WebmasterWorld just announced a second surprise PubCon in the US for 2009. It’s going to be held in Austin, Texas March 11-13. The details of the conference may be found on the PubCon Austin Blog Post. There will be speakers, the traditional PubCon on the last day and of course good times to be had by all. Get ready to gear up for PubCon Austin and then PubCon Vegas again in 2009.
Monthly Archives: November 2008
Las Vegas & Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas Shows On the Strip, WebmasterWorld PubCon 2008 / 1 Comment
When you head out to Vegas in an economy like this, you want your moeny to last as long as possible and go as far as possible. Gambling generally isn’t going to facilitate this and if you sit in front of slots all day it gets really boring really fast and you’ll probably get soaked. What do you do? Go to some of the fantastic Las Vegas shows, get great deals in tickets and have more money in your pocket for sampling some of the great restaurants Las Vegas is famous for.
So long as you are not terribly picky about what shows you go to and where you sit, your best bet is a place called Tix4Tonight.com in Vegas. There are a few outlets on the Las Vegas strip where they sell tickets. You go there the day of the show and pick the available shows you want to see and then get discounted tickets. Discounts are anywhere up to 50% but may be as little as 15% depending on the show.
Tix4Tonight charges a few bucks as a processing fee but you still save a small fortune when you buy your tickets through them. They often have all the Cirque shows including O, Zumanity, KA, Love, Chris Angel as well as many other shows from Carrot Top to ICE, Howie Mandel and sometimes even big headliners like Elton John.
Except for a few shows where you might want to try to get really good seats, Tic4Tonight is a great way to go.
After you make your purchase at Tix4Tonight, you take the voucher to the box office and trade it in for a ticket. The venues generally seem to give you the best ticket(s) available for the show when you present the voucher.
Over the years I’ve gotten tickets to KA, Zumanity, Grazy Girls, ICE, Crazy Horse Paris and many others. The one ticket I would NOT reccomend buying from Tix4Tonight is Blue Man Group. For Blue Man Group at the Venitian, the Venitian seems to push a block of pretty bad seats to the Tix4Tonight company. They are pretty far off to the side and just not that great. The Blue Man Group show is just ok and over priced to begin with but if you are going to go see it, you’ll want to get tickets that are more centered than the ones you’re likely to get from Tix4Tonight.
Las Vegas Shows On the Strip, WebmasterWorld PubCon 2008 / No Comments
If you’re headed out to Vegas and you are thinking about going to some shows, the Cirque shows are probably the ones that will be top of mind and they should be because they are generally really good. You won’t hear anywhere near as much about the Las Vegas ICE show at the Riviere because its not a Cirque show and it is at the Riviera.
ICE is probably THE BEST show I’ve seen in Vegas. It features about 50 ice skaters from Russia in some great skating, lots of acrobatics and some ok but not always funny comedy. ICE takes place on a simple set nothing like the multi-million dollar set of the Las Vegas KA show at the MGM Grand. It’s a pretty small theater and a pretty small set, just a little ice skating area that has a little loop that enables the skaters to skate out into the crowd.
There isn’t really any story line to it, just great skating a little comedy, some great acrobatics, great costumes a comfortable theater and great skating.
There are numerous skaters on stilts so they stand about 10 feet tall on the ice and have no problem cruising around with that type of aparatus. There is a wheel type of thing that one guy locks his skates in and holds onto the other end and rolls around in in various different ways. It’s hard to desribe but it very cool and looks like it would be tons of fun to roll around in.
Tickets for ICE should be relatively easy to some by when you are out in Vegas. You can usually get them at the Tix 4 Tonight places on the strip for about 50% off the $80 face value – so figure $40 – $45 per ticket.
If you are into Cabaret as well, another show you can see in the same night is Crazy Girls which is the longest running Cabaret in Vegas. It is comparable to the Crazy Horse Paris cabaret at the MGM Grand but significantly better than the Crazy Horse Paris MGM Grand show. There doesn’t seem to be much demand (or at leat not sellout demand) for the cabaret shows in Vegas so you can usually get tickets for those for about 50% of the face value at the Tix 4 Tonight shops on the strip. The Cabarets come in at around $30 per person and are a good way to spend an hour or two. Enjoy some great sights, a little comedy and spend far less than one of those Vegas slot machines or the over priced drinks at a bar would soak you for if you spent a couple hours gambling and/or drinking.
