Goodbye Search Engine Watch & Best Wishes!

Search Engine Watch Launch, June 9, 1997

Today is my last day with Search Engine Watch, with me heading to my new digs at Search Engine Land tomorrow. I wanted to wish Search Engine Watch all the best going forward, plus help readers understand some of the changes that are happening. To do that best, I thought I'd go all the way back to the beginning, to the birth of Search Engine Watch.

In case you missed it, My Decade Of Writing About Search Engines from earlier this year covers how I got into reporting on search engines in the first place. Information posted as part of my web development work in 1996 expanded and relaunched as Search Engine Watch on June 9, 1997 (that's it in the image above). It rapidly drew more attention and traffic, in no small part due to Eric Ward's fantastic way of getting news around.

Later that year, I was approached by Meckermedia (then renamed, INT Media and Jupitermedia) about buying the site. I decided to sell to them on November 19, 1997. It meant the site could grow and I could stay firmly focused on the editorial development, which is my passion. I stayed on, contracted to be editor.

Two years later, the first companion conference to the site was held, Search Engine Strategies in San Francisco on November 18, 1999. I produced the content for that event as a contractor and have since continued to produce the major shows in the US, as the series has grown.

Last year, both the site and the conference series were sold to the current owner, Incisive Media. For 2007, we didn't agree on contract renewal terms, which resulted in me last August announcing my departure from both SEW and SES.

I'm happy to say that further talks resulted in me staying on to do SES show in the US in 2007. I will chair the SES New York 2007 event, then cochair the San Jose show and take part in Chicago at the end of 2007 as a speaker and moderator.

Search Engine Watch was a different matter. I felt it was better for me to go off on my own, which is what I'm going to do. In some ways, I'm leaving my baby behind. But the baby's pretty grown up now!

I joked with my managing editor Elisabeth Osmeloski that I'll likely become one of the top traffic referral sources to Search Engine Watch, since I'll be mentioning stories I've done in the past over here. But it won't be only past stories that I'll be referring to. If there's good content on Search Engine Watch, I'll be mentioning it and talking about it, just as I've always done for any web site even if it might have been seen as a competitor to SEW by some.

As I said earlier this year:

Whatever I do, I've tried to make it a hallmark to always to be inclusive of content, people, web sites or organizations that will help my readers, even if I might technically be competing with them. Whatever I end up doing, you can expect I'll still be pointing at Search Engine Watch as appropriate and wish those that remain a part of it the very best.

That remains the case!

My goodbye is less tearful because writers I've worked with day-in and day-out are joining me at Search Engine Land. Barry Schwartz (he told me to say goodbye to everyone), Phil Bradley (despite having a name that doesn't end in S), Bill Slawski, Jennifer Slegg, Brian Smith and Greg Sterling will be writing with me from December. Chris Sherman joins us in January. I'm naturally thrilled to continue working with them.

Elisabeth, who I mentioned already, stays on here at Search Engine Watch as managing editor and is working on plans with Incisive to take the site into its new life without me at the helm, a new generation for Search Engine Watch. She'll be along later with a post of her own on this.

I am saying a sad goodbye to my days administrating and moderating the Search Engine Watch Forums. In just over two years, an incredible community has sprung up over there, with nearly 15,000 members.

Earlier this week, I said a private goodbye and thank you to the hard-working moderators that have nurtured the community over this time. I'll share part of that to underscore what I said earlier about being inclusive:

I have absolutely no intention of going over to the new place with any type of "us versus them" type of attitude. I've always tried to be inclusive of good content and communities regardless if they might be seen as competitive to SEW. At SEL, I plan to continue the same. If there are good discussions here, I'm going to be pointing at them. If there are good opportunities for the mods with SEW, I honestly want the best for you. By no means do I want anyone thinking that staying on here, or perhaps doing other things with SEW, is somehow something I won't like or perhaps "disloyal" in any way. I don't know if anyone was even thinking like that -- but if so, don't!

That's pretty much it. I'm going to finish my last day doing a bit of blogging, do my last monthly newsletter, then I'm giving Elisabeth a virtual hug and dropping my keys off at the virtual door.

Any comments, please feel free to add them to this thread at the Search Engine Watch Forums, Best Wishes, Search Engine Watch!