One of the most challenging aspects of speaking to the geodomain industry was the diverse backgrounds of the people in the industry. They come from media companies, technology firms, the music industry and the real estate business. What they have in common is a strong competitive streak (not unusual in entrepreneurs) and an incredible desire to succeed.
Many, if not most, Kelsey Group conference attendees are also entrepreneurs, but typically they share a common background related to the need to sell advertising in order to thrive. In the geodomain business, the price of entry is often buying the name (LasVegas.com, SanFrancisco.com, PigeonForge.com), but it is all about real estate. In a time when housing prices are falling and the construction industry is in a free-fall, the geodomain industry is doing just fine, thank you.
The challenge that members have is to put the right kind of content on their particular geodomain Web site. In other words, there is no one right answer for a geodomain owner. Branson.com is focused on attracting visitors, whereas Richmond.com is more heavily used by the locals. The geodomain owners have a leg up because of their names, but to create real value in their sites they need to provide content that meets the needs of their particular marketplace. That sounds obvious, but it is hard to implement because each of the members is starting from a different place. The real value in the long term is to build a meaningful site. Going back to the real estate metaphor, it does you no good to own beachfront property that only has a shack on it.
Dan Pulcrano, head of Boulevards New Media, was one of the founders of Associated Cities, and he has worked very hard and successfully to bring the geodomain industry together. This is only the third year for this trade association’s annual meeting, and already it is attracting close to 200 people who are eager both to learn as much as they can and also share what they know. They are taking advertising dollars away from traditional media, and if they can prioritize opportunities, utilize technologies aggressively and build effective sales forces to become go-to local sites, they will be formidable local competitors.
The Kelsey Group was pleased to work with Associated Cities to help produce this successful event.