By Sean Fenlon on April 2, 2008
So, it’s been a while since our last blog post – I guess that is to be expected the first few weeks following an office move. I have been having lunch individually with each member of the DoublePositive team as well. I have crowned the rest of the company as co-CEO during this time.
Internet lead buyers and lead sellers across many industries are buzzing with anticipation this week about LeadsCon. LeadsCon is the first annual conference with the purpose of bringing together industry-leading companies of both lead buyers and lead sellers.
LeadsCon is the manifestation of a vision of its founder Jay Weintraub. Jay is a former neighbor – he worked at Advertising.com in his early years, right next door to me during the years that I was growing my previous company, TheLoanPage.com. Although, I didn’t really get to know Jay until years later – we had sold TheLoanPage.com to Battery Ventures and Jay had moved out west to work for Oversee.net. Jay began blogging about Online marketing-related and Internet advertising-related issues and trends years ago, and quickly became well-respected for identifying macro-level concepts. I became a regular reader of Jay’s blog and I sometimes found myself getting lost in my comments to his posts.
I wasn’t the only one who took an interest in Jay’s work. In 2006, Jay was invited by TARGUSinfo to be the keynote speaker at their first annual Lead Quality Summit is San Diego. The success of this summit (and the subsequent 2007 Lead Quality Summit in Las Vegas) clearly inspired Jay to extend the scope of this type of event into a full-force “industry tradeshow” (as opposed to a Summit mostly limited to TARGUSinfo customers/partners). Of course, other larger tradeshows have established themselves for Internet marketers such as Ad:tech and the DMA Annual Conference, but none were filling this specific void.
Ad:tech has grown into a mutli-multi-million dollar event that annually visits 10+ cities worldwide. Ad:tech has become the most popular of all Online Advertising tradeshows, but this has also become its most noticeable imperfection. Every Ad:tech show features hundreds of exhibitors, thousands of attendees, and several keynote speakers. Many professionals involved with the shows often find it over-crowded and diluted by whatever aspects of the industry they may NOT be concentrated in. Indeed, to be all-things Internet-advertising-related and all-things Online-marketing-related is an extremely broad scope. Attendees are likely to find infrastructure players alongside mobile players alongside ad networks alongside online publishers alongside direct marketers alongside brand advertisers, etc. Ad:tech has become an icon, but has also become perhaps best described by Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray’s character in Ghostbusters), “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, MASS HYSTERIA!!!”
By contrast, the Direct Marketers Association (DMA) is an organization that has existed long before the Internet. Over the past several years, the DMA has broadened the scope of their annual conference to include “Interactive” exhibitors and tracks. Having attended the past few DMA Annual Conferences, the “Interactive” makeup of this event appears to be less than a third of that from more traditional and offline Direct Marketing. By and large, the “Interactive” exhibitors tend to be a small subset of the Ad:tech advertisers.
In this tradeshow landscape, a specific segment of the market was being overlooked – specifically those companies involved exclusively in performance-based advertising and marketing (e.g. lead generation companies and Internet lead providers) along with the biggest buyers of performance-based advertising and marketing (e.g. lead buyers). THIS is the fastest-growing segment of Internet Advertising and Online Marketing according to the IAB (I argue with some of their numbers, but I agree with this fact).
TARGUSinfo was the first to acknowledge this gap and filled it with their annual Lead Quality Summit. However, Jay Weintraub was the first to create an industry event that was more focused on the lead generation ecosystem as whole that that of Ad:tech or DMA but extended the scope even beyond a customer/partner summit. Hence, LeadsCon was born.
Anyone who knows Jay agrees that this is the perfect gig for him. Not only has he become quite the industry luminary with his blog, but he is also one of the more well-connected players in the space. As a result, the inaugural LeadsCon event was SOLD OUT weeks before the show and the panel/speaker roster reads like a who’s who in the industry. Jay has even honored yours truly with a spot on the Hot Transfers panel, which closes out the show. The panel will be moderated by my friend Jason Stoffer, who was one of the pioneers in building a Hot Transfers process in EDU with his former employer CareerEd. Jason has since moved on to become a Senior Associate at Maveron and is one of the brightest minds evaluating the lead generation space for investment opportunities.
Not surprisingly, we are very bullish about this event. I will be attending the show along with four others from DoublePositive – EVP Joey Liner, SVP Brian Ocheltree, CTO Syed Zaidi, and our Affiliate Manager, Rich Dent. If you plan on attending, please come by our booth – we are in eager deal-making mode.
We had considered being a major sponsor of this event, but by the time we got our ducks in a row, our friends at LeadPoint had already scooped up the “Lead Sponsor” package that we had our eye on. We did jump on the opportunity, however, to be the sponsored advertiser on the lanyards (neck bands) that hold the conference badges. It will certainly be satisfying to see some of those who consider themselves competitive to DoublePositive wearing our colors and message around their necks. :-)
A particularly unique panel is scheduled for Thursday and is titled “Meet the All-stars.” The panel includes:
LeadsCon officially kicks off on April 2nd at The Palms in Las Vegas. I expect to remain quite busy and engaged during the show, but I will try to capture and blog some thoughts and reflections on the plane ride back home.