Searching Beyond the Paid

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Danny Sullivan's Departure from Search Engine Watch

Barry at SERoundtable has a great summary of the Reaction from the Search Community on Danny Sullivan's Departure: "This morning I wrote that Danny Sullivan To Leave Search Engine Watch :: Search Industry Shocked (someone dug the story), I promised to let the search community digest this information and then summarizing that buzz."

I have to admit, I was shocked and surprised, as well. If you've ever heard Danny speak, or read his blog posts, or articles, or forum posts, you can't help but like him. Even the "extremists" of the SEO community have a lot of respect for him and the things he's done to advance the search world. As I said in my comment on Danny's blog, who else could bring Barry Diller, Eric Schmidt, Matt Cutts, Tim Mayer, and every other big name in search to one conference? No one but Danny can do it - and do it in such an enjoyable, personable way. Rand Fishkin says it well: "our industry is one of the most friendly, unassuming, cordial and welcoming in the professional world. Without Danny, I fear for the survival of our culture." Indeed. At my first SES back in 2003, I wasn't expecting a lot beyond the typical sales pitches and surface information one usually finds at industry conferences. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that SES was totally different. Real information was presented at the sessions - information I could immediately take back to the office and act upon. Representatives from the various consultants, vendors, and even the engines themselves shared information openly, without a hint of a sales pitch. After-hours events and parties were not a gathering of cliques or of sales reps trying to sell me - they were true networking events with people getting excited about the industry and sharing free advice all around. It's become the only business trip I actually look forward to every year.

Much of this is thanks to Danny. His keynotes, and even the sessions he moderates, foster the attitude of sharing and friendliness. He deftly quells detractors and those who stray from the message with skill, tact, and aplomb. He seems so at ease on that stage, in front of thousands of people - in the audience, you feel like he's just chatting with his friends! Few people can pull this off, and Danny does it expertly.

I don't know what lies in store for SEW and SES. I can only hope they continue to be the wealth of information they are now. If not, I know Danny can create a fitting substitute. I have no doubt he'll have the support of the search community.

Danny, we wait with bated breath and hang on your every move! We know you'll do it and do it well.


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