Microsoft lay off Duane Forrester in audacious move shocking webmasters everywhere
Microsoft have caused tremors in the Search world announcing the sacking of Duane Forrester, head of webmaster outreach for Bing & long-serving confidante to the wider Search & Publishing community, as part of its most recent clear-out.
In fact, long-serving doesn’t do the man justice, as Forrester was the longest serving publisher outreach official Bing had on its staff as well as being one of the most recognisable faces in the Search world.
Having proven his salt as head of SEO at Microsoft, Forrester took up the job he has just lost at Bing in 2011, and gradually established himself as a household Search name with a sizeable amount of respect in the Search world.
This respect was not enough to secure his position at Bing though, despite his best efforts at playing the loveable little guy to rival Search superstar, Matt Cutts. Forrester fought his corner worthily at Bing, despite its definitively lower market share than Google, consistently garnering decent crowds to his live events and committed to connecting with publishers across the web.
Matt Cutts even took the time out of his newfound tranquillity to acknowledge the achievements of Forrester on the Twittersphere, tweeting: “@DuaneForrester sending you good thoughts today. Thanks for providing info to so many people and tough love when needed.”
His popularity grew to such an extent that he was named US Search Personality of the Year as early as the beginning of last month, but this burgeoning recognition was not enough to save his skin as he was dismissed along with 3,000 other employees in a somewhat ruthless overhaul by Microsoft.
How Bing feel they will replace one of their most notable webmasters remains to be seen, given Forrester’s wonderful reputation and undoubted credentials, and it would appear the little guy just got a little bit littler with his departure.
However, Forrester appeared graceful on the matter, releasing a blogpost which read like this:
“I am confident in my own abilities and hopeful for each of those affected by yesterday’s layoffs. It happens. Companies make decisions every day. And while it may seem easy to quarterback things like this from a distance, I can state I feel no enmity. Not an ounce.
The last 7 years of work with Microsoft have been a gift. I have learned, made new friends, traveled, helped build successful products and in some small way, I think, helped make a difference, a positive difference, for businesses, consultants and SEOs worldwide. Tough to be bitter with anyone who enabled THAT in your life.”
Kudos to you Duane, your efforts will not be forgotten, nor will the progress you achieved be discredited; your consistent engagement and exceptional industry are an inspiration to all of us webmasters and we thank you for your hard work.
The pressing question remains…What went wrong…?