SEMPO: Arrogant, Self Agrandizing Fuckwits or What?

Source Title:
SEMPO Says No, SMA-NA Says Yes To Fight Against Traffic Power
Story Text:

You know, most of the time i can't be bothered to report on any of the industry organizations surrounding SEM. It just doesn't interest me very much, and I don't think it's particularly relevant for a lot of TW'ers. However, just check out the unmitigated drivel coming out of that gaping wound that is SEMPO:

It is the policy of SEMPO not to comment on any legal cases pending, particularly those that do not directly involve our organization. This matter in particular will be decided under existing case law relating to freedom of speech, libel/slander, and contract law. There is no compelling reason for a nonprofit group with a mission of education and market expansion to become embroiled in a legal discussion unless there is a specific reason for it such as providing expert opinion on definitions or methodologies; and if we had been solicited, then we certainly wouldn’t be able to comment.

From this post

In contrast, SMA-NA have taken up the fight

I talked to Aaron and got his approval to help out on behalf of the SMA-NA. Then I went to one of the best law firms (IMO) in the state - Jones Vargas, whom I've worked with before, and contacted Ariel Stern, an all-around nice guy....

It was pretty clear that SEO's and bloggers sometimes need legal help (I get questions all the time, for example). So I talked to the fine folks at FindLaw and we are in the process of working out the details on providing methods of connecting experienced internet lawyers to SMA-NA members, in addition to providing other legal resources, advice and benefits.

You see, it's not just the inaction of SEMPO that riles me, in fact, i can understand it to a certain extent. It's the fucking pompous, up your own arse, just swallowed a dictionary, talking down my nose at you bullshit that really leaves a bad taste in the mouth everytime one of those fucking idiots opens theirs...


Traffic Power and sempo

are they paid members ?? .. Fucking Sempo Jokers


I was hoping for change - DUMPO remains

Sadly, even Danny Sullivan states

"I can understand the caution, but then again, you kind of like the chutzpah of fledgling SMA-NA deciding to take the potentially risky move and diving in."

That's why I'm taking pride

That's why I'm taking pride in being a member of SMA-NA. It's a good organization and Ian & the working body there are doing a hell of a job. How about you promote membership Nick? They need some more signups and voting on the board is about to begin...


I didn't read it as that. I

I didn't read it as that. I read it as "We don't know, and since we don't know, we are going to keep our mouths shut"...which, considering SEMPO's previous engagements, is not a bad idea.

Bottom up approach

I agree with Danny on this one. SEMPO does not want the hassle, it is understandable, but not exactly admirable. If I am going to join an organization, I kinda want one that's gonna stick their neck out if I need their support, not take my money when it's convenient and tuck tail if I needed 'em.

One of the reasons I like the SMA (besides the great people involved) is that I think they're taking more of a "bottom up" approach...reaching out to individual consultants and freelancers as much as to the larger agencies. I got the opposite impression from SEMPO, that it is mainly the "big guys" that matter. Like, be a part of our club, or none of the traditional marketing folk will recognize you as legitmate. While their strategy is a valid one I suppose, I like the little guys in the trenches myself.

I don't think SEMPO should be chastized as much for their decision (though I don't necessarily agree with it)...more that Ian and the SMA-NA should be commended for theirs. I'm lookin' forward to many more positive decisions for the SEM community from the SMA-NA.


These organisations are there to protect the little guys of their industry. For example the UK contractor organisations do this when it comes to tax law etc, these seo organisations should get involved in seo matters. Otherwise, what is the point in having them? Good on SMA-NA.

He He!

Nick W - love your SEMPO comments. Unfortunately, that pompous nonsense is far too common in almost every industry.

To be fair

Ian does have a legal background so for him to help that way is not surprising. And SEMPO has always seemed to be perfectly honest that they're interested in the larger SEM firms rather than the small guy. SMA-NA is more focused on the smaller firms.

So really, none of this is very surprising in that light.

I'm not so sure Jill

They have an individual membership rate so surely they also represent the small SEM companies?

I don't want to argue they should actively support Aaron but as an organisation who aims to "influence the future growth of the SEM industry" and who has an "ongoing mission of educating businesses about SEM" not to mention "to increase awareness and promote the value of search engine marketing worldwide" I would think there's every reason for them to become 'embroiled' in the issue since it's possibly going to be very high profile and if a company many of their members have critisised in the past succeeds with this case the ripples will be spreading right through the industry, not just to us small people.

What have they done? Play Office Mostly

SMA-NA is clearly headed on the right track with their efforts and I definately commend them.


I guess it's more of an "unspoken" thing that SEMPO is more interested in the big SEM firms than the little, then?

There's that...

I always got the feeling that an individual membership in SEMPO is for individuals who are hoping they won't be just individuals for long. Hang out with the big boys and maybe that'll make you one. After all, the purpose of the organization is to get marketing managers for large enterprises to budget more for SEM. How many of them want to hire some geek with his computer next to his cat's litter box?

There's also the fact that SEMPO refuses to take sides when it comes to practices, and that's not just a matter of hat color, so I expect they have no official opinion on TP. I don't know if either they or Aaron are members, but both of them could be as far as the organization is concerned. Is there anything in SEMPO's bylaws that would keep Traffic Power out?

So hypothetically, choosing sides in this matter might be a precedent that would put them in a position of having to choose sides between members.

>Is there anything in

>Is there anything in SEMPO's bylaws that would keep Traffic Power out?

Good point Bob.

sempo wrote:

13.Can anyone join SEMPO?

Yes, anyone with an interest in Search Engine Marketing and a desire to help further the industry can join SEMPO. This includes search engine marketing firms, individuals performing a search engine marketing role within their company, freelance marketers, software vendors, industry analysts, and members of the general public.

14.What procedures does SEMPO have in place for declining for revoking membership?
The by-laws of the organization address this in specific circumstances; however the organization does not have set of criteria for revocation or declining membership.

I couldn't find any published bye-laws. Maybe a member there can give us the skinny?

Before Sempo even got off the ground you may recall that lots of people were asking about standards and codes of conduct.

One of the arguments went along the line of, if a shithouse firm joined up and shafted its customers; and if as a result a lot of shit hit the fan, then some people might suggest that it would be reasonable to infer that the whole 'sempo' seal might have given such a firm an extra level of credibility, simply because most reasonable people expect 'trade' organisations to have a set of standards or at least a code of conduct that their membership agrees to abide by.

I don't know if this ever went any further other than the quote below.

If memory serves, the upshot was one of, provided you pay the monies then you get in and get to slap the 'seal' on your web pages and all that jazz.

They put this on their home page in reaction to some criticism, arguing that this was better than nothing.

sempo wrote:
Membership in SEMPO is not a guarantee of a particular firm's capabilities, nor does it signify industry approval or disapproval of their practices.

Unless things have changed,

Unless things have changed, I'm pretty sure TP could join SEMPO without a problem. At one point awhile back I thought I might sign them up as a member just to see what SEMPO did, but then decided not to waste my money...still curious though!

I'm pretty sure TP could join SEMPO

Believe me you are right. Last year I signed up my two dogs as members and they stayed in Good Standing until I resigned them as the kibble wasn't up to snuff.

the problem is they don't speak

and when they do it is a bunch of rhetorical bullshit

I guess it's more of an "unspoken" thing that SEMPO is more interested in the big SEM firms than the little, then?

yeah...I was at the first meeting in Boston when they talked about putting SEMPO together, and have been to at least one other one. They never really spoke of it as being a powergrab organization geared toward self promo and large firms.

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