real milk options and the like. Of all of the things I’ve enjoyed about Europe over the years, the coffee has been a highlight.
Tapas is the rule in Spain, and for good reason. You can eat a little bit of good food, cheaply, which enables everyone to go out every night, without a big expense. But for the toursist, often tapas is not the best choice. For example, if you know you like spiced up grilled chicken, you can order it as a meal. And when you do… if you are outside of the tourist tracks, you can get …
The guys who served me ran the bar and back kicthen, and were very interested in how I liked their food… they had no interest in gaining social media reviews or getting a tip.. they just saw a new customer they wanted to make happy.
The European Domaining Conference food was great.. the Hotel is top tier and does a great job serving Spanish-prepared classic foods everyone will like. But with a 2-3 hour mid-day break, and virtually the entire population out for socializing between 930 and 11 pm every single night, you almost always wander out at night and eat again. To be honest, I love the lifestyle.
If you want to understand Spain, don’t ask a Spaniard. They literally don’t know how unique their culture is, or at least don’t know how to communicate that to a foreigner. That’s why I walk… I see things for myself.
And almost every time I walked, I ran into something new and interesting.Ask a resident about festivals and they’ll tell you about the big annual one you just missed. But then… not a day goes by that you don’t encounter a celebration of some sort on the streets.
There are so many different cultures within the nation known as Spain, and every one of them wants to express their culture in public. It’s part of the process of keeping it alive and maintaining respect for your cultural within the conglomerate that is Espana. So when you see a c rowd or hear some music or instruments or clapping or stomping, go check it out. It’s a celebration.
And of course getting off the beaten path means mixing with the locals. While the conference attendees visit the amazing free breakfast buffet at the hotel, which was excellent, you have to venture out at least once before 8am and break fast with the locals.
Do I need to even mention the architecture? While the travel agents will show off Valencia’s amazing modern architecture (see below), I just walk around and touch the old stuff… we don’t have this in America.
So this is a bit about traveling to Spain for the European Domaining conference in Valencia. It’s not a brochure post… I am not a saleman nor a travel agent. It’s a post about some of the details I wanted to share… as an American with not-enough opportunity to visit Europe, I find this and other smaller, tightly-focused conferences to be priceless. While the Euro is low compared to the dollar, and everyone is speaking English, it’s a great opportunity and I recommend it.
If you plan to attend, drop me a note. I always plan before and after travel, and my primary focus of all of these trips is meeting the individuals actually doing the innovating behind the scenes on the Internet: the seos and entrepreneurs behind the domains. We have a lot in common and the opportunities for collaboration are endless right now.