SMX Advanced ’07 Group Photo

The last event of SMX Advanced ’07 was listed in the program as “Goodbye and Group Photo.” The group photo was fun, and I ended up near the front! I’m the only one wearing pink.

Can’t wait till next year!

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SMX Advanced: Over Already?

It’s been exactly 3 hours since SMX Advanced wrapped up its inaugural conference. What a fantastic 2 days of SEM sessions, networking, and overall fun. This was a relatively small (in comparison to SES) group of advanced search engine marketers, all gathered to learn insider tips and tricks for organic and paid search.

I can’t begin to summarize everything I’ve learned over the past 2 days – I’ll need a couple more days to digest everything. Probably my favorite session of all was “Paid Search: The Giant Focus Group.” All 4 major engines were represented on the panel (Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask), and they basically took feedback from the audience the entire time. We got to get a lot of things off our chests, and the engine reps got to hear, from the horses’ mouths, what we need as PPC marketers. It was a great give and take, and I’m hoping to see some good things come out of it over the next weeks and months.

There were so many good things about the conference, but a few stood above the rest:
* The smaller group, and the fact that everyone is advanced, meant there were some really meaty sessions.
* Networking opportunities, as expected, were excellent. I met with my MSN rep for an hour, and met Carolyn and Jeanie from the adCenter 411 team. I had a good conversation with Yahoo as well. I met tons of great people in the sessions and at lunch. There were evening events as well, and even though I didn’t stay long (darn jet lag!), I did get to meet some of the key players in the SEM space.
* The food. Oh my. I was expecting the typical SES chunk of bagel as breakfast and box sandwich (or lame pretzel) for lunch. This was more like a cruise. Breakfast was a real breakfast – cereal, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, pastries, bagels, juices, coffee…. Lunch was a gourmet feast. They had prime rib, carved turkey breast, pastas, salads, fancy desserts… And there were snacks at every break, too. Cookies, fruit, snack bars…. Honestly, you could have made do on the free food at the conference and nothing else. I did enjoy a nice dinner tonight, but that was just because I wanted to try a bit of Seattle.

My only real complaint is that it was over too soon. It just flew by. I could have easily spent another day “speaking search” with everyone here.

There were photographers galore at the show, and the usual live bloggers: Barry Schwartz and Tamar from SE Roundtable, all the SEOMoz crew, Lisa Barone from Bruce Clay, and lots more. I’ll add links to conference coverage as I come across it (I’m a little behind on my news feeds at the moment!).

Danny and the Search Engine Land crew, thanks for a great experience. I look forward to next year’s SMX Advanced.

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First Day of SMX

Well, I actually haven’t gotten my registration materials yet, but I am here in Seattle, in the Edgewater Hotel. What a place. Of course it should be, for $279/night… Anyway, in about an hour, I’ll be registered and ready to check out all the sessions.

There actually was an event last night, but I missed it. Thus the main point of this post…

Getting here was an adventure, as airline travel usually is these days. My flights were on schedule, which was great (and surprising). Getting to the hotel was a different story. Since this place is so pricey, I’m trying to save money on other things. So, instead of taking a $40 cab ride, I booked a $22 round-trip ticket on the Gray Line “Airporter” shuttle. Ugh. I guess you get what you pay for. The shuttle was 20 minutes late, and then the driver yakked on the intercom the whole way to downtown Seattle. He told us at least 3 times that he hadn’t gotten a lunch break since he started the day at 1 p.m. (it was now after 7 p.m.). Then he told a bunch of jokes. Whatever. Well, to get to my hotel, I had to take their “connector,” which means I got off the main bus from the airport and into a shuttle van. No problem. But the yakky bus driver took my ticket and kept it, and gave me one little stub in return. I didn’t know how the system worked, so I didn’t worry about it; but then when I got in the shuttle, that driver told me I needed my original voucher. So he chased down the bus and argued with the guy, who finally gave me all the tickets I need for my return trip. The rest of the way to the hotel, the connector driver complained about the other guy. Very unprofessional. I don’t care about the breakdowns in their silly system – I just want to get to and from my hotel in a timely manner.

Based on this experience, I realize I need to leave very early for the airport on Wednesday when it’s time to go home. Not what I had planned, but whatever. And by the time all that was said and done, there was only an hour left of the MSN party. I didn’t feel like getting cleaned up to go there for an hour when I was already exhausted from a long day of travel. Today should go better!

I’ll post more as the show progresses.

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