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Rumors have been swirling that Search Engine Strategies has banned certain members of the search community and will be retooling their programming for upcoming shows.

Check out Daron Babin’s interview with Kevin Ryan that explains everything.
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from kensavage 2275 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Juicy rumors? I love it.

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from Jill 2275 Days ago #
Votes: 4

This is a really good interview. Nice to hear the rumors disspelled. Kevin is always amusing as well!

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from RickButts 2275 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Great job - and excellent success with Twitter - I started http://KickButtRadio.com but now I’m leaning toward using Ustream.TV for the interactivity.Rick Butts

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from pbarnhart 2275 Days ago #
Votes: 1

And just to illustrate the influence of Twitter it took 4 hours from initial twitter to sphinn front page, here is the twitter sequence for this story:1. WebmasterRadio New blog post: Kevin Ryan of Search Engine Strategies addresses rumors and bannings http://tinyurl.com/5lz5n82. WebmasterRadio Can we get a sphinn my friends? It’s the SES rumors story... http://sphinn.com/story/430833. WebmasterRadio Still sphinning: http://sphinn.com/story/43083 - As always your help is incredibly appreciated. Plus it’s a great interview!4. WebmasterRadio About to hit the Sphinn front page! - http://sphinn.com/story/430835. WebmasterRadio Great Success!

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from maharg 2275 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Does anyone else see this as a clear attempt by WebMasterRadio.fm to get some PR by making up a rumor they heard "at bars and such" ?

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from kevinheisler 2275 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Smokin’ hot ... looks like there’s a new SearchCast in towngreat to see all the ridiculous rumors and gossip put to rest - and nice job by Lisa Barone in Twitter for getting the ball rolling

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from debram 2275 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Does anyone else see this as a clear attempt by WebMasterRadio.fm to get some PR by making up a rumor they heard "at bars and such" ? They must be going to an awful lot of bars in Countries all over the world then. 

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from maharg 2275 Days ago #
Votes: -2

@debram, you don’t actually have to go to a bar in order to say you overheard something at a bar. All it takes is a lie.

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from debram 2275 Days ago #
Votes: 0

LOL - well that’s true, you can hear rumors anywhere and in some cases they are lies, but not this one.  People talked about this "banning" issue in all kinds of places, I heard it and I’m betting half the people reading this did too.  All WMR did was talk about it in the open.  So cudos to them. It’s what reporters do, they hear about an issue, go to a source, bring up the issues and get them talked about.  Nothing wrong with that and WMR didn’t make anything up.

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from iBrian 2275 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Any chance of a text summary to provide context and outcome? Not getting anything come up with the WR page link.

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from DanThies 2274 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Part of the problem with these "rumors" is that nobody wants to repeat things in public that might put them on the blacklist.

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from debram 2274 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Future actions on the part of all parties involved will be telling. 

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from dannysullivan 2274 Days ago #
Votes: 8

