Reaction from the Search Community on Danny Sullivan's Departure

Aug 29, 2006 • 2:13 pm | comments (17) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News

sullivan.jpgThis 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. Below you will find a collection of blog, news and forum links to all the coverage I found on Danny's news. I have pulled select quotes and summarized the rest.

Danny, the Grandfather of Search Industry, will undoubtly remain a huge part of our every day lives. I, as does the whole community, wish Danny all the best and look forward to the future of our industry with Danny being a huge part of that. It was and remains to be an honor to have worked with Danny on a daily basis. I have learned an incredible amount both on search, diplomacy, and friendship.

Honestly, I think Rand puts it well, the way he described it.

My primary fear is a selfish one - that the industry will turn corporate, faceless and cold without Danny keeping us firmly on track. In his position as head of SEW & SES, he was our leader not only in name, but in direction - operating the largest sources of information dissemination available to folks seeking to learn about search. My brief experience with other industries and the stories I've heard from those who've been to SES or involved in the search space is that 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.

I think a lot of people are afraid that this will be the future of the industry. I fear it as well. Here is a roundup of blogs I found on this topic (in no specific order & I will keep trying to find more for the next day or so and update this post), I am sure I a missing many (help from techmeme):

First,, Danny's personal blog, Leaving Search Engine Watch;

After ten years, I'm leaving Search Engine Watch and almost certainly leaving the Search Engine Strategies conference series as well. My contracts with their owners Incisive Media are expiring, and we've not been able to agree on new ones.

Danny just added a thank you to the public with some more detail;

If my departure was only about making more money, staying with Incisive would have been the more "sure thing" move. Goodness knows they've got no end to conferences they want to do, and I could have been involved in many more than I do already. But if I'm going to do something, I'm going to put my all into it, my entire being and soul.


ses-logotop06.pngWow, you got that. But, let me pick through the forum buzz and see what people are saying. At the end of this, Ill provide links to all the search forum threads I have found on Danny's big news.

In short, everyone has only positives things to say to Danny. Everyone seems to be in shock and awe by the news. But people are down right supportive of Danny and his reasoning. Everyone was simply so accustomed to Danny always being there, always being with SEW, the baby he built up. Most are wishing Danny luck. Many are uncertain what the future brings to the search conference life. People are both excited for Danny but sad that SEW won't continue it's legacy. Some are just angry and mad that this can happen. Danny notes that he can potentially start a new site, since he doesn't have a non-compete. Due to that, some people feel that Incisive is in for a major shakeup, that no one can pick up where Danny left. That Danny can start a new site and new conference and that new site and conference will grow by instantly. Some feel that SEW Forums will slowly die if the volunteer moderators jump ship with Danny, which they may. Some feel that SEW will just hiccup and nothing much will change. Some are joking around and trying to guess what Danny's next move will be.


  1. Danny's Yahoo! Group
  2. Search Engine Watch Forums
  3. WebmasterWorld (subscription required)
  4. Cre8asite Forums
  5. High Rankings Forums
  6. Web Work Shop Forums
  7. WebProWorld Forums
  8. Google Blogoscoped Forums
  9. IHelpYou Forums
  10. Search Engine Guide Forums
  11. Jim World
  12. DigitalPoint Forums
  13. SEO Chat Forums
  14. A Best Web Forums

Mike from WebProWorld claims that he asked Incisive's CEO, Tim Weller, a year ago or so ago, "about keeping Danny around he described it as a 'top priority' but indicated at the time that they were still working on that contract." Interesting, for sure.

You can also hear Danny's Daily Search Cast where Danny talked about his depature from SEW at WebmasterRadio.FM (link to MP3 file).

Danny, the Grandfather of Search Industry, will undoubtly remain a huge part of our every day lives. I, as does the whole community, wish Danny all the best and look forward to the future of our industry with Danny being a huge part of that. It was and remains to be an honor to have worked with Danny on a daily basis. I have learned an incredible amount both on search, diplomacy, and friendship.

Thank you Danny.

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08/29/2006 07:17 pm

Grandfather of the Search Industry? That's like calling Barry Goldwater the grandfather of the Republican Party ignoring Lincoln and others...

Barry Schwartz

08/29/2006 07:23 pm

Ed, that is what Danny is nick named. Just like Neil Young is nick named the grandfather of grunge.

Ross Dunn

08/29/2006 08:55 pm

What with the pictures and all this looks like a eulogy. I realize this is an important and profound change in our industry but the fact remains that Danny is very likely to continue molding the future of SEM - just from a different podium. I guess I am overly optimistic but I believe that the respect our industry has earned over the years will stand true to this shakeup. I for one am looking forward to seeing where Danny's good nature leads him. I bet this change will even be good for him.

Barry Schwartz

08/29/2006 08:58 pm

Ross, I didn't mean for it to look like a eulogy. All I tried to do was sum up what the community was saying. I know Danny appreciates all that has been said. I also am looking forward to the future.


08/29/2006 10:00 pm

Thanks for clearing that up. I can understand grandfather of the Search Engine Optimization industry but by no means I'm going to consider Danny Sullivan the grandfather of search, especially knowing original text search algorithms took a lot of Saturday nights for math/physic majors to develop while at school.

Barry Schwartz

08/29/2006 10:02 pm

"Search Industry" by that I meant the SEM industry.

Ross Dunn

08/29/2006 10:16 pm

Hi Barry, no criticism intended your post rocked. I just thought to send out a poke :-) I forgot to throw in the smiley face!

Barry Schwartz

08/29/2006 10:20 pm

Stressful day. :)


08/30/2006 12:22 am



08/30/2006 01:10 pm

I guess he was very cross with Jupiter that sold SEW to Incisive with whom he wasn't happy at all.


08/30/2006 03:02 pm

Barry quick correction, if you will: I believe Neil Young is commonly called the '<i>god</i>father of grunge', not the grandfather. Search Google for <a href="">["godfather of grunge" "Neil Young"]</a>.<br><br>As for Danny, whether we call him 'grandfather' or 'godfather', he'll always be 'The Man' to me. [;-)] (PS, how about the 'sultan of search'?)


08/31/2006 12:26 am

Normal business evolution, only faster. We'll be watching, helping, learning. Go with your gut feelings. And thanks.


08/31/2006 08:12 am

Its quite a sad news.. Danny was real a search engine guru...Who can take his place now?

Mandar Thosar

08/31/2006 09:42 am

We all will definitely miss Danny but only one thing is here to STAY and that is CHANGE. So let us say bye and give wishes to Danny for his future ventures and witness somebody other making the things run. Danny, you did a great job in this span of your life.

Igor M. (BizMord Blog)

08/31/2006 01:01 pm

As I mentioned in my blog .... "it will be sad and at the same time interesting (not in a good way) to see the SES show and SEW move on. I'll be at the NYC 2007 SES, so we'll see how the show will change.

John H

09/01/2006 08:59 am

This news isn't altogether unexpected, is it? And to be quite honest, doesn't really affect anyone very much. While Danny is undoubtedly very capable and highly regarded, there are //many// search engine marketing specialists out there in the upper echelons. One moving from one podium to another is just a reshuffle. I'd be more concerned if Matt Cutts had moved on ;)


09/05/2006 07:44 pm

It sounds like Danny did what he had to do. I just hope we will continue to have the same caliber of international conferences in the SEM field and that it doesn't become a competition to pay quality presenters to do a conference although I'm sure the top people in our field will support Danny. Has there been any response from incisive media to his announcement of his departure?

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