DMers on Danny Sullivan/Incisive Media agreement

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The direct marketing industry was taken back by an announcement from DM guru Danny Sullivan back in August, when he decided to stop aiding Incisive Media in the production of the Search Engine Strategies series of conferences and exhibitions. And then yesterday, the industry was in awe again as Mr. Sullivan and Incisive signed an agreement to continue to work together.

So what does the industry have to say about this series of events? Are people shocked? Appalled? Relieved?

"Danny has been a driving force for the industry, and his continued influence will create further learning opportunities and innovations for the next generation of search marketers," said Misty Locke, co-founder and president of Range Online Media, Fort Worth, TX.

Ms. Locke was not the only one with positive feedback.

Many would say that Search Engine Strategies could not have continued without Mr. Sullivan.

His presence at the show breeds familiarity. He adds a lot in terms of knowing the people, the companies, the stories, the trends, the success stories, and the inside dirt, said David Berkowitz, director of strategic planning at 360i .

"It's reassuring to hear the show will continue to benefit from his expertise," Mr. Berkowitz said. "As search marketing budgets grow, and as top executives at the world's leading companies grasp the importance of search, it's all the more important that these flagship SES events provide the best possible educational and networking experience."

Mr. Sullivan has become sort of like the face and icon of Search Engine Strategies because he has been in the industry for so long.

"The name Danny Sullivan stands for expertise and a critical view in web search - and has been so for over ten years, when there was hardly much a commercial Internet at all. This makes him one of the most senior experts in our industry," said Nils Winkler, head of sales and director of the New York office for Global Digital Marketing leader AdTech.

"Many people have considered the fact of not continuing SES with Incisive a major loss for the industry so knowing he is back is a relief," Mr. Winkler said. "This industry is still young and the more expertise and experience someone like Danny can share the better it is."

Years of experience make Mr. Sullivan one of the wise men of the industry.

"It is wonderful news that Danny will continue to produce the Search Engine Strategies conferences," said Chrysi Philalithes, vice president of global marketing and communications at Miva, New York.

"Danny's expertise is second-to-none and he has been the driving force behind the highly successful SES conferences," she said. "Danny and SES have played a vital role in educating the market about search marketing, the fastest growing area of online advertising, which now accounts for 40 percent of total online media spend."

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