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Creating Enforceable Search Engine Marketing Code Of Ethics - Sempo

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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 11:21 AM

On October 1, 2014, just before PubCon 2014, SEMPO put out a press release that created instant outrage and discussions, and approval from some.

 

SEMPO and Other Leading Search Marketing Groups Unite in Call for Delegates to Frame Search Marketing Code of Ethics Initial Organizational Meeting to be held at Pubcon Internet Marketing Conference in Las Vegas


Read more: http://www.sempo.org...F#ixzz3FZLJ0Nkk

 

Wakefield, MA, October 2, 2014  In an effort to create a widely adopted and enforceable search engine marketing code of ethics for North America, the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) as well as other leading search engine marketing organizations are conducting a call for delegates to participate in an inaugural "Search Congress.” During the Search Congress, delegates from search engine marketing organizations throughout North America will create an initial North American search engine marketer’s code of ethics.

 

The Search Congress will take place at a date and place to be determined in 2015. An informational meeting regarding delegate selection as well as the proposed code of ethics framing process will take place at the Internet marketing conference, Pubcon, in Las Vegas. The meeting location will be publicized at the conference and on social media. Follow @SEMPOGlobal and @Pubcon for the latest news and to get involved in the discussion during Pubcon on October 6 – 9, 2014.

 

In order to participate as a delegate in the search congress, an individual must be nominated by an eligible search engine marketing organization. These organizations may include regional associations, virtual communities, or other eligible groups.

 


The immediate reaction I read came from people who were not planning on attending PubCon and therefore would be unable to participate in this Search Congress delegate selection process or the first phase of the proposed code.  This was followed by some people who were going to Pubcon but had their schedules made up ahead of time.  There was no lead time on this.

 

I try hard to remain objective and open minded.  I've never liked SEMPO, but that is more or less simply because I don't trust most organizations, and in the case of SEMPO, when I compared what they offered with what the usability organizations provide, there was no comparison.  Since leaving the SEO industry, I have no need to belong to it.

 

However, my company partners with SEO companies and I used to work for one.  I still write and teach about holistic, organic SEO and UX.  I am Admin here.  I have a vested interest in the industry.  The pioneers in the SEO industry are folks I've known, networked and worked for and with for nearly 20 years.  In that time, I've seen, heard, and experienced much.

 

At the risk of upsetting friends who are trying so hard to do good work, for SEMPO and their companies, I wrote 

Dear SEO.  It’s About Ego, Not Ethics

SEMPO is not about to try and sell a new culture and this is why I feel they will struggle to convince people to agree to their proposals.  The SEO industry has gotten away with pricing many companies directly out of the right to compete with Fortune companies for years.

 

The problems with finding affordable healthcare in the USA are made worse because not having it can mean fines.  This allows health care companies to manipulate services and pricing.  The SEO industry knows that a similar situation exists in their favor because not having any type of search engine marketing strategy results in no business.

They know, too, that companies come seeking help for marketing with websites that don’t work well, and rather than tell their clients that the website itself needs usability testing to uncover issues and hunt for positive user experience opportunities, they pocket the links, PPC and content marketing money and promise the client miracles in search.

 

Shari Thurow wrote in the comments:

As a colleague once vehemently stated, “Google is NOT the government.” Google is a for-profit company. I choose not to bend search engine rules because I don’t want to run my business that way.

 

Michael Martinez wrote:

 

I don’t expect much to come from the SEMPO initiative, either; maybe some vague document with committee-speak like mission and vision statements. I have a long list of potential objections waiting, depending on what they include or omit.

 

Both have been in the industry since it began.

 

The arguments for creating ethics and standards have been about the reputation of the SEO industry and cleaning up bad practices.  I think the approach is awkward because each company should be expected to create its own reputation and set of ethics and rules.  A system that tattles on companies is weak from the start.  A system that requires displaying a badge that is not attached to any data or rules for engagement is empty.

 

My observation is that the process of creating a Search Congress and ethics standards does not include hearing from clients.  There is no place that I am aware of where a client who has a grievance against a digital marketing agency can make a formal report to the organization that oversee's the industry.  

 

Another observation is based on my own experience of trying to find legitimate companies to refer work to and partner with.  Recently I learned of yet another company that I did work for years ago has hurt clients with unsound practices.  

