Barbara Coll Spins SEMPO "Success" in Back Patting Scandal

Thread Title:
2004 was Full of Great Delights for Search Engine Marketing Guru Barbara C. Coll
Thread Description:

Babs Coll is at it again, this time with an outstanding self congratulatory press release that spins the beleagured SEMPO search marketing org as a success whilst the industry itself is filled with nothing but scorn and resentment.

Incestuous Relationships and Marketing Spin for Personal Prestige

The release, produced by (strangely enough) SEMPO member SEO-PR spins the org nicely:

This year was particularly delightful for "The WebMama," gaining her and her company recognition from publications such as "BtoB" and "Silicon Valley Business Journal leading the new and influential Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) through its first year and a half as its Chairman of the Board and President; and landing some exciting speaking engagements and clients that demonstrate increasing influence by, and respect for, both Ms.Coll, and the SEM industry.

Questions have been raised time and time again in the popular SEM forums over issues with SEMPO and yet still, after a year and a half the organization continually ignores questions from the community it purports to serve One of the better online forums for search marketers is Danny Sullivans Search Engine Watch. Those looking for more information on why the industry itself loathes this farcical scam would do well to read the following discussions:

And in this particular thread that really does deserve to drink upstream of the herd, Mike Grehan, who I think it's fair to say is widely respected in the industry has this to say about this clicz article where Coll is again, particularly arrogant and offensive:

It infuriates me to hear someone, who's own company employs less then three full time people (as far as I'm aware), talking down her nose about how she represents "the industry" and about "the members" as if we lived in a leper colony.

No don't think about the members. It's hardly expected from such a pompous organisation as SEMPO. You guys just concentrate on sponsorship to cover your stipends and expenses. And we'll make sure we pop through the sheep dip and remember to bow respectfully on the way to drop our money off for you. Is that OK?

There have also been a number of conversations here at threadwatch but i think the above is enough to give anyone a fairly thorough background in the industries opinion on this "success story".

As a Result, New Organizations have Formed

As a result of the continual laurel and hardy show antics from an organization that brings little but scorn and amusement from the members it admits it does not care about, several new organizations have formed:

Not much has come from the new orgs yet other than promises of better and brighter futures for members and, more importantly, an emphasis on members as opposed to "the industry" or incestuous back slapping. The orgs are young though and are in various early stages of setup. Threadwatch wishes them well, for now.


Our organization, while we're

Our organization, while we're not a *small* SEO wanted to join SEMPO when they launched.

We do think that as search marketing becomes a more legitimate business, there should be some sort of organized body to help further the industry. That said, when we called Barbara for information and asked about the value proposition, her answer was "we are going to make you rich in 3 years." At the time, I do not believe Barbara knew who our company was. More recently, she approached me at the SES show in Chicago, since we are one of the larger SEM's in the states that has not joined. A year later, she still did not have a compelling reason for us to join. All we heard about what was the “really great stuff they are going to be doing.”

I have absolutely nothing against Barbara. I don't know her at all. I do, however, know a bunch of people involved in SEMPO and some are terrific... I'm just totally unclear on what they are doing and how they are helping the market grow, particularly the 'little’ guy. The only way this – or any other trade organization - will succeed is if they articulate a clear path on how the whole community will thrive, rather than just the individual parts that are driving, or not driving, the ship.

I totally agree - the Search Marketing Organiations are..

mainly for those who are doing client based SEM targetted at larger organisations.

For other business models these organisations have yet to prove their worth with an agenda that encompasses the whole of the industry.

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