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Old 01-10-2005   #1
Mike Grehan
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SEMPO Versus SMA

SEMPO: Even less substance yet more arrogance.

Let me just bring to your attention a couple of quotes from a ClickZ news article today, made by Barbara Coll, regarding the launch of SMA-NA.

http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3456751

"The vision of SEMPO is to be involved in the industry, not in the members necessarily."

Not only does that vindicate the many comments I've made about SEMPO not giving a damn about its members, it just goes to show how out of touch these people are with the industry. Or hasn't Barbara Coll yet noticed that the members ARE the industry.

And as if the members hadn't been belittled enough by this hugely arrogant organisation, mainly made from micro-firms like Barbara Coll's own, I should add, she then goes on to say:

"I don't think the regional SMA groups are going to focus on the industry, they seem to be about making sure the members are getting benefits."

No, Ms Coll, the SMA movement is about making sure they have THEIR say in the industry. It's about the way the industry develops and probably even ways they can protect themselves from cash grabbing, self appointed couldn't-care-less organisations like SEMPO.

It infuriates me to hear someone, who's own company employs less then three full time people (as far as I'm aware), talking down her nose about how she represents "the industry" and about "the members" as if we lived in a leper colony.

No don't think about the members. It's hardly expected from such a pompous organisation as SEMPO. You guys just concentrate on sponsorship to cover your stipends and expenses. And we'll make sure we pop through the sheep dip and remember to bow respectfully on the way to drop our money off for you. Is that OK?

Thank heavens Ian McAnerin, who had a good look inside of SEMPO, was able to sum it up in a sentence:

"I got a bird's-eye view of the issues, politics and personalities. I realized that SEMPO is fundamentally broken. It's outlived its usefulness."

That'll do for me. Stick a fork in its ass - its done!
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Old 01-10-2005   #2
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There is also very interesting thread at ThreadWatch that sums up why many are displeased with SEMPO.

Last edited by grnidone : 01-10-2005 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 01-10-2005   #3
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Barbara seems to only open her mouth long enough to change feet.

If this is the issue with SMA:

Quote:
they seem to be about making sure the members are getting benefits
Thne what's all this?

http://www.sempo.org/benefits.php

At least SMA has set up a regional structure - Sempo does nothing for members outside the USA/Europe
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Old 01-10-2005   #4
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Then what's all this?
To me, it's nothing. Apparently, that page requires a member log in to read it, which I guess means that if you want to know how being a SEMPO member would benefit you, you need to join to find out
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Old 01-10-2005   #5
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If Barbara Coll would spend more time on SEMPO and less time on what we at SMA do or do not do she and SEMPO would probably do better.
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Old 01-10-2005   #6
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Actually, I'd argue the opposite - that the less Barbara represents SEMPO the slower she'll dig the hole into which it is disappearing.
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Old 01-10-2005   #7
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Um, can we all focus on the positives towards the SEM industry? Negativity is always so upsetting.

So how will SMA-NA help the industry?

Let the positive chatter begin.
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Old 01-10-2005   #8
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So how will SMA-NA help the industry?
I think we should leave that question to a new thread, Rusty, so I will keep this brief, but I will say that right now the simple answer is: We don't know! But, we have a pretty good idea about how to create a "platform" that will foster the kind of organisation that can and will indeed help the industry. You see, we think that the (coming) members ARE the industry.

However, from talking to people that have expressed interest so far in SMA it seems that there are (at least) three things that most people ask for:

1) A fully democratic organisation driven by and for the members

2) An organisation ready to fight for the SEOs - rights, discounts you name it. Generally making sure we have the best possible conditions on the market to operate on.

3) An organisation capable of setting a decent standard of business operation among its members so the pure scammy type of companies will not be members. The buyers of our services needs to be rest asure that if they hire a SMA member they will get a professional service. We may chose to uptimze in different ways, targeting different industries, strategies or risk profiles but we should all operate in a decent and professional business manner.

