The Wizard of Moz will set off on his own yellow brick road

Moz founder Rand Fishkin will assume an advisory role in 2018. / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/randfishkin/photo/

As SEO software firm Moz prepares to kick off its 10th Mozcon event Monday (July 17), chief executive Sarah Bird said founder – and Wizard of Moz himself – Rand Fishkin is moving into an advisory role next year.

In early 2018, Fishkin will take on a supporting role as a Moz Associate and “you'll still see his enthusiastic face in Whiteboard Fridays, on the Moz Blog and on various conference stages”.

According to Moz, Moz Associates are “industry experts who help us by answering questions in our Q&A Forum, writing blog posts, testing our products and helping take care of our community while we’re asleep here in the Pacific Northwest. While not full-time employees, they contribute time and effort to help make our community awesome.”

Bird also noted Fishkin is one of Moz’s largest shareholders and will remain chairman.

Fishkin, a Moz founder, stepped down as chief executive in January 2014, at which point he took on a product architect role “where he could focus his passion and have hands-on impact in evolving our tools”, Bird wrote in a blog post. However, he is arguably still the face of Moz as he remains a fixture on the digital marketing conference circuit and boasts 383,000 followers on Twitter.

The blog post notes Moz had over $42m in annual revenue in 2016 and it has 36,000 customers and 160 employees. However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. In fact, in August 2016, the company cut 28% of its staff to focus more on SEO, spurring the hashtag #HireMoz and a related website.

“I’m very sad to be leaving Moz, but will continue to support the team through 2017 and beyond," Fishkin said in a statement emailed to The Drum. "I don’t have any additional comments on Sarah’s post, but hope to write something myself in the further out future.”

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Lisa Lacy

Lisa Lacy is a senior reporter for The Drum, covering digital and search marketing. Based in New York, she writes about how brands use technology to connect with consumers, particularly as innovations like voice search, digital assistants and the Internet of Things change consumers’ lives forever – not to mention the data these platforms increasingly collect and the security and privacy issues therein. She is a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism. Her bucket list includes riding in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

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