On April 28th, Manchester will be hosting the inaugural SAScon event, and I’ll be there. I must admit, I didn’t even know this event existed until recently; I think I read some murmurings on Twitter and had a poke about on the SAScon website. Once I’d read up a bit, the plan was to just send my colleague Phil from our development team as he didn’t attend SES, but the speaker list is so good that both myself and my colleague Simon Turner (who runs our social media and PPC operations) suggested we should attend too. And best of all, it’s right where we are in Manchester!
So, what is SAScon about exactly? Well the website states:
SAScon delivered in association with Manchester Digital and SEMPO will be the UK’s leading Search Marketing conference.
The UK’s leading search marketing conference? That’s quite a bold claim; even just the three keynotes at this years’ SES London were pretty spectacular. The speaker list for SMX is strong for 2010 as well. Of course, we all know Manchester is the greatest city in the world (stop lying to yourself – you know it), so that’s definitely one advantage SAScon has over the other two conferences listed.
In all seriousness, I don’t see it as a competition; I just think it’s great that a search marketing conference in Manchester is able to host such a great range of speakers in one day. And certainly, if you’re in the North-West area and for whatever reason you’re not able to attend London conferences, you must attend this.
I’ve raved about the speakers – but who am I actually talking about? Well, Ben McKay posted a nice piece about a few of the speakers over at Search Engine Journal, grazie for the discount code by the way. I just wanted to write my own thoughts on some of the people I’ve seen speak and some of the people I haven’t but am looking forward to seeing. First up, people I know about:
- Andy Atkins-Kruger (@andyatkinskruge)
Andy is a regular speaker at every major conference going and has been for many years. This is not without reason; he’s a leading expert in the field of multilingual search marketing and has a wealth of experience in this field. And lets not forget, he’s a very good blog commenter too!
- Jon Myers (@JonDMyers)
As with Andy, if you’ve attended a major SEO conference in the last few years, it’s a statistical probability that you will have seen Jon speak. He always comes across as a genuinely nice guy, as well as being an excellent moderator and speaker. And of course, he has a great first name.
- Ralph Tegtmeier aka the Fantomaster (@fantomaster)
Ralph is a leader in the field of black-hat SEO, including such naughty things as cloaking and automatic content generation. Unlike others, he’s not afraid to talk about it! Whatever your standpoint on black-hat vs white-hat techniques, it’s always interesting to hear Ralph speak.
- Lyndon Antcliff (@lyndoman)
I must confess, I don’t recall seeing Lyndon give a presentation (although some of my colleagues saw him at SMX London 2008). However, I did meet him at SES London 2009 and even in a few minutes, I could see he tells it like it is when it comes to the SEO world; always a good thing in my view.
So there’s a small selection of people I have seen speak; I don’t want to list everybody as this would then become an extremely long blog post. I also wanted to post a couple of tidbits regarding people I’ve not as yet had the pleasure of witnessing….
- Malcolm Coles (@malcolmcoles)
Malcolm is a someone I only came to know about fairly recently via Twitter (you know, if you click enough tweets, you’ll find something interesting). His blog is now firmly entrenched in my RSS reader as he covers some interesting topics. I particularly enjoyed his post about linking to Royal Mail.
- Rishi Lakhani (@rishil)
A popular twitterer and blogger, Rishi tweets about all kinds of internet goodness. Following his tweets has certainly brightened up my day more than once, from curious website ideas to joining the charge against dodgy SEO’s. His blog is also well worth a read.
So that’s it for my quick longer-than-I-intended speaker preview. There’s a great deal of speaking talent attending that I’ve not mentioned; just visit the SAScon website for a full list.
So, is there anything not so glowing I can say about SAScon? Well, there was one little thing; the website to buy tickets. Now, for anyone who hasn’t bought a ticket themselves, here is a quick challenge for you. Click the thumbnail image below and within 2 seconds definitively define where I should have clicked to complete my purchase:
Tough one eh? I spend a hell of a lot of time looking at shopping cart and checkout pages and I was honestly completely flummoxed for about 10 seconds; I nearly had to resort to picking up the phone (arrrgggh… not the phone!) and calling them. When I did eventually see the little checkout icons to the right, they were title-tagged (thank god) so I was able to purchase without clearing my selection. But yeah, next year, whoever is selling the tickets should get a proper checkout button. Unless of course it was some secret test to filter out idiots like me
So here endeth my preview for SAScon 2010. I’m genuinely looking forward to it; if you’re attending I’d love to hear your comments so post away. Oh and there is one crucial thing I forgot to mention that SAScon wins hands down on versus SES and SMX….. a 4pm session finish See you there!