I'd love to go into more details about what I think we should do but as I said I think we should move it to another thread. Also, I'd very much like to hear what you have to say about it. What do YOU think is important for SMA to focus on and how can SMA help YOU?
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Old 01-11-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustybrick
Um, can we all focus on the positives towards the SEM industry? Negativity is always so upsetting.
Barry,

You mention negativity being upsetting. Have you any idea how upset I am to hear someone like Barbara Coll, arrogantly and openly admitting that SEMPO is not about its members?

Don't ask the fledgling SMA what it's going to do. Ask SEMPO what they're about, after they've taken money from MEMBERS, beg them to re-subscribe (more of their money) and then tell them that they really don't give a sh!& about them.

And that shows SEMPO as being a positive for the industry????
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Old 01-11-2005   #10
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Geez Mike,

Get off the fence and tell us what you really think!!

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Old 01-11-2005   #11
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If Barbara Coll would spend more time on SEMPO and less time on what we at SMA do or do not do she and SEMPO would probably do better.
C'mon Mikkel, that's just not fair. ClickZ does an article about SMA and asked SEMPO for comments. That's hardly SEMPO spending time worrying about SMA. That's just basic reaction to a story. If someone called you or anyone from SMA and asked about SEMPO, and you responded, I'd hardly think you were "worrying" about SEMPO. In fact, Ian does comment in the ClickZ article about SEMPO. Is he at fault for worrying too much about SMA? Now if you're talking about activities outside that article, that's another thing But the conversation in this thread started with that article and seems central to it.

Quote:
Um, can we all focus on the positives towards the SEM industry? Negativity is always so upsetting.
Too right. Let's go back to the story, where Dana from SEMPO says:

Quote:
"We're not the first, and we won't be the last organization for search engine marketing," Todd said. "We have a very specific mission, and other groups have different interpretations of what their needs are. If anyone has the wherewithal and the fortitude, I think it's great."
I don't see SMA bashing in that. And frankly, I barely see it in Barbara's comment. Mike, you said Barbara's arrogant about not being "about the members." Let's remember: SEMPO got raked over the coals about the legal status of giving members benefits when it also is a non-profit. So the idea they want to perhaps back away from the benefit focus many have had and talk about working for the industry as a whole? In that context, I don't take her comment as bashing against SMA. She says:

Quote:
"I don't think the regional SMA groups are going to focus on the industry..."
She doesn't know what exactly SMA will do, of course. And frankly, the SMA groups don't know themselves. Again, I read this as her trying to explain the role she thinks SEMPO may continue to play as well as the role SMA may play. Bashing, to me? No.

For all we know, both groups may end up being industry focused. Both might be benefits focused. One might roll up and die. Both might. Both might thrive in different ways. Frankly, I'm just glad -- very, very glad -- that the industry isn't having the argument back when SEMPO first launched, of whether there should be a group at all. Instead, we've got diversity in groups -- which we'll need. Different companies, different ways of doing business, different needs -- the more strong groups, the better. If SEMPO has done one good thing, it's that we've gotten to the point where many within SEM feel the need to organize without others accosting them with their fears for doing so.

FYI, I've changed the title of this thread from "SMA-NA" to "SEMPO Versus SMA," to better reflect what it is about. Ian has started a "SMA - What do you want it to do?" thread. I'd encourage people to head over there and be positive in talking about what you think these newly formed SMA groups should do.

I for one have had my fill of SEMPO bashing. They've had problems. They've fixed some things, they need to fix more, but I doubt they'll ever please everyone. We have discussed and discussed the failings some see with SEMPO to death. I'm so with Barry -- the more positive approach is for those upset with SEMPO, or dissatisfied with SEMPO, to move on toward talking about what SMA can do. And to that, Mike said:

Quote:
Don't ask the fledgling SMA what it's going to do.
Darn right ask what it's going to do. Ian's done a long, long blog post (well worth a read) discussing his dissatisfaction with SEMPO. Well, SMA doesn't deserve some type of free ride simply because it is not SEMPO. It will be as accountable as SEMPO to the industry as a whole.

