A note from Editor-in-Chief Brad Berens: This marks the last regular iMedia column by my friend and colleague Kevin Ryan. I'll miss seeing his byline in our pages, but I also know that he'll continue to make the industry a better place for all of us in his future endeavors.
As I ride off into the sunrise, I'd like to share with all of you my experiences, the trials and the tribulations and the death-defying circumstances that just might create life-long friends. That's right sports fans, I am out. Before I go, I have a couple of things to say. Oh, and just once, no apology for the inside jokes.
Without further banter, here are some of favorite columns from the last few years, and a note of thanks to those who helped along the way.
What AOL's Data Dump Tells Marketers (August 24, 2006)
Probably the forerunner to future investigations and lawsuits regarding privacy and personal information, this little blunder was a wake up call for privacy advocates everywhere. Ever wonder what Betty Jo Anyperson searches for on any given Sunday?
Google's Click Fraud Settlement and You (May 24, 2006)
Beware the Greeks, even when bearing gifts. Maybe it was advertiser apathy or an unwillingness to take on the big boys in search, but it seems that advertisers were getting a raw deal and no one seemed to care. Worse, the wrong people were cashing in. How does that song go? "Send Lawyers, Guns and Money."
Are Users Ignoring Paid Search Listings? (April 05, 2006)
From the conceptualizers who brought us banner blindness, the concept of search listing blindness takes main stage. NNG's eye-tracking study had everyone talking and search providers quaking in their booties.
SearchTHIS: Open Letter to Steve Ballmer (September 21, 2005)
Eye on the prize, Mr. Ballmer, eye on the prize. This one, you just have to read. It was my favorite all time column to write.
SearchTHIS: What's on Your Mind? (September 07, 2005)
Search is the barometer of the human consciousness. Whenever you might be thinking you know what your audience wants or needs, think again!
SearchTHIS: Daddy, What's a Tagvert? (April 19, 2005)
There I was sitting at the corner of sarcasm and utter frustration. Every time something new or exciting pops up in the interactive marketing world, it seems the race to be the first to come up with a cool name takes a back seat to a coherent application of said idea.
SearchTHIS: Happy ValenSearch Day (February 15, 2005)
Why are Roses $6 a dozen on February 5th and $100 a dozen on February 14th? It's all about the love; some of my favorite columns were inspired by the most frustrating crap that happens in every day life. I am no stranger to Murphy's Law. If it can break then it will be at the most inconvenient time.
SearchTHIS: 'Twas the Night Before Google's IPO (December 21, 2004)
Oh yeah, I remember that night. Only minutes before moving back to New York from my beloved Southern California, I found myself sleeping on an air mattress with a solid leak. You try getting a night's sleep on 4mm of plastic and something like this might just appear.
SearchTHIS: Looking for a Break (August 31, 2004)
I needed a vacation. I didn't get much of a vacation, though I did manage to see the Grand Canyon and get in touch with the people who actually conduct searches first hand. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Google's Instigated Public Optimization (May 03, 2004)
There was so much hype surrounding the Google IPO that I just had to comment. At what point will joyful exuberance transform into dollars and cents? You be the judge.
Search and Rescue from the iMedia Summit (January 12, 2004)
"Let's eat Hespos." They say some of life's greatest friendships are formed in the face of adversity. Now, if Tom and I can only cut out the dangerous activities, we might live to make some new friends.
Just Another Day in Search Marketing? (October 13, 2003)
In the early days, I loved translating press releases into English. I guess old habits die hard, but this one is a favorite.
Shutting up and thanking them already
First, thanks to my friend Masha Geller. Long before I knew of iMedia she took a chance on an outspoken writer with her publication and I took the cover story one autumn. The rest, as they say, is history.
Of course, without iMedia CEO Rick Parkhill -- who believed in search and helped bring it up to the main stage at iMedia both on the event and editorial side -- none of this would have been possible.
Then there were the editors: Dawn Anfuso who took me in and made me feel at home. Lee Watters followed, and he was the man who introduced me into great writing with a bonus education on the paranormal. Say hi to Andrew for me!
Although my official capacity was a writer and contributor, I attended more than a few summits. Consummate professionals on the operations side of the iMedia Summit business worked tirelessly to make sure each show went off without a hitch. And if there were hitches, show attendees never knew about it.
And last, but certainly not least on the editorial side, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Brad Berens with his own style and a certain "whatever the French call it." Brad relentlessly, week after week, took my 800-word jumble and with magic editing created masterpiece. He also endured the "Lipton Tea" bag creative showcase incident.
Finally the publishers: In Josh Messinger and Mario Sgambelluri I have found two very competent professionals and very dear friends that make sure it all comes together.
I know they say you can't go back, but who knows how the story will unfold. It's a great big online universe out there, and you never know, home could end up coming back to you.
Kevin Ryan is chief executive officer at Motivity Marketing and vice president, global content director of Search Engine Strategies and Search Engine Watch. Read full bio.