Just an Online Minute... @d :Tech Day 1

Right off the bat, I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised with the first day of the season’s biggest online industry get-together. Compared to last year’s @d:Tech Los Angeles, everyone agrees that 2002 is much better from every angle.

As with all of these big events, none of the speakers really said anything new or exciting, but there is a definite sense of “we’re still standing and things are getting better” in the air.

Nevertheless, a few things are certainly worth mentioning. Yahoo Chief Solutions Officer Tim Sanders, whose book Tim McHale wrote about in yesterday’s Online Spin, gave the best opening keynote speech I’ve heard at @d:Tech in many years. First, he didn’t yell at anybody. Second, he drove home the three points that impact everything in our business -- experience, simplicity and people. Basically, he said, you have to do everything in your power to make sure that dealing with you is a positive experience for your customer, that you’re simple to deal with and that you love and respect the people that you serve and the people that you work with.

The exhibit floor, as I mentioned yesterday, is the real attraction of the show, packed with 40+ companies excitedly presenting their best to interested parties (and everyone seems to be genuinely interested and enthusiastic, which is a plus and a definite change from last year.) In addition to all the usual suspects, one of the newcomers worth a click is Search123.com - a cheaper, albeit much smaller alternative to Overture, at least for those of us interested in cost-per-click search.

And as always, Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer, has once again presented the best and most comprehensive overview of the online industry. If you want to know where we all stand, I strongly suggest you email him for a copy of the presentation.

More details to come tomorrow.