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Old 08-03-2004   #21
ihelpyou
 
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This 'best practice' issue would not be able to be resolved by SEMPO in any circumstances. That is not their mission. They have lost focus on what the true mission is. It should be a two-prong mission that run parallel. Right now, it's just a few big agencies scrambling to figure out how they got themselves into this position.

They need to start from scratch with an action plan.

If they asked me, I could put together that plan. It would be detailed and step by step. My way of donating without being a member. By following this plan, thousands would jump on-board and SEMPO would truly be an organization the SEM Industry could be proud of. If you go down the same path by scratching the surface with "band-aide" solutions, you will quickly realize that the majority of firms in this industry will not buy it.
 
Old 08-03-2004   #22
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To step in and address the issue on establishing best practices, Barbara made sure to mention that the board understands the firestorm that could potentially be associated with that move. THe most likely course of action that SEMPO would take would be to set up a business ethics requirement along the lines of the full disclosure issue.

In other words, if you are using risky tactics, you need to disclose the potential risk of those tactics and let your client make the decision on whether or not you would use them. While it's not the ideal way to do things, it would certainly up the credibility of SEMPO in my eyes. I prefer a white hat style ethics line, but understand the difficulties in both setting up, keeping updated and enforcing such a line, thus, from the very beginning, I've suggested a "full disclosure" requirement as an alternative. I'm happy to hear that they are now considering adding one.

Also, I must state that I was personally dissapointed that the bulk of the meeting time was taken up by "salesy" presentations by Overture and Verizon. Combined, those two companies took up about 35-40 minutes of a meeting that was supposed to last about an hour. Since both companies have booths and networking parties during the week, I would have much rather seen that time cut in half and the remaining time added to the Q&A session at the end of the meeting.

And yes, they did let some press into the room, which is how I got there.
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Old 08-03-2004   #23
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In other words, if you are using risky tactics, you need to disclose the potential risk of those tactics and let your client make the decision on whether or not you would use them.
Yes, and what exactly would be a good disclosure, would be one question. Second: How would they know that firm is actually disclosing anything?

Besides, IMO, that form of ethics is useless. They don't have much of a clue as to what direction they want to go.
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Also, I must state that I was personally dissapointed that the bulk of the meeting time was taken up by "salesy" presentations by Overture and Verizon. Combined, those two companies took up about 35-40 minutes of a meeting that was supposed to last about an hour. Since both companies have booths and networking parties during the week, I would have much rather seen that time cut in half and the remaining time added to the Q&A session at the end of the meeting.
Goes to show exactly what 'things' are really about. Since it's obvious the real mission is "promote the few, and promote PPC", then they should state it forcefully and go from there. I would also suggest they drop the non-profit status.
 
Old 08-03-2004   #24
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Besides, IMO, that form of ethics is useless. They don't have much of a clue as to what direction they want to go.
The "IMO" being the key point there Doug.

The reality is that they are not going to make everyone, or even most people happy with whatever they decide. I for one am just happy to see them even start to talk about setting up some type of ethics and or business practice requirements. It's a start...

You never have all the details figured out when you start to plan something, that's why it's starting to plan and not launching.

I'm willing to give them some time to see what they come up with and then to take a look at it and reconsider joining, since that was my primary reason for not doing so in the first place.

Last edited by thejenn : 08-03-2004 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 08-03-2004   #25
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By-Laws

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Originally Posted by Brad
>>by-laws

Good to know they actually have some. By-laws should have, at least, been posted in a members area on the website immediately after ratification. No excuses - those by-laws belong to the members not just the annointed few. By-laws can tell members all sorts of things about an organization. (Gee, and they say they need content...)
B. Coll stated that the By-Laws will be made available to the members upon request, but they are not to be shared (something of that nature). Although Dana Todd said that the By-Laws were put together like a cut and paste deal as they couldn't afford a lawyer.

They also provided an email address for contact of info@sempo.com.
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Old 08-03-2004   #26
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They also provided an email address for contact of info@sempo.com.
Not .org? I know they own the .com domain, but it redirects to the .org, and all the addresses on their contact page are user@sempo.org.
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Old 08-03-2004   #27
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The Art of Artful Evasion

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B. Coll stated that the By-Laws will be made available to the members upon request, but they are not to be shared (something of that nature).
That sounds like an evasion to me. It means 'don't bother us.' In reading through a lot of threads on SEMPO both old and new, at several fourms, evasion from SEMPO seems to be the the one consistant theme.

