The Joomla project sent Joe Sonne from the Capital Team to NamesCon 2018 in Las Vegas Nevada, USA. The event was from Sunday January 28th to Wednesday January 31st 2018. NamesCon is an industry show for companies and individuals who buy and sell domain names.
The goal was to represent Joomla to the attendees and exhibitors of this event, to find new sponsors for the project and to keep in touch with contacts we made last fall at World Hosting Days which was at the very same location. Several familiar faces were at this event that immediately recognized Joe.
Capital and Marketing & Socia Media Teams working together
The Joomla Marketing & Socia Media Teams created professional quality graphics for social media use at the event. It was specifically acknowledged by several attendees as a most impressive calling card. Thank you Marketing & Socia Media Teams!
The Capital Team is the official team of the Joomla project that brings in funds by securing sponsorships and advertisers to Joomla.org. Although Joomla is an entirely volunteer run organization we still need money for the maintenance & operation of domains, to enable Joomla to participate at outside IT events, expenses for code sprints, funds are needed to run JoomlaDays and other Joomla events. The project also has to pay taxes, accounting, and legal expenses. Legal expenses are for things like protecting the Joomla trademark.
Several industry executives genuinely expressed how happy they were to see Joomla at NamesCon. They want to be reminded that “Joomla is still a thing”. When companies don’t see you at events like this you don’t appear on their radar. It also makes it hard for some to justify to their companies why they should sponsor or advertise with the Joomla Project.
Joomla’s name and logo needs to be seen alongside the other valuable brands at events like this. Make no mistake about it, the Joomla brand is a strong and an internationally recognized one. We didn’t have a booth at this event like we did at World Hosting Days but it just meant executing a different strategy for this show. Instead of people coming to a booth, Joomla went to them. Joe was very comfortable to free wheel. When you have a booth you need more people in order for someone to man the booth and another to break away for private meetings. Is one method more effective than the other? Not necessarily, it just depends on how you work it.
Was NamesCon 2018 worthwhile for Joomla to attend?
The investment to attend NamesCon was very worthwhile. It was an extremely busy event and there were many face to face meetings with potential sponsors. In some of the meetings were also also Robert Jacobi, President, and Mike Demo, Treasurer. Both Robert and Mike were at NamesCon officially representing their full time employers but they also helped out with regards to Joomla. Both introduced Joe to key executives as well as participated in high level discussions about sponsorship opportunites with our project. We will certainly see a nice return on investment for attending NamesCon. Similar to World Hosting Days, the income isn’t immediate as ongoing negotiations and planning are still taking place with a couple of key companies. It was several weeks after World Hosting Days that a $25,000 sponsorship for the project came through which was directly related to connections made at the event. We expect no less result from this event for sponsorship income. It's very exciting.
It’s not just about hard core income opportunities
Sometimes we take it for granted that everyone knows what Joomla is all about and how it operates. This is not so. Even those that know Joomla is an open source website content management system and project, many are surprised to hear that Joomla does not have full time employees. The total volunteer aspect of this project, which is unique to Joomla, is not always seen as a positive thing.
It is good to be able to clarify our position in this regard of course. We are competing directly for sponsorship revenue from these same people by some of our competitors who do have dedicated individuals in key positions. There are no bonus points associated with being a volunteer project in sponsors eyes, not in the corporate community where they live and die by profitability.
Sponsors and advertisers expect a good return on their investment and we Joomlers have to show them the value that they are expecting when we ask them for their dollars. By the way if you love to sell and can do a good job of it by all means contact the Capital Team to get involved. They’d love to have you on the team.
Joomla got recognition on the NamesCon leaderboard!
Joe didn’t know that NamesCon was running a competition for a free ticket to their next event until the second day. Mike Demo pointed out to him that his name was appearing on the NamesCon Leaderboard in their app. The app for the event was available for registered attendees to connect and communicate with others through their mobile devices.
Joe was using the app to Tweet what was going on about the event from his perspective and he didn’t realize that everything he was doing in the app was giving him points on the leaderboard. Joe only managed to get as high as number 6 and finally settled at position of number 7 at the end of the event. Joomla qualified for the free ticket draw but didn't win. We got a lot of attention with the leaderboard thing.
The bottom line
The domain industry shows are very relevant to Joomla. The companies that attend these events sponsor all kinds of things. They are looking for places to invest their dollars and highlight their brands and sell their products and services. Joomla needs to be seen and heard at these events. Of course the proof is always measured by the bottom line. This was money well spent and Joomla should make NamesCon a regular attended event.