I was obviously curious about the latest SES "speaker exclusivity" rumor so I listened to the podcast and transcripted the relevant parts below. They might not be exactly perfect, so bear that in mind. I did go back and listen to these bits two, three or four times or more, so they’re pretty accurate I think.The key section begins with Kevin saying... “You can say that I inherited a great thing. You can also say I inherited a whole lot of baggage. One of the things that I’ve always found very peculiar about the industry is that it’s a very small, very tight-knit group of people who seem to be telling one another an inside joke and trying to keep other people out. Which is ironic because you know some of the rumors and I think you’re going to ask about are about me keeping people out. And that’s absolutely contrary to what’s actually happening. I’m managing SES as a global brand working with a great group of people to do that” Daron asks about Rand – that he’s heard Rand is banned from SES. “Is that true” “I can tell you that it’s absolutely not true. I met Rand last year at the Toronto event which was my first event. At the time we were talking about yet another rumor that he had posted about that turned out to be completely inaccurate that he was apologizing for. So I guess how many times is he going to do this. Nobody’s banned him. There are folks we’ve asked not to come to the event primarily because they were on the competing side of the business from the commercial side of the business and defaming SES. So naturally what kind of a business manager would I be if we didn’t meet with our senior management and ask these people not to come. You don’t go to a Coca Cola convention and the Pepsi people don’t show up at the Coca Cola convention and defame Coca Cola. It’s just not done. It’s childish and foolish and I’m disappointed that Rand is perpetuating a rumor. That’s just not accurate”  Note, for further background, Leaking Rumors... SES, SMX & Speaker Exclusivity is from Rand last year on SEOmoz where he said he heard this rumor from two trusted sources. The New Direction of SES & An Interview with Kevin Ryan is he follow up post where Rand calls his original post "irreponsible." SES Speaker Exclusivity Rumors Untrue from the SEW Blog is a denial and a pledge that there are no plans "ever" to have such a rule. The Truth About SES Speaker Exclusivity? is an SEW Forums discussion thread at the time where I commented about the two week exclusion request that SES has (may still have), why I started that and how it was handled.As for keeping commercial people out from competitors for allegedly defaming SES, Kevin doesn’t name what company or company this might be. I think that’s probably a wise thing if he’s trying to prevent his company from having to defend those allegations in court. I can tell you that all the tradeshows until December 2006 commonly allowed competiting sales and commercial staff to attend their events. For example when we had our first SMX Advanced show last year, Matt McGowan who oversees SES marketing gave us a heads-up that he wanted to come. We welcomed him in. Brett Tabke and his crew went head-to-head with SES last December, but I’m pretty sure his business folks still walk the halls at SES, and SES probably turns up at Pubcon. At SMX, we banned the staff of one particular show from attending finally in February, in reciprocation for a ban placed on our staff stretching back to December 2006, for a myriad of reasons that would change. If that ban is ever lifted, I’ll happily lift ours.Continuing on with the podcast, Daron said he doesn’t know that Rand himself is saying it. Just that it’s something he’s heard. Kevin continues: “My focus is in growing the SES community, growing the SES faculty, opening the SES doors to people who maybe weren’t included before. And I was included in that category. I was an ad guy doing search, so the red-headed stepchild in the ad community, and I come into the search community and I’m not welcome because I not a search insider. You know, I’d just like to get rid of a lot of that and open the doors a little bit. To be perfectly candid, I like Rand and think he’s a decent guy. I don’t know where these rumors are coming from, but here’s what I know, it’s the second time in a year that I’m defending a false rumor. Nobody’s banned Rand.”NOTE: It’s hard for me to tell if Kevin thinks he was excluded from SES or the search community or both. As for SES, he was a speaker on several occasions. I know, because I programmed the SES events in the US before him. I especially remember adding Kevin because typically he would ask about speaking well after I’d locked down panels with people who had pitched formally or wh had spoken before and performed well. Despite this, because of his knowledge and background in working with strong brands, I’d typically squeeze him into a panel along with other equally qualified folks. So I’d have hoped he did find me and SES welcoming and that it’s more a case that perhaps the community itself he found a bit closed. By the way, that community is indeed often full of inside jokes, but I’ve also found it over the years incredibly welcoming to anyone who wants to join and shows talent and passion. Amazingly welcoming. Rand, who’s like a fourth generation marketer who’s gained respect of many older as well as newer peers, is an example of someone who was welcomed in, not shunned. He’s one of many examples.Daron then asks about long-time speakers who feel they’ve been “disssed” and what he has to say to them. Kevin says: “Donald Trump doesn’t call me as much as he should, but