The PubCon

Las Vegas, the location of the last WebmasterWorld conference, might have been the most appropriate location for this conference. WebmasterWorld old time members are known for their experience, knowledge, skills, and creativity when it comes to achieving top rankings in the search results pages. Although some of those methods are controversial, the individuals that represent WebmasterWorld at the conference are highly respected and good people. In this recap, I hope to share my thoughts on the conference from an unbiased perspective.

For those interested in detailed coverage of selected sessions at the conference please click on the links below:

This was the first WebmasterWorld conference I have attended, but as many of you know, I have covered many Search Engine Strategies conferences in the past. WebmasterWorld is a very different type of conference, but there are areas where I have seen overlap in terms of culture. One thing I found was a large number of affiliate marketers at the conference, as you know, many affiliate marketing is very challenging. If you happen to find a niche affiliate that is virtually untapped today, you can expect others will come in and saturate that niche shortly. So to be a top affiliate, you need to stay on top of all the search engine dynamics, the usability and conversion tips. That is why people attend these conferences.

At this past conference, there looked to be about 1,000 attendees at its peak. But as you walked down the session halls, you were bound to bump into a well-known SEM that has experienced major success. When it comes to WebmasterWorld, there is more open discussion on how some of the SEOs achieve top rankings in the competitive areas of search. Topics openly discusses include; cloaking through IP delivery and user agent detection, blog spamming techniques, guest book spamming, link exchange methods, automated reciprocal link programs, and domain name hi-jacking. These are all techniques used in the industry but, in my opinion, should only be used by those that have experience in deploying these methods.

From my perception of the conference and diversity of the group of attendees, it might have been best to keep some of these sensitive topics at the bars. I must say that many of the WebmasterWorld conference attendees are also forum members, so they know about these tactics. However, I have randomly said hello to people at the conference to learn about where these people are from and what backgrounds they have. I must have spoken with maybe six people I did not know at all and five of those people did not participate actively at WebmasterWorld forums. In fact, I believe, for most of them this was their first conference in search marketing and they came as marketers to learn some sound search marketing tips.

When some of these 'black hat' topics were mentioned at the podium of the sessions, I looked around and saw many blank faces. It was then that I felt a little uncomfortable and asked myself, what are these attendees getting out of those comments? Please do not get me wrong; there was plenty to learn from this conference, from coding techniques to best practices in search marketing. It can be devastating if individuals that are not trained in these methods deploy some of these black hat techniques.

Therefore, I see WebmasterWorld conference turning more into a Search Engine Strategies type of conference. Search Engine Strategies is targeted towards marketers, webmasters, business owners and novice to immediate SEOs. WebmasterWorld, from what I hear, used to be a gathering of highly advanced SEOs that shared advanced and sometimes aggressive techniques to get one's pages to rank well. As the WebmasterWorld conference grows, the conference the sessions will adapt with it. I know in a year from now WebmasterWorld will hold another conference in Vegas, but will it be the same as this year in terms of the audience? I highly doubt it.

Overall, the conference as excellent, the people were fun, the experience was educating and Vegas was bright. Great job Brett Tabke and all those from WebmasterWorld in putting together such a great show. I can't wait until April time when WebmasterWorld hosts its next conference in New Orleans. And then again, the conference will take place around this time of the season in Las Vegas. Hope to see you all there!

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