Danny Sullivan Leaves SEW


Danny Sullivan announced on personal blog that he's leaving Search Engine Watch, pretty shocking. Get the whole story.

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.

Hat tip to RCJordan who posted it first



I didn't expect that. But, maybe I did? I can honestly tell you that the SES conferences haven't been the same since Incisive took over--and they certainly won't be the same without Danny.

*absolutely stunned*

*absolutely stunned*

I hope the forums at search engine watch do not die because of this. I believe they will. Danny Sullivan *is* Search Engine Watch.

>>maybe I did?

SEO and SEM as an industry has been in a great flux for about 2 years now. More to come.

>hat tip

I bumped that thread because [B] it shows the timeline and [A] the dickheads here won't let me start my own threads (add word: "except") with pre-approval.


the dickheads here won't let me start my own threads with pre-approval.

... I didn't know that. Quite bloody right, mind, you'd clash with the colour scheme.

I think you mean "without

I think you mean "without pre-approval"..

And, everyone has to be pre-approved. Not just you, RC. But we'll let you think you are a particular bad-ass if you want you. ;)

Back to topic: I cannot believe there is not *one* single post about this on search engine watch.

it's postbait

(oops left out a word in the above dickhead post. fixed)

yeah, and the dickheads (should) know it's nothing personal on either side. just a problem with pre-moderation in forums when there's breaking news.

off guard

caught me off guard... I didn't expect this story...

non-compete agreement?

The non-compete agreement will make or break either Danny or Incisive when it comes to migrating the brand (and the conferences). If Incisive didn't shut him out of conference development for, say, five years when Danny signed his last contract then they need better lawyers.

no non-compete

I have no non-compete :)

no non-compete

Now that was a telling post... good one Danny!

Well, considering that what

Well, considering that what they bought when they made the deal was basically Danny's rep they might need a few better business folks also.

no non-compete! what were they thinking!

Then you're coming over to the roadshow, eh, Danny? Pay is in beer.


The phrase "catbird seat" comes to mind, Danny. Congrats.

So Danny - now that's all

So Danny - now that's all over - why don't you come over to Sydney on Friday night & join us for a few beers at Stealthcon?



Knock me over with a feather.

Incisive Media may just find out that they lost their brand as Danny is the brand, not SEW or SES, those are just places to find Danny ;)

Danny Sullivan *is*

Danny Sullivan *is* SearchEngineWatch.

Without Danny, it's just a website.

Still, I figure he can build a new brand around himself and launch on his own again no problem - there's no other name in the search engine business with that degree of reputation.

Would probably benefit better from it, too. Sometimes you need corporate stupidity to do that, as is apparent in this case. :)

"So Danny - now that's all

"So Danny - now that's all over - why don't you come over to Sydney on Friday night & join us for a few beers at Stealthcon?"

hey don't you know that Danny doesnt DO Sydney after the first episode? (It's too far) :)

Yah and that it is but hey, we did appreciate it!

Danny, you da man and I have no resevations about you building your own brand when you are ready. I am sure that the industry will welcome whatever new label you carry if you choose to re-surface.

Go have a holiday my friend - you deserve it!

It never surprises me ...

...when companies like Incisive can't see the forest for the trees. But it always amazes me. Unfortunately, media companies have a tendency to think that, "It's the property, stupid." But sometimes, "It's the personality, stupid."

It's not like Danny didn't already demonstrate an inclination to be loyal (or at least to hang in and try to make things work) following the first sale.

I hate to see good things fall apart, but WTF, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Hey Danny, I hope you really enjoy the coming months. There's nothing like having lots of choices. :)

Danny, Glad to see no, non


Glad to see no, non compete agreement to restrict you and wherever you and yours go and post is where I (and I am sure everyone else in the industry) will go to.

Personally I'll have to stick to Daggle and Search Cast for now. I wait with baited breath :)

one word:



All the best Danny

Sure you will now enjoy the freedom.


Can you all imagine the

Can you all imagine the demands on this indivdual about now? Umm like - where do I respond, what do I do - so many firecrackers sparked - is it dangerous.?

Onward, SEO soldier!

There IS a search world beyond SES, after all, and if anyone's qualified (and welcome) to manifest it, it's you, Danny.

Needless to say, I've always appreciated your undogmatic, even handed, genuine and open approach, even more perhaps than your best-of-breed expertise, your relaxed meticulousness and, yes, that too, your utter lack of hysteria in what's overall a less-than-calm and reasonable environment. All this, if nothing else, easily made and make you a standard, an entire movement, actually.