that doesn’t mean that Donald hates me. He just doesn’t know me. And I’m not comparing myself to Donald Trump by all means, I shine my own shoes and cook my own dinners thank you very much. I don’t understand, and maybe you can help me understand, but I don’t undersand how some folks I haven’t met that haven’t reached out to me, and my email is very public [reads out his email address except leaves off the closing .com portion] ... [jokes about Jason Calacanis giving out his mobile number and his keynote that day] … I’ll talk to anybody and try to make time for these folks.”Continuing on later he says: “What I was looking at when I first got here in the first three or four months of the job and I think I said this before, I did nothing but reach out to as many people as I could and through the course of time the first part of the job was looking at every inch of delegate feedback … [mentions the trade show floor as an aside being awesome but that he has no involvement with it] … I looked at five years of delegate feedback. And there were a lot of recurring themes. And the most recent recurring theme was that I was sick of hearing the same thing from the same people over and over again. So immediately that tells me that the mandate has to be go out there and discover new talent. One thing to remember for folks that have been in this business forever, and I have to tell you for the record I admire and respect a lot of these folks, we have to create an event that is fresh. And this is a competitive environment that didn’t exist last year, that didn’t exist the year before, and it’s largely because of let’s face it there are tons and tons of conferences out there, and we have to be considerate of the delegate base we have to be considerate of the people who really fund this event.”FYI, I looked at all the delegate feedback for each and every show I programmed. My recollection was that the biggest issue repeatedly coming up was that delegates wanted better food. They loved the programming. They loved the speakers. They loved the quality of the event I could control. My recollection is that there were relatively few complaints that it was the "same old same old," and since I oversaw the largest SES shows that were ever held to my knowledge, based on public figures that were then released (you don’t get paid attendance figures now), I think I was doing right by those attendees rather than somehow missing a major problem, as might be suggested by Kevin’s comment. He, of course, may have a completely different view.Also, the idea that there were only a few speakers that got to speak all the time -- which you could come away with -- just doesn’t fly with me. At an SES event, I might have 100 to 200 different speakers. Three times per year. With new panels constantly coming in, and me especially looking for newcomers that I could put on stage. One of the nicest things in programming a show is when you can give someone a chance to shine. Plenty of people got opportunities when I was programming SES, just as they do with SMX and just as I’m sure they will continue to do with Kevin under SES. I sometimes think that in the quest for everyone to find "differences" between the various shows, they latch onto things that simply aren’t that different (such as the idea that SES didn’t have strategic and tactical panels as a mix, when it always did). Later on near the end Kevin says:"Shout out to Rand. How are you guy? Rand knows frankly that he’s (a) got my phone number (b) got my email address so if he wanted to clarify anything, he could certainly just give me a call. Early on I gave him my number and my email. I think Rand has banned me, I don’t know.” Daron asks in closing if there’s an invisible line drawn between SES and SMX "I think there is a mutual respect and admiration society. Recognizing of course that this is a competitive business. Danny is a competitive guy. As you know, I’m a competitive guy. With mutual respect comes, well, mutual respect. But understanding of course this is a competitive business and we all have goals to achieve."Let me close by saying I can understand Kevin’s frustration with not being asked about rumors or having them out there. I recently had to deal with someone I respect assuming he was banned and that there was a ban in place on some people for SMX shows -- without me being asked about it -- and yes, I was reachable too.For the record, we don’t nor have we had a ban on speakers being at SMX from speaking at other events. There’s no sense it that. It’s not how you take care of speakers, your delegrates or the industry at large.This may be a new thing Kevin is dealing with, but for me, it’s very old hat. I was doing SES for a couple of years before Brett decided that PubCon should get all grown up and become a multiday, multitrack event. I had speakers who suddenly wondered if they had to choose between SES and PubCon. I’ve also had people who assumed that because they hung out at WebmasterWorld, SEW was somehow a natural rival and so they wouldn’t be welcomed.That was never the case with me. If you’ve got talent, something good to say and share, I want you on stage. I don’t care where else you speak. Sure, it might be nice that if I or my programming team have worked to product a unique panel, I don’t have to see that effectively cloned at another event with all the same speaker and all the same presentations. But that happens, and I know our advantage at SMX is that we think we’d do the cutting edge content first.In short, I see strength in being inclusive of people and content. I always have, and I see no reason to change.

