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In this issue:

POINT:
Smaller Size Means Bigger Rewards

COUNTERPOINT:
The Value of Going Big

THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.


POINT: Smaller Size Means Bigger Rewards
A debate has been raging ever since the inaugural Search Marketing Expo show launched in Seattle last June with a capped crowd of just 500 paid attendees. What makes for the optimal search conference experience: Small, specialized and intimate or large, broad, and corporate?

COUNTERPOINT: The Value of Going Big

If you're in the market for a conference that's going to expand your horizons and build your address book, you should make sure you don't miss the next ad:tech. Large conferences have several advantages over niche conferences, including a broader range of topics, more viewpoints, bigger name speakers and plenty of opportunities to network.


Hot Topics

"Engagement" was the buzzword of the month, playing heavily during Ad:Tech sessions as well as SMX Social. The industry has acknowledged that there's been a fundamental shift in the way people interact with brands and consumers are now firmly in control.

Your Customers Won't Come to You

At ad:tech San Francisco, it was all about being where your customers will find you. Long gone are the days of waiting for potential customers to come looking for your product or service. Today's marketing must be proactive and engaging in order to stand apart from the crowd.

The oft-repeated message at Ad:Tech was be in conversation with your customers. For instance, if your company finds itself caught up in scandal or guilty of poor customer service, address the issue. If you don't, someone else will - and it likely won't be favorable. Instead, engage in reaching out to consumers through the new avenues available to you. Relevant mobile advertising, social networks, widgets and blogs are all great opportunities to gain face time with potential customers.

Join The Conversation

At SMX Social, it was clear that engagement is built into the very fabric of social media. Highly interactive and gaining momentum, social networks are the gathering place for groups of like-minded individuals. If utilized properly, social media presents a golden opportunity for marketers. Of course, it's the first part that's tricky. Creating original and engaging linkbait, submitting relevant content to social bookmarking sites, and being present on networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are all challenging and resource-intense projects, but hold the potential for huge returns.

In light of the Morgan Stanley report on Internet trends, marketers can't afford to stay in the dark as far as social media is concerned. According to the study released last month, Internet users across the globe are spending 16 percent of their online time on social sites, like Facebook and YouTube. In fact, the study said that the combined number of page views for those two sites is higher than Google or Yahoo page views, possibly even combined. What's remarkable is that the "Social Connections" category wasn't even on the researcher's radar three years ago. For quick highlights of the report, check out the story on TechCrunch.

The lesson learned from the social media revolution is that consumers are savvier than ever before and require proactive brand evangelism and marketing methods to be converted. If the social sector is a mystery to you, opportunities like Ad:Tech and SMX Social are out there to help you find your social niche and learn how to best utilize it. Start conversing with your consumers where they congregate and you'll be sure to see positive rewards.


Shuffles

In high profile shufflings, Benjamin Fried joined Google as its Chief Information Officer, Ellen Levy became the Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy for LinkedIn, and Rebecca Lieb resigned as editor-in-chief of the ClickZ network.

AOL cut 100 employees from their ad-selling unit, while Google released three new AdWordsPro staff members onto Google Groups: AdWordsPro.Jordan, AdWordsPro.Sarah and AdWordsPro.Steph.

In corporate launches, mergers, & acquisition:

  • Google released its Website Optimizer out of beta, revamped Google.cn and Google Video and began including WHOIS information to their search results.
  • Yahoo Search Marketing added the new Click Filter Report feature to show advertisers invalid clicks that have already been discarded.
  • Microsoft launched Live Search News, completed its acquisition of mobile internet company Danger, and bought travel search site Farecast.
  • AOL acquired Sphere.
  • Search Engine Watch was the latest to launch an industry job board.
  • Search Engine Strategies and Market Motive partnered to provide online workshops.
  • Facebook launched Lexicon.
  • IZEA launched Social Spark, an advertiser-focused social network.

Shindigs

We've had a busy two weeks of conferences, having attended and blogged both Ad:Tech San Francisco and SMX Social Media Marketing. You can access our liveblogging coverage by following their respective links.

Kicking off the month of May will be SphinnCon North Carolina on May 2, eMetrics in San Francisco on May 4-9, the Search Engine Strategies-sponsored training program in Denver on May 6, and Blog Carolina on May 9.

We'll be providing extensive liveblogging coverage for next week's eMetrics Summit. You can find out which sessions we'll be covering by checking out the Bruce Clay blog. Lisa Barone has conducted a few pre-eMetrics speaker interviews with Vanessa Fox, John Marshall and Matt Bailey, so watch for those as we get closer to the conference.

Our international readers will want to mark their calendars for the Page Zero Marketing Seminar on May 15 in Toronto, ON, SMX Madrid on May 20-21, and the International Search Summit on May 22 in London.

Looking ahead to summer, SMX Advanced will take place on June 3-4, SES Toronto falls on June 16-18, and BlogHer hits San Francisco on July 18-20.

Programming Note: The Bruce Clay, Inc. UK SEO Training class originally scheduled for November has been rescheduled to 9-11 September. These are the confirmed dates, so if you're hoping to attend, make sure to reserve your seat today.


Attaboys

China surpassed the United States in the number of overall Internet users with more than 220 million, while YouTube increased its domination of the online video space stealing 73 percent of the market share.

Google was named the Top Global Brand by WPP-owned research company Millward Brown, beating out General Electric, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and a slew of others.

In what could be considered anti-attaboy news: Enterprise IT security company Sophos reported that spam messages were responsible for 92.3 percent of all email sent in the first quarter of 2008.


Word on the Wire

The three week deadline Microsoft gave Yahoo to accept their buy-out offer has passed without consequence. There were early rumors that NewsCorp would be pursuing a Yahoo deal, that Yahoo and Google were going to make it official, and that the official Microhoo announcement will come later in the week.

TechCrunch reported that Twitter may soon begin testing ads in users' Twitter streams, though this seems to be false. We also heard that any merger talks that may have been happening between Technorati and b5media are now over and that eBay was about to drop Skype.



If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles above or if you would like to suggest topics for future search engine optimization articles, please contact us at Bruce Clay, Inc.