I just became a new contributor for Search Engine Land  with the publication of my first article today:
“Google Builds Local Map Content in 3D “. As you may recall, Danny Sullivan launched SearchEngineLand.com back inÂ December of lastÂ year after stepping down as editor-in-chief for SearchEngineWatch.com which he’d originally founded. I’m contributing work under the Locals Only column that was earlier launched with their correspondent, Greg Sterling . As you may know, Greg Sterling was a former member of the Kelsey Group, and is widely respected as a top authority/commentator/analyst on marketing/business in theÂ local search space.
I was really surprised and flattered to’ve been invited to contribute – I’ve long been a fan and devoted readerÂ of the folx who worked upon SearchEngineWatch.com and now SearchEngineLand.com. I’ve also been a longtime reader of articles by Sterling, along with many others in my company, Idearc Media . I think I’m in really august company, and I know it’s going to challenge me to try to put forward work that’s worthy of appearing under their masthead along with others in the same space.
I’m not a professional writer or reporter by inclination or training, so I can’t turn a phrase as fluently as Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman. But they’ve been very cool about opening up their new site to other contributors (I’m by no means the first), and they’re apparently aiming to try to retain the writers’ voices as much as possible with generously lite editorial policy/guidelines. I think their openness and friendliness in inviting in so many interesting voices to build SearchEngineLand will be a cool thing, and will add to how dynamic the space will be.
I could actually do here and there with some significant grammatical “intervention”, shall we say, so I might run my words past a friend  of mine who’s helped mitigate my worst English offenses in some past projects. (I have a tendency to use “that” and “which” indiscriminantly at times, for instance…) I’m not trying to sanitize any unique voice I might have — I’m not embarrassed about using colloquialisms or even my sometimes-quirky spellings. (I really like saying “folx” and “thanx”! Do you *know* how many times I’ve saved my poor fingers from spelling “ks” over the years?!?) I’d just like to avoid really gratingly-bad grammar. I know the SEL editors might fix the worst of my offenses, too (they certainly helped catch a blatant factual error in my first go!), but I’d like to save them a leeeetle bit of work if I can. (Did you catch that purposeful, colloquialized spelling?)
In this myÂ first article, I’ve related how Google’s Sketchup contest for college students could be part ofÂ a broader strategy to further build out the Google Maps product. Google’s been aggressively building out their Maps and Local Search services, and I think campus maps are a prime area needing work.
As an interesting tangent, I heard various people around the industry opining that SearchEngineWatch.com would significantly suffer after Danny declared his intention to leave it. I just glanced this weekend at Alexa, and it seems like there’s some evidence in support of the theory. Alexa shows that after Search Engine Land went live, Search Engine Watch rapidlyÂ began losingÂ some significant Reach and Traffic Rank:
Search Engine Land’s traffic rapidly went up after launch, and they’re both now running somewhat neck-and-neck. I think I’d put my money on SearchEngineLand.com at this point, just based on the trends alone. 🙂