Our industry spends a lot of time talking about search. From newbies to experts, I have to think that we are cranking out content at unprecedented levels. There are no less than 50 sizable conferences, hundreds of columns, and thousands of blogs, newsletters, videos, Twitterfeeds and other means of communicating what folks want you to know about search engine marketing. So last week, it was refreshing to hit pause on the pundit button and actually see tools and technology in action at the July Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization New York local working group meeting.
For this fourth gathering of search engine marketers in the tri-state region, we asked firms to demo their technologies in typical tech meet-up fashion: five minutes to present, five minutes of questions, and no PowerPoint presentations allowed. While I labeled this event “July is Demo month!” my co-organizer (and clearly the better marketer), Max Kalehoff, was quick to point out that this was indeed a search technology extravaganza.
- Roughly 170 attendees fill the Microsoft conference space to hear from the formidable line up:
- HitTail, a long tail keyword marketing tool
- Clickable, an online solution to make advertising simple, instant and profitable
- Ramp Digital, the people and ideas between emerging marketing technologies and improved ROI
- eSearchVision, human expertise, advanced technology
- ADSDAQ by ContextWeb, online advertising exchange
- 10gen, a platform designed to help developers quickly and easily build complex and scalable web applications.
- Microsoft Excel Add-in (Beta), a keyword research and optimization tool for Excel
A few videos were kindly uploaded by Marshall Sponder, a board director of the Web Analytics Association, and the honorary metrics ambassador to SEMPO NY.
While each demo had its own merits, the biggest takeaway for me was the diversity of technology presented. Long gone are the days where “search technology” meant bid management and bid management alone. Now that almost every business lives and dies by the search engine index, 10gen’s cloud computing model and Ramp Digital’s widget ads are just as relevant to the industry as HitTail’s keyword tool.
A second aspect to note is that all of these firms are either New York-based or have a significant New York presence. This is a boon to Silicon Alley, typically considered second to Silicon Valley, where the talent and venture capital pools contribute greatly to the start-ups’ growth.
The third, and final point, was made by the audience itself. You may not know their names or see them on stage at SES or SMX, but these individuals are the ones asking the smartest questions and inserting a dose of reality to the conversation. It is these people, and not the pundits, that make up the search engine marketing industry.
(Disclosure: the author of this column sits on the board of SEMPO, co-organizes the SEMPO New York group and consults to Clickable)