Where Were the PubCon Exhibitors?

PubCon last week was a fantastic show. It had the strongest, most useful content of any search show I’ve been to in the last few years. The attendees were numerous and enthusiastic.

One area was curiously weak, however: the exhibitor floor.

There were less than fifty exhibitors for the entire show. Most of these were search engines, publishers, and advertising networks.

Where were the search agencies? Kudos to Bruce Clay Inc. for stepping up in a big way, but where were Rimm Kaufmann, iCrossing, Reprise Media, and Outrider?

One could argue that PubCon is mostly small business owners, and they certainly do comprise a non-trivial percentage of the attendance. But I met plenty of representatives from brand name corporations, and there was no shortage of growing companies with aggressive internet goals, and the dedication to attain them. Why wouldn’t these agencies want to help them?

Disclosure: While my firm, Apogee Search, did not exhibit, we did sponsor one of the networking events. We decided that the free booze would be appreciated more.

More bothersome than the lack of agencies, frankly, was the lack of tool vendors. SEOmoz, LivePerson, Enquisite, and Marin Software exhibited, but where were eFrontier, SearchRev, Omniture, CoreMetrics, and HubSpot?

To these companies, shame on you for not supporting such a quality conference, especially as it would have been in your own self interest to do so.

I know we’re in tough economic times, but if you pull in your marketing like a turtle, you’ll just be guaranteeing your demise. And, as companies in the marketing industry, you should really know better.

Note: Even more than usual, the opinions expressed in this posting do not necessarily reflect those of Apogee Search.

1 Comment on “Where Were the PubCon Exhibitors?

  1. Marc Poirier

    Hey Brian

    I attended pubcon for the first time this year, even though I’ve been a paying supporter of webmasterworld since 2002. Loved the show, great networking, and great educational opportunity for me – I’M usually at our booth.

    I’m the co-founder of Acquisio, and we normally exhibit at just about all the tradeshows of our industry.

    I had not planned a budget for pubcon because I suspected I would meet the webmasterworld crowd there, which is, in my experience, largely comprised of webmasters and affiliates whose needs are quite different from our agency-type clients.

    However I did know that some of the attendees there would fit our model, so one part of my stay in Vegas was to determine whether or not pubcon is a good investment for us. Like most advertisers, we need to justify such expenses with good ROI.

    I spoke with a number of the exhibitors there and they were mostly saying that there was very little traffic to their booths. One of them said that they had about 50% of the leads they normally get from any of the SMX or SES shows for example.

    Does that mean it’s not a good show to exhibit at? I don’t think so. But it does mean that in times like these, where every dollar counts, you have to make decisions as to what shows you will and will not attend, and I think it does explain why a lot of the usual suspects were not there.

    I hope to exhibit there next year, they plan 3 events I think, but we’ll probably try Vegas. and attend the other 2. Hope to meet you there, or at SES Chicago in a couple weeks – yes, we are exhibiting there!


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