Atlanta Global Summit Report


Heather and I arrived to Atlanta on Sunday and to ensure we stayed awake, we met up with former ICMA Events and Communications Assistant Jennifer Abshire who had just moved to Atlanta in January, for a nice dinner with her family. Monday we spent the day visiting the social venues lined up for the week and then met up with the AFCP and Sheraton hotel to walk through the full week of events.

Tuesday morning had Heather setting up the make-shift shared AFCP and ICMA office, collating the conference bags and boomerangs, compliments of Moboom! Shay and the ICMA Board of Directors took advantage of being stateside with 4 North American based Board Members and had an extended meeting all day Tuesday and ½ day Wednesday, ensuring solid footing for when Shay hands over the reins to Karina van Lenthe to cover her maternity leave.


Wednesday the early arrivals enjoyed a once in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour inside the international news desk, CNN. A fun glimpse behind the scenes of the CNN news anchors as with Kean Graham of Monetize More stepping up for the green screen demonstration!

The welcome reception welcomed nearly 115 ICMA delegates from 23 countries as well as 32 AFCP Board Members to Atlanta. Martha de la Torre, CEO of El Clasificado and Chair of ICMA opened with a warm welcome introducing our three new members, first time attendees and highlighting the continual support of associate members and vendors!


The delegates where welcomed with a very useful usb stick from ICMA vendor Apptus. AFCP and ICMA member Loren Dalton made an appearance from California in his PennySaverUSA promotional video. Martha de la Torre and Scott Patterson, AFCP Chairman formally opened the first ever AFCP and ICMA “Expanding Horizons” Global Summit after the initial housekeeping was dealt with. Martha kicked off with another one of her fabulous videos which you can find on the icmaonline YouTube channel, which kept people’s attention with the very relevant information of where classifieds are headed, not to forget the fun animations as well (be sure to watch out for Peter Lamb’s debut! :)) Scott Patterson provided some welcoming words and the AFCP Distinguished Service Award was presented to Carlos Guzman from the AFCP.

Peter Lamb took on the emcee for the morning plenary sessions welcoming Alf Rehn, Professor of management, speaker, writer, and popular culture geek ensuring a very international feel coming all the way from Finland, to present the keynote. Alf discussed changes in the consumer culture and how this affects markets more generally, and the classifieds market in particular. He also addressed what it takes to stay ahead both today and tomorrow ¬ hitting topics from innovation and ideation to strategy and technology.

After the coffee-break, Rob Hage, CEO of Digital Community Holdings, took the stage informing the delegation about “going all-in” on their print publications in a world that has given up on print for digital. We then flipped to the other side of the coin with Beverly Crandon, Founder of Ad-ition discussing “Going Mobile from A-Z.” We then headed to the ICMA Vendor Round Table Networking session with the vendors exchanging business cards and providing their best case study to the publishers. The results are in and SiteBlackBox from Israel was the top rated by the publishers and have earned a presentation slot for the “Social, Local, Mobile (SoLoMo): Classified Media Strategies” conference 7-10 November 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey.


The “Sharing Best Practice” sessions evaluation tally proved their value once again being the top rated sessions of the conference! In the Business Leaders session format was changed up a bit and the formula seems to be working with an overall score of 96%! Technology received 100% for relevance with an 98% rating overall and Sales Mangers was not far behind. A sincere thank you to the ICMA Board of Directors, as well as Felix Erken and Rob Paterson, Gabriela Martin del Campoand Mitch Christow who developed the metrics and facilitated each group’s discussions. Pease send any further metric suggestions for any of the respective sessions to

The evening had us off to Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint (try saying that 3x’s fast!) for a wonderful evening of some true southern blues with a few tables deciding it was Snoop Dogg’s father, Willie taking the lead on vocals and Morgan Freeman’s doppelganger on the base! Despite it being a bit on the loud side and service being a bit slow (I am told that is the southern way of life) the ICMA delegation had a great evening with a few tables showing off their dancing moves! Upon return to the hotel some of the delegates were still able to participate in the AFCP Club night poker and blackjack tournaments while the rest, I am told enjoyed a bevy or two at the hotel bar.


Friday kicked off with a video from JunkMail highlighting their successes for the past quarter; a great start of the day! Rob Paterson, Managing Director of Friday Media Group, then took the stage discussing the Classified Ad Revolution, shaking up the views for the traditional print publishers and hitting home on some solid points for those who have already embraced the digital era. This train of thought continued with Maria Thomas, former CEO of Etsy and former SVP & GM of NPR Digital Media took the stage discussing the business models that are creating lasting value in the digital industry and just what industries will be disrupted in the next decade.

The second session of the day kicked off with Fred Speckeen, CEO Edisonian Partners Limited covering Exploiting Data. Fred’s talk fit in well with the morning sessions as he described the rapid growth of ecommerce, the parallel explosion of transaction and website data, and covered case examples of how data is informing and automating better and more profitable business decisions. We then welcomed the top 8 short-listed 2012 ICMA Classified Media Innovation Award nominees to present their innovations. Some wonderful innovations which I heard sparked some new business ideas for those in the audience.