 

And one final point.  Since starting my consulting biz back up, I am asked several times a week for recommendations on affordable help.  I'm asked by agencies for my recommendations for PPC because they can't find anyone anymore.  I listen to their stories and am amazed at what's happening out there.  

 

To me, SEMPO faces a culture of ego's who will not make sound judgment calls because the work is competitive.  SEO's do not support other SEO's.  They drink with them and form alliances and break them faster than speed dating.  

 

The most difficult step will be asking for the truth about how they do business.



#2 socialwebcafe

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 11:46 AM

Ooh.. that is a slippery slope, Kim.  Good points, btw.

 

I wholly agree with a need and the adoption of ethics.  Already, I can appreciate the APA (American Psychological Association) Code of Ethics because I believe that it helps to shape the direction that psychologists take their practice, ensuring that they heed the ethics or they have career consequences.  (Can you tell I am an organizational psychology major?)

However, the question is WHO is qualified to set that up, including the originating organization (in this case, SEMPO), and WHAT are those codes that will be included in the Code of Ethics?  That is where the slippery slope comes into play.

 

Coming from someone (me) who had the choice of cheating the SEC and remaining quite well-paid (really well-paid!) or doing the ethical thing and being average, I can say that I value good ethics.  And, I have paid the price to prove it.

 

But, there are also many companies who will say that they believe in ethics but then the practices that happen behind closed doors are not consistent with what was said in public.

 

So, how is this solved?  Is SEMPO really the right organization to head this up?  If they do, will the rest of the SEO industry really listen/follow?  And, if they listen/follow, are they really truly listening/following?

 

Personally, I think that there should be a separate organization specifically put together for this issue.  However, it would have no authoritative measure.  Without a "threat" of consequences, there is no enforcement of what is presented.  Another option is to present "ethics certification" and run it like a Better Business Bureau type model based on the level of complaints. 

 

Just some thoughts, from someone who has been in the SEO industry since 1999 but likes to keep that a secret :D



#3 bobbb

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 02:11 PM

 However, it would have no authoritative measure.  Without a "threat" of consequences, there is no enforcement of what is presented

This says it all.

 

Another DMOZ in the making? Who's in and who's not.

 

Maybe an outsider, Google, should head this. :) Bad idea.



#4 cre8pc

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 02:12 PM

But, there are also many companies who will say that they believe in ethics but then the practices that happen behind closed doors are not consistent with what was said in public.

 

And there's the rub.  There is no representation for employees or clients who have a claim.  Bad experiences turn into rumors,which are useless.

 

Another option is to present "ethics certification" and run it like a Better Business Bureau type model based on the level of complaints. 

 

I was thinking the same thing.  An outside source.



#5 earlpearl

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 02:27 PM

Every industry has ethics problems and issues.  Great set up a code of ethics.  Nice thing to do.  Scoundrels and rogues will still exist. I think the industry has a different issue and problem.  Most of the speakers and consistent commentators are Google lovers.  Focusing on google is critical.  It monopolizes search.  Seriously is there a soul these days that markets and sells themselves as a Bing SEO expert?   Would a Bing expert ever get hired these days?

 

I understand that.  Still its astonishing that industry bows to Google in a big way.  In the past week one of the well known experts spoke/lectured SEO's--> focus on traffic not on keywords.  

 

To me that is bowing down and accepting Google as the ultimate boss of all things.  Roll over, bow down,  and accept whatever they do.  Praise them,  Don't focus on the issues that are monopolistic and or controlling of search.

 

If the whole industry had cohones and would speak to this issue...it might have some impact.  It would be everyone in every publication, with fewer weasly greasy haired yes man accepting Google's endless onslaught of control of all things web.



#6 bobbb

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 02:44 PM

Yes, a code of ethics. Like in the banking industry. Yuk Yuk.

 

Would a Bing expert ever get hired these days

What's a Bing. Yuk Yuk.

Of course not. I doubt if most folks even heard of Bing.

 

accepting Google's endless onslaught of control of all things web

A growing social consciousness would work. Shaming them to death would get their attention.

 

So would this but it will not happen.

user agent: googlebot

disallow /



#7 iamlost

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 01:14 PM

We've discussed SEO and ethics before both as a pair and separately. That said this is an organisation without purpose desperately looking for one. Nothing to see here folks.



