SMA-UK Release Member Subscription Rates

10 comments
Thread Title:
Nothing to link to, goes to sma-uk.org
Thread Url:
http://www.sma-uk.org
Thread Description:

The Search Marketing Association UK have just sent out a introduction pdf to all the folks that requested info from the website.

Im almost certain that they wont mind me making it available to you here at threadwatch, im sure they'll let me know if there is a problem :)

Rates are as follows:

  • £250 - individual members
  • £1000 - corporate - plus *benefits*
  • £*** Associate memberships - case by case basis
  • £125 - students
  • Ex SEMPO - 10% discount

Much to discuss on this, but i figured you' like to see it NOW rather than wait for me to read it rhough eh?

Comments

Usual Cashing in exercise

I do like a good cashing in exercise to give me something to have a go at.

Just like SEMPO these people are going to charge serious membership fees and provide nothing.

The even have the gall to charge over twice the standard fee for the British Computer Society and the Federation of Small Businesses, both of whom provide the majority of the same services.

These people = Which people?

Kali, I like a good rant as much as the next guy but I like just enough intelligence to the conspiracy theory to make it entertaining, and not something completely unbelievable.

You say: "Just like SEMPO these people are going to charge serious membership fees and provide nothing" but fail to identify which people.

It can't be the working party because we actually lose our positions in the exucutive commitee at the same time that the organisation is 'built'. We don't get to be there once the cash is taken. Who will be the executive commitee once the memberships are taken? Whoever members vote for.

I strongly suggest you read the published constitution that Nick so kindly linked to, rather than just the cash figures in the post. The information is published for good reason.

In the constitution you'll find information such as:

[The working group's] first task was to draft a Constitution or the proposed By-laws of the association. It had to lay down the fundamental aims of the association, types of membership, membership fee structure, time of elections and other core functions for discussion by the members. We also had to identify the costs involved in being able to appoint a professional Director General with familiarity in running trade associations.

See what the money is needed for there? The hiring of a professional to run the day to day operations of the trade association, for whom that is the sole and primary job. Someone who really knows the legalities and details of running a legitimate trade association.

No appointing of part-timers without relevant experience. A full-time, experienced professional who's sole job responsibility will to run the trade association as a trade association should be run.

That takes a budget, and based on 50 members paying £250 a year, we'd have just £12,500 to offer as a yearly salary to such a professional, and that leaving the person with no budget at all for even a telephone line, office, paper, travel expenses to attend meetings, schmooze journalists, etc.

Now, do you suppose we'd get to employ a decent, respectable, well-qualified and experienced director of a trade association for £12,500 a year salary? If so, please tell me which planet you're on so we can look into the options of recruiting from there in future.

From the constitution:

Transitional Arrangements

23. The following transitional arrangements shall apply:

a. The initial Executive Committee shall consist of 10 members made up from members of the SMA-UK Working Group and will serve until the first General Meeting of Members to be held once a minimum of 50 members has been achieved or no later than 6 months from inception of the Association, which ever is the earlier occurrence

e. No subscriptions either by cheque or credit card payment should be banked until the Association has a minimum of 50 Full Members and 4 Associate Members. Provided that this occurs within 6 months from the inception of the Association, the Executive Committee will then open a bank account in the name of the Association and bank the received subscriptions. If this fails to happen, the current paid members will be asked if they wish to proceed with formation of the SMA-UK, if the majority do not wish the Association to continue then all subscriptions should be returned to the applicants and no further action will be taken on development of the SMA-UK.

h. Until the first General Meeting, the President (or his appointee) will act as Director General of the Association. Thereafter a professional Director General will be sought from people and/or consultants who offer these professional services to Trade Associations. The Director General will have familiarity with the running of an Association and will probably not have any previous affiliation with the search marketing industry.

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

I read it.

Looks like a well put together document to me, which has clearly had a lot of thought put into it.

I will definitley be signing up.

>Just like SEMPO these people are going to charge serious membership fees and provide nothing.

That's very unfair. We surely have to give the SMA the opportunity to exist.

As you well know its all in the spin

And you're very good at spin Ammon.

As with my previous criticisms, of what you are doing, you select only those areas you feel like answering and ignore the other points.

There are already a number of well established professional organisations that cover much of what you plan to do, with professional management and long established memberships considerably higher than SMA-UK could ever hope to achieve. I can add the Institiute of Marketing, to the two previously mentioned, which is probably even more appropriate for many Search Engine Marketers.

I will also reiterate that all professional organsiations suffer from the problem of active and dormant members - those who are active will get elected to positions where they can use the organisation for their own ends and invariably will do so. In my experience founders will also be more liklely to be elected to the committee, especially if they have been involved in drawing up the constituion as they will be most aware of the details and how to use those details to further their own positions.

No where in your initial document do I see you say that members of the working group can't be elected to the committee following the first full meeting of members. If this were the case I might be able to take your pleading altruistic motives much more seriously.

Kali the demon spin bowler?

Actually, the spin was yours, as you were the one who introduced the moving twist onto an article that was previously at face value. I merely spoke plainly and earnestly. Hell, how can I be doing spin when virtually all I did was quote, directly, from the document mentioned in the previous post to yours? All my points were contained in the document. No extra meaning. You however added meaning and implication. That's what we call spin. Sadly, your spin wasn't very good, because I've spotted it, and pointed out the obvious fallacy in claiming a post made of direct quotations can be 'spin'. I just told it as it is. But thanks for stating that I did it well.

The Charted Institute of Marketing ( http://www.cim.co.uk/ )is a very noble group, and indeed a couple of SEM's already belong to that too, without seeing any clash. The CIM is great for broad marketing, but lacks the specialism of a dedicated trade association such as SMA-UK aims to be. For a start, there are many talented SEMs who lack the degree in marketing gained in a university, (however, many universities actually use SEMs without degrees in marketing to help their own websites along, so we see that all are aware that as yet, universities aren't up to speed on SEM).

For full membership in the Chartered Institute of Marketing you must have the following prerequisites:

1. Qualifications
Either:
a) Academic Qualifications - CIM Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing or university degree in marketing, or Equivalent level diploma in marketing, or Equivalent level or marketing professional body examination, or Recognised university degree of Chartered Professional Body admission examination (ie those that are formally recognised by the appropriate official body and by CIM)

Or:
b)Vocational Qualifications - N/SVQ Level 4 in Marketing, N/SVQ Level 5 in any other subject

2. 3 years experience in marketing, with1 year in a management role.
For non-marketing related qualifications 6 years experience is required, with 2 years in management.
3. You must be employed in a marketing related role at the time of application.

That's great for those of us who qualify, but there are hundreds of darned good SEOs and SEMs who do not qualify. More to the point, many of those who do qualify for the CIM are the people who hire SEMs/SEOs and don't understand a bit of it all.

In short, the qualifications that the CIM sets as its high standard are somewhat irrelevant standards to the majority of SEO work, and would exclude full membership for a large proportion of the most talented SEOs I've known.

As for the British Computer Society ( http://www.bcs.org/ ), well, its mission is completely wrong for our industry. "The British Computer Society (BCS) is the industry body for IT professionals, and a Chartered Engineering Institution for Information Technology (IT)." Ah, they mean it consists mainly of the kinds of folks who build complex sites that are invisible to search engines and whose work we've been fixing for the past ten years. Y'know - the guys who build the invisible web.

The fact is that the SEM industry falls somewhere between those bodies, as it is a hybrid science of both marketing and technology. The internet is a new media, which means that the CIM is certainly available to those who qualify.

The Federation of Small Businesses ( http://www.fsb.org.uk/ ) has an obvious limitation - it represents small businesses. However, one of our main missions, for me at least, is to start big business paying big attention to SEM.

