My Partial Day at Pubcon

I try to get to Pubcon every year, and for the most part I have enjoyed it.   But today the whole event felt off, and seemed to lack the organization of previous years.   This is a little surprising considering the fact that it started so well.  

Conferences have been getting less and less worthwhile lately.   In the interactive marketing space, we all have blogs, and are always touting out latest ideas, and having them syndicated out to the world minutes after the thought hit our head.   So it’s difficult to give out any new ideas when you get to Pubcon, or even Blogworld.  

There is the social aspect of the events.   You get to meet with people in person who you know off online.   But to be honest, I don’t seem to fit in with most of my online marketing peers.   I have never really clicked with the search marketing people.   Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a room full of search marketing geeks over a room full of interactive agency douche bags any day.   But I just don’t seem to be part of the SEM group, despite my working in the space for years.

Pubcon started promising enough.   I got my badge in the mail a week ahead of the conference, which was great.   I wish SXSW would figure out how to do that.   Pubcon needed to do this, their last couple years were really unruly.   So I have to give kudos for tackling the problem.

I also have to give kudos to Rand Fishkin for pushing the industry forward by heading up the social media panels, as opposed to the traditional search stuff.   This is the direction our firms are all heading, so it’s great to see someone like Rand leading the charge.   When it comes to social media, Rand knows his stuff.  

But let me share a couple issues.   First, a little notice about the fact that this moved over to the North Hall this year would have been nice.   Forgive me if I missed it, but everyone I spoke to had the same story about going to the South Hall first.   I drove, so this was especially annoying for me because of parking.  

There is an old-school advertising method that some use to promote the location or a event or business.   It’s called a sign, and they are relativly cheap to make, and easy to hang.   Perhaps a big sign letting me know Pubcon was there would have saved some people a little headache.

And my second complaint, a big one, the Internet.   Once you logon, and the close your computer to go to the next session, or to lunch, you’re done for the day.   No one I was with could get back on the Internet after signing on once.   Not even Rand during a session.   Poor Vanessa Fox (who is always a great  panelist)  was trying to access the Web for part of her presentation, and she couldn’t get on.   This is pretty unforgivable at a conference where the entire attendence makes their money off the Internet.  

I actually had to cut out early because of this.   I had to take care of something really quick on the Web, but couldn’t access.   To top it off, they had a sponsor for this.   The username and password are the sponsors name.   Not I’ll never be able to look at that company again without getting angry.   Okay, I’m being dramatic, but it really did suck.  

I’m not abel to attend the rest of the week, so I’m sending someone else from USWeb.   Hopefully she can access the Internet tomorrow.   And hopefully next year will be better.

One last note: I’m sure I speak for everyone here, those box lunches suck.  I’m not big into eating lunch like a 3rd grader on a field trip.  

Image: (cc) Shashi Bellamkonda

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