The afternoon was taken up with five rotating round-table workshops on Online Trends in Marketing, SEO Toolbox, The Impact of Usability on Business, Video Sells and Google: The new social layer, which delegates could attend three of the five.

The workshops provided a solid opportunity for the delegates to really learn and apply the leanings to their own businesses which was evident in the high marks received for all five workshops following just shy of the Thursday Sharing Best Practice sessions.

Gillian Muessig, Founding President, SEOmoz, lead the Online trends in marketing workshop providing an inside look at current and future trends in Online Marketing. The SEO Toolbox session was top rated session of the whole Global Summit with Even Fishkin providing an overview on how you can use SEO Tools most efficiently to get actionable information to improve your rankings and increase your bottom line. The Impact of Usability on Business, run by Nick Finck, User Experience Director of Ubermind, informed the delegates of the benefits of usability, how to build and implement usability services internally and how to set KPI’s for usability. Video Sells was facilitated by the Co-Founders of Liquidus, Chris Carlton and Kirk Davis, who discussed the best way to leverage video in your online & mobile channels hitting upon the strategy, design, execution and monetization for developing this tool. Michael Lanz, Industry Director, and Allison Ember, New Products and Media Solutions, of Google covered the new game-changer Google Plus, discussing how it is personalizing search results, making friends’ online experiences more relevant to personal search results.

Friday night was left free for ICMA delegates to make their own plans, in which many headed off to the AFCP Aquarium dinner and enjoyed getting to know more of the AFCP delegation.



Martha de la Torre chaired the Members Meeting which discussed the Head Office projects highlighting the webinar series for the remainder of 2012, the current membership count, the marketing push for recruiting new members and the HO staff changes for Shay’s maternity leave. The 2011 audit vote passed unanimously. Sidharth Gupta, CEO of GETIT stepped down mid-term from the ICMA Board of Directors due to other commitments and Burak Ertas, CEO of has agreed to temporarily step into this position. We welcome Burak to the ICMA Board of Directors! Thank you to those who participated in this meeting and we continue to welcome any feedback and suggestions you have to improve upon the Association, please feel free to contact

Business Leaders’ Forum (BLF)

The BLF was chaired by Bernie Veon, Vice President, Dominion Enterprises. Bernie did an excellent job receiving high ratings for his chairing and discussed in detail the challenges publishers are currently facing and how to overcome them to ensure continued profitability and business success. As well as a solid overview of what to look out for in regard to risks ahead. Scott Owens also presented the Dominion Insights case study which posed many questions and value to the session.

Burak Ertas, CEO,, Turkey was nominated as chair for the ICMA Business Leaders’ Forum for the ICMA “Social, Local, Mobile (SoLoMo): Classified Media Strategies” conference taking place 7-10 November in Istanbul Turkey accepted the nomination.

Business Operations Forum (BOF)

At the ICMA Vienna Conference, November 2010, we challenged the Business Operations Forum attendees to build a classifieds website in 5 hours. The session was a huge success with the attendees learning many new ideas that were implemented to their own respective businesses upon return to the office. As the technology changes so must we – therefore we revisited this challenge in the form of mobile! That’s right – attendees brought their best ideas to the table to build a mobile site in less than 5 hours! Co-chairs were Gavin Burnett, CEO and Jef Rice, COO, from Moboom.

Sales Managers Workshop (SMW)

The SMW was chaired by Shane Pierce, Dominion Enterprises, Senior Director of Training/Leadership Development. The session was a bit different then prior SMW sessions as it took a more top level view with a case study on opening up a new classified publication in a new marketplace with a few twists and turns having the delegates work out the best way to keep their sales staff motivated.


The Gala Party was held at the members only Capital City Club. A beautiful venue full of Southern Charm well suited for presenting the 2012 ICMA Classified Media Innovation Awards. Congratulations are in order for all the nominees and the winners with Friday Media Group taking home top honors with the overall Classified Media Innovation Award for their Leadspring innovation, Schibsted Hungary and Gravity Rock Solid being awarded the “Show Me the Money” Innovation Award, Digital Insights winning the Quick Implementation Innovation Award and Gumiyo the Technology Innovation Award. A wonderful night was had by all with the Southern drinks keeping more of the delegates at the bar then on the dance floor – an unusual twist to the normal ICMA Gala Parties.

Thank you to the outstanding speakers, facilitators and chairpersons for ensuring another outstanding ICMA Conference! A special thank you to the associate members and vendors, the ICMA Future Leaders Network and the ICMA Board of Directors for all of their support. And of course all of you who make ICMA the one of a kind Association it is today!

We look forward to seeing you all again at the ICMA “Social, Local, Mobile (SoLoMo): Classified Media Strategies” conference 7-10 November 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey.