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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

RIP I-Search, Long Live SEM 2.0

Recently, we bade farewell to a search engine marketing institution of sorts, the I-Search Digest discussion list. I-Search was founded by Marshall Simmonds, who remains active as one of the top search engine marketing experts on the planet. Unsurprisingly, Danny Sullivan was one of Marshall's early mentors. Four years ago, Traffick wrote a profile on Marshall's interesting work with About.com.

Detlev Johnson took the moderation reins from Marshall and tirelessly moderated to rave reviews from members until September 2003.

Over the years, members produced mountains of actionable, current search engine marketing intelligence. The archives alone were always a useful resource to me. I frequently found answers in them, although (ahem) they should have been more easily searchable.

Over the years, various owners (most recently, Andy Bourland) tried to make I-Search, I-Sales, and their sister lists into a viable paid-subscription business, but that proved difficult. It also proved difficult to maintain discussion in an increasingly fragmented marketplace with a format that seemed increasingly inadequate and inconvenient, as Detlev was finding out last summer before he passed the torch to me in September. And as Andy and I (along with other I-Moderators) found this spring. Both the "business" and the "community" seemed on their last legs, so ... well, they shoot horses, don't they?

Now that I-Search is closed, it's a perfect opportunity to start a new group for intermediate to advanced search marketers that will offer the advantage of building a solid community of knowledge while leaving behind some of the mistakes and inconveniences of the old group. I've christened "I-Search II" with a new name, SEM 2.0, and membership is by invitation only.

The group does not cost anything to join, and has no business model. It's hosted on Google Groups 2 Beta. (If the archives of this one aren't easily searchable, we've got a problem!)

If you were sad to see I-Search go, or simply want to find a search engine marketing discussion community that offers a more professional, low-key approach than some of the more public forums out there, SEM 2.0 may be for you. (Signup below: membership is moderated.)












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