Did you know that Burger King are spending £10million on their marketing campaign to promote their new tag-line "You're the boss" as a replacement for their previous "Got the urge?" tag-line? Want to guess what proportion of that spend went into SEM and viral marketing?

Just think what could be done with a SEM budget of just ten percent of that spend (£1 million) and how the results of that might stack up against the other ten million spent on TV ads and billboards. (Just so you know, the £10 million that Burger King spent has got them just seven TV ads in the series, and personally, I think they're failing to get the message across. Those ads are supposed to be highlighting that Burger King allow you to individually 'tailor' your orders).

You see, SEM has done well in capturing the attention of the small business, if only because they can't so easily afford to channel big bucks into other means of advertising, such as TV campaigns, or massive giveaways.

But we need to get the message out that SEM isn't just cheap. That SEM is actually a more-than-viable alternative to any other channel of advertising, and that it can out-perform most of the more established methods and techniques of advertising. In short, we need the big boys to be queuing up for SEM. We need the ad agencies whose clients each spend between £2 million and £20 million on a campaign to start looking at spreading that around more than just a few billboards and tv ad spots.

We're doing okay with the small businesses. Its the big businesses we need to reach out to, before the search engines do so in an attempt to bypass us troublesome SEO types. Overture and Google are actively targeting those ad agencies right now. If you ever want to see SEO getting even a trial by those big agencies, then it is going to take a trade association to get their attention.

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

Thanks

..Ammon

Kali, to me you just sound like you're genrerally "against it" - the socialist worker kind of anarchistic "i dont like anything organized" has it's place, but really, it just looks like your throwing stones for the fun of it rather than for any real reason.

I say give SMA a shot at the title, if they 'ck it up then I'll be the first to point it out (if you dont beat me to it :-) but i think ideas like those expressed above deserve a chance to be played out.

In any group, be that small children playing some game or grown ups forming a trade association there is power, influence and desire. We're all human and these things cannot be avoided. Personally, i'd prefer someone ambitious, and human, to be leading/working on behalf of our industry than some dozy darren that cant do a damn thing cos he's too worried about looking like a prat in front of his socialist mates. I'll take a little ambition and self interest any day, providing their are adequate means for members and public to scrutinize and complain about any breech of conduct that would harm the intended goals.

What i mean is, good for anyone that sees an opportunity for self advancement, we're seo's for gods sake! BUT, woe betide anyone that takes the natural human impulse to better ones self too far and causes harm to me and mine.

Far better to have clever ambitious people at the top rather than some wishy washy committee freak that couldnt make a decision if their life depended on it. We need leadership in an organization, not pissing around with committees and "the good of mankind" kind of crap.

SMA for Consultants and Agencies only?

Quote:
Hell, how can I be doing spin when virtually all I did was quote, directly, from the document mentioned in the previous post to yours? All my points were contained in the document.

Quite easily; selctive quotation is one of the main weapons in the armoury of a good spin doctor (I cite the notorious 45 minute claim from earlier this year as a case in point)

--That's just an aside and not really on topic.

Quote:
I'll take a little ambition and self interest any day, providing their are adequate means for members and public to scrutinize and complain about any breech of conduct that would harm the intended goals.

What i mean is, good for anyone that sees an opportunity for self advancement, we're seo's for gods sake! BUT, woe betide anyone that takes the natural human impulse to better ones self too far and causes harm to me and mine.

Nick - I have nothing against ambition or self interest - but your second sentence is the real key to this whole issue.

Quote:
But we need to get the message out that SEM isn't just cheap. That SEM is actually a more-than-viable alternative to any other channel of advertising, and that it can out-perform most of the more established methods and techniques of advertising. In short, we need the big boys to be queuing up for SEM. We need the ad agencies whose clients each spend between £2 million and £20 million on a campaign to start looking at spreading that around more than just a few billboards and tv ad spots.

The above quote from Ammon really sums up why the SMA is a significant danger to the livelihoods of many SEOs

For the independents: affiliates, drop-shippers and small ecommerce businesses, big corporate money piling into their areas is going to be extreme bad news. They really don't want to see SERPs chock full of well optimised corporate product pages, it will significantly reduce their opportunities for making money.

