Danny Sullivan Delivers SMX West Keynote

    February 11, 2009

Danny SullivanThe SMX West conference began today, and Danny Sullivan, its co-chair and the editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, gave the keynote to truly kick things off.  Sullivan took an all-inclusive look at the search industry, touching on current standings, trends, and also what he’d like to see happen.

(Coverage of SMX West continues at WebProNews Videos.  Keep an eye on WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week.)

The speech started with a comparison of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to children – they may disappoint, but Sullivan loves them, anyway.  The "love" theme then continued as Sullivan explained that Google’s genuine fondness for search is why the giant’s been so successful.

In the future, Sullivan thinks Google would do better still if it shows real-time CPC for ads, reveals the AdSense split to publishers, and solves the map spam issue.  But focusing on more services like Google Book Search and Knol may not be productive, as Sullivan said, "Google is not a media company and needs to be careful."

Danny Sullivan at SMX

On to Yahoo, then, which Sullivan called the little search engine that should’ve.  To support this label, he pointed to the loss of talent and general disarray it’s suffered.  Sullivan hopes Yahoo manages to keep innovating – he likes SearchMonkey and Search Pad – and simply not anger its advertisers any more.

Yahoo may not have to worry about all that, though, since Sullivan sees some sort of Microsoft deal as inevitable.  "We know that they want it and we know they’re going to get it," he said.  Which won’t help the Redmond-based corporation’s "very bad reputation of being too dominant," but Sullivan also pointed out that some people are rooting for Microsoft because they want to see competition in the industry.

Anyway, Sullivan believes Microsoft can sharpen its game by picking (and sticking to) a brand name less awkward than Microsoft MSN Windows Live.

As for some smaller issues, Sullivan doesn’t see why Google and Yahoo don’t offer Twitter search.  He pointed out that the great apps Urbanspoon and Chowhound are running unchallenged.  And Google hasn’t really done much in the mobile arena at all.

Sullivan then wrapped up the keynote by discussing search and the recession.  He believes the true effect of the recession has yet to be determined, but advised using analytics in the event things get tighter.  Sullivan also said, "Search marketing is still in its teens but is widely recognized as one the most effective forms of reaching people."

WebProNews anchor Abby Johnson contributed to this report.