2006 Pubcon in Vegas: Wednesday

Once I got to Vegas, I headed to my hotel. I really like the Renaissance Hotel (I don’t gamble, so I like that the Renaissance doesn’t have any gambling), and it’s close to the convention center, but they were sold out, so I got a room at New York New York. After dropping off my bags, I headed to the convention center.

I have to say, it was awesome to see so many webmasters in one place. 🙂 I said hello to a bunch of folks and met 2-3 new people before I even made it into the convention center. Google was hosting a two hour “meet and talk to Googlers while enjoying free food and alcohol” event, so I hustled upstairs to grab my registration badge. At the registration desk, the friendly faces of engine and jatar_k greeted me. Pubcon had so many walk-ups (attendance may have topped 2,000) that they were out of the conference programs (note to self, grab one from Adam just to see if I missed anything).

I chatted with a bunch of people and wandered over to the Google event. It looked like the entire webmaster console team was there in force! I counted at least four people from the webmaster console team, and about 20-25 Googlers overall. Then I found a quiet spot to stand as the doors opened, and for the next 2-3 hours I just talked SEO with a whole lot of people. I got to meet Marc Hil Macalua for the first time (we briefly discussed Filipino SEO contests), saw John Andrews in person, and briefly talked to Neil Patel, and after a few hours it all became a blur of SEO discussions. I got a lot of solid feedback on things we should be working on. I even saw Graywolf and pulled him over to ask why he was giving Google such a hard time lately, and we ended up discussing hoax marketing.

I decided to skip the Yahoo! YPN party (although it sounds like they spared no expense to rent out the Hugh Hefner Playboy Sky Villa, complete with rotating bed). Instead, I grabbed some dinner with a few Googlers.

Then I intended to work on my slides for the next day, but after dinner I realized that I left my backpack and laptop in the room where Google held its meet-and-greet event, and the convention center was completely locked up! The laptop was locked, so no one else could have used it, but it was still a huge bummer. It may have been a blessing in disguise though, because I went to bed by around 12:30 a.m. and got a full night’s sleep so I could get up early the next day.

58 Responses to 2006 Pubcon in Vegas: Wednesday (Leave a comment)

  1. corey

    “so I hustled upstairs to grab my registation badge”

    someone isn’t using their google toolbar spell check..

  2. I read about ShoeMoneys experience at Pubcon 2006. Sounds like you guys had a ball this year.

  3. Hey Matt,

    Wow you where the rock star again this show. I am sorry that I only got to say hi and not catch up.

  4. Harith

    Matt

    Ok. Now we have read about the social side of your visit, and it sound very nice and friendly though would love to hear more about your chat with Graywolf 🙂

    Tell us also about your contributions within the sessions you have participated in. That must have been very interesting, as usual 😉

  5. Harith, I got what I wanted out of the conversation with Graywolf. My take is that
    – he admitted that his Firefox/phishing objection was partially because he thinks Google is looking for signals of quality for sites, and he doesn’t want Google to have such quality signals, because it makes it harder to fake sites that look real.
    – he said hoax marketing didn’t bother him, because if a Google person has to spend a few hours debunking a “Google is in bed with the CIA” story, that’s time that the Google person can’t spend on something else.

    Needless to say, I respectfully differed. 🙂

  6. corey, I think hustled is right? Maybe I should change it to “hastily moseyed” or something like that? 🙂

  7. Well you guys have been making it harder for me to get things done lately so I figured I’d return the favor 😉 and I thought our discussion was quite entertaining.

  8. You mean I’ve been wearing this tin foil hat all this time for nothing?

  9. I think corey meant that a “registration” badge is usually more useful than a “registation” badge.

    I, unfortunately, didn’t make it to the Google Reception, which I’m really kicking myself for now. I wasn’t wearing my Cuttlette shirt this trip, but I had hoped to stop by and say hello to you anyway, Matt. Next time!

