SMA-NA - Search Marketing Association North America to Launch


SEW moderator mcanerin will probably want my balls on a plate for posting this but it's okay, im feeling tough today heh...

Hot(ish) on the heels of SMA-UK and SMA-EU comes SMA-NA.

The initial presidency will be filled by the aforementioned Ian McAnerin who is currently recruiting from the pools of Search Marketing Fora mods and admins.

Im not certain that's a good way to go, but as DUMPO have continously failed the industry and show no signs of change I'll not slate it for the time being heh...

SMA-NA will intitially cover Search Marketers located in US, Canada, Mexico.

Among interested parties so far are Christine Churchill who recently resigned from SEMPO and was one of the founding members. The new org is also getting heavy-weight support from the UK side in the shape of Mike Grehan and others.

Stay tuned for more.


Contact Info

We have a domain ( but it won't be active for a few days. Once it is, there will be an offical SMA-NA email you can send information and requests to.

Also, Mike Grehan has volunteered to handle PR communications for SMA-NA and would be the best person to talk to regarding everything.


Contacting Ian

For those that pm'd me about contactig Ian, i'd suggest that untill he stops by here again and gives an email or something you contact him via pm also :-)

On issue of time

It all depends on how you choose to spend your time. Many of us don't consider all this stuff we do to be "work" and forums and orgs, etc., are what we do in our "spare" time. When you're online 17 hours a day or whatever, it gives you plenty of time for doing the stuff you enjoy. Plus you can even get a little real work in there in between! ;)

Moving along...

TW member TopRank has an interesting question on the whole idea of associations and more:

I'm just amazed at how much time so many SEO/SEMs have for forums/associations/conferences/pontificating/etc. How do they find the time to work on their client projects? Perhaps they use excellent time management. Hmm.

full post here...

Why? Why Not?

I guess the same questions could be asked - why do we need SEO forums? Or newsletters? Books? Seminars? Conventions? Blogs?

I suppose you could argue we don't *need* any of these things. There are a lot of things that are not actually needed, other than the basics of food, water, shelter, etc.

The internet and computers aren't even on the list of needs, but try to tell that to an internet professional and they will likely get quite concerned ;)

I think more accurate questions would be, does the industry *want* this? Does it serve a useful purpose? Is it worth it? Does it's existance make things better for the industry and it's members? These are the questions that should be asked, and that an organization should be able to answer.

I believe it is useful and appropriate because the industry IS an industry. It's bigger than the individuals involved. People like to be part of something bigger and they like to make their voices heard, which can be very hard to do if you are a sole practicioner or a member of an IT team.

Why would people join the SMA? The reasons vary according to the person and company, of course. It's probably easier to outline what the SMA can do for the members and the industry.

Since the SMA is member driven, the answer is "pretty much whatever the members want it to do", but we can start with this list, taken from the SMA-UK website as a generic start:

To be a research and statistical centre, to aggregate and publish statistics, and to provide analysis on search engine marketing and other relevant market information.

To be a technical centre, providing commentary, guidance and advice on all legal and other regulatory developments of relevance to search engine marketing.

To provide a forum for the exchange of non-competitive information.

To promote the search engine marketing industry.

To assist in representing search engine marketing professionals and companies with suppliers to the industry.

To promote best business practice guidelines for dealing with clients of search engine marketing services.

To promote the development of education and training for search marketing professionals.

To promote and support affiliations with other international search marketing trade organisations that have similar objectives to the SMA

I'm very confident that the members will do an excellent job expanding on and contributing to this list. I wish I could be more specific but the working group has not met yet so it's too early to discuss details - since there are none.

Probably the most clear answer at this early point is: if there was not a preceived need, why all the interest? Why would very savvy people and companies form the SMA-UK and EU? What's in it for them? The design of the SMA from the beginning has been to eliminate the "what's in it for me" issues that have plagued other attempts, and yet money, time and resources are being poured into it. Why?

