THE FREEGAN DIET

When is Dumpster-diving not Dumpster-diving? When Greenwich Village bo-hos do it, and couch the practice in an anti-consumerist philosophy dubbed Freeganism.

This is all oddly reminiscent of George Costanza’s antics on a particular “Seinfeld” episode. Do freegans adhere to the “above the rim” rule?

I actually do have a thing about preparing an overabundance of food, during the holidays or any other time. Regardless of how cheap or obtainable food may be, tossing out perfectly edible food just strikes me as pointlessly wasteful. (Stashing said food in the refrigerator for weeks until it becomes inedible, which I’ve done too many times to count, yields the same results; but I digress.) It’s not that much of an effort to plan out a realistic amount of food, instead of going for overkill.

That said, once it’s trashed, it’s trashed. At that point, you’re in bum territory, elaborate justifications aside.

SEARCH ENGINE STRATEGIES NYC: LAST DAY

Getting ready to head off to the second day of SES 2006. As it’s the last day of the Expo, it’ll also be my last day there. I don’t anticipate spending too much time there today, as I doubt there’ll be an awful lot of new things to look at. I’ll probably be gone by lunchtime.

I’ll post more once I actually plant myself there, in a couple of hours. For now, a couple of quickie impressions from yesterday:

- I won’t say there were a lot of them, but there certainly were enough Hasidic and orthodox Jews walking around the Hall that they stood out. I had no idea there was a special interest in website optimization among this group!

- A familiar Florida company (sorta), MIVA, had a booth in a cherry spot, across the aisle from Google’s typically expansive plot. MIVA’s giveaway tchotchkes were strands of party beads, which probably hinted at most attendees at a New Orleans/Mardi Gras theme. Personally, given MIVA’s relative proximity to Tampa Bay, I’d assume it was more of a tip of the hat to Gasparilla. I’ll stop by the booth again today and ask (and, of course, try to snag some beads); I don’t think I’ll ask them about the rumors of their demise.

More soon…

UPDATE: Here we go. Planted in the wi-fi lounge and orienting myself a bit before doing a brief walkaround. More on yesterday’s impressions:

- I mentioned already that Google had a big honkin’ spot, in the middle of the main floor. Curiously, Google Analytics had a distinctly separate booth, close but not connected to the prime Google space. A close-up view told you why: Along with the customary Google logos, there were a bunch of leftover Urchin stickers and cards strewn around. Urchin must have reserved its space for this show prior to being acquired by Google last year and assimiliated into the new Analytics division.

- Despite the focus on SEO trickin’, there’s not an awful lot of content services being offered. Most of these outfits push their ability to game Google and Yahoo! with precise keyword placement and such. There are two exceptions that stand out:

Backbone Media is the only exhibitor here showcasing a corporate blog implementation service, dubbed Scout. I chatted briefly with Olga Krivchenko, their Chief Strategic Data Analyst, about it. Basically positioning it as an image enhancer, citing how employee blogging has helped raise IBM and others out of their gray doldrums. But they’ve got a nice little white paper presentation mocked up as a typical MovableType post-page (complete with “Comments (5) - Trackbacks (3)”, a nice touch), and their booth shows off “BLOGGING” in big bright-blue colors. To me, it stands out bigtime among the rest of the clutter, especially since blogging is a major track issue in the conference portion.

InfoSearch Media has a fairly non-descript booth that stands out due to one thing: Bulletpoints that trumpet the use of copywriters and an editorial staff. Again, unique in that every other content-mill here doesn’t claim to do any real writing, but mere keyword seeding. Talking to one of the booth-handlers, I got the sense that their approach is a bit more substantive: They’ll clean up copy to actually make it compelling, while at the same time make sure it’s got the right sort of SEO-friendly terms to get picked up. It’s not a full-fledged publishing aide, and I question the business model of renting the produced pages per month, but it is unique in this context.

- Silly company names are out in force, as is de rigueur in the Web business (all the good URLs are long since cornered). Despite the clutter, it makes sense to accentuate that silliness, like Did-it Search Marketing does by adopting a frog as its mascot (”Did-it”, “Rib-bit!” — get it?). It doesn’t make much sense to play it straight and pretend your name’s not goofy. That’s the tack Hot Banana Software is taking, forgoing the predicted anthropomorphic banana mascot and using a tech-chic female model as its visual. Smacks of avoiding the obvious.

- As with any exhibit, image counts. It’s funny how many booths are using pretty women (and, to a far lesser extent, pretty men) to smile and hand out freebies. I’m wondering how many are really with the marketing department, and how many are babes-for-hire (I know they’re routine for consumer shows and such, not sure if they’ve been adopted for something like this).

- I’m picking up a small amount of tinkets. Nothing mind-blowing, but a couple of fun items. I’ll run all those down tonight.

- Finally, I did get those blasted business cards yesterday, a day late (all UPS‘ fault; not worth hassling with them at this point). They came out okay.

I think I’m going to work on a redesign for the next batch; the logo should be a lot bigger and positioned differently. But they’ll do. I’ll be spreading these around for the next couple of hours.