#8 DCrx

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 07:30 PM

I don't understand the problem. There are codes of ethics. Instantly adopted. Follows every jot and tittle of what one would expect from a code of ethics. Studied. Interpreted. Applied. Enforced.

 

One is called Panda. Another is called Penguin.

 

Seen anything change behavior quicker (outside chemicals or electroshock)?



#9 bobbb

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 10:24 PM

Studied. Interpreted. Applied. Enforced

And who does this? With what kind of teeth?

 

One is called Panda. Another is called Penguin

Not really code of ethics. Just set of G rules which no one knows.


Edited by bobbb, 09 October 2014 - 10:25 PM.


#10 DCrx

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 03:42 AM


 

 

Not really code of ethics. Just set of G rules which no one knows.
 

Taking a look at the conflicting interpretations of ethics in the Middle East these days ... this is different in .... what way now?

 

This idea you will put out a simple statment or rule or abstract philosophical guideline and people will all adhere to it just as intended betrays a lack of insight into human nature. And the history of codes of ethics. In the wild, it will behave pretty close to the same way.

 

And given the invisibility of the algo, religiosity is not too far off the mark in comparison. Astrology either.
 

 


 

 

And who does this? With what kind of teeth?

 

It is a self-organizing behavior. The teeth are SERP rankings.

 

For an outmoded top-down, command and control mindset, the concept of self organization won't sit well. For anyone who understands people aren't computers and don't operate on binary principles, this isn't too hard a concept to grasp.

 

Point being, if you don't accept or refuse to understand the self organizing principles, then overlaying a code of ethics on this already operating ethos won't work. People won't get with the program because people aren't computers.


Edited by DCrx, 10 October 2014 - 03:52 AM.


#11 cre8pc

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 09:39 AM

Self-regulation vs group regulation.   Any attempt to regulate how someone or a company generates revenue is going to hit a wall, especially in the marketing industry.  Ethics for SEO's is confusing because what their work is conceived to be about manipulation and tricks. 

 

One of the issues, of several, is that SEO's are spreading incorrect and sometimes dangerous information.  This has been going on since before I wrote my first article about SEO rip-offs in 1996.  (The article actually got me interviewed by my local newspaper, LOL)  

 

SEMPO has an image problem they need to tackle before they can legislate.  They represent a small percentage of companies and people who do the work.  They remain closed off and self contained, in that there is no outreach efforts to educate related industries about what good online marketing tactics are and how best to choose companies to work with.

 

Education on best practices would be my first choice.  And by that, I mean education on skills that go beyond one search engine and methodologies that make that search engine wealthy.  



#12 bobbb

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 09:43 AM

I was wrong about the set of G rules which no one knows. They are simply guidelines and not defined at all in black and white except we know there is a dark side. The idea is to not find oneself on the wrong side and not approach that invisible line which can change position at any time.

SERPs are not teeth because we all know there is still spam and dark side matter out there and they are working.

We still have not defined who or what will do all this defining of self organization and whose values will we use. If we use the Wikipedia example then it is happening now. All those google animals are part of it and SERPs are it's teeth. We can see this at play on National Geographics. But this has nothing to do with the ethics part of this thread.

Ummm I think we are saying the same thing. Ethics work when there is a body which issues a licence to practice as in doctors and lawyers but not the used car industry or SEO.

To me, it seems you are saying we already have our code of ethics.

I just read the Wikipedia article on ethics. Pretty large and open.

Edited by bobbb, 10 October 2014 - 09:47 AM.


#13 cre8pc

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 05:43 PM

Now that PubCon is over, there is an increase in Facebook sharing of this discussion.  It is getting heated.

 

I'm still trying to find out exactly what happened at the meeting SEMPO held yesterday.  No information is on the SEMPO site, which to me would make the most sense in trying to control the rumor mill.  I was unable to find the press release noted above on their website or the PubCon meeting in the events or calendar.

 

If anyone was there, I would like to be able to keep us informed and would appreciate receiving accurate information on the meeting and future plans.  It may that since I am not a member of SEMPO, I will not be allowed to have access to this information.  



#14 DCrx

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 06:33 PM

>SERPs are not teeth because we all know there is still spam and dark side matter out there and they are working.

 

The news of one or two big hits send shock waves through the SEO community. Plenty chastise the AMA for protecting its members just as much as censoring or policing them. Doctors can seem to get away with malpractice for years.

