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The Very First Search Engine Strategies Conference

For the fifth year in a row, we are thrilled to be attending Incisive Media’s Search Engine Strategies yearly event in the New York Hilton for the week of March 17th! Search Engine Strategies is the largest, and oldest conference on the subject of search. In it’s 9th year, the conference series has encompassed the globe, traveling to destinations such as Milan, Hamburg, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Beijing.Nine years now! I thought it would be nice to take a trip down internet memory lane to see what the first Search Engine Strategies was like. For starters, check out the original SES site.

  • The first SES took place in San Francisco on November 18th, 1999 at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel — and sold out completely.
  • The conference was only one day long.
  • Back then, – a subsidirary of MecklerMedia (now Jupiter Media) hosted the show.
  • The main sponsors were Google, Altavista, Intelliseek, and AOL.
  • Only 2 out of the 5 are still kicking today! Intelliseek now redirects to Neilsen BuzzMetrics, a service of Neilsen// Netratings. Altavista is now owned and powered by Yahoo!
  • There were only 9 exhibitors – (now Enhance), Google, Altavista, AOL, Findwhat (now barely in the Alexa top 100,000), (France Telecom), Goto (acquired by Overture, later acquired by Yahoo!), Intelliseek, and Search Button (now owned by a Danish site search company called Mondosoft).
  • The entire speaker list roster included Danny Sullivan, Shari Thurow, Darien Hayman, Dana Todd, Catherine Seda, Jakob Nielson, D.R. Peck, Frederick Marckini, Paul Wood Sr, Chris Tolles, Andy Gems, and Brad Byrd.
  • The conference session topics were: Back to Basics, Designing Search Engine Friendly Sites, Buying Ads and Placements, Meta Tags, Doorway Pages, Proper Submitting, Dealing with Directories, and Meet the Search Engines.
  • For the “Meet the Engines” panel, the representatives were Doug Cutting of Excite, Jan Pedersenof Infoseek, Paul Gauthier of Inktomi, Andrei Broder of Altavista, and Larry Page, CEO and Co-Founder, Google, who clearly wiped everyone else off the map as of this post today.

For those not fortunate enough to attend, one could turn to to tune into the sessions. Hold on, this was 1999. For those who were not able to attend, audio could be purchased from a company no longer in business in … audio cassette format!

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