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US Blog/Web Conferences – Which one is best for ProBlogger?

I might be in a position to be able to get over to the US in October or November and am wondering which conference to get to. So far I know of two that might be worth while and would love to get your opinion on them. Which should I attend?

1. BlogOn 2005 – Social Media Summit – October 17 -18. This conference has a growing list of pretty cool speakers, many of whom I’d love to hear speak and learn from. The planned sessions look interesting but my worry is that it will be a conference for businesses that blog rather than blogs that ARE a business which is perhaps more my field of interest. As it is a conference focussed upon blogging it would probably be good for networking but I’m not sure how much I’d learn about entrepreneurial blogging.

The location is attractive as there are a number of bloggers that I know in New York that I’d love to catch up with during, after and/or before the conference.

The cost is a big downer of this option with early bird registration for the two days of $1095 or normal registration of $1495 (in $1AUD = $1.30USD). On top of a return airfare (add another $1500AUD) and accomodation – this could be a bit of a killer.

2. WebmasterWorld Pub Conference Search and Marketing Conference 2005 – November 15 – 17. There are less details of this conference on the site so far but they do have a good reputation and I know of people who strongly recommend it from personal experience. This conference is not blog specific but rather focusses on a wider spectrum of online activities. I’d probably find I learn quite a bit in this conference but wouldn’t perhaps meet as many bloggers.

The cost of this conference is a more affordable $375 for the three days. I’m not sure the location is quite as good in terms of meeting other bloggers before or after the conference.

I’m interested to hear from people who have attended either of these conferences in the past. How did you find them? What would you recommend knowing what you know about me? Are you going to either of them this year?

Ideally I’d love to get to both but they are probably one week too far apart to get to them both.

I’m also interested to hear from anyone near either of these conferences who would like to catch up if I make it over there.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. graywolf says:

    WMW is very good, but more about running, maintaining, and marketing a site than blogging per se. They had one or two sessions last year, but very high level stuff. To be honest most SEO’s don’t see blogs as legitimate business tools which is a shame. Yes there are few here and there, but they are the exception not the rule. That said you will learn a lot and and get a lot of ideas. The “unoffocial” sessions that occur afterward can be very instructional if you’re willing to pick up someone else’s bar tab.

  2. Kurt says:

    I might be hanging around outside the first one, since I live in NYC and I’m interested. I’ll take the ‘poor college student’ method of buying dinner for someone who went and picking their brains about it afterwards. :)

  3. graywolf – i couldn’t disagree more with your statement about SEO’s. If you check out the latest Search Engine Strategies conference, there is an entire track (about 12 sessions) dedicated to blogs/rss and how to use them.

    Darren – you should look into presenting at some of the SES conference blog sessions. You’d be a great addition!

  4. hmmm…I always look at the venue because the content of these things is often very similar even though the promoters try to make it unique…so…NY or Vegas….I’d say do the cheaper one, try to present to offset costs and include a cheap flight (southwest) back up to NY to meet the bloggers socially that you want to meet…even arrange to meet them all at some restuarant…

  5. Kurt says:

    That’s a good idea, Gordon. We could do a ProBloggerCon meetup at Wo-Hops or something. Okay, maybe something a little nicer than Wo-Hops.

  6. Actually, you might want to consider Ad:Tech in New York in October. Getting to meet with a lot of ad professionals might be very beneficial for your blogging.

  7. graywolf says:

    Scott I wasn’t at SES so can’t really sayanything about it, however I can say that SES and WMW are completely different shows.

  8. “my worry is that it will be a conference for businesses that blog rather than blogs that ARE a business”

    Seeing as you are possibly one of the top experts in the 2nd field, you’re probably not going to learn much more from others doing the same thing.

    You might take home something unexpected from a field that’s related though. Like, the marketing patterns of businesses looking to sell online.

    Just an idea. I don’t know the conferences at all.

  9. Mike Sigers says:

    How about we all just meet in Louisville, watch the horses run, eat some great Kentucky BBQ and put some faces with the names. Then we can make plans as to what we want to accomplish together in ’06.

    Vegas is so cheesy and NY is, well, NY.

    They shoulda picked the ” Ville !

  10. yunasville says:

    I am always interested in the SEO topic.. so the cheaper one sounds pretty good.. and it is in Vegas? Only hour and half from Denver.. and I wouldn’t mind going there to catch a show and meet Darren in person.. ;-)

  11. nortypig says:

    Hang out for SXSW 2006 in Texas in March…

  12. Mike Sigal says:

    Hi Darren,

    I’m Mike Sigal, the CEO of Guidewire Group, which produces BlogOn. Naturally I want more folks to attend our event, but your assessment is correct…our focus is helping professional marketing, communications and media folks understand why/how to make investments in social media (setting up their own blogs or social networks, advertising on blogs, etc.) to create better conversations and relationships with their markets and customers. The focus is not on how to make a living as a blogger (though several of our speakers, attendees and advisors fit that bill). That said, if you’re goal is to sell to professional marketers (advertising or sponsorship on your blogs, selling blog consulting, whatever), then BlogOn is probably a great venue for you to engage your potential customers to figure out what they want/need. And with regards to the price, you should search through our speakers and advisors blogs…they’ve been given promotional codes for their readers to attend at $695.

    I hope to meet you at BlogOn, and one way or another, I wish you the best of luck.