'Rapping' Up the Search Insider Summit

Last week, search geeks from around the world converged on Park City, Utah for the 10th Search Insider Summit (SIS).

During his opening remarks, MediaPost Publisher Ken Fadner polled the audience to see if anyone had been to all 10 and no hands went up. But then Roger Barnette from Search Ignite made a dramatic appearance mid-day on Friday and confirmed that this was indeed his 10th show.

I've been tracking the buzz at every SIS except the first and have published the buzz-o-meter in these here pages to give folks that couldn't make the show a sense for the trending topics.

Below are links to recaps of each of the previous eight shows... 

April 2010

December 2009

May 2009

December 2008

May 2008 - Part 1 and Part 2

December 2007

May 2007

November 2006

Gord Hotchkiss, the Cal Ripken of search, had his 7-show streak broken last week and left the door open for yours truly to step up the MC role.

Seizing the opportunity, I took my MC title literally and opened the show each day with a rap...

Day 1: Park City Love

Day 2: Fresh Prince of Deer Valley

Day 3: Search Search Data

Rap interludes notwithstanding, the show was filled with great content and, as always, the intimate setting allowed for plenty of interaction.

Here are the top 10 buzzwords from SIS last week and the tweets that best embody them:

1. Google. The theme of this year's summit was "All roads lead through search," but it could have just as easily been "All roads lead through Google." Google's dominant market share has made its brand name synonymous with search. And SIS attendees certainly seemed to use these terms interchangeably. Beyond just search though, the content focused on the impact of search on other channels (and vice versa), and once again Google was part of the recurring thread, as it has aggressively penetrated areas like display (to the tune of $2.5 billion in annual revenue) and mobile (now a $1 billion annual business for the Big G). One of the show's highlights was the opening keynote from Dr. Jim Koehler, director of research at Google, who shared insights about conducting effective tests and the meaning of chemometrics.

@SearchBoss: BREAKING: Google cracks code on one of life's great mystery: How to spend more money with Google.

2. Facebook. Hot on Google's heels was the Big F. (Not to be confused with the Yahoo F Bomb. More on that later.) From panels exploring social graph integration with search results to the changing dynamics of people using Facebook to query their friends, there was no escaping the impact Facebook is having on our space and our roles. Some attempts to link Facebook and search were a bit of a stretch, though...      

@robwilk If brands want more Facebook fans, shouldn't they use search to bid on terms like "facebook" to drive new fan acquisition?

3. Like. On the Like vs. Link panel, we explored what the future of SEO holds when likes are counted alongside links. Dave Tan from Resolution Media proposed a "hate" button to give off more signals, while crowd-favorite Marty Weintraub from aimClear made it clear he likes likes, like, a lot.

@telerob: It's hard to follow some one's rational about 'likes' on Facebook if they keep saying like every third word....

@jeremycrane: @telerob very amusing how Facebook is making seasoned marketers all sound like teenage valley girls, but with a straight face

4. Data. The content for Day 3 centered around data, so the fact that this topic trended was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. As any good analyst would, we examined data from every possible angle -- tracking, targeting, privacy, discrepancies, 3rd party sources, etc. -- before concluding that...

@vikramsomaya: Data is so sexy. Even at a sinfully hot conference like #mpsis

5. Bing. Lots of chatter about the impact of the Search Alliance and Microsoft's continuing commitment to search innovation. Many folks think Microsoft has out-Googled Google when it comes to putting the emphasis on user experience, even at the cost of revenue. As for Bing's Facebook integration, the jury is still out...

@meprieb: Like the bing+fb liked results but can I choose friends that get referenced? Don't trust all friends' recs on food, tech, beauty...

6. Mobile. Despite cracking the buzz-o-meter at #6, mobile got decidedly less play than expected. Ironically, while it wasn't talked about that much, all it took was one look out from the stage and seeing everyone's faces buried in their mobile devices to remind me that mobile is now like the Internet itself -- just something that's there, almost omnipresent, and doesn't require explicit call-outs.

@cberdie: Facebook is important but what happened to Mobile? Fastest growing trend ever. Maybe everyone else has already mastered it.

We did, however, have one panel specific to mobile in which Jamie Wells from Microsoft reluctantly acknowledged the contributions of his competitors to the market...

@MediaPost: Microsoft values innovations by Apple, Google; Hell freezes over

7. Attribution. The popularity of attribution can probably be attributed to the fact that data was a hot topic. Meanwhile, aforementioned SIS vet Roger Barnette won the buzzword density award with his presentation...

@jennyc: Buzzword bingo with the title "marketing cross media channel attribution and optimization". Forgot "synergy" in there.

7. Display, Yahoo (tie). After turning the reins for algorithmic search over to Microsoft, the scope of the buzz about Yahoo was relegated mostly to display. David Zinman of Yahoo keynoted day 2 with a presentation about the interplay between search and display that pleased almost everyone...

@SearchBoss: Breaking: Yahoo keynote fails to drop F bomb, Bartz outraged

9. Groupon. SIS was buzzing about how Groupon turned down Google's reported $6 billion offer. For the first two days of the conference, everyone was speculating about what Google would have done with Groupon and what the future of location-based advertising holds. And then we got a dose of reality on day 3, when over half of the students on the consumer panel had no idea what Groupon was and one of the few that did thought "Groupon is for moms." To which Frank Lee tweeted...

@franksem: groupon should've sold! 

10. Funicular. The setting for the latest show was the new St. Regis resort in Deer Valley. Among ski-in, ski-out slopes and butler service (no sign of Jeeves, though!) , perhaps the most buzzworthy feature was the....

@micahn: Funicular - a railway up the side of a mountain pulled by a moving cable & having counterbalancing ascending & descending cars

That's a rap! See you in Captiva...

Tags: search
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1 comment about "'Rapping' Up the Search Insider Summit ".
  1. Geoffrey Shenk , December 15, 2010 at 1:50 p.m.

    Great job MediaPost on yet another beneficial SIS and to you Aaron for emceeing the event with your style & energy. No one will forget your opening raps to kick off each day.

    Lot's of great new friends, information and memories to last until the next event in Captiva.