  10. Matt – you gotta give Wolf-Howl.com some linklove if you’re gonna talk about Graywolf.

  11. “meet and talk to Googlers while enjoying free food and alcohol” event, so I hustled upstairs to grab my registation badge

    He meant that “registation” was supposed to be “dude from Google attending the event with the nametag to prove it.”. 😀

  12. Matt – you gotta give Wolf-Howl.com some linklove if you’re gonna talk about Graywolf.

    Something tells me that this just isn’t gonna happen. Call it a hunch if you weeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllll. 🙂

  13. Matt,

    I was down at PupCon as well and had a great time. I waited in line to talk to you, but we ran out of time before we could talk. I wrote down my question on my business card and gave it to you….do you have time to respond to my question?

  14. Hey Matt,

    I’m the guy who snuck up beside you during the Q&A after the Smackdown forum and you kept gving me funny looks while hiding your laptop screen from me. 😉 (I think I’m in like a dozen random pictures with you now). Sorry for freaking you out, but with the huge crowd surrounding you, that was the only way I could hear what you were saying. 🙁

    I wanted to bring up a question that no one seemed to be happy with your answer b/c it was a bit confusing. The situation was that you implied that one of the sites you were reviewing could be negatively impacted b/c the owner had 30 other similar sites but had no real benefit. It appeared very spammy and you had some fun messing with the guy (real estate certification, foreign language certification, etc.)

    This upset a lot of people b/c you were in a room full of webmasters who had one or two primary sites and possibly dozens of non-relevant domains that they haven’t done anything useful with yet. Your answer was that if the webmaster uses Robots.txt to tell Google to ignore it, that will keep the junk sites out of the Google SERPs and all will be well. But this still implies that if the Google-bot sees that a webmaster owns lots of junk sites then Google will go back and reduce the credibility of his primary site(s).

    This begets the question: why should a quality website be negatively impacted by some random sites that the webmaster has for fun/experimentation/future plans? I have various sites that I’m posting bits of junk on just so that I reserve the name and so that Google sees that the site has been in existence for a while (your algorithms seem to heavily weight a site’s age so it’s important to keep it up). So even if I don’t use Robots.txt, why should this have any impact on my primary site which is a high quality, heavily back-linked site?

    If I own a piece of real estate in downtown New York and I get it appraised, the value isn’t going to go down because I also own a few crummy apartments in Detroit that I might rehab in the future. The two are completely unrelated to each other.

    Can you give us more details on this? Lots of people have tons of websites for various reasons. If this has any negative impact whatsoever on the SERPs of quality sites, then this is important information for webmasters to know.

    Oh yeah – that hidden Google tool that tracks all the sites that people own really scared everyone I talked to about it. People were trying to figure out how you guys know this stuff. You’re keeping us on our toes!!!! 🙂

  15. So apparently the real prize that everyone at Pubcon missed out on was Matt’s laptop! Imagine the headlines if someone had snarfed it…It would certainly get the Cuttlets all excited.

    Someday I have to hit one of these Pubcons, sounds like a fun time for one and all. Do Graywolf’s conspiracy theories change depending on how much he’s had to drink? 🙂

  16. Harith

    Matt

    Thanks for feedback on your “Graywolf” chat 😉

    At your convenience, would you be kind to tell us more about the reason why 64.233.183.104 wouldn’t update its PR. Should we just ignore it in future or should we look at it as testing DC?

  17. Matt,

    As always great seeing you at PUBCON, you were swamped more than ever at this one, hardly got a chance to chat.

    Any chance you’re going to SES Paris? I’m skipping Chicago, and hitting Paris, so far it sound’s like I’ll be the only Yank there.

    Any Googlers going that you know of?

    Bob (Slow Pitch) Rains

  18. Trogdor

    It’s refreshing to see two adversaries that can still behave, and talk frankly & honestly with eachother. I’d much prefer to see the two of y’all (Matt Cutts & Graywolf) square it off as presidential candidates, rather than the giant-douche-turd-sandwich choice we usually have.

  19. Pittbug

    My flight to pubcon was worse, so you can feel sorry for me too. I was also stopped and had my sealed bottle of Aquafina confiscated because I’d forgotten I’d packed it in my carryon. My Northwest flight took off from Pittsburgh seemingly fine, but the flaps on the right wing did not retract and the plane started flying more and more sideways as we got higher.