 

Frankly, the thought of the malpractice aspect for SEO causes me to laugh.

 

On the other hand, few doctors call themselves black hats.


Edited by DCrx, 10 October 2014 - 06:35 PM.


#15 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 08:35 PM

Any search marketing standard or code of ethics will only work if:

 

1. A code/standard can even be written.

2. The vast majority of search marketers follow it.

3. Those who don't follow it are punished and/or those who do follow it are rewarded.

 

So why will this never, ever work?

 

1. We don't have the science/facts/knowledge of algos needed to make real rules. All we can do is suggest generic "ethics rules". What good is that? Be nice. There ya go. Think that will cover it?

 

2. How many gazillions of search marketers are out there? How many have even heard of SEMPO? Sorry, but a tiny miniscule will ever even hear of this, much less follow it.

 

3. Here's the real reason. Forget 1 and 2. No one will ever be punished for not following and no one will ever be rewarded for doing so. Why? Because there is no one (especially not SEMPO) that has the power to do so. NOT EVEN GOOGLE. If Google had the power, there would be no need to even have this discussion. Google would already be CORRECTLY rewarding the good and CORRECTLY punishing the bad. We'd fall in line because Google would be appropriately punishing or rewarding us. 

 

No one can make rules that we can agree on. Almost no one will follow whatever rules are made. And most importantly, there is no one with the power or ability to reward the followers or punish the non-followers. 

 

Silly to even consider it.



#16 cre8pc

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 08:44 PM

Here is information as provided by Chris Boggs.

http://www.thesempos...e-ethics-plans/

 

 

Tony Wright, the CEO of WrightIMC led the meeting, detailing how he sees the entire process of creating a code of ethics.  He sees the code of ethics as not being SEMPO led, but as a grassroots experience instead.  He wants SEMPO to simply organize it to come to a consensus of what it will contain.

 

What Would Be Policed?

Wright says he wants to see the code of ethics be strategic and not tactical.  For example, he doesn’t want to police the length of title tags.

People definitely have some strong opinions about SEMPO being the driving force behind a code of ethics.  The speaker’s enclave at Pubcon had a spirited discussion about it, but the SEMPO led meeting was very low key and non-confrontational.



#17 cre8pc

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 09:36 AM

Some of the most respected experts in the SEO industry have commented on my blog post on this topic.  

Dear SEO.  It’s About Ego, Not Ethics

 

Notable is a long discourse by Aaron All.

 

Me: 

“The SEO industry has gotten away with pricing many companies directly out of the right to compete with Fortune companies for years.”

 

AW:

"… some of that has come down to Google as much or more than the industry. Google has lifted the barrier to entry with Panda and Penguin and more manual link penalties. As SEO services get harder & less scalable & less predictable to deliver, that increases cost."

 

I'm sad to report that the discussion has gotten personal between some people.  My hope is to continue the tradition we have here at Cre8asiteforums where all opinions and views are represented and that we moderate civil discussions on heated issues.



#18 DCrx

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 03:48 PM


 

Google would already be CORRECTLY rewarding the good and CORRECTLY
punishing the bad. We'd fall in line because Google would be
appropriately punishing or rewarding us. 

 

 

This is a standard no other enthics panel meets. That's like saying if the AMA worked, you wouldn't hear about doctors getting busted by the police for supplying Oxycontin and such. The innocent are convicted, the guilty go free.

 

Welcome to ethics 101.


Edited by DCrx, 12 October 2014 - 12:23 PM.


#19 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 04:31 PM

Not the same at all. We aren't talking about life and death here.

 

If all we are talking about is treating clients in an ethical manner, then that's something that is not search marketing specific. All business people should treat clients ethically, no matter the industry. No particular industry needs a big set of rules and regulations that says, don't screw over your clients. It's a given. Businesses will either do that or they won't. So I'm not really seeing this as an "ethics 101 situation". This SEMPO thing is something more specific to our industry, and therefore I'm assuming there will be rules specific to what we do. But what we do is pretty much rule-less. What works for one doesn't for another. We've said for years - it's about levels of risk and honesty. Be honest with the client. Tell them the options and the risks associated with each option. What's so hard about that? What do we need beyond that?

 

Google (or whichever search engine we are optimizing for, but for all intents and purposes, saying Google is pretty much enough at this point)...

