Seven Years As A Search Insider

"Ahh...our fledgling little industry is growing up."

And with those words, I became a Search Insider on August 19, 2004, writing my very first column for MediaPost. Today, six years, seven months and 26 days later, I'm writing my 300th Search Insider column.  And yes, our little industry is still growing up.

As the senior Search Insider (both, I suspect, in terms of output and age) I've seen and written about a lot of things over the almost seven years I've been doing this. In that very first column, I forecast that we were a tipping point in the industry. Search was going to move from the cottage industry category to big business. Based on Google's every-increasing balance sheet, I'd say that happened, but search is still an amazingly small world. At a recent search conference, a few of us (Bruce Clay, Chris Sherman, Danny Sullivan and some other "pioneers") mentioned how we feel like a village elders council amongst more and more unfamiliar faces. Yet, for every new face encountered, these search events still feel a lot like a high school reunion.



I've been fortunate to be blessed with a lot of editorial leeway in what I choose to write about in Search Insider. Many have dealt with the world of search, but ironically, some of the most popular columns (at least, in terms of reader response) have been much more personal in nature. Columns about my family, our various family vacations and the loss of people dear to me (my wife's grandmother and, more recently, my Uncle Jim) have all struck a chord with the Search Insider audience. For me, search has been an integral part of my life for the last decade and that has been reflected in my columns. It's always been the human part of searching (or doing anything online) that I've found fascinating, and I've done my best to share that. I guess you could call it the recurring theme of the Thursday slot on the Search Insider line up.

For me, the fact that my daughter learned how to crochet on YouTube, or that my wife discovered that mobile computing can actually make a difference in her life, or that a long-haul truck driver that loved family embodied the very same ideals that we see in Facebook at its very best -- these are the things we should care about. As I've said many, many times, technology is transitory, but people and their behaviors are what endure. At the end of the day, technology is just a tool.

I wanted to spend part of this milestone column thanking Ken Fadner, Phyllis Fine and the rest of the MediaPost editorial staff. Writing a weekly column can sometimes be a real pain when I hit Wednesday afternoon and come up completely dry on ideas. But I've also found that this forum has been tremendously rewarding for me personally. It reinforced for me that my internal thoughts and views become more valuable when they're shared. You may not agree with me (and I can be pretty contentious at times, as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Ask and the Canadian marketing community at large can all attest to) but the discussions generated through this column have always been fascinating. And each time I'm out somewhere and someone tells me they read my column, it reinforces the value of the time I've spent generating some 180,000 words of content over the last seven years.

With that first column, I never imagined it would continue for as long as it has. There is no contract in place to secure the relationship. I suppose if I really wanted to quit writing tomorrow, I could. But week in and week out, I have to say that Thursday has become my favorite day. In fact, this column has been the most consistent part of my entire career in search. So I'll be back next Thursday. And, most likely, the Thursday after that.

Why stop when you're having fun?

10 comments about "Seven Years As A Search Insider".
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  1. Matt Kain from Starcom MediaVest Grouo, April 14, 2011 at 10:29 a.m.

    Nice one, Gord. Here's to 300 more!

  2. Robert Kahns from MarineMax, April 14, 2011 at 10:55 a.m.

    3 cheers for 7 years Gord! I look forward to your column every week and have enjoyed your thoughts and ideas greatly.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 14, 2011 at 10:56 a.m.

    A birthday cake to you with 300 candles !

  4. Kenneth Fadner from MediaPost, April 14, 2011 at 11:17 a.m.

    Please keep them coming, Gord. And, thanks for the insights over all those years.

  5. Rob Garner from Author of "Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing Wiley/Sybex 2013, April 14, 2011 at 11:35 a.m.

    Congrats Gord.

  6. Daniel Soschin from Speaker & Blogger, April 14, 2011 at 7:29 p.m.

    I feel like it was yesterday when we got the sysadmin e-mails from Overture and Google saying that we'd no longer be able to bid 1c for keywords... that the minimum bid was going to 5c... but if we didn't change our ads, we'd be grandfathered in at 1c. Imagine the arbitrage we would have amassed if we kept those ads! Search has grown up from "an experiment in advertising" to a full blown industry. I am glad to have been part of it for over a decade.

  7. Gian Fulgoni from 4490 Ventures, April 15, 2011 at 9:55 a.m.

    Congratulations, Gord. You've made a very significant contribution to the search industry with your insights and leadership. Please keep it going. I've particularly enjoyed working with you over the past four years and look forward to seeing you again at SIS in beautiful Captiva next month.

  8. Jonathan Mendez from Yieldbot, April 15, 2011 at 10:15 a.m.

    Congrats Gord. You've been an important voice in the industry. We owe you a debt of gratitude.

  9. Gordon Hotchkiss from Out of My Gord Consulting, April 15, 2011 at 10:52 a.m.

    Thanks for all the comments!

  10. Ryan DeShazer from GSW Worldwide, April 15, 2011 at 2:44 p.m.

    Congrats to you, Gord. Our team has long looked forward to spending Thursdays with you.

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