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ad Tech Sydney – Day 2

Adtech-Sydney
After a full day on the first day of adTech in Sydney I was looking forward to another good day.

I should say that I did finish day 1 off with a bloggers meet up where I met some great people – some of whom I’m sure I’ll continue to keep in touch with and hopefully even work with.

Day 2 of the conference was not as great from my perspective as the preceding day. While there were a few interesting sessions I came away from them feeling a little flat. I suspect that this was partly due to being worn out from a 19 hour day the day before (I had to get up early to make it to Sydney in time for the start) and partly because I’m not really the adTech audience target.

Having said that – I did get some one on one time with a couple of the Australian AdSense team which was really valuable. One of them went through some of the blogs that I’m working with at present and gave some great advice. Even as a 3 year veteran with AdSense there’s always something that can be learnt – most of it was just the result of a fresh pair of eyes looking at things that I stare at everyday.

Absence of the ‘Practical’?
One of the disappointments of the day for me was the way in which some presenters seemed to use their time simply to show attendees why they should engage the services of someone in their area of expertise. The SEO session was an example of this. While no one overtly said ‘hire us’ it was a session where the experts talked a lot about what not to do and the consequences of doing the wrong thing – but talked very little about what people should do.

With a session description like this…

“Learn how to ensure your natural SEO techniques are compliant with Webmaster guidelines issued by search engines and practical tips to optimize Web sites for both Australian and International search engines.”

… I guess I was expecting a few practical tips on optimizing websites for search engines.

There was definitely a time constraint but in the 50 minute long session I wrote down one constructive tip to try. I felt the same thing coming out of a number of sessions yesterday and heard a number of other attendees wondering to each other when they were going to learn something practical that they could actually use for the $1400 (I was lucky enough to be there for free on a media pass).

I guess this is the challenge of all conferences. Everyone has their agenda and vendors don’t always see it in their best interests to share how they work for fear of losing potential customers who might try to do it themselves. I would have thought that potential customers would go to people who generously give tips that work – but maybe I’m a little naive :-)

Great Networking

The real value of conferences like adTech is the people you meet. I was fortunate to spend some quality time with some experienced and knowledgeable people.

Local Presenters?

Another thing that stood out to me about this event was the number of presenters with accents. While there were a good number of Aussies up the front – there was hardly any panels without at least one from overseas. While this at times lent experience and a global perspective to the sessions (after all it’s a global industry) it also at times detracted for me as we had people who didn’t quite seem to get some of nuances of the Aussie market.

I was also really aware of how many men dominated the stage.

Bigger Picture

Another thing that I appreciated about adTech was the glimpse it gave of the bigger picture of the industry that we belong to.

Sometimes as bloggers it’s easy to become quite insular and focused upon our own medium, niches and blogs. In doing so it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that most of us (if not all of us) are small fries when you think about the multi-billion dollar industry that we participate in.

Overall I’m glad I attended Ad Tech this year. Congratulations to the team for putting on such a well attended (600 attendees) and smoothly run event. As a first time it was a real success and I’m looking forward to see how it grows in the years ahead.

PS: thanks to Qantas for the free and unsolicited upgrade to business class on the way home last night – it topped off a nice couple of days for me :-)

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. Jamdo says:

    I didn’t actually make day two.

    To be honest, a lot of conferences seem to get a lot of comments in teh blogosphere akin to “it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t alreay know” kind of like your SEO panel at adtech).

    Maybe they’re just asking the wrong people to talk?

  2. Gavin Heaton says:

    One of the problems with conferences is that MOST of the speakers/participants are not able to actually talk about the things that are the most interesting — how to make things happen. This can be due to business confidentiality, client privacy or fear that others would steal the ideas. Unfortunately, the ideas only go so far … and what is really useful are the tips and tricks — as you mention re AdSense.

    Oh, and it was great to meet up face-to-face!

  3. Stuart says:

    You’ve just taught anyone who cares to listen a very important lesson about most conferences.

    I wonder how many attendees who paid $1400 now feel that they got good value for money? Of course they all got to listen to people from overseas but we have just as many talented experts right here in Australia and conference organisers shouldn’t be afraid to use them.

    Sure there were undoubtedly some great networking opportunities at the conference but you don’t have to pay $1400 for networking opportunities.

    The Australian Blogging Conference (now postponed till August) is likely to be a much more valuable experience and the last I heard it was going to be free.

  4. Nick says:

    It looks like you are having fun… The view sight seeing that you accomplish along the process is also a great plus..

  5. Neerav says:

    Hi Darren

    I went to the free one-on-one Adsense optimisation session as well and found it quite useful because I was told several bits of info that aren’t in the Google FAQ’s and the Adsense guy (Michael) said he’d add extra URL 200 channels to my account because I made the effort to come into the CBD that afternoon just to meet him :-)

  6. shor says:

    Thanks for the coverage of ad Tech Darren. I’m definitely not the target audience so was more than happy to let others from my company attend.

    “I would have thought that potential customers would go to people who generously give tips that work – but maybe I’m a little naive”

    Just as in blogging, the speakers that leave the strongest impression are the ones that give the audience something that simply can’t do without.

    I would love a session called “Top 10 SEO/SEM tips you never heard of”. That would pay for the cost of ad Tech itself.

    I’m a little tired of going to cons and hearing this season’s trends, seeing the latest random statistics thrown around and the latest “fear factor” inducing case studies. That is why I believe sooner or later, the Elite Retreat format is going to take off in AU. If you are to network and learn (which is why we attend cons), why not do it with the top-end?

  7. Trent says:

    The problem is that such conferences usually hire people that have more to gain by pitching their product than by actually giving useful information. This is why most conferences are a letdown.

    What they should do instead is take people who have actually found success in an area but aren’t bound to pitching a product in that area. Basically, I’d rather listen to successful bloggers and individuals who can demonstrate their own success and are willing to talk about it than I would “experts” on a given topic who are out to shill for their paid services.

    For example, I’m pretty much willing to talk about anything. I took a blog from a silent launch to the Technorati 2500 in less than four months. I’ve already given a couple of seminars on blogging to a few people and I’d be happy to talk more about how I made this launch happen and answer face-to-face questions on the topic. I have no qualms about doing this in a conference environment, either, because the value to me is meeting people and learning about experiences, not about pushing my product down people’s throats.

    Why would this be less useful than listening to an SEO person shill for their company?

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