I'm down at Sydney's Darling Harbour today attending the Search Engine Room conference, an annual show buzzing with search engine strategists and marketers happily disintermediating the traditional marketing and media world.
The story behind the story that 99% of Google's revenues come from online marketing is that it's spawned a whole new community of businesses that effectively play the middleman role in the marketing equation. Not sure how to get the best result in PageRank? Nervous about whether you should spend $1 or $2 on buying a certain keyword? According to Frost & Sullivan analyst Foad Faghadi, who spoke this morning, there are now around 40 search engine marketing companies in Australia. He also said there are 150 people working full time in the search industry (I think that figure's a bit low), and pay per click advertising represents $124 million, or 20 per cent, of the $650 million spent in online marketing in Australia.
There are plenty of other factoids floating around here, which I'll keep under my hat for the moment. But with 250 people in the room and a small but buzzing collection of stands, it's obvious that there is real traction in this sector.
Oh, and yes, they have free wi-fi for delegates. Hurrah. But oddly enough, I can only see about two or three others using notebooks. Quite a contrast from the US where events like this are a live advertisement for Apple PowerBooks.