Another, alternate conference circuit? Go for it, if that's what you want - don't know too many people in the industry who would gripe to see you tap dance it on your own for a change.

And if there's anything you require by way of assistance or support, just holler.

Ditto here. I've been

Ditto here. I've been reading you since the 90's before searchenginewatch was sold. This industry is made of knowledge, personalities and relationships, something that's not so easy to generate in a corporate environment. Heck, most of us know each other, if by name/nick only.

Not sure what I can do to help, but if help is needed, I'm there.

No non-compete?

I have no non-compete :)

I hope that was followed by an evil laugh :).

Playing Devil's Advocate

Re: Danny Sullivan is SearchEngineWatch .. well people also thought that Andy Beal was Search Engine LowDown... however that brand has continued on maybe not in the same fashion but I'm sure we all still read it...

To Search Geeks such as we are, Danny is also SES... however to non-search geeks, is that the case (ie. the numerous Brand Marketers at the last SES - gosh was I the only one shocked by how many were there in terms of percentage of attendees?)?

Regardless, without a non-compete, Danny I know you will do something even better (nothing spurs people on like having a competitor to crush - the competitor here being SES - LOL).

Best of luck.

I'd suspect that Danny has

I'd suspect that Danny has more going for him than just having been the face of SES/SEW. Thing is, he's been around for (at least) the better part of a decade, and many of us knew/know him from before SES — including any number of high-visibility SEOs.

So, at this new start (of whatever), he has a huge repository of knowledge, visibility, connections, and a proven track record.

rustybrick says

"The site will suffer, the conferences will suffer, and the industry as a whole will suffer."

I'll give RB a 9.2 in the Blogs: Melodramatic Posts category. I can go along with the first two, but I think the last needs qualifying to "the part of the industry that tied itself to the conferences." Most of the guys I know work in a part of the industry that just isn't affected all that much by what the surface-dwellers do.

I'd be one of those latter

I'd be one of those latter ones, rc.

great opportunity

I am sure the phone is running off the hook at Danny's home/office right now. What a fantastic opportunity for him and those swift enough to form a new business alliance.

In the mean time... How about taking some of the wind out of Ineffectual Media by setting up your own forums/resource site?


Excellent nomenclature, rcjordan.

Someone needs to liberate the conference-attending masses. It's time for "free" venues, just like free dating sites and free travel planning services. Yeah yeah yeah it can't be done, too expensive, fixed costs, etc. but that $1500 registration fee is mighty premium and would buy quite a few $9 beers, $18 breakfasts, etc. Almost everybody talks about the $500/day DSL lines, the $3000 coffee breaks, the $250 water service, the $500/day LCD projectors... any body else notice how much the hotels/conference centers are taking home from the conference? Nobody I know ever uses the "official travel agency" to book airline tickets, either.

Maybe Danny Sullivan's Search Conference 2007 will be "free". I bet Danny and company could revolutionize the business and make a mint along the way.

(I tried to bring the conference topic back to the SEO trenches... I agree it hasn't been, but couldn't it be?)

"the part of the industry that tied itself to the conferences"

Couldn't agree more, rc - many of us may simply not have the time, the need (hah ...) and/or the inclination to dedicate serious resources to this particularly hectic circuit. It's one of the reasons why the far more relaxed and relaxing SEO Roadshow was such a success in the past, IMV.

John: how about re-activating this thread then, for a change -

The length people will go

The length people will go through for link bait these days ;)

I more never...

1. never get involved in a land war in Asia... check
2. never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line... check
and now
3. never leave out a non-compete clause

My guess is next they will come to their senses and make a good offer ... to try and keep Danny on, but he won't take it.

As for the conference sessions... why aren't sessions recorded then available for sale?

Best wishes to Danny on

Best wishes to Danny on whatever new adventures he'll embark on!

Personally I'm not sure the SEW forum will die because of this - it has, after all, acheived a certain (critical) mass of members and posters, and even a profile of sorts. Heck, I even post there myself sometimes, and I post in very few places.

Of course I agree that Danny's posting and name is a very important part of it all and probably even the single most important reason for the success of the SEW forums. I'm just saying that I don't expect it all to collapse overnight ;-)

Regarding conferences... well, I can't say much as I've never been to a SEO related one. But I know there's much work involved and also that it can be a quite lucrative business.

