Wow, PubCon was a blast. I can’t even begin to go into a full recap, so I’ll mention a few of my favorite things:
– talking to a ton of people. I saw lots of familiar faces, but I was (happily) surprised at how many people came up just to introduce themselves and chat for a bit. Some people wanted to report spam or discuss why a site might have been penalized and some people just wanted to say hello. I also did 3-4 video interviews that should eventually show up somewhere on the web.
Werewolf Search Spam. Rand and Co did a great job on the party and printing up a custom deck of cards. I answered questions at the “Meet the Google Engineers” event beforehand, so I only had time to play a couple games. In the last game of the evening, I got to be a blackhat/werewolf. I realized that the person to my left was the healer (“Danny Sullivan” in this game), and decided to pretend to be the healer myself. Then I realized that the person to my right was the seer (“Matt Cutts” in this game. I know — my head hurt too.). As the “whitehat healer” I convinced the other villagers to lynch the seer. I got voted out early in the game, but enough people believed I was the healer (hi Jonah!) that the villagers voted out the real healer soon afterwards. With no healer or seer left alive, the two remaining blackhats played like pros and won. Just so you know, if there’s video of me celebrating with a little dance and chanting “Blackhats rule! Blackhats Rule!”, that’s why. I was just celebrating our team’s victory.
– Andy Beal took my new favorite picture of me during my keynote Q&A:
(Image used under a Creative Commons License.)
– Speaking of the keynote, at one point I talked about how Search Engine Roundtable did a nice write-up of how to report AdSense spam. I thought that Barry Schwartz did the post, but in fact Tamar Weinberg had done the post. Thanks to Tamar Weinberg being in the front row, I was quickly able to correct myself.
– I got a kick out of how many Googlers participated this year. Just a few years ago, I was one of the only people representing Google at PubCon. At one conference (2005?), I did five presentations and totally lost my voice. This time around, the numbers were reversed. Four people from our webspam team (plus several other Google colleagues) spoke on panels, and that’s not even counting Aaron D’Souza, who spoke at SES Chicago. This year I’ve been trying to step out of the spotlight a little bit to make room for more Googlers to communicate. It’s really wonderful to see just how many Googlers are talking with webmasters and SEOs these days.
– In the Las Vegas airport on the way out of town, four other people were riding the tram to terminal D. Three of them were SEOs, and we had a nice chat.