San Jose, Land of the Invite-Only

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If SES New York was hot, and SES Latino was even hotter, than what does that make this week's SES San Jose? Methinks a crucible. In an attempt to sum up the week's big announcements, here is my top 10 list:

  1. Invite-only parties. Yes, we've reached critical mass. Apparently the industry has also realized that the return on doling out free drinks and food increases with improved market segmentation. Maybe next year the engineers will serve up invitations based on a secret cost-per-drink and relevancy algorithm.
  2. Invite-only party strategies. Don't laugh. It wasn't easy choosing between Monday's seven or so simultaneous events involving Sodoku contests, Vosges chocolates, a microbrewery, a museum, a lounge and one search guy's backyard with a killer BBQ.
  3. Clients are the best PR. Efficient Frontier boasts that it serving up search for Fox Interactive Media's sites, including FOXSports.com , IGN.com, MySpace.com, RottenTomatoes.com, AskMen.com, Scout.com and GameSpy.com. Coremetrics is touting its case studies on Peets Coffee, Rugs.com, Ecklers and the Weather Channel.
  4. Pre-show departure announcements. Andy Beal sent an e-mail on Friday that he is leaving Fortune Interactive, but notes that his blog, however, "remains mine! All mine!" Harrison Magun also recently announced his move from aQuantive to MSN as director of media analytics.
  5. Numbers are fun! Bill Tancer of Hitwise, and self-proclaimed data geek, will shore up some updated data on all-important topics such as search engine brand association and prom dresses (among other riveting topics). Meanwhile, 360i touts its study on click assists, pointing out that the last click gets too much credit.
  6. Move over Barbara Walters. I am secretly hoping that Danny Sullivan will coax it all out of Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Wednesday morning, including details on the infamous "party airplane" episode.
  7. Racetrack. Oneupweb formally announced the launch of its new Podtractor, an application that will measure podcast performance. SendTec is propping SearchFactz.
  8. Money to spend. While Verizon picked up Inceptor and FullSix recently acquired Sems, a leading Italian search player, other folks have just come into millions. Guidester landed $3 million, Shopwiki closed out $6.2 million, Technorati came in at $7.6 million, iCrossing banked $15 million and Kazeon takes the cake with a whopping $21 million.
  9. Everyone gets social . Social search, a new track this year, will cover the basics of wikis, tagging and communities. Now if we could just get attendees to put down their mobile devices and actually talk to each other.
  10. Geek is so chic. The annual Google Dance's theme is "Google Labs," suggesting that you "bring your lab coat." Hmm…does that call for heels or flats? Regardless, I am thrilled by the promise of robots at the Google Labs technology playground.

Search Buzz Briefs

OneUpWeb Launches Podtractor

"We couldn't find anyone offering this level of tracking, so we invented it," said Oneupweb CEO Lisa Wehr on the topic of podcast tracking. The Lake Leelanau, MI-based firm has just launched Podtractor, a tool capable of reporting on visitors, downloads, popularity, referrer and converting keyword, among other metrics.

You Can't Have One without the Other

 Search agency 360i's white paper studies how often a consumer clicks on both a marketer's paid and natural results prior to converting. Most notable is the fact that 12.6 percent of conversions credited to a natural search result were actually preceded by a paid search click. Multi-click conversions accounted for 37.7 percent of the conversions observed. The study, based on SearchIgnite data, follows a previous report on the importance of branded and unbranded terms.

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