No Non-Compete!

Danny Sullivan Presents!
Sullivan Search Productions!
Vegas, NY, SF, L.A, Chicago, Shanghai, Sidney.
Good for you Danny.

Doesn't Need To Be Free

$299 sounds like a reasonable price to pay for normal folks. You'll make all your money back from sponsorship since you'll have so many people there.

Danny Sullivan is to search what Colonel Sanders is to Fried Chicken. Incisive are idiots.


The length people will go through for link bait these days ;)

OOoh That was good. Iced tea all over the screen...

Danny, I have to agree with Littleman. Where are the new forums? And Yahoo forums don't count. Pry open your wallet and get some decent forum software, or pay some developers to put some together for you.

*Hands Danny crowbar for his wallet..*

*Danny has new job at GrayHat*

This is interesting..apparently Danny has a new job at GrayHatNews...

Sadly his heart was leading him very astray and we were incredibly surprised when he turned up on the doorstep at the new GHN offices looking somewhat the worse for wear and hotly pursued by the bull from the field behind the offices. The bull was somewhat more surprised when he caught him, but thats another story.


We would like to reassure our readers that Danny will be fine once the barbed wire scars heal.


Danny Sullivan is the best brand in search

In a business that generally has had more than its share of self-promoting blowhards, Danny has always been the real deal. He does his homework, and he doesn't overstate the case. If he says something is so, it's so.

You can't buy that kind of branding, that kind of trust.

His personal brand is a much better brand than SEW or SES, which significantly live on the halo effect from his personal brand.

As a result, Danny is golden. Plenty of people will want to hire him. Plenty of VCs and angels will want to fund him - aside from knowing everything and everyone in the search universe, he seems to have his ego in check, which is pretty important in a company founder.

This is much worse news for Incisive.

Not so much for Search Engine Watch. It's hard to kill an active website, especially one with lots of active users, a good staff (not all of whom can be quitting), and an established spot near the center of the internet universe. Forums do not tend to be winner take all businesses in any given space, and SEW can chug along for a long time, especially if the remaining staff and site users keep the quality high.

But if you could short sell the conferences, I would. It's pretty easy to kill an industry conference, especially in the high tech area (the list is practically endless, but Comdex is one sufficient example). Lose the feel of being the place you have to be if you are serious about the business, lose a few big exhibitors, and a conference can go down hard and fast. What's more, conferences pretty much are winner take all, or, at best, top three contenders take all. You have to figure Danny was pretty key in keeping both the buzz and some of the big exhibitors on board.

And that doesn't even assume that he starts his own competitive circuit.

It's all incredibly interesting. Best of luck to Danny.

ran across this on a reading binge

"This is the Net, and all contracts are short-term contracts." -- Joshua Kopelman, Half.com's ex-CEO

Legal stuff

You can't really fault the Incisive Media lawyers for not getting a noncompete. They weren't buying the site from Danny, and no one needed Danny to sign off for the sale to get done. At the time of the sale, he was just an employee from a legal standpoint, even if he was the heart and soul of the business.

For Incisive to get a noncompete, they would have to pay separately for it, and it's fairly clear what kinds of terms Danny was looking for - an equity stake, or something that simulated an equity stake in terms of incentives. That is a reasonable thing for Danny to want, but obviously Incisive made the business decision that it was too expensive, and that if push came to shove they liked the business enough to buy it without Danny and with Danny as a potential competitor. To me, paying $43 million for these properties without getting a long term buy in from Danny Sullivan is beyond stupid, but the stupidity seems to have been at a business strategy level, not at the legal level.

That they don't have a noncompete does not mean that they can't hassle Danny legally if they want to play it that way. (That would be a good step toward tanking the value of what they still have by getting the community up in arms against them, but just laying out the legal options). In the absence of a noncompete it's not unusual to claim that a key former employee is using confidential information improperly, or benefiting from property (even a Rolodex) that they took from the company. Another gambit is to argue that the exiting employee is tortiously interfering with the business, perhaps by inappropriately soliciting clients or other employees. If any of this stuff happens while someone is still on the payroll, you can add on a contract breach claim. They don't usually win, but they often do tie the employee up in litigation for six months or a year, and keep them from focusing on the new venture. The threat of litigation can also make the employee radioactive to other employers or business partners.

