Wow, thanks for all of the emails for those that read into my post at Search Engine Watch stating that it was my last time posting the *Official* SES Party & Events Schedule. It does mean that I will no longer be the party coordinator for SES. Danny Sullivan had appointed me SES Party Coordinator back during SES Chicago 2005 after we had endured a conference with no formally planned events and just following a conference (SES San Jose 2005) where either there were multiple events all at once or nights where nothing was planned. I had already been posting a party schedule for the US SES shows since I was moderator of the SEM Related Organizations & Events Forum at SEW. Danny just figured I was the guy for the job since I had insight in the social scenes at various conferences and always had a crowd with me going from one social gathering to the next.
The appointment entailed working with the search engines directly and with multiple vendors known for throwing great conference bashes to mainly avoid 'party collision' so that the parties flowed well from one to another and didn't overlap too much. It worked well and many event planners and party organizers made sure to check the list or check with me before scheduling their event. For many conferences we had more pageviews of the party thread than for the actual conference session coverage. Kind of puts it into perspective as to where the priorities of the industry lies doesn't it?
Even with that obvious importance, we have begun to see a deterioration of social events attached to SES - now what does that mean? I was speaking to someone today about this and she said to me "You know Joe, we're all growing up...". Maybe she was right, perhaps we are maturing as an industry, maybe it just isn't as new anymore and new client acquisition and branding isn't the goal of the engines and vendors and now its managing their brand and working with the audience that they have built. Years past have had a sparring between Google and Yahoo when Google had their GoogleDance and Yahoo rented out Great America Amusement park trying to compete for best conference party. Ask Jeeves retired their butler in style during SES NYC 2006's Code Red party and the revelers drank the bar dry sending the bartenders out to stores to replenish. Industry veterans will remember the Overture bashes and the dull Yahoo parties and how the Yahoo parties suddenly got better after the Overture acquisition. Coincidence? I think not. Remember the GoToast 'After Over' parties? I think those of us San Jose veterans will always remember The Flying Pig and how we drove those poor bartenders crazy.
Nowadays it seems to be all private parties as the engines and vendors try and trim their budgets, also the conference grew in size to a point where no one wants to foot the bill for a conference now numbering in the thousands of attendees. Perhaps it's the end of an era, but after compiling this years list and waiting forever for any word whatsoever to compile an even somewhat decent party schedule and getting 'we're only having a private party this show' or 'we aren't doing anything for this show' time and time again plus given that unfortunately PubCon Las Vegas 2007 and SES Chicago 2007 happen to fall during the same week (where I happen to be one of the conference organizers), I now have a good opportunity to relinquish my role as party coordinator and pass the torch on to someone else. I'm not sure who will take over my position or if there will be enough event activity to warrant an 'official person' but I wish them well and I cherish the time that I have spent in this role.
See you guys in San Jose!