Thinking about the past three days at ad:tech, what struck me most was the large number of people attending. According to the event's organizers there were 12,000 people in attendance. Even more massive were the hundreds of booths on display on three separate floors. There were SEO and SEM companies, there were CMS and CDN companies—a whole alphabet of businesses trying to make a healthy profit with the Internet.
Some of the big names were there too: Google had a booth. Ask.com had a sizable area. DoubleClick and Omniture as well. Several magazines had a presence, Revenue and BtoB, for instance. There were also companies I have never heard of with interesting ideas: from ArcadeRockstar's flash game community, advertising auction company SpotXchange, local business search engine Local.com, and video clip site EVTV1. And there are stranger companies finding their own niche like NeuroFocus that analyzes how advertising affects people's brains, or InPerson that greenscreens an infomercial-esque host over your site to help guide users.
With so many attendees and so many businesses, it is clear that marketing and advertising on the Internet will be a viable business for years to come. Whether it will be traditional banner ads, or the new hotness of video and mobile advertising, online ads will continue to produce billions of dollars and prompt the creation of thousands of companies. This isn't bubble 2.0. This is business as usual.
The multitude of panels insured people learned strategies, recognized trends, or found new methods of marketing. And with such a smorgasbord of booths, I can't imagine that anyone couldn't find a new partner or vendor if they really looked. And while some of the panels could've been more focused or more detailed, most at least opened people's eyes to the bigger picture. Where is marketing on the Internet going? With the work of all those that were at ad:tech, I am sure we're headed in unexpected directions, but ones that we'll actually enjoy.