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Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York (SES NYC)

The Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo is scheduled for March 17-20 in New York City, just 4 weeks away. I attended SES San Jose last year, my first time ever at an SES (Last year I attended SMX Advanced, Adtech, SES, Domain Roundtable, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East, and Pubcon in order to get a fresh personal look at each of them). I have been to several Pubcons before, but those were my first times at the rest. Since I have posted about SMX and Pubcon, it’s only fair I post about SES.

Looking back at my personal experiences last summer/fall, SES San Jose produced more active business activity than SMX and Pubcon combined.

Looking back at my personal experiences last summer/fall, SES San Jose produced more active business activity than SMX and Pubcon combined. On the face of it, that seems reasonable because SES is such a large show, and has a heavy corporate participation level. Pubcon draws a large number of small business owners and operators, while SMX seems to me to attract the search society people more than corporations. Maybe since I am mostly interested in search marketing as business strategy, the SES audience was a better fit for me?

I did notice that of the new people I met at SES in August, few were also at any of the other events I attended. This was especially true of domainers. I did meet a few domainers at pubcon and SMX, but I met far more active domaining companies at SES San Jose. This may have been because SES is traditionally the search show, and because San Jose is the Silicon Valley show? I’m not sure. Of the people I met at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East (the serious domaining meeting), those who knew of search knew of SES and not the other shows.

So for some reason I met more business contacts at SES. I did not speak or sit on any panels at SES, as I did at others, so my own participation level wasn’t an obvious factor. Several people told me they planned to always attend SES as their search marketing show, which might explain it. I did have two side meetings scheduled at SES because the business execs were attending the show and asked if I would be there (and so, at the last minute, I planned to be there). Again, suggesting that SES is a productive environment for business?

There are a few people out there in Internet land who rate these shows for quality as we attend them, half jokingly but also half seriously. By whisper when we sit together, or via twitter clues or texting, we question the value of each session or event, comparing SES to SMX to pubcon, sometimes calculating the dollar cost per minute for the lesser presentations, and sometimes noting the dollar value of rare gems of zero-day information. That is fun, but also real: we independents pay our own way to these things, and waste is not a good thing for any business.

If you’re going, Search Engine Strategies offers a $150 discount for registering before February 29th, which prompted my post today. I saw there is another 10% off for members of SEMpdx members, which only costs $125 a year, so that’s a good deal for coupon cutters out there. If you have any personal experience with SES New York vs. SES San Jose, I’d love to hear about it.


  1. Wish I could go.

    One day soon.

    Good blog you got

    Saturday, February 23, 2008 at 12:38 am | Permalink
  2. Matt McGee wrote:

    I’ve been to two SES San Joses and one SES New York. In my opinion, the NY show is infinitely more corporate with all the big NY advertisers and agencies checking it out for a day or three. I saw more suits and ties at the one SESNY than at both SESSJs combined. I also met with clients at SESNY, since they were located in Philly and wanted to come up for a day.

    Anyway, I think the comparison of SES to SMX Advanced is apples and oranges. You’re comparing a “general audience” show that’s been around 8-10 years to a brand new show geared to an expert-level crowd. Give SMX West/East 3-4 years and then compare it to SES.

    @Matt: I get your point, but I have to compare them now because they are search conferences and there is only so much travel time in the year. AdTech NY included a billion people taking a few hours off from a area NY office to browse the show, which is quite a different environment than say SMX in Seattle, where the attendees are there for the duration, spending most of their time at the show. In NY it was all “let’s get out of there so we can talk” which led to hour+ small group or 1:1 discussions a block away. Sounds like SES NY may be similar … and that’s a good thing to know in advance.

    Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 11:42 am | Permalink