Mr. Diller will cut the ribbon at the opening ceremonies as A-list search celebrity Danny Sullivan holds court. (Didn't he do a fabulous job on "Nightline"'s "Search Engine Trouble" spot?)
Throughout the week, the supermodels will strut the halls as new faces aim to secure a seat on the circuit. And we're all waiting to see which panelist jumps up and down on the couch to demonstrate his passionate point of view.
The venture capitalists will be on the prowl, assessing which former Internet teen stars are about to make a big comeback. (Isn't it terrible what happened to him after dot-bomb?) If there is any group of attendees a bit more hungry, it would be the recruiters scouting talent for the next big SEM production.
If you've got it, flaunt it. If not, go hide in a closet until you do. The ceremonious walk down the carpet is an opportunity to be photographed with arm candy partners and blue-chip clients. Shiny new technology will be brandished, though one cannot be too sure that they are real diamonds. Most will be dismissed; the radical innovators of couture are few and far between, as the majority settle for the incremental innovation of ready-to-wear.
This year self-reinvention is hot for the SEM market. Great singers will try to act and actors will try to sing. Some have dropped or gained so much weight that they are hardly recognizable. (That dress really doesn't do her figure justice.) A few will have starved themselves for months to fit into a designer booth space or sport an over-the-top tchotchke. And of course, the tried and true will look their best.
While the press covers the regular beat, bloggers have become the paparazzi of interactive advertising. Just about everyone, even your closest "friends," are suspect. That picture of you dancing on a table? The rumor you overheard on the exhibit floor? It will be all over the Internet tomorrow. Make that all over the Internet in a few minutes.
Attendees are also ruthless, especially the seasoned veterans. A critical eye will assess broken engagements and new relationships as senior level executives play the perpetual game of musical chairs. (I heard that she just left Mr. Big for Mr. Up-And-Coming. Can you believe he's twenty years her junior?) Even the most loyal of all employees will be looking to the next rung. Climb that ladder, baby.
The night will close with the requisite opening cocktail, followed by private parties, after-parties, and after-after-parties. We'll be air kissing friends, colleagues and even competitors as we down drinks sponsored by a firm whose model we never really understood anyway. And of course, how good is a party if there aren't any crashers? (Dahhling, it was soooo good to see you! Tell me, are you still doing that East coast-West coast thing?)
Once the glam and glitz is over, we will be back to the business of reaching targeted audiences. Try as we might, we will never predict next year's big winners today. And that is exactly what I love about the industry.