I think SEMPO lost their best chance to be a worthwhile institution at this meeting. IMHO they are just waiting for this to die down and for you-all to go away so that they can go back to SEMPO business as usual.

Let the buyer beware.
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Old 08-03-2004   #28
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I had thought that was strange, but I sent and email to them requesting a copy of the By-Laws a minute ago and it hasn't bounced.

They have a booth set up at SES today, so I am sure they are busy, but what else is new. I think they need some real help. They need to get someone in their office full time to answer phones, emails, get paperwork organized, etc.

I am still interested in who is the owner of SEMPO, are they a DBA and I would like their annual report. I have requested that, so I am hoping they will send it to me.
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Old 08-03-2004   #29
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>They need to get someone in their office full time to answer phones, emails, get paperwork organized, etc.

Easier said than done, thats $350,000 a year job "minimum".

Maybe they should contact Tom Ridge, he is Homeland Security Secretary and charged with defending the US from terrorist attacks, only earns $175,000 a year. The grapevine says he is on the lookout for a better paid job, he could find it at SEMPO, maybe the additional responsibility will put him off though?
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Old 08-03-2004   #30
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http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...read.php?t=775

I think SEMPO needs to read that thread from start to finish. Then, they need to address "all" the issues as these are pretty much the same issues in many other fora. I don't see when or how or where they do much of explaining the "why" of all of this. We get PR-Guy doing a good job of 'fixing" things in press releases, but after the fact. We also get other board members blowing smoke with no real answers to much of anything.

Danny S. suggested to do things pretty much "now". They have seemed to ignore that completely by stating that things will be changed "at end of year". That's ridiculous. These problems are now, not in 6 months.

Do they honestly expect all businesses in SEM sign on to this mess? What, we give you our money so you can promote the few big businesses? You are not getting it.

The idea that 40 minutes of a SEMPO was taken up by Overture is truly pathetic. All the problems that fora around the world have raised concerns over since over one year, and you all brush it off as business as usual? What's up with that?
 
Old 08-03-2004   #31
ihelpyou
 
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Easier said than done, thats $350,000 a year job "minimum".
Goodness. What does George W. Bush earn per year? Not that salary.

They are not living in reality. I know capable people who would do a secretaries job for $30,000 per year, and happily do so from home.

This is not rocket science.
 
Old 08-03-2004   #32
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The idea that 40 minutes of a SEMPO was taken up by Overture is truly pathetic.
Just to make sure the facts are straight, Overture spoke for 15-20 minutes max. Verizon Super Pages also spoke. I said that between the two of them, I estimate they spoke for 35-40 minutes. Yes, your point still stands, but it wasn't all Overture.
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Old 08-03-2004   #33
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Related to my phone person idea. I am thinking more of a secretary/receptionist. That couldn't be much more than $35K or so. They could get a student from Stanford or Menlo college even part time. I am talking about someone to make copies, etc. Secretarial position.

That said, I am now very upset. I checked my bank account and when I signed up for membership I put in my credit card number. Now I see two Sempo transactions on my account for $299. It is this sort of thing that they need someone in the office for. I have tried to call and it just says leave a message. So, I am being charged the 2nd transaction, what is going on. This is bad.
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Old 08-03-2004   #34
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A couple of corrections

The vast majority of the reporting on last night's SEMPO meeting has been factually accurate. However, I need to make a couple of corrections.

First, Barbara Coll is not being paid $300 an hour. SEMPO is paying her $150 an hour for two hours a day, five days a week. That's $1,500 a week. She did say last night that her normal consulting rate is $300 an hour, but she isn't billing SEMPO at her normal rate. She also said that she is working on SEMPO business more than two hours a day, but isn't billing for more than two-hours.

Second, the SEMPO board decided to make Barbara the acting executive director in March 2004, but this didn't begin until May.

These are the facts. While I am tempted to add some color commentary, I'll stick with the facts. I know, I know, this isn't what you'd expect from the PR guy. But according to a press release issued by Meredith A.C. Roth, I'm "the bearded guy you'd vote least-likely-to-be-in-public relations." Go to http://www.prweb.com/releases/2004/7/prweb144533.htm to read it for yourself. Meredith also called me "sartorially challenged" and one of the 10 "worst dressed" people at the Search Engine Strategies. These are also facts. I don't dispute them.
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Old 08-03-2004   #35
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>Related to my phone person idea. I am thinking more of a secretary/receptionist. That couldn't be much more than $35K or so. They could get a student from Stanford or Menlo college even part time. I am talking about someone to make copies, etc. Secretarial position.