I'm not sure I can accurately sum up the feelings and motivations of others, but for me personally, the answer is "because it's the right thing to do".

You don't *need* to do the right thing - but you can *want* to.

That was pretty philosophical, please consider it a very personal response from a single individual rather than than some sort of an official communication from an organization that does not exist yet. :)


Can someone explain...

...why we need a group? I've never been able to wrap my head around it and am hoping to at some point get one of those "aha" moments eventually. Or not!

A Clarification...

First off - a thanks to Nick for helping get the word out, even though it was a bit early ;)

One thing that I'm really trying to avoid is the whole "one-man show" syndrome, so if possible I'm hoping we won't have any more major communications until the working group has been formed and actually had a chance to meet and put together some ideas. It's possible that a temporary President may be elected at that time but there is certainly no guarantee I'll even be nominated, much less actually elected.

I've started with the moderators and owners of the various SEO fora for two reasons - first, it was easier than trying to deal with a potentially huge flood of self promoters (the working group has to be small and efficient or nothing will get done).

Second, experienced forum mods tend to be more flame resistant, have been introduced to many of the issues in the industry, are used to working with newbies and pros alike, have shown an ability to work with large groups of SEO's and have already publicly shown an interest in the SEO/SEM community as a whole while not taking any significant pay (or none, in many cases) or engaging in heavy self promotion.

That doesn't mean they are perfect, but it seemed like a good start at the time. The working group is NOT restricted in any way to mods, of course - that was just the starting point. I figured if no mods were interested, then it would be a pretty tough sell everywhere else.

What I'm really interested in is divergent viewpoints and experience bases right now. Mexico and the hispanic market are under-represented right now - though I'm sure Nacho will do a great job in making sure nothing slips through the cracks. Likewise, French Canada has no current representation - I'm actively looking for at least one individual with experience in référencement and French Canadian issues.

Also underrepresented are very large companies, and I wouldn't mind at least one SEO with experience in high risk techniques. Any volunteers? Nick? (you knew I'd get you back! ;) ) It's a serious offer though, if you have the time.

For the record all this is very temporary. The working groups job is to get the organization formed properly, make sure that the paperwork and constitution are appropriate, and to begin recruiting members.

Once we have enough members that a free and fair vote can be held (50? 75? It's up to the working group) then an election will be held and the working group will automatically dissolve. As part of this, the members will also have the opportunity to ratify or change the constitution and other aspects of the organization - it's their organization.

The current thinking will be to start from the excellent base that the SMA-UK has created and then use that as a template. North America has it's own issues and culture, so it's extremely unlikely that they will end up being identical, which is the whole idea in the first place behind the different SMA's.

One other thing - at this time there is no SMA International. No mothership or controlling organization. Each SMA runs itself and has an affiliation and friendly relations with the other SMA's but no one controls anyone else. It might be a good idea in the future to put together an international council or something, but that's up to the members, not the working group.

I think aiming for NY SES as a launching point would be appropriate -it gives us enough time, and some airfare can be saved since many people will be attended SES anyway. Additionally, the press will be there and that should help get the word out.

It's very important that the SMA-NA be formed and based on it's members, not sponsors. One of the organizations jobs is to represent the industry to the major factors affecting it - which includes the public, the governments and the search engines. We need to be separate from them as much as possible.

Yes, there are some good reasons to have sponsors and so forth - for one thing it's a lot easier to form an opinion on the latest AdWords changes if G is there to help clear things up and give/take feedback. But they should not be in charge of the discussion, and certainly not the vote (if any). The idea is for the industry to represent it's views and concerns to others.

One last thing - hopefully this will be one of the last things written "from" SMA that uses the word "I" in it. It should be "we", and will be as soon as the working group can get together.

Until then, any questions from potential members or interested parties? We can use the help/input and are listening.


Heading in the right direction

I attended the SMA-EU working group meeting last week and was very impressed with the way things are taking shape.

Mikkel and co are doing a fine job ...

am sure SMA-NA will be just as good