SXSWi 2009: Local Search? What Local Search? Crickets…

South by SouthWest Interactive (SXSWi), possibly the hippest/coolest Web festival in North America (I attended the 2008 edition), just published the list of potential panels and presentations for its 2009 edition. As some of you might know, a large chunk (30%) of the programming for the festival is user-generated. People submit conference ideas (they had until July 11) and anyone can now vote on their favorite conference proposals using the panel picker. 1209 panels are listed there.

Tumbleweed

Flickr photo by Darkstream

Wondering how many were proposing to talk about local, I did a search and lo and behold, none have the keywords “local search” in their title (or description for that matter) and only 6 have the keyword “local” in their title. Only 4 could truly be considered local search-oriented. They are:

Lessons in Local Tech: Sustainable Food 2.0, Rachel Weidinger, Common Knowledge

From Global to Mobile: What’s Next in Local, Contextual Search, Don Turnbull, University of Texas at Austin

Think Globally, Post Locally: The Emerging Power of Local Voice, Chris Tolles, Topix.com

E-Commerce: Cultivating Links Between Local Farmers and Consumers, Andrew Smiley, Sustainable Food Center

What it means: either local search is not sexy enough (I doubt it!) or most of us in the industry (except for Chris Tolles @ Topix) were sleeping at the wheel when came time to submit a proposal for a panel. If local search as an industry wants to be seen as relevant and exciting, we need to be present at SXSWi. Now that I think about it, I should have reached out to my all-star local search co-panelists (Peter K., Greg
Sterling
, Perry Evans) assembled for the last Google Local Markets Symposium and maybe offer to debate the future of local search. That would have been a good panel.

Update: after writing this post, I got an e-mail from Vinicius Vacanti, founder of Yipit. It looks like his proposed panel ” The Local Search Solution: Context or Accuracy?” just appeared in the panel picker. So, there’s hope after all!  Vote for it!

10 thoughts on “SXSWi 2009: Local Search? What Local Search? Crickets…

  1. Seb, come on man, do you really think local search is sexy? I mean, sexy would be about the last word I’d use to describe local search. Twitter – sexy. Facebook – sexy. Web 2.0 – sexy, even elegant. Local search – rugged, tactical, blocking and tackling, but certainly not sexy. And hey, I run a local search company, a damn good one. And when I talk to folks about the market opportunity I definitely talk about the giant size of the opportunity, the massive shift in SMB ad dollars, and all that jazz, but I also always close with “hey, it’s not sexy.” It really isn’t. Well, at least in my not-so-humble opinion.😉

  2. Seb, come on man, do you really think local search is sexy? I mean, sexy would be about the last word I’d use to describe local search. Twitter – sexy. Facebook – sexy. Web 2.0 – sexy, even elegant. Local search – rugged, tactical, blocking and tackling, but certainly not sexy. And hey, I run a local search company, a damn good one. And when I talk to folks about the market opportunity I definitely talk about the giant size of the opportunity, the massive shift in SMB ad dollars, and all that jazz, but I also always close with “hey, it’s not sexy.” It really isn’t. Well, at least in my not-so-humble opinion.😉

  3. Hey — would definitely be into figuring out a way to get *something* local on deck here…certainly willing to make my thing into a panel if we get in. You have any awy to help get something on a local track at SXSW?

    -CST

  4. Hey — would definitely be into figuring out a way to get *something* local on deck here…certainly willing to make my thing into a panel if we get in. You have any awy to help get something on a local track at SXSW?

    -CST

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