"An executive in motion tends to remain in motion." If I remember correctly, Stanley Bing wrote this in Lloyd: What Happened. His point: If you're working at a job and think you might soon be canned, stay on the road. They can't fire you at a conference. Actually, they can. But it's harder.
The canny executive needs, then, a trustworthy guide to the expensable junkets where he or she can hide out. Said exec might want to check out Confabb, a new service launching today. Its spokespeople claim it has the largest database of industry conferences, as well as community features that are supposed to make it an indispensable resource for attendees.
The directory looks very useful (but see also BizTradeShows). Other functions make Confabb more useful than just a directory would be. For example, users can rate conferences they've been to and speakers they've heard. Then others will be able to find where the good speakers are going to show up.
What I really want, though, are more social features. I'd like to know which conferences my friends are going to, and I wouldn't mind them knowing where I'm going either. I'd also like to put virtual beacons on key industry figures I respect, then make sure I hit the same conferences they're going to, whether or not they are speaking. I guess this makes me a groupie of a sort. But in journalism (and in all business, I believe), proximity is everything.
Confabb doesn't yet do this. Other meeting services--Meetup, Eventful, and Upcoming.org--do have social network functions, which I find very useful. They don't have the corporate trade show database, though.
Nonetheless, as a directory. Confabb looks useful. I'm just not sure that conference-goers will stick to the site. Because once you decide to go to a conference, you're more likely to find deeper information, and perhaps a preexisting community or a conference blog, at the conference's own site.