Editor’s note: Ian Gertler has been a longtime proponent of the philosophy that technology and innovation would spur new business opportunities while providing solutions for the world’s challenges and is the founder Symplegades Inc.

By Ian Gertler

RALEIGH, N.C. — The third Internet Summit wrapped up as a major success Thursday with 1,500 attendees, 70 presentations, 75 sponsors and a Top 10-trending position on Twitter.

The two-day conference aggregated an impressive list of industry participants, ranging from start-up entrepreneurs and early stage innovators to Internet pioneers and market leaders.

For all intents and purposes, Internet Summit 2010 evolved into a thought leadership event on the most relevant topics in the innovation environment. While the presentations, sessions, discussions and panels throughout the Raleigh Convention Center spanned multiple trends, the overarching themes appeared to fall into a few key areas:

  • social and emerging media – from gaming to video
  • search marketing, online advertising and commerce
  • mobile (especially location-based services and geo-location)
  • the user experience
  • data, business analytics and the real-time web
  • e-mail marketing
  • cloud computing

Internet Summit 2010 drew back leaders who presented during the first two conference years, such as Lulu.com’s Bob Young (co-founder of open-source pioneer Red Hat), Newsforce’s Dana Todd, Microsoft’s Marty Taylor Collins (special congratulations on her upcoming addition to the family), Ignite Social Media’s Jim Tobin, TriOut’s Wayne Sutton and iContact’s Ryan Allis.

Newcomers included industry pioneers and early stage visionaries such as IBM’s Rod Smith, Google’s Joe Gregorio, Spinach Candy’s Donna Iucolano (who served as the catalyst behind 1-800-FLOWERS.com’s transformation into an Internet retail innovator) and SimpleGeo’s Chris Hutchins.

Among the aforementioned topics and presenters, a few stood out by illustrating changes in the industry and providing key takeaways and insights for those in the audience to utilize in their own initiatives – especially those like Cisco’s Jeanette Gibson, stressing the importance a consistent, structured and engaged social media compass in business (her “Building A Social Enterprise” presentation is available on Scribd.

A few other notable statements or examples include:

  • AutoTrader.com’s Chip Perry stressed the importance of providing demonstrable value to the target audience by following common sense and foundational business premises. “The Internet is an influencing medium, and AutoTrader helps dealers influence their buyers rather than driving them directly to a sale.”
  • Playboy’s Paul Lee explained how leveraging social media and user interaction can create impressive gains with little to no cost, like their Miss Social Facebook competition. He also stressed the power of ‘”gamification.”
  • Lulu.com’s Bob Young on Net Neutrality: “Freedom isn’t empowered by anarchy; freedom is empowered by a system that enables it.”
  • GoDaddy’s Warren Adelman, who stepped in for CEO and founder Bob Parsons, expressed the importance of connecting directly with customers to enhance relationships. He also revealed that GoDaddy is bigger than its closest seven competitors combined. In the spirit of social good, he also was supporting #Movember to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer.

Overall, Internet Summit 2010 positioned the industry as the foundation of future innovation, and many attendees were already talking about plans for next year and constantly expressed this to the organizers: TechMedia and Southern Capitol Ventures.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” industry pioneer Alan Kay said. Based on the two days at the Internet Summit conference, this is exactly what’s.

“Our attendees, partners and sponsors continue to surpass our expectations each year … and we’re looking forward to delivering an even more rewarding experience based on all of the positive feedback from the Internet Summit community,” TechMedia’s Scott Hedrick said. “Two billion people are projected to be on the Internet by the end of this year, but that represents a mere 30 percent of the worldwide population. Growth is part of the future and we’re excited to see the disruptive transformations ahead.”

Lead sponsors of the conference were iContact and SAS Institute.

For more information about this year’s event, go to the the website or search for #isum10 (and a secondary hashtag: #isummit10). It’s also worthwhile to check out some of the young ‘Demo Showcase Companies’ that were launching their businesses – very impressive and it will be interesting to see where these 14 innovators are next year at Internet Summit 2011.

Ian Gertler is active in the social media arena and  recently was named one of the Top CMOs on Twitter Worldwide by Social Media Marketing Magazine, as well as serving as a judge for many years with the Web Marketing Association for the WebAwards and the Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Awards. Connect with Ian through his website, LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/iangertler or Twitter http://www.twitter.com/IanGertler (@IanGertler).

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