    Now I’m not a pilot, (Perhaps Jeremy Z can help me out with this explanation) but my understanding is that flaps are used for takeoff/landing because at slower speeds they provide more lift, but create turbulance at higher speed, which is why they’re retracted.

    So instead of heading to Minneapolis, we limp into Detroit and change plane. Of course now I miss my connection but fortunately Northwest were kind enough to put me up at the Holiday Inn and book me on the earliest flight the next morning.

    I check in at the hotel just after midnight, perhaps 12.20 only to learn that the kitchen just closed as well as everything else, including all the local pizza parlors. The only thing left was a local grocery store about 10 mins away. I walked over there in the sub zero weather wondering what the weather was like in Vegas. I got myself a bacon wrap and potato salad and eventually hit the sack around 2am. My shuttlebus to the airport was scheduled to pick me up at the hotel at 5am, so I set the wake up call at 4.30am. Eventually I catch the 7am flight into Vegas and manage to get an extra hour or so of sleep on the plane.

    Needless to say, the first day of pubcon was a little blurry.

  20. I would have been all over the laptop Matt left behind looking to find Matt’s blackhat RSS list. ;-o

  21. toprank

    Hey Matt, thanks for doing the video interview!

  22. Gregg

    It is really ridiculous that a Google representative attends conference organized by webmasterworld who are cloaking their pages. Why doesn’t Google penalize them ?

  23. Yeah Gregg, thats right, I hate to ask Matt about this, why google allow this? Look at their PR they have a high PR, and their SERP is good and always on first page from different keywords.

  24. Hey Matt,

    I just wanted to thank you for your insight at the conference. I have a story along with a photo up at my SEO blog.

    Also, I was the one who asked the question about Geo IP targetting and its affect on the Google SERPs. What was happening is that the US SERPs were picking up my redirected page and not the genuine page. The last thing that I wanted was for Google to think that I am cloaking and get penalized or something. Anyways, you told me that I might be using a 301 redirect, but when I looked I noticed that my coder made the whole thing using php and the term “301” couldn’t be found anywhere. Just not quite sure what to do about it.

    I did have my coder add the Google crawler IP addresses to the Country database and label them “search engines” in hopes that they will pass right through and correctly index the results. Would this trigger any cloaking flags? Hopefully not. If this works out I’m going to have him add in the other SE crawler IP addresses, then I’m going to have him install the Geo IP software onto all of my sites, not just the one.

    Hope to see you in the future!

    Dan

  25. Hi Matt.

    I checked out PubCon from a distance, seeing some videos and excerpts from some participants. I saw your video at WebPro News and it was very cool and informative.

    I was wondering if you could help me with an SEO question, if you could. The tek guy at our SEO company asked me what the importance did Google put on IP addresses of hosted domains. For example, if for a search in google.pt a site hosted with an US IP was considered any differentely from a Portuguese IP hosting.

    Thanks.

  26. Jeff

    So, are you going to do a video like you did after SES San Jose?

  27. We missed you matt. It was only slightly more fun than our Boston event. 😉

    See you next year?

    here

  28. Ironically enough, after posting my comment about too many domains hurting a primary domain, I see that CShel.com posted similar comments on her blog and then to top it off, she was on ShoeMoney’s show yesterday discussing the SAME topic in more depth. Matt, you sure stirred up some controversy with that “little” comment you made at PubCon. Do you care to comment on any of this so that webmasters can sleep at night? 😉

    Here is CShel’s blog:
    http://www.cshel.com/domains/2006/11/anything-you-register-can-and-will-be-held-against-you/

    Here is the archive of the 11/21/2006 ShoeMoney podcast:
    http://www.webmasterradio.fm/episodes/index.php?showId=43

  29. Graywolf, don’t get me wrong; I had a great time talking to you too, and I enjoy talking about this stuff with you.

  30. OnlyMe

    Hi Matt,

    It was with great pleasure to have finally meet you in person. I caught you outside on your first day of arrival to the PubCon and you needed to rush in to get your badge and I apologize for holding you up. But I had to meet you! Hopefully next time we’ll have more time to chat.