Note to Danny - in the off chance you have not already, sometime before your last day at Incisive, and better sooner rather than later, talk to a really good lawyer with expertise in this precise area, who has studied whatever contract you are working under, and make sure you know exactly what you can and cannot take out the door with you, and what you can and cannot do while you are still there. It would probably be a good idea to have a handle on it from both a US and a UK perspective.

good advice from raycam

That bit about seeing your exit laywer before you exit. I bet Danny's got that covered though.



John: how about re-activating this thread then, for a change - http://www.threadwatch.org/node/6990

I'd love to, but I didn't get an invite ;-)

HAHA rcjordan

"the dickheads here won't let me start my own threads with pre-approval."

we still Love you too .. you old MF :)


Danny's cheap shot

Am I the only one that see this as a failed money grab? Danny's a good guy and everything... what am I missing?

{edit - rather silly link removed}

I don't see that. They were

I don't see that.

They were paying him.
He was doing the work.
The time came to renegotiate the expiring contract.
Neither agreed to the terms being proposed by the other.

People have a right to get paid for their work, and to charge what they want to charge. In this case, there was a contract. The contract was expiring. He wanted whatever he wanted. They apparently did not want to agree. End of story.

What is wrong with that?

I remember when NickW was

I remember when NickW was threadwatch

why is it a cheap shot

Well you have to read between the lines, he wasn't complaining about a poor rate, he was complaining about a lack of a long term "capital stake" ... Perhaps we have different definitions of what that means, but to me it sounds like basically he wanted a piece of the sale. Definitely we're only hearing one side of the story. Danny sold this company a few years ago for millions, now he wants a piece of it back for free? C'mon, most employees don't have a notable long term "capital stake" in the company they work for.

True enough. But it cannot

True enough. But it cannot be said, at the same time, that any employee is *required* to stay with any company when contracts (that is, agreements) run out.

If he (or she) wants more of a future than is offered, s/he can always (a) renegotiate or (b) leave.

And I can't say (because I don't know) that he wanted anything for free. Danny brings quite a bit to the table which translates directly into income and stature.

Capitalism in Action

Why should Danny stay at SEW and SES for less in compensation than he could get elsewhere? And part of what he can certainly get elsewhere is an ownership stake.

It seems to me that he treated them very fairly. He is serving out the full length of the contract, and doing the work 100 percent. He gave Incisive first dibs on offering him the kind of deal that he is worth today (and the market will prove that he is worth it); it wasn't a situation where they woke up and read in the papers that he was starting a company to compete with them with no chance to compete for his services. Even once the deal fell apart, he hasn't poormouthed Incisive or any of the employees left behind.

Danny brings a lot of value to the table, and he would not be serving himself or his family well if he didn't try to get fully compensated for the value he brings.

Look at it this way, perhaps

1. Danny built SEW and sold his original company to Jupiter. (Whether it was indeed for "millions", as you say, pointman, or not, escapes me, but ok, let's assume that it was a pretty good deal.)

2. As is common with such takeovers, he continues to work for Jupiter for a set number of years while they continue to promote the product including the SES seminars, etc. During this time, he gets paid as an employee and his contract is extended by mutual agreement.

3. Some years further down the road, Jupiter sells out to Incisive Media, probably at a handsome profit (let's assume again). This was no decision he had a hand or an option in.

4. Obviously, Danny doesn't get a share of that appreciation. No sweat: no contract, no share, and I didn't see him actually complain about it in as many words.

5. Come contract extention time, Danny wants to safeguard against this happening again to him. His original selling out to Jupiter doesn't enter into the equation anymore - no reason why it should, actually: after all, it's an entirely new player and hence an entirely new game.

6. He negotiates for a "capital stake" in this venture, which in corporate speak usually translates to equity (he mentioned financial "incentive", too) lest IM should hand on the operation some time later at yet another handsome profit he wouldn't share in otherwise.

Seeing that he, as most of us agree, is the front man and personal mainstay of this particular business, I don't find that unreasonable at all. It's what top execs in other industries do all the time, so why shouldn't he, too?

This isn't a "cheap shot" of his, he's merely asking for what he deems is his due. Obviously, IM entertain a different view, hence no agreement. Nothing particularly unusual about that, either.

Whether this bodes well for IM and SES is, of course, another matter. Seeing that Danny's not bound by any non-compete clause, and in view of the fact that it doesn't really require a terrible amount of resources to set up a competing venture leveraging his reputation and renown within the industry big time, I'm not at all sure it was a particularly wise decision on their part. But then again I'm not privy to their specific agenda either. For all we know they may want to push this into an entirely different direction.

