MediaPost's Search Insider Summit, South Seas Resort, Captiva Island, Fla.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
This edition of Just an Online Minute is brought to you by guest
writer Tameka Kee, who is sunbathing... er... umm... working hard at the Search Insider Summit at the South Seas Resort on Captiva Island, Fla. Jerks. -- Kelly Samardak
It's dusk and the sun is sinking into the ocean. There's a balmy breeze rippling over the flirty skirts and fresh-pressed Dockers of 70 or so cocktail party attendees, and the wine, beer and mixed drinks with umbrellas are flowing freely. Chatter fills the air about the merits and flaws of various PPC engines, platforms and analytics programs -- not to mention, the demise of Microhoo. Put it all together and you get the uber-laid-back climate of the kick-off reception for this spring's Search Insider Summit.
The first person I spotted was Outrider corporate communications dynamo Cindy Kerber Spellman. Cindy was chatting up Mediawhiz' Adam Riff, who had breathlessly arrived after a rockin' Police reunion concert in West Palm Beach. Attendees like Amy Worley, who oversees interactive for H&R Block, spied me thumbing my BlackBerry and wondered, "Who else is Twittering this thing?" Little did they know that I was saving it all for the Just an Online Minute faithful. Speaking of Twitter, DoubleClick's Cam Balzer said that he's had it with random followers. "I'm annoyed with the hundreds of people following me, who have hundreds of people following them," he said. Hmm... some of us might love to have that problem, Cam.
Meanwhile, I ran into a lovely trio of search strategists from Starcom MediaVest. We officially crowned ourselves "The Girls of SIS" and posed for a glamour shot by Lou. Also ran into Natasha Richardson, aka "That Girl From Marketing," who happens to handle search for Fox Interactive Media. Let the estrogen flow! Who says search is a boy's game?
Spied Janel Landis of SendTec and David Berkowitz, director of emerging media at 360i and SIS conference chair, in a very deep discussion with a gent from The Weather Channel (note to self -- to get names accurately, one should put down the wine glass).
Also, tested the temperature of the Search Insiders on Microsoft's failed Yahoo bid. Mum was the word for most of them (seems like once they saw the BlackBerry, they assumed it was all "on the record") but SearchIgnite's Roger Barnette did dare to say that he was "a bit disappointed" that nothing came of the deal. The general consensus was that even if it took them too long to integrate, it would have been nice to have a more formidable Google challenger.
Stumbled upon some SIS virgins -- including a lad from Ingenio (yep, I said lad. Believe me, the pinot noir was a'flowin') and one from Yellowpages.com. When asked what they hoped to gain from the conference, both replied, "More evenings like this. Oh, yeah -- and some time to network and gain search insights." Aaron Goldman of Resolution Media said that he'd be having way more fun waxing poetic about SEM while boozing, if this wasn't his first business trip away from the newborn baby girl (and, of course, her momma).
I wrapped up the evening by slipping off to the dock to gaze at the luminous full moon, joined by Steak Media's Noah Elkin and AdBrite's Bryant Gavin. My first night on Captiva Island was definitely a good one. I can only imagine the nuggets of wisdom (with and without booze) that I'll cull from this year's SIS.
Don't vote me off the island! Send invitations to email@example.com to get your summery soiree covered in Just
an Online Minute!
Check out the full set of cocktail party pics on Flickr