    OnlyMe

  31. Doh–thanks, Lyndseo and corey. It was staring me in the face; corrected. Sorry I missed you, Lyndseo, esp. since msndude wasn’t around and we could have talked more this time. 🙂

    randfish, Graywolf just published a nice little bit of hoax marketing (Google is pushing a Republican, anti-porn agenda) on his blog today. Why would I want to give link love when Michael is deliberately trying to hoax market the day after we talked about how he would?

    bob rains, I won’t be hitting Paris or Chicago. Several Googlers will be at each though–stop by and tell them hi for me. 🙂

    Brian B, no worries. I just realized that my laptop was mostly sanitized, but there might be a few bookmarks that would hint at different tools; that’s why I lowered the screen just to be safe. Getting close to be able to hear Q&A isn’t a bad thing.

    Harith, you’re stealing my punchline for future write-ups, but the short answer is that there aren’t enough machine resources at that particular data center to switch over the infrastructure until a few months from now (data centers can get full). I’d just ignore that data center; it’s serving older data.

    Pittbug, that sounds awful. I feel better about my trip now. 🙂

    Carfeu, the short answer is that we do look at the country a website is hosted in, and it can make a difference in US-searches vs. PT-searches. If you really want to target PT and don’t care about the U.S., I’d host there; otherwise, you may want to experiment with U.S. vs. PT IP addresses. It’s quite safe to switch between the two, so you could see which one gives you more traffic and conversions in total.

  32. “I decided to skip the Yahoo! YPN party (although it sounds like they spared no expense to rent out the Hugh Hefner Playboy Sky Villa, complete with rotating bed). Instead, I grabbed some dinner with a few Googlers.”

    They used the money they’ve been taking from all of the YPN accounts they’ve banned recently…why not? 😉

    Sounds like it was fun… sucks that I missed it this year. 🙁

  33. >Why would I want to give link love when Michael

    Do I at least get points for creativity, trendiness, and execution? 😉

  34. Jasmine

    I’m curious about natural links, link exchanges and link baiting.

    eg. I have site where I charge for listings. Its an industry niche. I am top ranked in the world on all search engines for my main phrase, but not top 10 for many lesser phrases so am looking to increase my site rankings.

    I’ve recently added a free classifieds section. Listing here are free, but if the classified owner has a website they wish to list, they must link back. Classifieds get to list their product/service for sale, price, country/state, load photos etc,

    If they also want a free banner, and free home page add rotation, they must link back from their home page.

    In the links from my site to theirs… all links are rel=nofollow and I make not secret of this.

    Am a link exchanging? Am I natural linking? Am a link baiting? Am a doing something else.

    I got no idea.

  35. I am waiting for you to address the comments made by Gregg and Fuu Champloo above. Re: webmasterworld and cloaking.

    Right now when I search for some information on some robot, and if I don’t concentrate, I click on the first result and it leads me to a webmasterworld forum page. Only thing is, I get a Member Login/”Subscribe to WebmasterWorld, thank you for your support.” page.

    How did Googlebot spider this thread?

    If this is considered acceptable, please tell us. Because if it is, I would love to be able to do this on my web pages so I can control who gets to see what.

  36. The first thing I want to do is block any user agent with “Java”, “Python”, “nutch” or “wget” in it 🙂

  37. Thank you Matt for your answer.

  38. I guess matt for the people who can effort to come to such conferences, these conferences should be made live after few days so that the whole community would benefit out of it

  39. Jimmy

    I was at PubCon, first time, was fun and I learned a lot. A comment about how Matt knew what domains each webmaster owned (from Brian B); Google, apparently, is a domain registar. I’m sure registars have fancy whois interfaces. The really question is why does Google care about other domains I own that I am not currently using, or ones that I am using for other purposes….whatever they may be.

  40. Matt,

    Enjoyed our discussion at the Meet the Engineers event. You may remember our comical discussion about the re-launch of the LifeTips.com website (and collapse of all traffic coming from Google.)