 

so...

 

Google is the only entity that has the power to enforce anything - and even they get it wrong. It took them years just to correctly punish those who used hidden text, for pete's sake. At this point, their algo is so complex, even they can't correctly identify the good vs. the bad players, and they know what is in their own algo. How would any other entity enforce anything then, if even Google can't. 

 

So, if we are strictly speaking about being ethical, we don't need a set of rules. Use your noggin and be a good human being.

 

If we are speaking about rules of search marketing, then that's where I say it's silly to consider it. There's no way to write these rules, there's no way to enforce them. 

 

Why are we even discussing this?

 

Be nice. Be honest. Make sure your clients know the options and the risks of each option. That's enough rules for me. 



#20 DCrx

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 07:28 AM

Not the same at all. We aren't talking about life and death here.

 

Not exactly seeing how this guarantees absolute compliance, error free.

 

If it's life and death and flawed, it does not then argue SE results will be perfect and indisputedly fair to any and every observer. If anything it's going to seem abitrary and .... well pretty much what people are saying right now.

 

 

Why are we even discussing this?

 


Edited by DCrx, 12 October 2014 - 07:31 AM.


#21 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 08:32 AM

Compliance to what? Some arbitrary rules that have no meaning or are based on guesses of how algos might work? Or rules on how to treat clients? And again, who is going to enforce this "absolute compliance"? And the penalty will be ... what? Being listed on a naughty list somewhere? 



#22 DCrx

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 11:08 AM

 



And the penalty will be ... what? Being listed on a naughty list somewhere?

 

 
 

 

Ever seen a web designer lambasted because their site didn't validate? Naughty or Nice. Where do you think validation criterion comes from -- Mount Olympus? Is there a stigma? Is your competence called into question? Does it work to change behavior?

 

Seen any of a dozen SEO report card generators? Naughty or Nice. What's missing is an official body behind one.

 

Same thing. Add a black hat versus white hat score. Be officious. Be sanctimonious. Market effectively.

 

Uses the same F.U.D. SEO has used in its marketing since day one. Make the rules into validation criterion -- even so far as a competency score.

 

Your same argument could just as well be used to explain that the entire SEO industry shouldn't exist.  Of course, it can also be argued there is no such thing as white hat SEO and everything done in SEO is a cheat (and a fraud of course, given your argument).

 

Is it really ethical to claim to a paying customer anything about SEO under the cirmstances of wild guesswork the SEO industry claims as expertise worth paying for? In the era of what's being called a baitrank, specifically designed to trick you into optimizing in response to decoy SERP changes, isn't every single SEO being pretty seriously naughty? Doesn't Fear Uncertainty and Doubt as the only underpinning of an entire industry's claims strike you as especially picky about what's ethical?

 

To quite a few people the idea of SEO ethics is as preposterous as a pirate's code.


Edited by DCrx, 12 October 2014 - 12:30 PM.


#23 earlpearl

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 02:19 PM

The only power in SEO is google.  Its a monopoly.  If webmasters do things that google deems as adversely affecting google's algo's it penalizes them.  Other than that all other things seem to be fine.  Google is simply the ultimate power.   Every thing else is bubkis.



#24 bwelford

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:05 PM

To quite a few people the idea of SEO ethics is as preposterous as a pirate's code.

 

Well spoken, DCrx.  That is oh so true.



#25 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:45 PM

Web validation - easy to have a standard for. 

SEO - Until Google et al. says, "put this code on this page and we'll rank you at #1", there's no way to define standards.

 

But honestly, I'm tired of the argument. We've had it for years. And it doesn't sound like I'm making my point clear anyway, so I'll just leave it alone. This won't ever happen anyway, so it's wasted time and words.



#26 bwelford

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:48 PM

... and the sad thing is, why do not those who are so pushing for Ethics not see the futility of what they are trying to achieve. Why can they not smell the coffee?



#27 DCrx

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 04:05 AM

Web validation - easy to have a standard for.

 

The "more semantic than thou" pitched battles over stuff like, oh the use of abbreviation over acronym tag must have escaped your attention.



#28 BillSlawski

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:47 AM

This is one of the things that confuses me about this effort:

 

While the initial search congress and creation of the North American Search Engine Marketing Code of Ethics is being organized by SEMPO, the overall goal is for the initiative to be led by a grassroot effort of existing and future search engine marketing organizations.

