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October 23, 2006

Danny Sullivan Will Stay with SES Through 2007

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It’s always encouraging when you can start the week off with a bit of good news, and this morning we have our gem. Danny Sullivan, who is supposed to be on vacation (back away from the computer, Danny…), has announced that he will be sticking around to help with Search Engine Strategies after he steps down from Search Engine Watch on November 30th. (Geez, that date seems soon all of a sudden, doesn’t it?).

Danny states over at Daggle:

“In short, I’ll be chairing the SES NY 2007 show, co-chairing the SES SJ 2007 event and participating in the SES Chicago 2007 conference.”

That should make conference goers breathe a little easier, at least for now.

Based on Danny’s post, it also looks like SEW’s Chris Sherman has been tagged as Danny’s successor, at least unofficially. Chris is slated to “most likely” chair SES San Jose 2007 and to take on full chair responsibilities for SES Chicago 2007, where Danny will speak. Good luck to Chris; I’m sure it will be hard being “the guy that replaced Danny”.

Danny also shed some light on what he’ll be doing starting December 1st, including starting a new search blog (!) and planning “some search-related events” of his own (!!). Both are very exciting (though perhaps not surprising) because they will likely put Danny in direct competition with Incisive properties. It will be interesting to see how Incisive handles the competition.

Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Strategies have long been the leading blog and conference series around for search engine optimization and search engine marketing, in no small part because of Danny Sullivan’s hard work. When they lose Danny and he starts up his own shop (either alone or with someone else), Incisive gets a formidable competitor. Will they be able to hold on to their industry title? Or will readers and speakers follow Danny?

The question I want answered is why Danny is staying with SES through 2007. When he first announced his departure in August, he remarked there was an “extremely slim chance” he would continue on with SES. What changed? Is Incisive now fighting for him or did Danny never really intend to bid farewell to SES?

It’s an important question because the answer may give us a hint as to what’s coming in 2008. Will 2007 be some sort of transitional period where we get used to SES with a dwindling Danny influence or will Incisive be able to woo Danny back and get him to stay on permanently? It looks like the former, which could lead to disastrous things for Incisive.

Keeping Danny involved with SES would ensure the conference’s long-term success. There’s plenty of competition on the conference circuit these days and without Danny, SES may have a difficult time drawing in the same quality of speakers and attendees. This is especially true if Danny starts his own conference series. If Search Engine Strategies (and the dollars it brings in) is important to Incisive, then they need to keep Danny on board. Unfortunately for them, I’m not sure this is a possibility anymore.

I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more about this from Danny and others as we get closer to the final days of November. For right now, let’s just be happy we get Danny and SES for another year. Thinking about what’s going to happen Dec. 1 hurts too much.





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