    As it turns out, the traffic tragedy was not ANY of the likely suspects we discussed:

    — Not the fault of our fancy Italian design tip widget layout.
    — Not the fault of the JavaScript in the tip widget. ( We moved that back to HTML)
    — Not the fault of our servers shifting from one host to another.

    Instead, a simple, painful mistake:

    When we launched the new site, our developer forgot to take off the “noindex,nofollow” tag on every single page of the beta site that became the live site. So in one poof, Google’s spiders blew LifeTips away, as instructed.

    YIKES!

    So webmasters of the world beware… sometimes it’s not all about the ‘algorithm flavor of the day” or “bot discrimination”… it’s sometimes about stupid mistakes that can have a big impact.

    See you in Chicago, Matt!

    Byron

  41. Matt,

    As always great seeing you at PUBCON, you were swamped more than ever at this one, hardly got a chance to chat.

    Keep up the good work. Greetings from Poland

  42. I saw your answer to Carfeu regarding US searches vs PT searches. I understand that targeting a country with a ccTLD you may get preferential treatment in that country’s version of Google if you host in that country. But what about .com and hosting outside the US? My IP is Canadian and my TLD is .com, will I naturally lag competitors who have a US IP on .com searches? I get great rankings in Google.ca and lousy rankings in Google.com – is my Canadadian IP affecting this?

    thanks

  43. Kurt. Google shows you searches from nearest not busy datacenter… But remember Google isn’t your friend 🙂

  44. Hello there at thise moment im visting my family near Vegas maybe You Can give me any adivces or some links to pages wehere I can find info about confereces like thise one

  45. The really question is why does Google care about other domains I own that I am not currently using, or ones that I am using for other purposes

  46. I just realized that my laptop was mostly sanitized, but there might be a few bookmarks that would hint at different tools; that’s why I lowered the screen just to be safe.

  47. I would never post something like this in news, and sites that do so are the whole reason this got blown so out of proportion.

    Niall was wrong to use the image that he did, but it was well within his rights. Besides, what’s to say he didn’t simply use the same filename for a different picture.

  48. where talks about the future of consumer generated video content on the Web with panelists. I mean future in performans – online web cam girs – its REAL VIDEO

  49. I’m sure registars have fancy whois interfaces. P.S. good article

  50. Would love to be able to do this on my web pages so I can control who gets to see what. My site is about technika diamentowa

  51. “it was awesome to see so many webmasters in one place” 🙂 Try to visit Hotcom in Miami insted of Pubcon in Vegas. There will be many nice women in one place.:)

  52. Wow you where the rock star again this show. I am sorry that I only got to say hi and not catch up.

  53. I would have been all over the laptop Matt left behind looking to find Matt’s blackhat RSS list

  54. It’s refreshing to see two adversaries that can still behave, and talk frankly & honestly with eachother. I’d much prefer to see the two of y’all (Matt Cutts & Graywolf) square it off as presidential candidates, rather than the giant-douche-turd-sandwich choice we usually have.

  55. This begets the question: why should a quality website be negatively impacted by some random sites that the webmaster has for fun/experimentation/future plans? I have various sites that I’m posting bits of junk on just so that I reserve the name and so that Google sees that the site has been in existence for a while (your algorithms seem to heavily weight a site’s age so it’s important to keep it up). So even if I don’t use Robots.txt, why should this have any impact on my primary site which is a high quality, heavily back-linked site?

    If I own a piece of real estate in downtown New York and I get it appraised, the value isn’t going to go down because I also own a few crummy apartments in Detroit that I might rehab in the future. The two are completely unrelated to each other.

  56. I’m sure registars have fancy whois interfaces. P.S. good article

  57. So apparently the real prize that everyone at Pubcon missed out on was Matt’s laptop! Imagine the headlines if someone had snarfed it…It would certainly get the Cuttlets all excited.

  58. Matt – I saw you for the first time at this conference and I was not dissapointed. Next time I will stop by to say hello – however you always seem to be crowded – even when you leave your laptop at home!

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