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from mdumesnil 2272 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think it’s pretty sad that Kevin has to defend SES in the first place. He’s actually done a really good job at inviting new (and old) talent to speak and creating new content for the shows all over the world. This idea of a ban on speakers is childish and ridiculous. It’s probably hard enough to find speakers with fresh and innovative content without having to worry about where they’ve spoken before.PS: the food in Paris was fabulous :)

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from kmanyc 2272 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Really surprising this conversation persists in today’s evolved media environment. In fact, the breadth, depth and freshness of Kevin’s inclusion are obvious in the programming, staffing, and assembly @SES. It is evident in every single conversation with him and his team that purposeful, thought-stimulating inclusion is a driving principle. Inclusion that heightens and refreshes the intelligence of the business and its community is a worthy devotion, to say the least. Seems to me that this somewhat circular dialogue on people, personalities and banning vs. a focus on value and total media intelligence is perpetuating insularity.Let’s look up from this small convo and appreciate the converged state of media today – this time of truly integrated digital of which we are all a part. I personally, professionally thank Kevin and his team for invigorating the agenda at every turn – and progressing the intelligence through the RIGHT kind of inclusion and constant application of mature media industry perspective. Keeps us all on our toes. As it should be.

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from dannysullivan 2272 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@mdumesnil, as co-chair of SES Paris -- I hope you ensured that food was fabulous!@kmanyc, the idea that any particular speaker is banned anywhere is indeed a focus on value. That’s because some of those regular speakers indeed deliver value -- and if they can’t speak at one place because some other place wants them to pick sides, it’s an issue for attendees. It’s also an issue for the still somewhat close community that search marketing is.

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from lafmm 2271 Days ago #
Votes: 1

since food is such a hot topic, and always has been, here’s a pic of the lunch we served up this year (both days) at SES Paris (funny enough it was the content the show delivered in the session rooms that everyone got excited about...)

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from KevinMRyan 2271 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Danny,   I am very disappointed that you continue to perpetuate false rumors in making veiled and direct references to policies that do not exist.    For the record, Marie was not the co-chair of SES Paris in 2007, though she has agreed to chair next year’s event. As it seems accuracy is not a requirement, I do not expect you to correct your statement, but I did want to clarify for anyone reading.    Indeed, I have received reports from our speakers and other members of the community that SMX has in fact restricted speakers from SES in lieu of appearing at SMX. I can only conclude this latest attack is intended to serve as yet another means of distracting folks in the business from the truth.    For the very last time, I have made no such demand of SES speakers and I have been very clear about my desire for fresh content based on delegate feedback and best practices.     Additionally, and as recently as SES New York 2008, I have received at least one report (from an SES speaker) of SMX representatives defaming our event (from the venue lobby bar) while trying to recruit the SES speaker for SMX.   Ironically, this was occurring right around the time of my interview with WMR.   Further, your personal attacks directed at me in taking comments out of context are uncalled for and highly speculative. In particular, making reference to my speaking requests at SES in the past. I did indeed offer to help with SES many times and in the instances that I did not get a response from you, I did not take it personally.   I am very disappointed that you have taken this approach and only hope that any latent grievances you may have will not be directed at me in the future.   Please remove my email address from your post. You should know better than to publish an actual email address in a public forum. If you wish, you may list my email as Kevin (dot) Ryan (at) Incisive Media (dot) com.   Finally, as I am sure there will be more rhetoric, I invite you to take this conversation offline. I will not be posting further, as I do believe this type of exchange does nothing to better the industry and only serves a decidedly biased agenda.

