Geek dinner introductions

Last night’s geek dinner brought together a variety of people from the world of blogging. I enjoy sitting at a table with a group of people I have not met before and learning about how they meet their personal or business goals by creating or reading blogs.

I spoke with a woman in charge of web content for the nation’s largest ball bearing company. She is using blogs to help her company communicate better with its suppliers and differentiate themselves from the competitive market. I always joked about how some day people would use blogs to sell even small things such as ball bearings and last night I realized my long-running joke came true.

I had the chance to speak briefly with Tara Hall of Weber Shandwick, a well-known public relations firm. Weber Shandwick tracks mentions of its client companies online and proactively pitches bloggers about products in their area of expertise. Tara admitted that mainstream media has certain expectations of getting a blanket pitch yet bloggers will take offense at any attempt to apply commercial influence. Public relation firms are still working on the right approach for bloggers but it sounds like they are learning quickly.

I met Louis Moynihan, a fellow Irishman from Wexford who is now working with Pheedo. Louis handles ad sales for Pheedo’s advertising networks. We talked about the various metrics used to track successful advertising campaigns in traditional media as well as online and how RSS advertising is completely different than advertising on a web page. I believe that advertisers should focus on building branding and awareness similar to a billboard at a bus stop instead of expecting an immediate click-through from a reader. Pheedo and other advertisers are still experimenting how to provide the right metrics to assure marketing departments their money is well-spent and it will be interesting to watch the space develop.

Over sixty people attended last night’s dinner and about half of the group joined us after dinner at Maxfield’s for a few drinks. I am sure there are more stories floating out there and I’m glad I could make a few introductions. Scott Beale of Laughing Squid posted about 30 photographs from the event.

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