December 6, 2006

Santa MonicaThe other day, outside my townhouse in Santa Monica, there were girls in bikinis and guys in boardshorts playing volleyball in the sand and under the sun. The ocean water was warm while the sky was as clear as the day was gorgeous. We took a Sunday evening flight into Chicago, where the air was so cold I could do nothing but just walk and curse. Every moment I spent outdoors during this week was spent as an exercise in vulgarity. After stepping outside the baggage claim, I saw the barrier posts that line the sidewalk. One of them was wearing a beanie to keep warm. This was a concrete post. Wearing a beanie to keep warm. This week was going to be more frigid than Martha Stewart in an Inglewood crackhouse.

On the plus side though, at least the conference was disappointing.

Chicago SidewalksI hate to say it (especially since I was invited to speak at SES), but I was thoroughly convinced that PubCon clearly outperformed SES in the conference circuit this winter. The intimacy of the environment, candor of the participants and elevated conversation levels were better at PubCon without question. Plus, I made $3G’s playing blackjack in Vegas. How are you going to beat that?
I spoke on a panel the second day entitled “Beyond the Single Site Mentality”. To be completely candid, I wished I could have been in another session taking place at the same time with Shoemoney & Jensense covering a contextual ad clinic (although I’m sure that our panel was better, of course). The session covered the issue of microsites, and I was very happy to have been sat beside Bill H. of Tim Converse of Yahoo. I ran short on time and unfortunately did not get to really expound on the subject of domain acquisition strategies which is so important these days; I’ll just have to make it into another blog post. For anyone interested in obtaining the PowerPoint, please grab it here).

A few of the other sessions were still very enjoyable though, and I did walk away with a few gems, mainly on the networking side of veterans’ affairs. Guy Kawasaki is an inspiration. Chris Richardson is one of the most down-to-earth guys in the space. Ben Wills does more work than anyone realizes. Jarrod Hunt & Troy Ireland over at TextLinkBrokers are poised to make a real dent in the industry. The search engines haven’t yet learned to discount paid blog posts, even when they are disclaimed overtly, making PayPerPost, ReviewMe & Blogsvertise totally viable options for those lacking the creativity to linkbait effectively (and much more on that later). Justilien broke into his own as a panelist on linking strategies, and Rand furthered his prodigious reign as the most charming social media optimization expert around (although Neil Patel was a very close second after imparting a most subtle “Don’t be a Dick” lesson on Wikipedia).
It’s definitely tough to come to SES after I had such an incredible & productive time at PubCon. The intimacy of that conference and unspoken “comraderie” among the attendees can’t be replicated on such a grand scale. Certainly not when so many of the attendees are newbies at their first industry show. Perhaps there because “search is something they need to look at”, so eloquently put by SEMPO chair of In-House Committee, Duane Forrester (very cool guy too, btw). But hey, at least it’s cold there.

What did everyone else think of the show?? Thumbs up or Thumbs down? Has SES lost some of its quality, or does it still lead the pack with sessions about Clickfraud, Arbitrage, Ajax & Usability??

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