SES & SEW “Feeding” Off JupiterResearch

Many will remember that Jupitermedia sold ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and the SES events business to Incisive last August. It was part of Alan Meckler’s move to firmly focus Jupitermedia around the image sales business and raise money for more image company purchases. That pretty much put the writing on the wall for the JupiterResearch division to go next. And it did, getting sold earlier this week. Alan blogs about it here, but I’ve got to take issue with one of his reasons for selling:

Another reason for our selling was related to our sale of our Search Engine Strategy shows last summer. The relationship between our SES shows and ClickZ Network (which was sold with SES) and JR were strong. Both fed off of each other. But once we sold SES and ClickZ the rationale for owning JR was no longer strong or necessary.

If SES and SEW were feeding off of JupiterResearch, I certainly never felt it. I like the people at JupiterResearch, both those that are still left and those recently departed. But we had no real synergy between the two. We did our own things and coordinated nothing. JupiterResearch would have banners at our shows, and in the last year, I’d give them a track on the first day, but I never got the impression we were somehow thriving because of that track.

In fact, if this was supposedly such a strong relationship, then why on earth wasn’t JupiterResearch sold as part of the SES package to Incisive. The answer, from where I sit, is that JupiterResearch was not vital to the ClickZ Network or the SES events, as Alan argues. We’ve certainly continued to have success without JupiterResearch, as Alan himself noted.

I should add that this is my personal blog, and my comments don’t reflect the views of my employer. Oh, wait a minute, I am my employer! What I don’t speak for is Jupitermedia (that should be obvious) or Incisive (who I freelance for to maintain SEW and produce SES events).

Postscript: Alan’s got a response here, where he explains he reasons as to why I wasn’t aware of the synergies between SES/SEW/ClickZ and JupiterResearch.

I agree with Alan. I’m not a business person and not the person you’d want overseeing a company. And I’ve got just as much deep regard for Alan as a businessman as he does for me as a consultant. But…

  • JupiterResearch getting leads because of ad links from the ClickZ network was a one-way synergy. JupiterResearch gained, but SES/SEW/ClickZ didn’t. And that was the statement in his original post — “both fed off of each other.”
  • JupiterResearch getting leads because they were part of SES was also a one-way street. Hey, anyone exhibiting at the show gets leads. What’s the synergy for SES in those cases? Exhibitors pay money. JupiterResearch didn’t have to. So the SES benefit? Less booth space that could be sold. I will say that we had a number of JupiterResearch analysts who would occasionally moderate sessions, and that expertise was appreciated. But the shows were just as successful without them.

Basically, all Alan says is that JupiterResearch gained off of SES, SEW & ClickZ. I completely agree. They did — but it was one-way. It didn’t flow back to SES or SEW. Indeed, if anything, the association with JupiterResearch hurt us in some ways. I’d read news reports about SES being a “JupiterResearch-produced” event, which meant the core brand I oversaw, Search Engine Watch, wasn’t getting its due. I’d be on stage at an event I oversaw the content for, largely attended by people who came to it because of Search Engine Watch, yet I’d find a JupiterResearch banner sitting behind my head while the Search Engine Watch banner would be off on a side wall.

Those who know the SES events and SEW know that I pour my heart, soul and knowledge into them. Hence my comment on Alan’s post. It suggested that somehow SES and SEW were successful because of JupiterResearch. They were not. They were successful before JupiterResearch joined the Jupiter family, and they remained successful after they departed Jupiter.