I couldn’t believe the headline as I was going through my RSS feeds this morning, “Leaving Search Engine Watch” found at Danny Sullivan’s personal blog, Daggle. Not only will Danny be departing Search Engine Watch but most certainly Search Engine Strategies as well. After 10 plus years, Danny is leaving because Incisive Media (the company that owns SEW and SES) has failed to renegotiate an acceptable contract to keep Danny at the helm.
It is obvious to me that Incisive hasn’t the faintest idea how important Danny is as not only a contributor to Search Engine Watch and the Search Engine Strategies conferences, but a figurehead as well. I would even be as bold to say that “he is” SEW and SES. Not to discredit everyone else involved with these two entities as Danny’s staff is absolutely awesome but we all know that SEW and SES will not be the same without him.
A few excerpts from Danny’s personal blog:
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.
I was concerned about moving forward with Incisive, however. I’m far from the only reason behind the success of SEW and SES, but I’ve played a major role. I helped build both of those assets. Then I watched one company sell them to another without me having any formal capital stake in the sale. That left me wary of history repeating itself. I wasn’t going to help this new company grow the business out of the sheer kindness of my heart.
I explained these reservations at the very beginning of my relationship with Incisive, that I needed some long-term incentive for helping them continue to grow and strengthen the site and conferences. After over a year of talks, that’s failed to materialize. As a result, I’m departing.
He will continue to do The Daily SearchCast, a half hour long radio program on WebmasterRadio.fm that brings listeners up to speed with what is happening in the world of search. There is even a new site dedicated to the show.
My initial hopes are that Incisive would come to their sense and do all that they can to retain Danny but I have seen time and time again companies acquire other companies only to ruin them or at minimum change them so they were no longer effective. However if that fails to happen, I’m sure Danny will continue on as a major voice in search. Maybe he will start his own conference circuit or finally write that book he has always wanted to author. We will have to wait and see what happens.
I could conclude this post by thanking Danny for a decade of his valuable work at Search Engine Watch and for creating one of the most valuable resources on search to date and I will do just that, but not because I believe he is retiring from the world of search, but rather that he is turning a page and moving on to the next chapter.