In any case, I can't for the life of me see why he should be wronged for what he did. To me, it seems to be entirely rational, reasonable and in full alignment with common industry practice.

let me be more specific

I take issue with only a small piece of that, obviously everyone has the right to move on if they are not happy with their situation, I don't think I ever argued otherwise, however:

(1) You said he didn't complain about the sale -- I think that is not accurate. Perhaps he didn't complain out loud, or at the time, but he is complaining now. Essentially that is the reason he is asking for a capital stake, he even admits that much. To "protect" himself. (what?)

(2) "I wasn't going to help this new company grow the business out of the sheer kindness of my heart." I actually take offense to this. I find this statement to be quite condescending towards the "rest of us" who aren't quite as privileged as he (yet) but still contribute important work towards generating millions for our own companies (of which we don't have a "capital stake"). It's as if working for any company without a "capital stake" is beneath him. It reveals a slight glimpse of ego. If he removed this line, the tone of his message would have been much more appropriate.

Not that I disagree with him, but keep it to yourself, enough with the spin and the PR. Just say the contract is expiring and you want to pursue other opportunities, why the cheap shots? The company that made you rich still has a business to run. Nobody is trying to convince you that Danny isn't a good guy, or isn't worth what he's asking for, but I don't think anybody should feel sorry for him. Or feel as though he been wronged in any way. SES will go on without him.

News Alert

It reveals a slight glimpse of ego.

News Flash: The Dan of Search has a slight bit of ego.

Taking offense? At what?

"I wasn't going to help this new company grow the business out of the sheer kindness of my heart." I actually take offense to this.

Don't see why you should, or why it should appear "condescending". It's a business and career decision and he's pointing out that he's neither the local pushover nor to be had for the asking, as well he shouldn't be.

And let's face it: From what he's told the community, he actually does seem to think that working without a capital stake is beneath him. And IM obviously thought otherwise, so they're parting.

Frankly, I find it a mite funny to fault him for the one single public display he's ever vaunted to my knowledge that he's actually aware of what he's worth and that he's not prepared to take any shit. Hell, if I got a dollar for every SEO who's bragged about his or her self-perceived "value" based on a mere fraction of what Danny's achieved in this field, I'd be retired by now.

Call it "ego" if you will (no law against that yet, is there?) - but what do you want? "Saint SEO"? The Mother Teresa of Search?

As for why he made mention of their differences in the first place, perhaps he feels he owes it to the search industry community to give them a more than vague and generic indication of why he's heading where and when, rather than couch it in some meaningless don't-you-risk-creating-any-hard-feelings stock phrases. It's what friends tend to do, you know.

Or maybe he's just not interested anymore in the sort of hypocritical hollow keep-smiling-if-it-kills-you corporate droid speak that bores you to tears everytime you're forced to read yet another press release these days. I for my part sure couldn't blame him.

Also, I'm not so cocksure that that was one company that made HIM rich, though it certainly looks to me as if the inverse is beyond dispute.

As for there being no reason to feel sorry for him, yes, full agreement there. And yes, maybe SES will indeed go on without him, not that I'll waste a night's sleep on that.

Great Post, Ralph!

Ditto that.I think that,

Ditto that.

I think that, while giving an explanation more or less adequate enough to satisfy friends, followers, the industry and the public, Danny has shown creditable restraint, and has only hinted at how difficult it was to walk away from what he started.

I suppose I'm not all that sensitive about it either way, but I don't see anything Danny has said as negative towards IM.

But, if you'd like, here's a contrast or two written in 1999 by an early days Netscape programmer.

quite condescending...

(2) "I wasn't going to help this new company grow the business out of the sheer kindness of my heart." I actually take offense to this. I find this statement to be quite condescending towards the "rest of us" who aren't quite as privileged as he (yet) but still contribute important work towards generating millions for our own companies (of which we don't have a "capital stake"). It's as if working for any company without a "capital stake" is beneath him. It reveals a slight glimpse of ego. If he removed this line, the tone of his message would have been much more appropriate.

You take offense because he is in a position to negotiate equity stake, whereas you are not?

