QUAKE ROCKS SEATTLE: Net.Marketing Show Canceled

SEATTLE — Marketers immediately ran for the exits at the DMA's net.marketing conference yesterday as an earthquake rocked the area, including the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, for half a minute. DMA officials immediately canceled the rest of the exhibition.

Michael Faulkner, senior vice president of councils and affiliates at the DMA, used a megaphone to give safety instructions to attendees and exhibitors. iMarketing News publisher Nick Englezos said he saw only minor damage to items in the hall.

Jay Schwedelson, corporate vice president of Worldata/Webconnect, Boca Raton, FL, said he was giving a session on e-mail marketing when the quake hit at 10:55 a.m. PST.

“The whole room started shaking. Pieces of the ceiling were falling,” he said. “We all started running for the doors. One guy in front of me got hit in the head with some falling tile and was bleeding.”

Attendees and exhibitors were allowed back into the convention center about an hour and a half after the quake. Some exhibitors left with a few belongings while others started tearing down their booths. Thursday is still the official tear-down day. According to on-site reports, many attendees decided to make the best of the situation and headed back to their hotel bars, using the quake as an excuse to start drinking early.

Monitors say the quake had a magnitude of 6.8 and was centered 35 miles southwest of Seattle and felt in Salt Lake City, 700 miles away.

At least 29 people have been treated for injuries, according to wire reports. Buildings in downtown Seattle swayed for a few seconds. Television pictures from downtown Seattle showed shattered windows and crowds of people on the streets, according to ABCNews.com.

Airports were temporarily closed, forcing major airlines to divert flights and ground others before they took off, causing a disruption in the air traffic system that rippled across the country. But they had reopened by late afternoon local time, according to wire reports.

Amazon.com remained online despite the disruption to communications and power in the region.

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