Wow! This years Webmaster World Conference was the best of the four years I’ve attended. Although the majority of the sessions rehash what I already know or have previously learned, there was certainly new and timely nuggets to be found throughout the conference sessions. The networking was as good as ever. The food was, well, you know, Convention Centerish (SMX decked us out with stylish and fresh buffet lunches, yummie! and classy too). There were great parties and special off site events this year too.
Tuesday and Thursday each had five tracks equaling 25 sessions each day and Wednesday had 15 sessions. since I could only go to 13 sessions physically, these are the ones I went to:
Tuesday, December 4
Social Marketing – Leveling the Playing Field
This was a good introduction to the major social media environments like Delicious, Digg and Facebook.
Monetizing Social Media Traffic
This was a really good session for people who are already in the social media optimization and marketing.
Reputation Monitoring and Management
I’ve been to this session a couple times before but this was the best one. About using Press and the Blogosphere for reputation issues.
Link Baiting – 96 Different Strategies
I was headed over to hear Dr. Ralph Wilson Speak on e-mail marketing as I used to subscribe to his newsletter myself back in 2001 and 2002, but the title of 96 strategies sucked me in. “96” was actually more of a gimmick for the talk title but nevertheless, I found it an interesting group and presentation.
This is one that I would think people would just shy away from but I found my self in session. At times it tuned into a Googlebash and Matt Cutts, sitting in the back row, was getting hit hard by panelists (who obviously were mostly hard practitioners of link buying). At one point a panelist asked the audience, “How many of you buy, or know someone who buys links?” (a very cleverly crafted question!) and about 70% of the room, including myself, raised their hands. I gasped! I have never bought a link for me or a client in my carreer. I started thinking how God must like me to allow me and my clients to do so well when such vast numbers are buying links! I agree with what Stephan Spencer said from the audience, that all this link buying will catch up to the buyers within five years they will be wrecked for having participated today. It is karmically correct I suppose. This was a volatile and charged session and one I am glad I decided to attend.
Wednesday, December 5
Domain Names and Trademarks – Legal Issues
This was just as it sounds. I’ve attended this session in past years but wanted to again. I have a couple of clients , as well as myself, who are dealing with legal issues on the Web. I got some great notes and advice from the lawyers on this panel.
Interactive Site Reviews – Focus on Social Media
This was a site clinic where domains were critiqued based on Social Media marketing efforts. So so session.
Interactive Site Reviews – Focus on Organic
I went to this one because of the amount of one on one site clinics I do weekly. Panelists reviewed sites and critiqued them based upon their organic optimization.
This day ended with a reception with Google Engineers and a game of Werewolf that was thrown by SEOMOZ and was a big hit. I had fun.
Thursday December 6
CSS and HTML Coding Today
I attended this session last year and it was better than this years session which had two “no shows” on the panel. But it was good to rehash the CSS and HTML topics, which I use a lot in my site rehabilitations, even though it was CSS basics, it is okay because that’s what it is really about, getting back to the basics. I do have a question for Brett, if panelists are to hung over to show up for their session, would that mean that next year someone else can sit on that panel?” Because I recoded my site to CSS with absolute positioning in November and December of 2002. Wouldn’t that make me one of the search marketing pioneers for this subject? If I were on this panel I would have gone to bed early the night before. Maybe next year I will pitch for being on this panel.
International and European Site Optimization
Just as it sounds. I went to this session because I currently have three international clients, one in Thailand, Hong Kong and the UK. Good stuff but a little complicated. Sticky issues were addressed.
Multivariate Testing and Conversion Tweaking
This session was about ways to improve your sites conversion through controlled, split and multivariate testing. Google Optimizer was demonstrated also. Good session.
This session was identical to last years session on same subject. Presenters even used the same Powerpoint presentations as last year. Nothing new here but it was still good to revisit the old stuff.
Tools of the Trade
I went to this one the past two years and they were real good both times. This year was nearly the same as the past two but not much was discussed about any new tools that have not already been covered in past years. Obviously some of the better tools are spendy yet there are some great tools that are free too.
MSN threw a private party in the Ghost Room on the roof of the Palms. I didn’t get an Invite, it was just for Live Ad Center spenders, something I tend to wean clients off of, but I got in as a guest of a big spender. Great coconut shrimp and sushi. Actually it was one of the nicer search conference networking social afterparties I’ve been too. My son sure would have liked me to win one of those xbox 360’s but I did not play for them in all fairness since I was just a guest and not invited. It was from 7-9.
At 9 many went over to Venetian for the charity poker tournament. It was a great event; too bad I was out after 9 hands. My opponent tripled up his kings over my aces and nines on the river and we were both all in after the flop when I paired my ace and nine. O well, I got a really cool shirt and helped some good charities also.
So, that is about it for this review of the Webmaster World Conference in Las Vegas, 2007. Stay tuned for a review of the PubCon portion of the event.