I find it quite offensive that you say Danny is 'privileged' to be in this position - as though it is in no part down to his hard work and abilities.

missing the point

I feel that you guys are stuck trying to make a point on an issue that is not in dispute. I've been to SES and I know how valuable Danny is, but the tone of his message was almost blaming IM for the split, when in reality he walked away. Danny is a good guy, Danny perhaps is worth a capital stake (notice I never argued that point) but the fact is IM didn't want to give it to him, and they have every bit as much right not to give it to him as he has to ask for it.

to fantomaster -- I'm glad you aren't arguing the ego point, because that's really all I'm saying.

to rynert -- privileged simply means he has more advantage then most -- regardless of how the advantage was achieved. I take offense to him insulting the intelligence of many of his own readers by inferring that working without a capital stake amounts to some kind of charity, but we're just too dumb to notice.

What's my point? raycam said, "he seems to have his ego in check" -- I disagree.

It's not about what he's done, it's about what he will do

I don't see this as an ego thing. I also don't see this as "I built this thing and they owe me."

Both of those are pretty common with founders of start ups who get eclipsed as things proceed. It happens all the time in Silicon Valley - the founder gets moved to an office in the annex and given a title along the lines of "Sr. VP of Feelgood." He's not that valuable to the company as it evolves, and no one much cares if he stays or goes. Folks like that sometimes issue press releases that they are moving on. No one notices.

That is not the deal here.

The deal here is that Danny is a uniquely valuable property in the world of search marketing. Anyone who wants to do an online media play in what is now the most dynamic part of the whole marketing universe is going to want Danny on their team.

The price to get someone like that on your team, at least in companies with a high tech flavor, includes a generous taste of equity.

I don't see Danny saying they owe me more because of what I did for them. I see him saying, I can get paid more because of what I can do in the future.

To the extent trying to get the best deal available to him is ego driven, I see it as a healthy ego, because I think he's right in thinking he can get the deal he wants. If he wants to start a new Search Engine Watch or a new SES, the odds of his succeeding are very, very high. If he offers himself to the corporate competitors of Incisive, someone will give him either equity or a pay package that simulates equity with an annual share of profits and a percentage of any sale of the assets down the road. He is still a young guy, and he has many years of doing great stuff ahead of him.

I certainly don't see him insulting his readers by "inferring that working without a capital stake amounts to some kind of charity, but we're just too dumb to notice." This isn't about his readers, some of whom are folks like Sergey Brin who already have a pretty good equity stake, some of whom are cubicle rats happy to have a steady paycheck, and most of whom are well paid people fortunate to be working in an industry where demand is starting to seriously outpace supply. It's not about them, and it's not about their choices or their options. It's about the choices open to Danny, and his trying to do what's right for himself and his family. That he doesn't need to accept whatever Incisive wants to give him, that he will be able to cut a good deal for himself in the open market, really says nothing about the rest of us. If I were to see what Danny is doing as somehow being a statement on me, it would say a lot more about my ego than Danny's.

getting boring now

A lot of people change jobs after they cant agree new terms when their contract is up for renewal, or its annual raise time, or whatever. That might be a surprise in this case but its not like he was escorted out with his desk contents in a box and was last seen throwing shit at the MD's car or anything.

Whether or not Dannys ego is in check is irrelevant, if he's over estimating his own worth then he'll doubtless have to accept a job on less than he thinks he should get. If he isn't then he'll get what he wants elsewhere and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks as long as Danny and his new employers are happy with the deal.

SES and SEW won't collapse without him but they will change, and Incisive are obviously willing to go with that. Silly imho but perhaps Danny was making demands for dancing girls and naked thursdays or something equally unacceptable to them. Whatever, we all know he won't dissapear totally and he'll blog about what he's going to do when he knows.

So thats the end of it really, until he announces what he's doing which will be interesting enough to talk about again.

He Sold Out

If he had wanted to keep control or keep his equity he shouldnt have sold out. He was a volunteer. Wheres the beef?

Danny is a uniquely valuable property in the world of search mar

hmmm... yup... I don't see any beef. I don't think this is about a beef.
From my personal experience of Danny - he is a truly humble guy that has done a lot of work to assist others and deserves an enormous amount of respect. His announcement hasn't caused me to question his integrity, but rather caused me to understand better what it means to be a leader. A leader has followers and I think he is handling his transition well.

Whatever the future holds - I KNOW from my own experience we are talking about a guy that firmly has "his ego in check".

agreed, getting boring

Ya.. I think this conversation is dying down. Perhaps your thoughts on his post are tempered by the fact that you know him, I don't know him, I have only seen him speak and have read what he writes. And in my opinion, that post left me with the impression that he was bitter the company sold the second time for much more then he sold it the first time. Of course I have no proof of that, other then what I have already written.

