SEMPO Given Two Fingered Salute by Brit SEO's

11 comments
Thread Title:
New trade association for search marketers.
Thread Description:

Looks like the Brits are the first to to say f**k you SEMPO!

After a bucket load of wishy washy inaction and ridiculous antics over the past year or so the UK SEO firms have had enough. And who could blame them? - SEMPO to me just seems like a bunch of children playing office - they treat the entire search community with contempt and repeatedly fail to recognize even the simplest of concepts relating to communication and member needs.

Barry Llyod, Mike Grehan and Ammon Johns are among the names heading up the Search Marketing Association UK.

There are a few threads out there already but as Mike Grehan started this one at the SEW Forums, it's the natural choice to link to

Poor Barry Lloyd wasted $5K on these jokers, Threadwatch wishes SMA UK the very best of luck, they could hardly do a worse job of representing the SEO/SEM biz now could they?

Comments

Interesting

that the address is C/O one of the most well known spammers in the UK! ;-) I wish them all the best though - a decent UK association could be a great thing.

Ohhhhhhhhh Noooooooooo

We finally get SEMPO on the run and another one pops up.

Don't you just hate self appointed gurus.

Disagree

Wouldnt matter who you put in those roles you could say exactly the same thing. Somebody is going to do it because a lot of people beleive the industry needs it so some clever folks step forward either out of the goodness of their hearts or for personal profit.

Personal profit is clearly the winner but that doesnt mean that they dont care aswell. I think these folks (at least the ones ive seen wax lyrical on DUMPO) genuinely care that someone does this right, and IMO false modesty is a refuge for incompetence.

Let the ones with leadership/PR skills come forth, lord knows DUMPO's communication and PR abilities deserted them all the moment Coll took office...

Nick

Having been a member of a professional body in a past life

The senior figures are invariably past the prime of their careers and a wheeled out at conferences to speak on issues that are behind the curve.

IMHO Being at the head of a professional organisation is tantamount to admitting that your career is over and you are looking forward to retirement.

Behave!

Barry Llyod, Mike Grehan and Ammon Johns behind the curve? Get serious! They are surfing the crest and probably make more $$ in a month than most people do in a year.

When these guys speak, other people listen. For good reason.

If that is true - which I don't dispute then...

Why the need for a professional organisation?

The way I look at it is that is has to be one of two reasons:

Either they feel that things have got too tough with the amount of competition out there and fleecing a lot of noobs will make them more money than having to compete with them.

Or they intend to use the association to ensure that they get the best contracts with the blue chip clients by getting their names and faces known in the right circles.

Either way there is nothing to be gained by being a member unless you perhaps feel like brown nosing in the right places for scraps.

I'm all for bashing SEO orgs

I'm all for bashing SEO orgs and I've done my share of it (though most of the fun bashing got nuked from the private forums @ webmasterworld more than a year ago).

Fact is that from day one DUMPO (nice, Nick) was a joke. You could tell by the A-list of SEO celebrities they trotted out to be on the board, and the convoluted pagerank siphoning scheme that they concocted.

Given the history of lame search engine marketing orgs, it only makes sense to bash these guys too ;) however, it seems to me that most people doing the bashing have waited till there's a reason to do the bashing.

Slamming them - a priori - of wrong doing doesn't make sense, as sometimes, history doesn't repeat itself.

You say it yourself Jeremy!

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Given the history of lame search engine marketing orgs

I agree with this totally - no organisation has truly represented the SEO community and can't if the aim of the organisation is to promote SEO amongst big companies.

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Slamming them - a priori - of wrong doing doesn't make sense, as sometimes, history doesn't repeat itself

I've heard better lines from Nazi apologists.

Like we should forget the holocaust cause sometimes history doesn't repeat itself??

I would say that given what we have seen from SEMPO - a fledgling professional organisation is significantly less corrupt than one that has been running a while. Give them two years and they'll be taking everyones money and no one will ask any questions!

Kali wrote:Either they feel

Kali wrote:
Either they feel that things have got too tough with the amount of competition out there and fleecing a lot of noobs will make them more money than having to compete with them.

Or they intend to use the association to ensure that they get the best contracts with the blue chip clients by getting their names and faces known in the right circles.

Either way there is nothing to be gained by being a member unless you perhaps feel like brown nosing in the right places for scraps

I used to think I was cynical until I read that.

Actually, there is a small amount of cynicism involved - someone will do this, so if I care how it comes out, then I have to do something towards making it come out that way. We all have to face that same realisation. There will be an association, so setting up a good one is the best defense to block someone else setting up a bad one.

How can you tell if it is a good one? Well, the fact that we are sworn to just build the foundation is a good sign. Our task is to build an association that is strong enough to stand on its own and make its own choices. We have given a pledge to attain that in six months. As soon as there are the requisite amount of members, the acting board are all bound to set up an election by the members and resign. That requisite number isn't very high either. If we fail to attain that many members, then the members that do decide to join get to decide in six months time whether to fold the whole thing up, with any and all funds returned, or decide that we are close to success and then to give it a second chance.

Whatever happens, this one is built, from the very foundations we are laying now, to be entirely member-driven.

As for boosting our businesses, well it might. Or it might be a huge blot on our careers. You done a search on Barbara Coll's name recently? We're taking that risk. Someone needs to. But if it doesn't fly, it is our names that we've nailed to the flag-post.

There's going to be no sponsors on the site, no advertising, and even the member directory will work on individual persons' names, not company names. We're determined that not only shall there be no abuse of the association, but that there isn't even any way to suspect abuse, even unintentional. We're listening to criticisms, and indeed seeking out critics, as I have here, in order to answer and learn from even the negative feedback.

