Maybe I did it wrong. Perhaps I should've gone into Internet World first and then gone around the corner to Infosec. But no, I'd already sampled the delights of a busy Earls Court 1 before I headed around to a half-full Earls Court 2.
It might've been my imagination but I'm sure Internet World 2012 used more of the hall space. My first thought going through the door was "this isn't going to take long". For a show that has the possibility of including anything to do with the Internet it seemed like most firms just didn't think this was the show to be at. Very few of the obvious big names that had been there in previous years weren't there. In fact, some of the names I expected had turned up at Infosec instead. I'm not saying that Internet World is not an important show, and the seminars could all be stunners, but if there aren't enough vendors making enough money from new clients turning up and checking them out then this show isn't going to last many more years.
But it's not all gloom and doom. I'd gone to check out web hosters, given that I'd just written a piece about how rubbish they all appeared to be. I thought Internet World would be a good place to chat to a whole bunch of them. Well, er, Fasthosts were there I guess. Although they were too busy to talk to me on the day I went (it's ok, I've got a phone interview with them coming up soon). And, well, not really anyone else. Mostly the show felt full of marketing and analytics. Very useful to be sure, but that can't be the limit of what you need to be successful online.
Anyhow, I did manage to meet some lovely people called Trustpilot who promised ways to take control of your online reputation. Their solution addressed exactly some of the problems I'd had with review sites. That of being primarily composed of impossibly lovely reviews or projectile flame torpedoes fired from the depths of hell. Trustpilot showed a world where the vendors actually get to answer the concerns raised by the unsatisfied customers and to make sure that reviews only come from legitimate customers. It all seemed very hopeful, until I saw how few web hosting firms they had on their books. Now I know I can't expect every web hoster in the world to sign up with Trustpilot, despite the smiles that would put on all their faces, but I'd encourage them to take a look and wonder if they do need that kind of solution. Or maybe all band together, buy a domain name and centralise things using a trustworthy reviews system similar to Trustpilot's.
I also bumped into a very pleasant chap from MMC Learning who told me about Infusion Soft and their digital marketing campaign solution. Now I'm not an expert on such things but I was intrigued by the way that the product didn't just end at a successfully converted sale. It continued on to make sure that your service delivered on its promises, would eventually try to upsell to your customers, and encourage referrals to drive your business forward. Certainly the guy from MMC Learning convinced me that they, as certified Infusion Soft consultants, would be a good place to start finding out a bit more about how to go about marketing campaigns using this system.