The conference competitiveness has really started to heat up while at SMX.
Rand reported of rumors of exclusivity contracts that speakers who wanted to speak at SES conference had to sign. In this contracts, SES supposedly did not allow speakers to speak at both SES and SMX.
Kevin at Search Engine Watch denied that there were exclusivity for speakers between SES and SMX. He said, "There have not been, nor will there be any plans to institute any kind of exclusivity agreement for speakers at any of our events."
So I spoke with Danny Sullivan who said that this is not entirely true. Danny told me that he put clauses into the speaker notes that says they do not want speakers to speak at another conference within two weeks of the SES conferences. I then spoke with Chris Sherman, who has chaired dozens of SES shows and he explained that the speakers technically do not have speaker contracts - they just ask that speakers do not talk at two conferences within two weeks of each other.
I am told, they have never enforced this exclusivity clause. But I am aware of some speakers who have told me, probably over two years ago, that they could not speak at WebmasterWorld's PubCon conference because they are speaking at Search Engine Strategies. So there must be some truth to the exclusivity.
Danny told me, he has no plans to add speaker exclusivity to SMX conferences but he was the individual responsible for the exclusivity clause in the SES speaker notes.
Since SES has always been run by Danny Sullivan, I suspect he would know best. It is possible that Incisive Media, the new organizers of SES, can remove any of these clauses or simply not enforce them in the future.
Chris Sherman added that since he is chairing some SES conferences, that he has a special contract that won't allow him to speak at SMX or moderate at SMX now. Nor can he speak or moderate at WebmasterWorld's conference.
Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.