Make copies as well? You are crazy, you can't get that expertise for less than $600,000 a year.

Next you will be asking for someone that actually answers emails from potential members, you will push the price point to over $1 million with that kind of job spec.
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Old 08-03-2004   #36
ihelpyou
 
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First, Barbara Coll is not being paid $300 an hour. SEMPO is paying her $150 an hour for two hours a day, five days a week. That's $1,500 a week.
The facts are now known by research exactly what she did.
Quote:
She did say last night that her normal consulting rate is $300 an hour, but she isn't billing SEMPO at her normal rate. She also said that she is working on SEMPO business more than two hours a day, but isn't billing for more than two-hours.
Fact; SEMPO has zero to do with webmamma.com. (we thought) I fail to see the correlation between the two. We thought SEMPO was non-profit, and while non-profits "do" pay their directors, I don't see what that has to do with her SEM business.
 
Old 08-03-2004   #37
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Too Busy

Wow! I did get a very hurried call from I think it was Melissa Jordan related to my credit card issue. I told her about the double billing and she said "well you know we're all here at the conference ... this really isn't what I do." I said then can you please have the person who does handle these matters look into this and call me back. I was very direct and can be a bit scary (that's the lawfirm background) and she quickly agreed and hung up. I checked back on my back account and now there is a credit for the 2nd charge. I am sure it was nothing related to the banking, but the customer service was horrible. These are very simple items that should not be escalating, I think they need to get a student in to handle this stuff A.S.A.P.
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Old 08-03-2004   #38
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My thoughts from the meeting last night:

I don't know what meeting RustyBrick was at, but when I was going in, I didn't see them checking badges, names or membership status. Nor did I see the doors being locked. People were freely coming and and leaving at will.

The meeting was the absolute most boring thing I've ever heard. I was begging for someone to put me out of my misery -- seriously. I took to playing games on my cell phone.

The ad speeches for Overture and Verizon were simply terrible, terrible, terrible. To subject the members to 20 minute ads from the sponsors was simply wrong, imo. I was really pissed about that, and probably would have left but I wanted to hear the Q&A that they promised at the beginning. However, if that's what future meetings are going to be like, I will not be attending any more of them.

They did mention best practices, but specifically said it would be in a "tell the client the risk" kind of thing. Meaning no best practices at all, as far as I'm concerned. (I'm sure that makes many of you happy, but it does nothing for me.)

The members at the meeting seem to be happy with SEMPO as they are, and I don't think the posts at forums concern them much. They did sincerely apologize for the bad communication in the past and said they would strive to do better in the future. This seemed to appease most members in the audience.

It appeared by the comments being made in the audience that many members joined knowing full well that the only benefit was to show to clients that they belong to this "professional org" and that is all they want out of it. I spoke with a few members that are happy with the organization, and they are content with that as their benefit. They find it is very valuable in securing new work. To me, that is just a sad commentary on clients doing their due diligence, but if it works, to secure business, then it works. (Which speaks to one of Doug's concerns.)

I'm debating whether I'll be renewing my membership next year, but if mine were up today, I have to say that I wouldn't at this time.

Last edited by Jill Whalen : 08-03-2004 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 08-03-2004   #39
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>They did mention best practices, but specifically said it would be in a "tell the client the risk" kind of thing. Meaning no best practices at all, as far as I'm concerned. (I'm sure that makes many of you happy, but it does nothing for me.)

Just makes me think of glass houses and stones.

<-------- goes to find ignore feature
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Old 08-03-2004   #40
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I am a member, I was at the meeting, and I am satisfied with what I heard.

I am satisfied because I've never expected SEMPO to be anything more than what they're trying to be. The mission of the organization, in a nutshell, is to convince the larger marketing and advertising world that "search" is a great channel. That's it. That's all of it.

I hope that they avoid any kind of stance on standards other than "don't break the law." Partly because I have no confidence in anyone's ability to create an industry-wide consensus on standards, but more so because they'll be forced to create standards that all of their members (especially those funding the majority of the enterprise) can live with.

If you create standards that 90% of SEMPO members are willing to live up to, by definition your standards are far below those of the average person working in the business. In fact, you've created standards that are at least a shade below what 90% of the members believe in.

IMHO, SEMPO should stay the heck away from standards, period. SEMPO needs member due$ to fund market research, marketing, and advertising. SEMPO won't make strict standards because they don't want to lose half (or more) of their members. If any board members are reading this, please just stick to the mission, guys.
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