Bend's 1st Annual Search & Social Conference Rocked
… lame name, yes. Lame content? Nope! The “WebCAM” conference in Bend, Oregon has come and gone, and it was a terrific event with some extraordinary content and speakers. Bend proved why it’s often called the “Motherland of SEO,” and more importantly, attracted a number of talented internet marketing folks from all over the country.
Lots of awesome SEO and social media peeps:
Dave Snyder (@davesnyder)
David Mihm (@davidmihm)
Chris Winfield (@chriswinfield)
Rhea Drysdale (@rhea)
Laura Lippay (@lauralippay)
Derrick Wheeler (@derrickwheeler)
Marshall Simmonds (@mdsimmonds)
Scott Polk (@scottpolk)
Todd Friesen (@oilman)
What was the content like?
Stellar stuff including:
- Derrick Wheeler talked about his framework and approach for managing SEO across Microsoft’s massive online portfolio.
- Rhea Drysdale presented her views on reputation management and shared a few cool case studies and examples.
Bill LeakeTodd Friesen presented on “making search work” and shared some fancy graphs. (Bill Leake was unable to attend the conference and Todd stood in for him.)
- Dave Snyder had a great session with Scott Polk on viral campaigns, especially focusing on social media. Great stuff from these guys the entire conference.
- Chris Winfield put on a keynote the second day talking about the social media landscape beyond just Digg, StumbleUpon, and the other bigs.
- Chris also moderated a social media panel with Dave, myself, Laura Lippay, Rhea Drysdale and Matt Peterson that was fun.
- Todd “Oilcan” (as my wife mistakenly called him, instead of “Oilman” – his online handle of yesteryear) Friesen and I had a fun session where we provided SEO advice to a bunch of websites from the audience. Straight-up SEO!
- Laura Lippay brought a unique perspective to the conference as the head of Yahoo’s SEO, which is a very large organization (obviously) with many unique challenges. Her session on social media was especially useful for those working on an enterprise level.
- I presented on how Zappos uses social media as a reflection and extension of its brand and culture.
- Marshall Simmonds put on a great session about SEO at NY Times and the other large publishers he works on with @adamsherk and @matthewjbrown.
- Finally was the “hot seat” where a bunch of SEOs dissected websites from the audience. Pretty entertaining and always informative.
Will it happen next year?
I hope so. This conference needs a couple things to really excel:
- A new name. “WebCAM” – are you serious?
- A larger audience. At times I felt the content and audience didn’t exactly match up. This conference needs to be promoted out to large metro areas in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Overall though it was a terrific conference and the nightlife was even more fun than the sessions during the day. Bend is a gorgeous area in the high desert of Oregon, with a surprising amount of world-class SEO for a town of its size. The idea behind WebCAM was to bring traditional creative marketing into the same space as internet marketing, sort of a freaks and geeks experience. For the most part the format worked well, but I think it could be improved upon to make a really exceptional event.