As I wrote a few days ago, SphinnCon came to Israel this week on February 5 in the form of SphinnCon Israel. It turns out that this wasn’t only the first SphinnCon in Israel, but it was the first SphinnCon ever! So, this is yet another example of a first for Israel, kind of like how the first WordPress conference, WordCamp, to take place outside of the US took place in Israel.
I took extensive notes at each session, which I had planned to live-blog but couldn’t due to a minor technical difficulty: no wireless internet. I will post the summaries over the next few days, but in the meantime, here is a summary of the entire event, and some related links:
Sphinn is pronounced Spin
One of the most important lessons from this conference was that Sphinn is actually not pronounced Sfin, but Spin. Go figure.
Google sent greeting video from Dublin
After Barry Schwartz’s introductions, we got to see a video sent specially to us from Google in Dublin. Alon, the Google rep in the video, tells us how excited he is that SphinnCon has come to Israel, and he gave us an SEO tip straight from the Google guidebook: write good content. I can see how that tip is in Google’s interest, since they would love the web to be a big database of useful information that users are searching for, but after this conference it seems that there are a few other things you can do to promote your site too.
Anyways, here’s the video (Hebrew):
The food was delicious
I don’t know who the caterer was, but the food was great and plentiful. Did I hear you scoff? Food is important, excuse me.
This was a test event for something bigger next year
SphinnCon Israel was an attempt to test the waters to get an idea of the potential interest in a bigger SEO conference on the scale of SMX next year in Tel Aviv. From what I could see and from what the organizers told me, SphinnCon Israel was a huge success. The registration for the 165 spots quickly filled up, and they added another 15 seats, and were still getting requests from people to join! They barely advertised, and yet word-of-mouth spread the news quite quickly and widely.
In addition, the event succeeded despite the fact that it took place in Jerusalem. Don’t get me wrong – I love Jerusalem. But most technology-related events take place in Tel Aviv, which is the heart of Israel’s hi-tech sector. Tel Avivians aren’t big fans of coming to Jerusalem, and yet they came in droves, and more would have come if there had been room.
So hopefully this all means that we can look forward to a really great event next year!
The panels were excellent
There were three panels:
- SEO Panel: Paid Links & Penalties
- PPC Panel: Will the PPC Model Hold Up as Click Prices Rise?
- Social Panel: Should You Social?
I thought that the panels were done really well. Each panel began with a short presentation by one panelist, and then the rest of the session was made up of Q&A. This was a great format since it kept people’s attention, and ensured that the audience learned about issues that really interested them. I learned a lot, and the panels helped me take my jumble of knowledge on SEO and make some order of it, which I appreciated.
I didn’t go to the After Hours Party in Tel Aviv, but I’m sure it was nice too.
We got free t-shirts that said “The First SphinnCon Evar”
Yes, “Evar.” I think someone forgot to do a spell-check.
There were women in the audience…
Yes, the “no women on the panels” issue again. The organizers explained to me that they really tried to get women on the panels. I really don’t blame them for this. It seems to be a global problem: Jeremiah Owyang wrote about it recently on his blog, and the comments reflect the depth of the problem. See, for example, Lena West who says:
I simply DO NOT BUY the story that conference organizers give when they say there are no women available. I know how the game works. These â€˜organizersâ€™ ask the other speakers for recommendations and men refer other men. Thatâ€™s the deal. I just spoke at an event in Miami and I recommended three of the speakers. Heck, it makes a very busy job easier to just go on recommendationsâ€¦why wouldnâ€™t they?
Ok, nuf about that.
Related Links and Resources:
These links will help you get a picture of what the conference was like:
Panel Presentations (available for download in PDF format on the SphinnCon Israel page)
SphinnCon Israel 2008 Recap – this post has links to most of the blogs that wrote about the conference, and most of the flickr photos.
British Yosef’s photos (really professional)
The event organizers:
(Top photo from British Yosef’s photos.)