Search Engine Strategies NY – Day 1

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Unlike all the live blogger geeks out there (and there were a lot!), I decided to focus on the workshops at hand, and worry about posting later. I watched countless people miss the entire session, as they fought to get connected to the flakey wifi network.. Such is life.

I was very interested in attending the Organic Listings Forum, so I made a point to get up early and catch the train into the city. Unfortunately, this “open forum” was VERY basic in nature, and the questions being asked by the audience weren’t thought-provoking in the least. I had high hopes for this session, as I’m a big fan of Jill Whalen, but she didn’t actually speak all that much. I left this session disappointed, and wished that I had gone to the “Redefining the Customer” session instead.

Next up was Analytics: Data Into Action. I picked this session because none of the rest appealed to me. I’m actually glad that I decided to attend. Matthew Bailey was a fantastic speaker, who interjected some fun into his presentation, while still getting his point across. The main theme of the session was to use segmentation when analyzing your visitor data. All-in-all, not a bad workshop..

Then it was lunchtime, and SES had a “Networking Lunch” planned for us. I actually made a few good contacts here, and the food wasn’t bad either. They needed to turn down the A/C, but other than that, no complaints.

2:00pm brought the next set of workshops, and I opted for the Web Analytics: Measuring Success session. Again, I wasn’t wowed by the other options, so that’s how I ended up here. Avinash Kaushik from Google was first up, and he really showed off the power of Google Analytics. He also stressed the need for multi-variable testing, which is made easy using Google’s Website Optimizer. A great speaker, and I’m going to be following him closely from now on.. The rest of the speakers weren’t bad either, touching on many of the same points..

Up next was the Orion Panel – Getting Vertical Search Right. An interesting panel, but not really relevant to my personal needs. I stuck around for almost an hour, before ducking out. I had intended to stay for the SEMPO mixer (never one to turn down an open bar!), but I was wiped out and just wanted to check into my hotel room and get some rest.

As I mentioned previously, I’m a HUGE fan of the American Express Starwood Rewards Card. Not wanting to drop $300+ for a hotel in the city, I logged into my SPG account and looked to see if there were any Starwood Hotels in the area. Low and behold, the Sheraton New York was only 1 block from the Hilton (and was actually a recommended hotel in the SES NY literature!). I booked a room for 12,000 points. For most rewards cards, that would equal $120. You can’t even stay in a hostel for $120 in NYC! The room was great, and as an added bonus, the SPG manager left me a complimentary bottle of wine, and a box of candies. Sweet! 🙂

Till tomorrow..


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