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from dannysullivan 2271 Days ago #
Votes: 0

OK, Kevin, I guess we roll the sleeves up a bit. I’ve consistently NOT said that you and SES have done anything wrong and indeed have defended you on many, many occasions. I’ve also had speakers approach me and say they worried they should jump one way or another, and I’ve consistently told them they don’t have to many ANY type of choice for me -- that I’m not asking them to do that, and that I want them to do things they feel are best for themselves.I’ve not perpetuated any false rumors in this thread, nor have I been running some type of whispering campaign that you are doing so.Now you apparently are happy to create the same rumors that I’m restricting speakers that you just complained people are doing about you. I haven’t. Have not. Have not restricted any speaker, not one, in participating at SES in the way that you’ve been accused (by others) of doing -- and complained that those were unfair accusations. Yet now you stroll in here all bent out of joint and doing exactly what you think others should do?I’ve never spoken publicly about things I’ve heard, but since you seem quite confident to personally repeat rumors, I’ll go ahead and talk about things I’ve heard and NEVER written about.Yes, I’ve heard from several trusted sources that SES has indeed put pressure on speakers to pull out of our events or suggested to others that if they speak with us, then they aren’t going to be able to speak for you. This goes back to around the time that Rand first talked about what he was hearing. I’ve heard it several times since, including ahead of SES NY. So congrats, Kevin -- rather then bury the entire issue that you want to say was a fiction of Rand’s mind, now you spark it off even further.Again, I’ve never said you are restricting speakers. Never written that. And you’re wrong to say that’s what I’ve done.In terms of people from our group allegedly defaming SES, if you have a serious accusation of that, you know how to reach me. Similarly, the reports I get about negative things that SES has been saying to various people about SMX -- I’ll bring them to you if I think they are seriously something you should deal with. For the most part, I just note such reports and brush them off.As for personal attacks -- Kevin, you’ve done an interview where you suggest you were somehow not welcome or involved in SES events when I was running them. You were. I know, because I involved you. For you to paint a picture as if you were an outsider kept at bay by me -- when I actually worked to accomodate you on many occasions. No, that doesn’t fly. And I’ll be happy to pull up the past emails if you need me to refresh your memory on these several occasions.Similarly, when I have worked for years to include people from across the search marketing space in conferences, painting a picture that you’re somehow being more inclusive than me apparently just having "old guard" people also doesn’t fly. Sorry, but that’s akin to a personal attack on my work and reputation. You should find a better way to defend your speaker choices than making it out that way. But if that’s what you believe, have at it.As for your email address -- you gave it out in a public interview. You made a big deal of it being availalble for anyone. And if you looked closely, I actually wrote it exactly as you gave it -- without the dot.com part, so it’s not like it can be harvested. But sure, I’ll snip even that part out.In short, you gave an interview where you made your own veiled accusations and slams againt both our organization and my past work to build SES to the record-breaking crowds you once enjoyed. In contrast, I’ve consistently not tried to be negative in interviews about you, negative about SES and in fact at the last SES in Chicago, stood and congratulated you on your new format, first show and wished you luck going forward.Matt, people make a big deal about lunches because in addition to great content, they want to be fed. As I told Kevin, that was the number one complaint that *I* recall hearing from delegates and was powerless to fix. Food’s expensive, but that’s an expensive we’ll pay -- and yes, even for a show with hundreds of attendees.Kevin, see here:http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/newyork/mdumesnil.htmlShe’s listed as co-chair SES Paris. That’s where the info came from. She certainly didn’t leave any profile information for anyone to easily follow.

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from dannysullivan 2271 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Also, I’ll email you Kevin, and sure, happy to take things offline. I had nothing to do with this thread and wasn’t jumping in until I actually listened to the things you said about SES and how stuff was run before.

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from streko 2271 Days ago #
Votes: 2

now this thread has... ...more cow bell!

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from mdumesnil 2271 Days ago #
Votes: 0

For those interested, my profile can be found here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mariedumesnil and I can be reached at marie (dot) dumesnil (at) vikingrivercruises (dot) com. I can confirm that even though I attended SES Paris in January this year, I did not co-chair the event, but did enjoy the food and sessions. I can also confirm that I will indeed co-chair the event next year.

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from dannysullivan 2271 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Kevin and I have talked and now draw back to our respective corners :) For the record, he and I both want to let anyone who cares that neither of us has a ban on speakers from participating in either SES or SMX. Should anyone hear this, we’d appreciate that they check directly with one of us before repeating such rumors.We’ve also agreed to close this particular discussion. 

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