The search engine industry conference in Silicon Valley was quite a show. Several thousand attendees (many of the biggest names in online search). Keep an eye out for an interview I did with the main Search Engine Watch website on trademark infringement and related issues for the SEO industry. There will also be a video coming out on Youtube from an interview I did with another industry site.
My take is that the industry is maturing, but Google basically is in the driver's seat. The entire SEO and online marketing industry follows Google's lead in almost every arena. Remarkable to see the devout following. It's also interesting to watch Microsoft, Yahoo and others mimic many of the Google offerings and business models (months or years behind Google). If anyone questions the dominant role Google is playing in the online advertising space they probably weren't at the conference.
Also had the opportunity to spend some time at the Google HQ. Interesting place, obviously, and the reputation is seemingly deserved. I heard one young recent college grad explain to another Googler that he had been there three weeks, and it was like Disneyland and he never wanted to leave. I guess having employees who are enthused and want to work all the time is business justification for the unique and relaxed work environment.
Our Beverly Hills office is jumping with music industry work. This area is exploding. We met alot of people from the mainstream music labels and related businesses looking to leverage assets into online businesses. Legally most of the sites will be fine. The success will lie in execution, and it will be interesting to see how the artistic and creative types do in a technology and business environment with competition coming from all corners of the globe.