Search Conference Controversy Sparks Up Again

Apr 30, 2008 • 9:33 am | comments (5) by twitter | Filed Under Search Engine Conferences Coverage

Kevin Ryan of Search Engine Strategies spoke with Daron Babin and discussed the current state of the conference circuit with regards to individuals believing that they have been banned from either SMX or SES events.

Danny Sullivan kindly transcribed the event on Sphinn (which I'm very grateful for!) Here are some key points:

According to a series of events, Rand Fishkin believes that he was banned from SES events. To respond to that allegation, Kevin says:

. There are folks we’ve asked not to come to the event primarily because they were on the competing side of the business from the commercial side of the business and defaming SES. So naturally what kind of a business manager would I be if we didn’t meet with our senior management and ask these people not to come. You don’t go to a Coca Cola convention and the Pepsi people don’t show up at the Coca Cola convention and defame Coca Cola. It’s just not done. It’s childish and foolish and I’m disappointed that Rand is perpetuating a rumor. That’s just not accurate.

Kevin also adds that he believes that there was some sort of exclusion due to his focus on paid search versus organic search:

I was an ad guy doing search, so the red-headed stepchild in the ad community, and I come into the search community and I’m not welcome because I not a search insider.

In his response, Danny says that there was never such a thing and that Kevin has always spoken on panels in conferences that Danny himself arranged.

Finally, one of the last key points is that Kevin believes that the attendees were looking for "fresh" content at the events. Danny responds that the content issue was addressed, but the primary selling point in his experience was the better food (which SMX boasts over SES).

What about banned attendees? Danny says:

At SMX, we banned the staff of one particular show from attending finally in February, in reciprocation for a ban placed on our staff stretching back to December 2006, for a myriad of reasons that would change. If that ban is ever lifted, I'll happily lift ours.

However, Danny is quick to mention that he's always looking for good talent to speak at these events and there should be no perception of exclusion at all.

Forum discussion continues at Sphinn.

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