To SMA's credit, it's not telling anyone what it's going to do because at the moment, it's asking people what it should do. So get over to that other thread and tell them.
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Old 01-11-2005   #12
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One of the important things, to me, in SMA is that it is so member driven. Many other organisations (or attempts of it) has basically been a very small group of people trying to define what is good or bad, or right and wrong and then asked people to sign up to it (more or less). We want SMA to be what the members want it to be.

My job right now, in the SMA-EU working group, is just to create the best possible platform for the members to form this organisation. So Danny, it is completely right to ask what SMA can do but only after the organisations are actually formed and the members have voted on what and who they want. We have a draft constitution with some broad mission and objectives but that can be changed by the members.

Danny, my reference to SEMPO and Barbara was of a general nature and I'll leave it with that I do agree that it is far more productive to focus on all the possitive things and projects I enjoy - such as SMA. So thats what I will do
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Old 01-11-2005   #13
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I have no direct experience with running a non profit of like-minds. But I hear, that like-minded individuals are rarely ever that similar.

An organization that is for the members, and where the members have a democratic say is wonderful. Of course it would be foolish to believe that everyone of the SMA's members will be happy with everyone of the SMA's decisions.

Non-profits like this (or any non profit that is organized to bring together a niche market of decision makers) always have these issues. I am looking forward to seeing how both SMA and SEMPO handle each challenge set forth.
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Old 01-11-2005   #14
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe SMA-NA is being registered as a for-profit organization so that they won't get into any sort of difficulty with providing benefits to their members.
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Old 01-11-2005   #15
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Bob, the ClickZ article on Sma-NA said:

Quote:
The for-profit corporation will allow SMA-NA to offer member benefits like members-only specials on products and services, and RFPs for members only. A wholly owned, SMA-funded non-profit organization can serve as a sponsor for industry events and research.
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Old 01-11-2005   #16
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Both?

So they're going to be a for-profit that owns a non-profit... Does that mean that members will be members of both? Or that non-members of one can be members of the other?
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Old 01-11-2005   #17
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One of the reasons we have chosen to organize SMA in independant regional groups is that what you Americans refer to as "non-profit" are very different around the world. For example here in Denmark we don't even have that term. The way we legally organise such an organisation is very different from the way you have to.

So for SMA-EU the issues with member benifit is not an issue at all. As far as we have found out by now we can "incorporate" the organisation in a country like Denmark (which is on the list of options) very, very easy (and cheap) and by default be tax-free and still be able to give member benifits. We will even be able to sell services outside the organisation (if we ever chose to do so) - but then we will be taxed with company tax for that part only. So you see, this is very different from the way I understand you have to do things in the US.

It is therefore important that when we talk about SMA realize that there will be different set-ups for SMA-NA, SMA-EU, SMA-UK and any other regional group. We will basically adapt to the best possible local way of doing things.
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Old 01-11-2005   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustybrick
I have no direct experience with running a non profit of like-minds. But I hear, that like-minded individuals are rarely ever that similar.
I think they're pretty like minded over at SEMPO Barry.

They LIKE to take your money. They LIKE to look down their nose afterwards. They LIKE to pay stipends. They LIKE to hold nice dinner parties. They LIKE to change the rules to suit themselves. They LIKE...
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Old 01-11-2005   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Grehan
I think they're pretty like minded over at SEMPO Barry.

They LIKE to take your money. They LIKE to look down their nose afterwards. They LIKE to pay stipends. They LIKE to hold nice dinner parties. They LIKE to change the rules to suit themselves. They LIKE...
Kind of hard to reply to that. Don't we all like to like? Sometimes I like to dislike.
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Old 01-11-2005   #20
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Originally Posted by rustybrick
Kind of hard to reply to that.
You don't have to reply, you know!

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Originally Posted by Mike
They LIKE to hold nice dinner parties.
Hey that certainly was a benefit to the members...well at least to their stomachs! yum yum
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