By Wendy Wollenberg Posted June 23, 2008, 4:49 PM EDT
The seventh annual eBay Live headed to Chicago this year, setting up shop at McCormick Place West Thursday through Saturday. Billed as “the biggest event of the year for the eBay community,” the convention is produced by Jack Morton Worldwide and attracts approximately 10,000 people.
The three-day event was comprised of keynote addresses by the likes of John Donahue, C.E.O. of eBay Inc., and Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay Marketplaces Operations; guest-speaker appearances from Internet marketing experts and entrepreneurs; computer labs; and networking sessions. Educational programs with titles like “Packing the Unpackable,” “Extreme Listing Makeover,” and “eBay and Rural America” occurred throughout the conference.
The exposition hall at McCormick Place West was one big branding opportunity, as sponsors like the United States Postal Service, UPS, Pitney Bowes, VeriSign, and Zippi Networks all created separate areas for people to stop, listen, and learn about various products, while more than 80 companies, ranging from FedEx to the For Dummies book series, displayed their wares in colorful booths.
eBay also had a presence, setting up a community lounge, an idea-sharing center, and a small studio dubbed “Chatterbox,” where attendees could film brief video blogs about their eBay experiences. In addition to the expo floor, two pop-up boutiques—the eBay Shop and the eBay Live Book Store— offered branded merchandise and how-to books in separate areas outside the show entrance.
In yet another branding opportunity, eBay Live partnered with Chicago’s Hard Rock Café to offer show attendees priority seating at the restaurant, meal deals, and limited-edition co-branded pins on sale throughout the conference’s run.
The ode to all things eBay came to a halt on Saturday with a closing-night gala held in the expo hall that was open to all attendees. Some 2,500 guests turned out to the event, which included dinner, dancing, and a performance by Chris Isaak.