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SEMPO Article by Mike Grehan
One year old

 6:00 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting read about SEMPO, achievements, board members, and more by Mike G.:

Scandal Rocks SEMPO, Board Members Asked to Resign
In a scathing article by Mike Grehan, the future of SEMPO is called into question. Not only does Mike criticize the lack of achievements thus far, but he also makes some serious allegations about the ethics of the board of directors.

In particular...

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

Full Article [netimperative.com]



 6:18 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Mike makes some interesting points. I raised similar questions last year in the supporters forum.

  • If SEMPO is an organization for raising awareness, how come there are no press releases, no outreach, no presence in the real world?

The ideals were good, but the execution has not been as vigorous as one would have hoped. I took a wait and see approach... and I'm still waiting.

As I recall, some of our members ended up founding their own organization, and called it JUMBO.

[edited by: martinibuster at 6:47 pm (utc) on July 27, 2004]


 6:26 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Looks like a pyramid marketing scheme with the top person making the money, while all the smaller companies plough in the money with no return. If there is going to be some sort of "industry association" it needs to be seen in the offline media as Mike Grehan suggests.


 6:45 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I kinda got that feeling when it first formed. Like it was a float through sort of group. Lots of dreams with little direction. Maybe it's because, by employer, I see what the DMA does for the direct marketing industry. Industry suggestions, political lobbying, information and seminars plus a great networking community. Say what you will about DMA, they do make an effort to look out for its members.

What exactly do you get from SEMPO...


 7:33 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wonder what their budget size is and what the salaries are for the other directors and officers?

$78,000 is pretty close the the average for nonprofits that have budgets of $1M to $9M

Does SEMPO's webmaster make $35K?



 7:42 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> salaries are for the other directors and officers?

from what I understand none of them are paid - it's been a completely volunteer gig to this point


 7:50 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well from some quick number crunches I see that their membership should generate about $270K?

Unless the SE and other donors ares dropping $700K+ in sponsorships, donations, etc., a $78,000 salary seems a bit excessive, imho.


 7:58 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Disclaimer: I made some very minor contributions to the initial effort when SEMPO was being put together, was on one of the initial committees, and have an article posted in the Resources area of the SEMPO web site. In the end, I never joined as a paying member.

I couldn't agree more with MG's comments about needing an organization to focus on individuals instead of firms, and one that helps develop the industry by developing qualified people.

Like any nascent industry, SEO has developed its own 'good ole boys' network and it seems as if SEMPO has only served to contribute to that, although I don't believe that was ever part of the plan. I think it just happened due to the way the group has developed through its creation and first year.

It would be great to see a redirection and refocus of the group, one that emphasizes serving the industry and the individuals in it, no matter where they work and what their company name is.

</off soapbox> :)


 11:22 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

If the engines do kick in 700k, then would that not make SEMPO essentially a source of "independent looking" PR for the engines, and the officers employees of the engines?


 5:27 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

I for one am a bit tired of getting marketed to as a result of my SEMPO participation.

Discounts are nice but I think there were other objectives.

Perhaps this shift can make something actually happen. We need it.


 10:20 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

MB wrote
how come there are no press releases

You only had to ask :) Press release mentions SEMPO:


michael heraghty

 10:48 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)


Sure, but I think the original gripe -- by Mike Grehan -- was that this was the only piece of news/Press Release that the organisation generated in a year:

And it is clear that the board of directors of SEMPO is a SEM powerhouse. Enough to get a good spread of column inches throughout the trade press. And they achieved just that. But since that launch...

Well since that launch, the biggest news is that they have appointed a new member to the board. However, there appeared to be no communication of this to the membership


 10:49 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

You only had to ask :) Press release mentions SEMPO:


This press release came out after people started to ask, "How come there are no press releases?" though.


 4:02 pm on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Pretty much sums up why I couldnt see me joining SEMPO at this time. I could be wrong, but it seems to revolve around the bigger SEM players and not small companies/individuals.

- Just my small outsider's view


 5:34 pm on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

I joined as a solo to have access to some of the bigger folks.

At SES conference this seemed to be very much the case.

I was hoping that joining SEMPO would, in a way, extend the magic that happened at SES and in the SEMPO meeting -- and I suspect if I picked up the phone it would.

However, I have learned far more here at WebmasterWorld than I have through SEMPO and I keep waiting for something to happen.

It is a great bunch of people, no doubt.

I remain faithful that something will happen to allay all these concerns.

Jarboe The Hutt

 6:30 pm on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

First, I should disclose that I handle the PR for SEMPO. I know, I know, no one wants to hear from the "PR guy." But some of the comments on this thread were about SEMPO press releases [sempo.org]. You can see all 8, and you'll note that half are about the new organization, new sponsors, or the new European board member. The other half are about U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Research "that Demonstrates the Value of Search Engine Marketing," Jupiter Research that "Forecasts 50% Growth in Paid Search," and eMarketer's CEO and a Jupiter analyst presenting the "Latest Search Engine Research to SEMPO." These are just some of the ways that SEMPO is working to increase awareness and promote the value of Search Engine Marketing worldwide. Could we do more? Absolutely. Do we plan to do more? Yes! Will people who aren't members of SEMPO benefit from this effort? I certainly hope so.


 6:49 pm on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you look through Google News for SEMPO [news.google.com] you will rarely (actually, pretty much never) find a news item put out by SEMPO about an awareness raising activity. Pretty much never.

I'll make myself clear:
SEMPO has been virtually invisible in terms of raising awareness about SEM/SEO, especially in regard to their output of meaningful press releases.


 8:04 pm on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am a paying member of SEMPO and feel that my money is not doing what it's supposed to. I have seen no articles about SEOs. The organization was supposed to put out articles, research, and propaganda (for lack of a better word) to transform SEO / SEM a mainstream career at the forefront of marketing directors. It was supposed to help establish an industry and place value on SEOs in the corporate world. So far... nothing.

Maybe the research is still in production? Maybe the papers being written? Maybe articles are in the mail? Maybe not...

For $78k a year, Barbara should bring SOMEthing into the public's eye!

Barbra.... be SEMPO_LADY or get someone to be SEMPO_GUY so we can see some representation!

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