SMX Advanced is a conference for search marketing and features a wide range of panels, speakers and exhibitors. It it is put on by Search Engine Land and featured a keynote by Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan along with a variety of other sessions.

Why I didn’t listen to the free keynote:

I didn’t find out who was coming to the event ahead of time except for PPC Ian so I decided that I would go meet him first and then take it from there. Ian was already sitting and waiting for the keynote with Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan to begin so he was going to save me a seat. As I approached the entrance I was blocked by an army of SMX guards that wouldn’t let me in. (Apparently I misread what was offered with the free pass I had signed up for). So I stepped away from the entrance to figure out what to do next and as I stood by one of the walls and turned to my right I noticed Ian Fernando was waiting outside as well.

Random Meet Ups:

I started talking with Ian for a while and then more and more cool people started showing up including James Seligman and John Hasson (Who I knew from Elite Retreat). We continued to talk just outside where the keynote was taking place and at one point an SMX staffer approached us and gently tried to tell us to leave the area and/or stop talking. We nodded our heads and went back to talking (I don’t think anyone could hear us anyway). Shortly thereafter the guys from Unique Blog Designs showed up:

Just before the key note ended we hustled downstairs to use up the free drink token before the mob of people arrived. We talked for a while and I finally met up with my local friend Feng Tien. The guys from Has Offers then started to show up and little did I know but UBD, Ian and James already had plans to stop by the Has Offers office and go eat dinner so I decided to come along as well.

Visiting the Has Offers Offices and Free Dinner

Has Offers provides the software that allows you to create and manage your own affiliate network. I may use their software on an upcoming project I’m working on so it was nice to meet the team.

The offices they have at Has Offers are awesome and it looks like a great company to work for (very open environment – no closed cubicles). They brought out some beers and then we made our way over to dinner. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but the food was excellent and Has Offers ended up paying for it as well (Thanks again Lucas, Lee, Cameron and Peter!). Dinner was a ton of fun too. We didn’t really discuss business that much and instead just hung out and talked to each other. After we got done eating we made our way over to the last stop of the night.

Bing Party

Microsoft was throwing a Bing party in Sculpture Park and they had a DJ playing music and were offering out more free drinks. So I kept drinking Rum and Coke’s (my favorite) and I saw several other people that I recognized or knew. I spent a significant portion of the evening speaking with the (already very successful) Has Offers founders and getting some great advice on my business which I’ll discuss in a future blog post. The party wrapped up around 11:00 PM and then I headed home.

Thanks again to Ian Fernando for the pictures!

Overall Impressions:

In the end I didn’t attend any of the free or paid sessions at SMX Advanced and I didn’t go to the second day. I believe most of the true value from conferences will never come in big wide open public discussions, but instead from one on one conversations like I had with the guys from Has Offers, Ian Fernando and James Seligman. Granted – because I didn’t go to any of the sessions at SMX Advanced I can’t say with certainty they have no value, but I know that if I was presenting I would never give away any of my trade secrets so why would they (paid sessions I can see they might though)? At the end of the day I’m happy with my decision to show up to the event late (4:45 PM) and then just go with the flow based on who I met. About the only regret I have is missing the seomoz party which I have heard is usually a blast. I’ll definitely go next year and who knows perhaps I’ll actually attend some of the sessions next time?

I highly recommend you take the opportunity to meet up with other internet marketers and attend conferences like this especially if you’re still struggling to make money online. You can use the connections you make like at these events to share ideas and ask for advice.

I think the only other conference I’ll go to this year will be the Blog World Expo but only if I can find a way to go for free. Any company want to pay for my flight and hotel room :D? I’ll wear a full body advertisement suit during the whole event (contact me here so I can share my ideas) Has Offers perhaps? 😀