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28 July 2004

Search Engine Marketing Organization Cops Criticism

The Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) is not even a year old yet but is already receiving widespread criticism from the industry it claims to represent.

In an article written for NetImperative, UK based search engine industry commentator, author and SEMPO member Mike Grehan has slammed the organization and called for the resignation of all members of SEMPO's Board of Directors.

Mr Grehan points to the lack of communication between the Board and SEMPO members, questions the Board's use of membership subscription monies and asks why Board Chairman Barbara Coll is entitled to a paycheck of USD 78K for what is supposed to be a part-time job:

"SEMPO has approved a $1,500 per week stipend to Ms Coll", says Grehan.

"This amounts to a salary of $78,000, to fund a part time effort from someone who already has a full time job running a SEM business. Some might ask whether this attractive salary such could have been used to bring on board an executive experienced in building trade associations...





SEMPO needs to prove that there is value to the subscription. Networking events are of value, but no single justification for paying a membership to join an association...

And why be an association with no teeth?",
Grehan asks.

"The subscription needs to be seen as an investment: not an overhead. Members need to be convinced of this one vital thing: that the association is providing the member company with 'bottom-line' help."

Grehan also questions the value of an organization that doesn't recognize or accredit individual operators in the industry:

"...let's take a guess at the average size of a search marketing firm and about 80% will be 'one man band' or 'micro-firm' perhaps? So why don't we concentrate on a body which recognises individuals as opposed to firms? Individuals who are accredited in some way so that they can run their own small practice, or use that qualification as a major factor to be considered when applying for a job with a larger firm".

In the past, other critics of SEMPO have questioned the organization's unwillingness to develop a Code of Practice or set of standards for members to adhere to. This latest article has kicked off more heated discussion about SEMPO's future in the various search engine and webmaster forums.


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