If you come out for WebmasterWorld PubCon 2009 or Affiliate Summit in January 2009 and want to see a great show, go see ICE at the Riviera.
Tuesday at WebmasterWorld PubCon Vegas was a loooong day. After working well into the night to finish up the last presenttion that was to be given first on Tuesday, I enjoyed a nice walk from Treasure Island Hotel & Casino over to the Las Vegas convention center. It was a beautiful day and I made it over there in time to get everything ready to go. The crowd for this particular track was moderate as there were six sessions going on simultaneously.
The gist of the gist track was on balancing income from affiliates, contextual marketing programs and PPC search. As with all things Internet related, the amount of money you allocate to those or any other programs should be dependent on the returns you are getting and that will only be known after you have some data from running the campaigns. Then to prepare to juice up your returns you need to get your site in order.
Make sure you can present information the way consumers want to see it.
Be able to put people on landing pages that show sort orders in the way conusmers want to see the products displayed.
Get the page load times as fast as you possibly can.
Do all the basics of SEO so that your site reflects the way people search for and think of whatever it is you are selling.
Once you have all those things in place, then you are ready to put the contextual, PPC and affiliate programs in place.
The second track was on PPC issues & Affiliates. Essentially, what does it make sense to do from the merchant and affiliate points of view as far as PPC direct to the merchant site. Should you as a merchant open up the use of your display URL to your afilliates?
The answer is, of course, it depends. Can your in-house or agency search team do better than affiliates? Affiliates can be virtually guaranteed to improve the search program IF your affiliate payout is high enough to make PPC direct possible. You should keep direct links with your display URL for your own in-house search team but open up bidding on all other search terms to your affiliates.
The key to making all your PPC programs work much better is to treat the whole PPC process as a converstion and use your ads to answer the question the person is mot likely to be asking when they type a query into a search box. 99.9999% of what you read about PPC on the Internet is garbage especially when it comes to setting up ad groups and writing ad copy. The advertisers who realize this (very few of them, but NexTag seems to REALLY get it) can crush the competition while those that don’t will continue to run bad campaigns and not be anywhere near as profitable as they could be.
The last track of the day was affiliate site reviews. This was kind of a challenging one and it always is w/o looking at any performance data. You can give some general “best practices” advice but its hard to get really specific advice. Put title and description tags in there. Match the titles to the headers on the page. Put keywords in the meta description tag that are actually on the webpage in the content.
There were a few small sites put up for review and some rather large very sucessful sites where we didn’t have a whole lot of feedback. Overall it was a good session but not great.
The PPC & Affiliates session was far and away the best of the three. The one on balancing affiliate, PPC and contextual ad revenue was second and the site review came up last.
The next PubCon will be a two day event in Austin, Texas later this year and then there will be Vegas 2009 next fall/winter. It is hard to believe PubCon has been around for 6 or so years in its current format.
The first day of WebmasterWorld PubCon Vegas 2008 was a busy day. Monday night there was a little gathering for some WebmasterWorld folks way up high in a room with a view of the whole strip. Brett Tabke and the WebmasterWorld staff hosted the event and there were around 30 moderators, S/O’s and speakers there. It’s become an annual event and a great chance to catch up with some of the new moderators, touch base with people you haven’t seen in a while and have a great meal and enjoy the first of many open bars during PubCon events.
Following the dinner, everyone hung around for a while, chatted, had a beer or two and got to know one another. Later in the night, a few of us headed up higher to the observation deck to get an even better view of Vegas. While this particular event can sometimes turn into a late night, I had to retire rather early after the dinner. One affiliate presentation was done well in advance of the Tuesday presentation track, the other one, well much of it came down to the last minute. There always seems to be one presentation that keeps me up till 3am the night before it is supposed to be given.
Fortunately, the rooms at Treasure Island Las Vegas are nice and comfortable and provide a good working space. By 3:30am the presentation was finished, by 4am I was asleep and by 11:30am I was on the podium giving it. It wasn’t one of my better presentations but it went ok.