From SES: Oscar Predictions, Cold Weather and a Maturing Industry

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NEW YORK -- The Academy Awards may not be for another four days, but the folks at SLI Systems think they know who will take home the Oscars.

The Cupertino, CA, company, which is exhibiting at this week's Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo, said its Learning Search technology has identified an increase in keyword searches on for terms that match many of the nominated films and actors, which it says will help it name the Academy Award winners. SLI boldly predicts that "Brokeback Mountain" will win best picture; Terence Howard, best actor, "Hustle & Flow"; Reese Witherspoon, best actress, "Walk the Line"; and Paul Haggis, best director, "Crash."

Regarding the SES show, Ed Hoffman, vice president of sales at SLI, said he is pleased with the attendee mix, which he described as much broader than at the eTail show.

"I've never seen such a big surge in traffic [between sessions]," he said.

Other exhibitors said the weather was cooperating, keeping attendees inside the New York Hilton and not venturing into the chilly February day.

Go Ecart CEO Manish Chowdhary noted that the search engine industry "is maturing," as evidenced by attendees requiring less basic education and people expressing interest in ads beyond basic search, such as podcasting and video search.

"There is a lot of convergence happening," he said, adding that Go Ecart, which offers e-commerce shopping cart technology, is looking at blogs and RSS feeds. These efforts, however, are still in testing stages as it's hard to justify the ROI to clients, he said.

Unique marketing ideas among exhibitors included a World Cup soccer and German-themed booth for affiliate marketing and shopping portal zanox inc., Chicago.

"We started out in Germany and the World Cup is in Germany this year, but we recently entered the U.S. market and are getting the word out," said Chris Loonan, technical sales engineer at xanox.

Xanox held a German beer party at its booth yesterday afternoon, giving away pretzels, beer and orange soccer balls.

Performance and search marketing firm Marchex, Seattle, got the word out about its company by sponsoring a party last night.

"We always do great with lead generation here," said Kirby Winfield, general manager of content at Marchex. "This is the premier event for our search marketing arm."

Beyond ROI, Miami, introduced its new automated search technology tools and new division that will oversee that business, Beyond Keywords. Beyond Keywords' Episode I tool helps search agencies automate the keyword buying process. Users enter a page from a Web site or they enter their entire site, and the system's semantic algorithms pick up the best search keywords for the page or site.

Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing; Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DM To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting
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