• http://magiczne.seoisem.pl Bartek Krzemień

    This was an *amazing* read, especially for someone who 10 years ago was in high-school. Thank you! Congratulations on your anniversary :).

  • http://www.pixelsilk.com Pixelsilk


    Nice post. Clearly, you saw this “industry” in its cradle and we are all the better for it. Your passion, writing skills, and at times, outright stuborness ;-) has helped so many people its mind boggling. Congrats to you and all the folks at Third Door for your continued successs. All of us at Pixelsilk wish you the best and are looking forward to SMX West 2010 and Steve Ballmer’s keynote in March.

    Kind regards,


  • http://www.definess.com mdsimmonds

    Congratulations Danny,

    I was honored to speak at the first conference in SF 10 years ago. It was a big day for me as well. I announced on my panel I would be joining a small company called About.com, putting on the logo’d hat just before launching into a stunning presentation about the META Keywords tag! Incidentally several About.com Guides were in the audience and hadn’t heard the news and welcomed me afterwards. I met some great people at that show, several I still am close friends with to this day. Met a lot of I-Searchers too. It was fun to be there in the beginning and to witness the growth/explosion of the industry.

    Since then I’ve spoken at all but 2 SES and SMX conferences and as I’ve said to Danny and his crew after each – thank you for the opportunity to speak!

    -Marshall Simmonds
    Chief Search Strategist New York Times Company

  • http://www.newsforce.com danatodd

    First of all, I’m stunned that you remember all those details! My brain gets fuzzy remembering last week sometimes, but I definitely recall many of the names and the sessions, and I remember the 20-ft lines of people standing at the microphone to get their questions out on the “Meet the Directories” and “Meet the Search Engines” panels. And I remember the feeling of camaraderie that you mentioned, something I still feel to this day when attending search conferences.

    Second, thank you Danny! Thank you for seeing the possibilities, fostering the learning and exchanges, and thank you for your very significant contribution in creating a $12-billion market. SEMPO was born at your conferences, and my own career pays you a significant debt. I was thrilled to be part of it back then, and I’m honored to consider you a friend now.

    I just wish we could clone you! There are so many little exciting pockets of opportunity that need leaders with your passion and intelligence. Whenever you’re ready to contribute a DNA sample, I’ll have the scientists standing by…

    Most sincere thanks and hearty congratulations on a decade well spent!
    Dana Todd, CMO
    Newsforce, Inc.

  • Winooski

    Oh man, what memories from 10 years ago. I never made it to one of your conferences (to my great unhappiness), but I do remember doing things like stressing out over a client’s Yahoo! Directory submission and developing dozens of keyword-targeted doorway pages. Thanks for continuing to be a beacon of light for the maturing SEO community!

  • http://www.planetc1.com/ chiropractic

    Wow, quite trip down memory lane. I think I still have notes somewhere from your 1998-99 presentations at Internet World. I didn’t connect Chris to Internet.com until you mentioned it. Those were the first shows I attended. I remember Creative Labs had a booth with pre orders for a whopping 16mb mp3 player (I still have it) and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. We’ve come a long way from buying 2 cent ads on goto.com for traffic. Thanks for continuing to lead the way.

  • http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi Danny-

    Wow! I still remember that conference. Two items stood out to me about that event. (1) It was the first time I met Jakob Nielsen and actually did not like his presentation — I think the reason being that I didn’t understand, at the time, what he was trying to communicate. Now I am a usability professional (specifically for websites and focused on the search aspect). I didn’t realize how meeting Dr. Nielsen and others would have such a huge impact on my career.

    The other thing that stood out to me was Sergey. He was so darn cocky! But I liked him and thought he was an [fill in the blank] for believing that no one could spam Google. I also won a Google bag full of goodies because my business card was drawn in the raffle. I still have the coffee cup, but I gave the rest of the stuff away to an attendee because it was his birthday.

    I remember many things about that inaugural conference. Those were just 2 things that stood out in my mind.

    Oh! And the most important thing? I had never met Danny in person. I had to ask someone to introduce us. That was just…funny.

    Congrats Danny! I’ll continue speaking on that topic as long as you want me to.

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    Congrats on 10 years! It’s wild that the conferences now stretch back a full decade.

  • http://www.wordsmithbob.com wordsmithbob

    This was a great look back at our industry. I really enjoyed it. However, I still disagree with people who say that linking is the all important “holy grail” of SEO. Yes, it’s extremely important but I have plenty of clients I’ve put number one in Google for high competition keywords without a single link. Simply by revising their meta tags, realigning their website, and rewriting their copy. And no links.

    But that’s okay. As long as you guys still think links are the only way to go, I’ll keep beating you in the search engines.

  • http://www.useit.com jakob

    Congratulations on the anniversary.

    I too remember speaking at that first conference. It had a very nice feel to it because it was not too big, and yet big enough that a large number of very experienced people were present. I also remember being fairly impressed by the fairly large number of exhibitors (of course nothing like what you have now).

    All signs that the importance of search was becoming recognized. This importance was something I had known about for some time, because all our user studies since the mid-1990s had shown a large degree of reliance on search and a large degree of interest/commitment to search on the part of the Web users we tested. Yet, despite this empirical evidence, there were many people back in 1999 who questioned the importance of search.

    Going back even further, I remember being on other conference panels before 1999 and complaining about the poor usability of the then-popular search engines and predicting the possibility of doing better and taking big market shares. Sadly, the then-big engines mainly ignored the importance of better user experience, believing that all that counted was branding and more advertising. As you pointed out, most of them are dead now.

    Anyway, here’s to the next decade!

    Jakob Nielsen
    Nielsen Norman Group

  • http://www.highrankings.com/newsletter/ Jill Whalen

    Great trip down memory lane, Danny! I wasn’t at the first couple of conferences, but started my speaking career the next year with your Dallas conference and one of the roundtable discussions (remember those?)!

    Some things I remember from that one:

    A long-haired Derrick Wheeler who had lots of great questions and insights to share.

    The inevitable questions about commas/no commas in meta tags which we still got many, many years later. (I used to joke that I was going to bring a bb gun and shoot anyone who asked that question!)

    The great sit down lunch! (Wasn’t it steak or something?)

    Hanging a bit with Marshall (and Derrick) which was cool cuz I was a long time I-Searcher.

    Meeting Danny and thinking how down to earth he was even though he was even back then considered a Search Marketing God to pretty much everyone there.

    The amazing feeling of talking about search with people later at the bar and not having their eyes glaze over!

    Talking to Craig Paddock, who was one of the first people I met there who I didn’t already know online, and have him tell me that something I said made the price of admission all worthwhile. (I don’t remember what nugget I may have provided!) I always think of him as my first conference buddy.

    Having way more men than women attending, and then watching through the years it got more and more even.

    Probably lots more than that, but those are my initial memories!

  • http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com annew

    Amazing Danny, thanks so much for the walk down memory lane. Conjures up the original match.com where I worked, and the old well where I played.

    Thanks for all you do, and have done.