Paying to Speak at Search Conferences

Mar 26, 2007 • 11:12 am | comments (1) by twitter | Filed Under Search Engine Conferences Coverage

A member at the Search Engine Watch forums observes that conference presenters had to pay to speak at a recent industry search conference that he attended. He asks:

If this is common practice for the likes of SES/PubCon are the paying customers being taken for a ride?

Moderator Joseph Morin states that SES/Pubcon does not allow presenters to pay to speak:

To clarify: At both SES and PubCon, we don't accept payment FROM speakers either. The speakers are chosen by merit and their knowledge of the subject matter as a an expert in a particular niche.

Elisabeth chimes in and says that this may be the case for other search industry conferences, and that attendees should be on the lookout:

Glengara, the problem here is that you seem to be lumping in whatever it is you attended with "all" SEM conferences or organizations, but that's defintely not the case, though event formats may vary as this industry continues to grow. However, there are plenty of shows/seminars that are set up this way. So it's buyer beware really.

At Search Engine Strategies NY, there will be some sponsored sessions, and we have seen Google sponsor lunch presentations in the past.

If you're not going to make it to SES NY, there will be live coverage here on Search Engine Roundtable. Who will be there? Here is a list of people who will be covering the event.

Have you noticed other instances where speakers were paying to promote their products at search conference sessions? Join the discussion at the Search Engine Watch forums.

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Andrew Goodman

03/26/2007 05:05 pm

I'm not sure if we're talking about the same conference, but compare my recent experience - I turned down the opportunity to speak for this "investment." Conference attendees are very perceptive. They look for outstanding ideas, not commercial sales pitches. The attendees' feedback is what matters to the health of conferences like SES. Organizing the program for the upcoming SES Toronto, I'm happy to report that most of the topic planning was done inside a locked office on a Sunday, and over the next week speakers will be slotted and sometimes sought out based 100% on their relevancy to the session in question, past speaking performance, etc. Offering to pay for the privilege would probably be the fastest way to be dropped from the program!

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