No Time for Sleep in Seattle

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Random observations from a busy - and successful - show in Seattle this week:

The sky isn't falling ... completely. That's what DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen said during his opening remarks regarding privacy and data security. But there is cause for concern (the headlines are stacking up against DoubleClick), especially with this being an election year. It's good to see some marketers take the issue seriously, though. A session on the opt-in/opt-out debate was nearly standing-room only, drawing more than 170 people. Emily Hackett, state policy director of the Internet Alliance, said Internet policy is being shaped at the state level. At the beginning of the year, she predicted more than 2,000 bills would be introduced this session. Just two months in, there already have been 1,180 bills. Wientzen also mentioned that companies should look for the Federal Trade Commission to begin its third Net sweep looking at companies' privacy policies and practices.

How about Someone should send president/CEO Cliff Sharples to Toastmasters. Though the content of his opening keynote speech was very interesting, Sharples "umm"ed and "uhh"ed his way through all 42 minutes of it (96 times in the first 15 minutes; obviously I counted).

Wise move, DMA. With attendance up 50 percent over last year's show - the official count on attendees topped 2,000, and the number of exhibitors was up to 134 - Wientzen and crew did the right thing in phasing out the spring show in favor of an Internet marketing conference. And with an announced date for a second show this fall (Sept. 24-26 in Boston), the numbers may get even better. No complaints from the many happy exhibitors on the floor, which was busy throughout the conference.

A few more computers, please. Because of all those attendees, though, there weren't always computers available for people to print out the session handouts, check their e-mail or go online. The waiting line for the ones outside the exhibit hall sometimes numbered 20 deep during several of the breaks.

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