That said, he's a good guy, and I hope he does well in whatever his new venture will be.


As you've figured out, anyone who knows Danny would never in a million years have taken his post the way you took it. Which is why you simply won't find any agreement with what you said. It's simply couldn't be further from the truth.

Why Danny left

It is evident from his post that he left because he didn't have a sufficient piece of the action going forward. Fair enough. Why should be sustain it if he didn't get any reward when Jupitermedia sold SES? He built that house so he should have been rewarded.

One wonders who is in charge at Incisive when they purchased SES without securing Danny Sullivan in golden handcuffs. Alan Meckler must be chuckling...

Danny Sullivan in

Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs.

*eg* that is an interesting phrase. Let's make this post rank for that.

Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs

Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs

Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs

Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs

*eg* *Starts her link program*

"Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs" - (LSI droid version)

If you're looking for

Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs

you've come to the right site because we're featuring everything about Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs here!

On the other, hand, if Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs isn't what you want from here, why not try Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs somewhere else instead? Anyway, everybody's crazy about Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs, so why shouldn't you be, too?

etc. etc.

Links too!


Not just any manacles will do; Danny Sullivan's handcuffs must be golden handcuffs.


there goes my fantasy of Danny in pink fluffy ones


There goes my night's rest

You mean

this web site will actually blow you away even more when you read about our limited edition sign-up-in- 4-minutes-or-else Danny Sullivan in GOLDEN Handcuffs upgrade?

Even though ALL our friends are calling us perfectly CRAZY because we're giving away Danny Sullivan in Golden Handcuffs away at this FIRESALE prize?

But wait till you see our Gurtie's Special Bonus: a REAL, CERTIFIED Danny Sullivan in Pink Fluffy Handcuffs for FREE if you sign up by sending us your linklove NOW!

Yep, you read right: this one-of-a-kind, 100% real Sullivan in Pink Fluffy Handcuffs will come along with your Danny Sullivan in Golden Handcuffs and your Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs (Standard Issue) if you link to us NOW!


Pink Fluffy Handcuffs appear to be mostly a UK kind of thing.

Guess with the Puritan streak we have in the US it salves our consciences to use the plain old standard issue.

So do we trigger a new thread

on "Danny Sullivan Going Native"? :)

You guys are so 2005.

I wonder how long till this thread ranks for Danny Sullivan in Handcuffs? ;-)

You spilling all the beans again, eh?

Ok, so don't ignore that typo traffic: andcuffs hndcuffs hadcuffs hancuffs handuffs handcffs handcufs handcufs handcuff hhandcuffs haandcuffs hanndcuffs handdcuffs handccuffs handcuuffs handcufffs handcufffs handcuffss ahndcuffs ... etc. (Rep ad lib for the whole semantic field.)

And make sure to let them double as tags on http://del.icio.us, etc., too.

As Greg and Todd put it so nicely recently: Spam 2.0. All fluffy and pink, doh.

Here. You can check the rest

Here. You can check the rest as homework.


*grin* I'm so proud! *wipes


I'm so proud! *wipes tears away*

I would like to take this

I would like to take this opportunity to nominate Ralph for the first ever TW SEO of the Year award.

His generosity in freely giving us all such a detailed and illustrated lesson in on page optimization for grabbing the long tail free from any sandbox illusions is paramount to giving away money in my humble opinion. While Ralph has given of himself many times before with no expectation of any type of compensation, this one stands out as really deserving of the gratitude of an industry.

On behalf of an industry that sometimes fails to see the pearls cast before it, here is:

Bob giving a standing ovation to fantomaster

here here

there there. All hail the fantomaster. Had he not done it, it may never have happened. The world is a .... a ..... a .......a ..... ummm..... different place now.

The Ties That Bind

Litle semantic aid... cuffs chains manacles shackles fetters restraints trusses tether trammel hobbles yoke bindings

And some brand dependencies... Dawson Machine Company, Bean, Tower, Smith and Wesson, Peerless, Hiatt-Thompson, And just for good measure, Daniel and Dan.

And some N-gram words... stainless, steel, chrome, vanadium, carbon, keys, calibration

#8 on Yahoo for Pink Fluffy

#8 on Yahoo for Pink Fluffy Handcuffs and page 2 on G.


and I thought P P C was meant to be hard....


