SMA-NA - Threat to SEMPO $$$'s - Coll gets Knickers in Twist

Thread Title:
Search Marketing Association
of North America - SMA-NA
Thread Description:

For those SEM's looking for a bit more info on the forthcoming SMA-NA (Search Marketing Association North America) you can find some interesting stuff at interim director Ian McAnerin's blog threadlinked above.

He also has some good stuff to say about DUMPO - the failed Search Engine Marketing Professional Association in his post that reveals much about the possible motivations behind the beleagured org and it's president.

A long time ago SEMPO got themselves into a bit of a flap because they had incorporated themselves as a Non-Profit, but then proceeded to break almost every rule known that non-profits are supposed to follow. It was a real mess.

I also discovered that although SEMPO is, in my opinion, fundementally broken, there are a lot of very good people who joined it because it's clear the industry needs a trade association.

The problem is that SEMPO is designed to cash in on big bucks sponsors and SEO firms. Key members have even stated that small SEO firms are "not their target audience".

To me, that was unforgivable. Small SEO firms and single SEO's working in IT departments form the vast majority of this industry. How can you claim to be an industry association if the industry is not your target audience? I have it on good authority that Google and Overture agree with me on this one.

Following a meeting in London with SMA-UK and SMA-EU committee members and setting up the framework for the new org Ian phoned Barbera Coll to resign from his seat on the DUMPO committee. The passage that follows, from Ian's post above is most telling i think...

Although the majority of the conversation was confidential, it was made very clear that SEMPO considers the SMA-NA to be a direct threat and a competitor for membership and sponsor dollars. Interesting that the SMA-UK and EU were not considered the same way. To me, that really confirmed the regional blinkers SEMPO wears. The concern about the money rather than the industry was also very interesting. Although it was mentioned that the industry would be better off with only one group (I agree BTW ;) ) this was mentioned in direct relation to funding.

Here's the juicey bit...

She also repeatedly demanded the names of the others on the SMA-NA working group. Since they had not been confirmed yet, I didn't answer, but the message was clear: SMA members were not welcome in SEMPO. Pity. Personally, I think that all support of the SEO/SEM industry is a good thing, and I'd rather someone support SEMPO than not support anything. I guess they don't see it that way.

That really does say it all doesn't it?


This kind of attitude isn't t

This kind of attitude isn't the reason I chose not to join SEMPO, but it certainly adds to the reasons to stay out. I'm giving serious thought to joining SMA-NA, in spite of its doo-wop name.

SMA-NA will, like SMA-EU and

SMA-NA will, like SMA-EU and SMA-UK, become an independant group working closely together with the other groups. It is based on the same principles and ideas but just like we had to make small adjustments to the draft constitution for EU so will you in NA. What I hope, though, is that you will keep most of the basic principles we put in, the missions, objections and not the least the democratic nature of the SMA.

Working on getting SMA-EU together I found that the three key things that people want are:

1) A fully democratic organisation with real influence by 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 know there are many more details but these are the topics I found most people to agree on that want SMA - and that have signed up for interest so far. spite of its doo-wop name

So if you pronounce them phonetically, they've got:



Go get 'em Ian. That was a very eye opening blog post.

Nice post Ian [quote]To

Nice post Ian.

To me, that was unforgivable. Small SEO firms and single SEO's working in IT departments form the vast majority of this industry. How can you claim to be an industry association if the industry is not your target audience?

A round of applause - spot-on, sir!

go get em

I can only echo the comments above.

It was a pleasure having a chat with you last month at the SMA-EU meeting ...


I let my SEMPO membership die...

With all the negativity, I am a bit hesitant to own up to the fact I joined SEMPO - The same evening it went live. From the beginning, it never seemed to be an organization that fit my needs as a 2 person consultancy. SEMPO was hammered frequently over the next year and could never provide a response that made me feel they were anything but shifty.

I suspect there are many like me who simply lost interst and will never sign up with them again. Bring on the SMA...

Lost Interest

Welcome to Threadwatch ChicagoHH, please introduce yourself!

Is it just me, or does anyone else see a decline in interest in SEM orgs in general now? Maybe DUMPO have sullied the water for everyone, or maybe the industry is just too full of mavericks to really hold enough interest for a long enough period...

Rapid growth

Actually, what I'm seeing from my end (and rapidly filling inbox - 861 emails in 3 days) is huge support from people who would describe themselves as "the little guy/gal" and are happy to actually get some sort of recognition and respect.

I do see some jaded opinions, but mostly only from experienced SEO's that have been bit by previous orgs and are asking (quite rightly) what makes the SMA different? And is it different enough to matter?

The simple, trite and true answer is "the members" and the focus on the members as well as the industry in general, but those are hollow words without meaningful actions behind them.

Give us a couple of weeks to actually get set up and going - I think even the most jaded will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

I also think you'll be hearing about the SMA sprouting up in some very interesting locales shortly - areas that were ignored before are finding that they actually have a chance for a voice and support and are stepping up to the plate. There are some REALLY big markets out there that have been treated like "the little guy" for too long and are ready and willing to do something about it.

Decline in interest? Not from where I'm sitting. At this point I'm actually looking at potential issues associated with growing too fast. If we mess something up, that's where it's going to be, I think. And as long as we know that ahead of time, we can plan for it and minimize it.


Want to really hit a home run?

Hook up with a large insurance carrier and swing a deal for group insurance - like the large temp agencies do. Insurance is a question I am asked about often. Offering card carring SMA members a tangible benefit would be most welcome.

Benifits are an excellent idea

Many SEO's don't need benifits, but there are a lot more (especially smaller firms and single SEO's) that are hurting because they don't qualify for those nice insurance and other group deals because they don't belong to a group. Naturally, we'd like to correct that :)

There is the issue of many of the benifits providers trying to require the organization to force it's members into accepting - which is unacceptable - for one thing, there are 3 countries involved, so even if everyone agreed they probably would not qualify.

BUT - there are many much more reasonable firms that would love to offer a group of professionals with strong links to successful businesses (their clients) a great deal because they want to get the word out. As long as we do our homework and make sure they are as great as they say they are, then I think that's an excellent benifit. Even today, I get good car insurance rates because I signed up for them as a law student back in the 90's. It's saved me a lot of money, and I don't see why others should not benifit the same way, personally.

One of the advantages of the way we are setting this up is that we really can offer these type of things - as long as it's what the members want.

It would have to be optional, of course, since some members would not want or need it, but it would be nice if it was available.

These are exactly the kinds of suggestions we're looking for - thanks!


Insurance - Yeah!

I'm probably joining SMA-NA anyway, but if you can get the members good discounts on decent insurance coverage, I'm in. Absolutely.

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