However it would significantly benefit the SEO consultants and outsourcing agencies, who are targetting big name clients, which are well represented on the SMAs working group.

For example lets just say that Joe is an SEO and a member of the SMA - now he's been using his SEO skills to build up an eCommerce business selling kids toys. If the SMA then does a bit of the publicise the value of SEO in 'Retail Toy' magazine and Toys'R'Us read it and plough 2 million into an SEO campaign becuase of it. Joe is going to feel like his professional organisation has just stabbed him in the back.

Another real danger to the SEO that could come out of an organisation like the SMA, is the coprorates hiring 'staff' SEOs, putting them thorugh formal training and then getting them to join the SMA. This would most likely reduce the average SEO to being a '9 to 5' salary man. From what I have seen of most of the top SEOs, avoiding this is why they became SEOs in the first place.

At last

We finally come to a cogent argument.

What you say is a somewhat valid point, provided you have your head in the sand about the engines themselves already targeting those big players. Now sure, you think that only affects the sponsored links, but we both know that is nonsense. Once that money is rolling in, and the search engines are dependant on it, and it is almost all coming from one particular group (the ad agencies) how much pressure do you think there will be to start putting paid feeds into the SERPs?

You haven't really thought this through, I'm afraid.

The fact is that bigger players are coming to town, and have been arriving slowly, in a thin trickle, for the last two years. Look at how Google and Yahoo results already favour those who can buy the most links. Look at the fact that Yahoo, who were thinking of dropping PPI, are now looking to boost it further and make it a core product. Open your eyes.

It is already a fact that it is already happening. The only valid solution I can see is to form a new power-block - an association, that democratically represents the issues of the many who'd otherwise have no clear nor coherent voice in the big-boys shouting match. Collectively we have a lot of cash invested in search ourselves, and are better positioned than the ad agencies to spend it wisely online.

You've probably seen an article, or at least commentary about such, that compares the internet with the 'Wild West' of old. The early pioneers surviving on wits, largely alone and isolated, but aware of each other, and cooperative at some level even in our individualistic independance.

We have few laws to protect us, but we like the flip-side of that - that there are few laws to regulate us and dictate to us too. Slowly, we're allowing the settlements to grow around us and the way of life we have proven to be viable.

We've shown that the dot-com bubble isn't part of the web, its just an outcome to going about things the wrong way. We are the model of success that is drawing in ever more hopefuls seeking this brave new world.

But now, we're facing a situation more akin to that of the Native Americans. (The same is true of the pioneers, and the 'mountain men', who often sided with the native americans, but we're less familiar with it, those please forgive the small inconsistency here which is simply for a clearer tale). The settlers are coming, and they're going to change things. They are an unstemable tide, and we cannot stop them. What we do need to do though is gain their respect. We don't want to repeat the mistakes of history, and have them treat us as ignorant and stupid.

They come with organization, big budgets, fancy ways, and will bring more law and regulation with them because they prefer that to the free and individual ways we have cherished. And we shall meet them with our own Organization. We'll show that we are not ignorant of their ways, but rather that we prefer our own, because it is a part of what made us the successful pioneers.

Saying that the SMA will not represent you, so you'll not join, be heard, help steer it with your vote, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Saying that the SMA doesn't represent your non-membership is not a valid complaint - its a logical outcome that by not being a member, you'll be one of those it doesn't represent so well. That's your cause and effect, but in the correct order, not the backwards one you're putting forward. Its a bloody good reason to join and make sure it does represent you!

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

Links

Overture and Google Reach out to Agenices
How the West was Won and the Future of SEO

Ammon, im just sad i dont live in my home country, i'd 'ing join just on the power of that last post!

Thank you

Thank you, Nick, both for the comment, and for those links.

I'd like to add a link too to another Jim Hedger article - "The Ad Men Are Coming".

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