The whole point is to make an association that can benefit the entire industry. All sizes of companies, all types of SEM activity, the whole industry, not just members, and certainly not just board members.

Check it out. Please do. Look for the flaws, and help us fix them. because we're not expecting to be the folks that run this association. We're just building something for the members themselves to run. The more safeguards and checks and balances can be found to ensure that the association will always represent the membership, and cannot ever be subverted the better.

If you can help us attain that, even just through criticisms, then please do, and take my thanks for it.

Ammon Johns - Technical Director, Propellernet.co.uk
Administrator at Cre8asiteForums.com

I've Probably Had More Years to Practice My Cynicism

What it really boils down to is that there are two distinct brands of SEO out there.

The first is the SEO/Company that is looking to do work for clients and the second is the SEO who is an independent web publisher. (Okay both sides blur the boundaries from time to time but effectively he divide exists.)

For the first an industry/professional body is almost certainly going to be of benefit. Being in the second category myself I don't see how it can be of benefit in fact it is likely to make my life more difficult.

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There will be an association, so setting up a good one is the best defense to block someone else setting up a bad one.

I don't actually see any logic in this, from where I'm standing if there has to be an association the more corrupt and incompetant it is the better.

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We're taking that risk. Someone needs to. But if it doesn't fly, it is our names that we've nailed to the flag-post.

And if you behave in an upstanding manner, which I'm sure you will it shouldn't be a problem.

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The whole point is to make an association that can benefit the entire industry. All sizes of companies, all types of SEM activity, the whole industry, not just members, and certainly not just board members.

That is the biggest load of marketing bollox I've heard in a long time. You have to be aware of the number of different reasons people are in SEO and the fact that some of them are almost mutually exclusive in their aims.

Even if you do succeed in getting it off the ground you'll end up with the problems of any organisation -power seekers who will be active in promoting their own self agrandisement, while lining their own pockets at the expense of the ordinary members and politics that is created by said power seekers in order to justify and legitimise their advancement by the removal of the right thinking people who stand in their way.

The people who should least be trusted with power are those who seek it. (Can't remember who said that first - might have been George Orwell.)

How it is easy to benefit all sides.

Kali wrote:
What it really boils down to is that there are two distinct brands of SEO out there.

The first is the SEO/Company that is looking to do work for clients and the second is the SEO who is an independent web publisher. (Okay both sides blur the boundaries from time to time but effectively he divide exists.)

For the first an industry/professional body is almost certainly going to be of benefit. Being in the second category myself I don't see how it can be of benefit in fact it is likely to make my life more difficult.

Okay, even though I think there are probably more than those two broad types, and we both agree that there is some blurring between those two as well, let me explain just how both of those two types can benefit from having a good association:

The first you already understand, so lets focus on the second. The one who wants as few SEOs in the world as possible so that the field is less competitive. Actually, both sides would like to see less competition. After all, fewer competitors means clients have fewer places to go too.

Both groups benefit from having a more powerful voice if it is needed. Look at how the email marketing industry is suffering at the moment from some of the knee-jerk legislations coming in to (supposedly) curb spam. Give it a few years and some sucker will be suing a search engine, or some search engine will be suing an SEO because an inappropriate result came up in a search. Like showing a site selling cheap booze in the results of a search for "alcohol addiction recovery" or similar. That's when the affiliate or self-marketer suddenly decides he wished he had access to others to ban together to fight the stupidity of public hysteria and knee-jerk legalities.

Even for the guy going it alone, market research made into the finer details of how people use search, the psychological triggers that can make one listing get clicked more than another, or the exact positions on a page that are the best place to be listed for different types of user are all advantageous.

A decent bit of genuine market research often costs upwards of £8k to do it right (enough people to be representative, no bias in panel selection, answers more detailed than simple 'yes/no' ones, etc). The association can easily fund such studies on behalf of its members, because it benefits just about every type of potential member. Individuals would be far harder pressed to come up with those kinds of funds for something as unpredictable in value.

You're still going to need occassional help with business advice, or legal advice, etc. The association can help bring many people who need the same kind of advice together, so that they can share the costs between them. In some instances, such as broad business advice specific to the web, the association might actually fund seminars entirely, and offer free tickets to all members.

Why? Because that's what the association is for. To support us and our industry. To help us do our business better, so that in turn people take our business more seriously.

And how about when you finally wish to retire or try something different? The networking opportunities that a trade association provide gives you plenty of potential buyers for selling a company to people who can understand its true value, and not undervalue a good business just because it is specialised. The same network might help you find new capital for expansion or new projects, or help you discover new markets and opportunities.

How about the way that search engines can do what they like with almost noone ever even pointing it out and asking questions. A trade association can garner public interest that even a big solo company cannot. The press like to quote trade association spokesmen. I'm not saying we could make the search engines do what we wished, but we could take away some of their cockiness about not having to answer to anyone about those decisions. ;)

I'm not trying to sell you a membership here. I'm not on a commission, nor a stipend, nor do I financially benefit in any other way. However, neither do I want to see you dismiss too quickly something that might benefit you in ways you haven't thought of yet. All I want to do is fairly explain what the association can do, and why people should consider whether they want to be a part of it, or not.

Maybe an association can't help you. That's for you to decide. It is always going to be an individual choice for each and every person. But you can sure as hell bet it won't help you if you never bother to ask if it can.

I have no doubt at all that this association can benefit me as a regular member. That's all I expect to be - just a regular member - my current position on the working party is merely a temporary step to help getting the association that I want to be a regular member of into being.

Ammon Johns - Technical Director, Propellernet.co.uk
Administrator at Cre8asiteForums.com

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