The day started with a keynote from a guy from Human Factors International, which is a somewhat legendary usability firm. His talk was dense, but fascinating, so I’ll have to dig through the slides later. It was a discussion about how the two-way communications of Web 2.0 can help you internally as well.
I completely grasped one point about how to make sure that your internal taxonomists and such where paying attention to how people were tagging their stuff. Let the community help you organize, like a never-ending card sort.
Next up was Lisa Welchman, who I’ve known of about through Bob Boiko’s Circle of Trust for a couple of years. She spoke about Web Governance and Web Operations Management, which is worthy of its own blog post next week. Lisa was a great speaker.
We broke out from there, and it started off with a guy from The CMS Myth talking about why Web content management projects fail, but…
I cut out of this one to grab a corner with Sett Gottlieb and have what was one of the most professionally meaningful conversations I’ve ever had in my life. This one will result in another blog post all its own, and will likely have much longer-lasting ramifications over the next year.
Jarrod Gringas from CMS Watch was up next with a great summary of the report that those guys publish. I loved the talk and agreed with 100% of what he said. These guys have a very, very sane approach to CMS selection. He had a bound copy of the CMS Watch Web CMS Report, which I combed through for about 10 minutes — it was gorgeous.
I joked with Jarrod about how we’re trying to cajole Tony Bryne into including eZ publish in the U.S. version of the report (it’s currently only in the European version). Actually, I wasn’t joking at all — we really do want Tony to include eZ in the U.S. version.
Over lunch, I had a raging conversation with the guys from eZ publish and Duo about a very exciting future project and about what it’s going to take for eZ to get a foothold in the U.S. market, then I grabbed some food and sat at a table organized around SEO.
We generally agreed that (1) most SEO firms were as pleasant and professional as used car salesmen (I said most, Declan), (2) they make promises that can’t possibly deliver on, and (3) too many SEO clients never bother to measure their search penetration prior to engaging with SEO firms anyway, so how can they possibly measure success?
After lunch, Graham Tillotson ran a presentation about all the skills a content administrator needs to know about, from localization to time zone issues. After he ran through them all — and there were a lot — even I was freaked out.
John Eckman from Optaros was up next a stone-cold fantastic talk about how two-way media in the Web 2.0 world brings on some interesting problems. He discussed how to write a Terms of Service people will actually read, how to run invite-only betas to manage growth (read: how to avoid being Friendster), and how to counter the problem of the empty dancefloor when no one wants to be the first one to use a service.
This was a great presentation. The slide deck was excellent and will stand-alone quite well.
Finally, we ended with the Chairman of comScore talking about how they measure the effects of online marketing. This was a dense discussion, but there were some really key points to take away.
Tracking visitors is still hopelessly flawed due to the 30% of people who delete their cookies an average of four times a month.
They have found ways to measure the non-click value of an ad. Even if someone doesn’t click on your ad, it is still effective. I remember a stat he mentioned that went something like: if your product appears in the top sponsored or organic search result in Google, it is 16% more likely to be the answer in an offline survey of a question roughly equivalent to the search in question (e.g. a search for “fuel efficient cars” for the search, and “Name a fuel efficient car” for the offline question).
Internet advertising is still growing by leaps and bounds, even as the economy tightens. Advertisers find they can do the same impressions as TV for much less money on the Net.
Even so, Internal advertising it still only 7% of advertising budgets.
There was a lot of information there, and if you can get the deck, all the statistics were there.
We ended Day Two with a reception up at Duo’s very cool offices. We had more raging discussions about everything, but this time while drinking beer, which makes it all so much more interesting.
So, in the end, great conference and one that’s going to be a fixture for me so long as they continue organizing it. I’m probably going to speak next year, so if you want to come to the Windy City in June 2009, look me up and I’ll buy the first round.
I have a lot of follow-up posts coming, so give me a little latitude while I ramble…