I rarely read a post of

I rarely read a post of yours John without smiling or laughing out loud. I love your wit and sense of humour. I also have no doubts of your skills.

I wanted to highlight the post John, not because of Ralph pointing out the extremely obvious to search warriors of your calibre, but because I believe it has historical significance. This single thread illuminates for the more unenlightened of us,

a more clear mental picture of what LSI means in a real world application

a good example of how to unautomate an automated process,(the reference to the droid version)

Lays to rest many if not all arguments regarding the existence of a sandbox

Lays to rest many arguments about how important links are to a longtail strategy. Assuming of course, not many people bothered to link to this thread in the last two days because of Danny sullivans pink fluffy handcuffs even though the blogarazzi should probably take notice now. If they do I'm looking forward to seeing what effects that has on placements.

Shows just how long you should wait before accepting that you did something wrong.

I mean talk about killing more than one bird with one shot!

I also feel the thread offers a lot of opportunity to disect an algorithm so many of us spend, (waste?), so much time disucssing. With these placements being pointed out, it is also pointing out a LOT of things about how these engines work, and how long it takes them to do what they do.

I would think as well as talking about the cute little placements popping up for some terms that make us giigle, we might get some mileage out of also talking about what is NOT popping up and why.

By the way, my guess is TW and this post is placing for a LOT of terms relating to Danny, to fluffy stuff, to handcuffs and no telling what else which if it is, that is another classic example of what and how longtail SEO works, how fast and how many links you need to buy to make it work.

I knew we'd get DG in here

I knew we'd get DG in here eventually :-)

Hey Bob, I hope I wasn't misunderstood. No sarcasm in my "all hail" post... I meant it as real fun! I've never met a word of Fantos I didn't appreciate (imagine!). Of course I have no idea what actually caused this thread to rank (nor does anybody else, right?). But it sures looks like it was all about back links and anchor text to me. Anytime I see old-guard SEO forums manipulating Google, it always turns out to be massive back linking campaigns orchestrated by ethicless brits who spend more time buying each other beers than forming proper sentences. That's why there is no opportunity in the competitive spaces for us independent guys.

I checked these searches the day before and the day after fanto posted that trickery (like I suppose many did) and the page only ranked right after a whole bunch of back links musta showed up in del.icio.us, mal.icio.us, magnolia, and Fantolia. You saw those, too, I'm sure. Yup. Links rule, every time. That's why fanto cloaks so much right? To hide the back links?

And that, my friend, is why SEO is the next great American occupation to be outsourced to Elbonia. No need for mastery of language, fluency of vernacular, or immersion in culture. Just links and DNS hacks, thazall you need. Google can never detect those, and I expect they will remain effective long after the rest of us have moved on to low-wage backlink beggar jobs snatched off rent-a-yank.com at penny wage rates.

Not me. I'm moving into design. I've got a whole slew of orange Frontpage templates just about done, and I've almost mastered the liquid rounded corner box. I'm set.

stop!stop! you're killing

stop!stop! you're killing me

Fanto may get SEO of the year but I bet you'll be displayin that spammy on the mantle for SEO stand up of the year. I'm sure you're at least a shoe-in for mr. congeniality

I've already been checking out Elboniain real estate prices.

By the way, do you have any contact info for the webmaster at rent-a-yank.com ?


Gee, Bob, and all (esp. John) - thanks for all that and a load of fun to boot, made my cyber night. Guffaw!

But honor to whom honor is due: IMV, this was, is and hopefully will be a collective effort - so if kudos are up for grabs, let's distribute them evenly.

And yes, John, hiding the backlinks is what industrial-strength cloaking is all about in verity. I only wish you'd learn to keep your trap shut instead of spilling all the beans once over, heh - how the hell's an honest dyslexic search engine spammer supposed to continue making a living and feeding his family if you keep on revealing their most nefarious tricks, man?

But wait, there may be one final alternative left: Off to LexisNexis now to check out who's worth threatening with top ranking him in pink fluffy handcuffs on Google + Yahoo! and sending tons of screenshots to their boss, their main competitors, their fraternity buddies, their army pals and their snotty little sister. (Hm, Flickr might be another nice conduit, much faster, too. We could even automate that process, hm.) Always loved that old protection money racket. After all, states have been pursuing it ever so successfully for centuries, too ...

Because that, Mr Andrews, is what the real future of SEO will now be all about, true black hat style: preventing rankings! :)

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