What I Took Away From IRCE 2010
Last month's Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago had all the elements of a healthy trade show — attendance was at record levels with over 10,000 paid attendees; the exhibit floor was packed with booths and customers; and the sessions were well attended. It seemed like everyone in the industry was at the show.
Part of the show's success must have been fueled by the relative upswing of the internet economy. Clearly the web is taking market share away from traditional retail sales. As a whole, many internet-based businesses are experiencing strong growth.
John Deneen, president of SiteForm, a web development company, noted that exhibitors seemed tightly focused on their own niche within the internet world. Gone are the days when internet companies tried to be all things. At this year's IRCE, exhibitors could explain their business to you almost instantly with the following statements:
- “We do PPC and price shopping comparison engine management.”
- “We do behaviorally targeted ads.”
- “We do email append very cost effectively.”
- “We do multichannel attribution management.”
I had some specific niche businesses I needed to understand, so I used my time at the exhibit hall to meet with those businesses. I came away thinking that most, if not all, of the niche businesses that make up the world of internet marketing were well represented at the show.
The behaviorally targeted ad vendors were in full force: Dotomi, FetchBack, Criteo, acerno (a division of Akamai) and Afiniti were all showing why they had the largest network, the best testing, the strongest platform for dynamic ads and all the other points of difference that made them the best-of-breed for behavioral targeted ads.
Dotomi offers a very strong suite of services if you have enough unique monthly visitors for their program. Fetchback had just been purchased by GSI Commerce, and that was big news around the show floor. And lurking in the background was Google, with its plans to launch and dominate the market for behavioral ads as it does for search.