 
As an individual, I feel that I have absolutely no say in this code of conduct and have no rights in voting for its creation. 
 
I do not point this out as part of some hidden agenda against SEMPO. I could honestly care less. 
 
The code of conduct that SEMPO decides upon would have questionable legal holding upon all other members of the industry, especially after SEMPO has couched the concept of "grassroots" in such a restrictive manner that this "code of conduct" is something that most members of the industry have no voice in the creation of. It's clearly not something that a court would see as a standard adopted by the community as a whole.
 
The press release is badly written, and while I have no intention of behaving badly I am not a SEMPO employee or a SEMPO member, and they have no rights in telling me how I should behave.


#29 bwelford

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 09:24 AM

Perhaps if we all ignore them, they'll go away in a huff. :)



#30 bobbb

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 09:39 AM

Here's a code of ethics. It applies across the board everywhere.

 

Don't screw others

 

Done!



#31 BillSlawski

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 10:57 AM

Maybe Barry,

 

I also noticed at Pubcon, if you look at them straight in the eyes and call them by name, they sometimes just run away as fast as possible.



#32 cre8pc

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 11:00 AM

Don't screw others

 

This should be a business decision.  Sadly, the profession that SEMPO serves contains an under current of doing exactly that - screwing others to get ahead.  My concerns for the online marketing industry are below. 

 

1. Education on proper SEO/M is more often than not simply not affordable to obtain.  It is too easy to read blog posts and believe that the information they contain is accurate.

 

  •     Conferences are expensive.
  •     The goal is not to teach at conferences.  Conferences are where marketers look for clients.
  •     Special, sponsored workshops offered at conferences are expensive when you include travel, meals and hotel.
  •     Most of the techniques used for today's SEO/M are based on what one search engine demands be done to please it.

* I propose affordable education, promoting present educational resources and classes that have earned an excellent reputation; creating smaller workshops that are accessible in areas outside of large cities; approaching colleges and universities with proposals for courses; teaching at non-profits and local community venues

 

2. SEO/M continues to severely limit itself with regards to the scope of what is taught and presented.  When asked why I stopped pitching and speaking at conferences other than PubCon, the reason is because there is no interest in learning skills related to SEO, such as information architecture, site architecture, usability, responsive design, site testing and conversions design.  When I noticed those topics were presented ONLY when the presenter paid for their spot, I stopped my support.

 

*I propose inviting related professions to join in teaching plans, talks, video presentations, etc.  Show how certain practices enhance online marketing rather than promoting a divide.

 

3. Not all SEO's are business people.  Meaning they learned certain skills and attempt to run businesses without any business training or knowledge on how to run a business.

 

*I propose that SEO and internet marketing conferences include sessions on running a business.

 

4. There is no accountability for bad business practices.  This is not just about "bad SEO" or "no ethics".  Those are the symptoms, not the cause.

 

* I propose that for every article, ebook or blog post, promotion, video or book that provides out of date information be discussed in forums, communities, classes, workshops, etc.  The SEO Hall of Shame here was our attempt at doing that.  

 

As I have written, the industry is a culture and not perceived as a respected profession because of the years of risky practices that made SEO's money but at the cost of clients' businesses, or budgets.  The damage continues to this day.  It is difficult to know who to hire because of the poor reputation the industry has.  It is difficult for any website owner to know what practices are accurate and sometimes they choose wrong.  (I fired a client over the summer because she insisted I follow the SEO techniques she was reciting to me from an old SEO book that I had never heard of.  The information was out of date and she refused to listen to me.)

 

5. The over riding method of promotion is "each man for himself".  In other words, there are few alliances between online marketers and their companies.  Each individual or company is scrutinized and treated as a competitor rather than a partner.  The sheer scope of what needs to be done for all websites that want to work properly and be found is more than one person and one company can possibly do but rather than join forces and partner up to shore up skills and expertise, the trend is to do whatever it takes to make one's self or company stand out - even it means creating smoke and mirrors and promotions that are fake, misleading and untrue.



#33 bobbb

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 11:30 AM

I fired a client over the summer

Funny
 

The over riding method of promotion is "each man for himself"

Ethics is almost a synonym for morals and this is a human animal only trait.

On National Geographic, Leona and kids are hungry so they kill and eat your weak, old and your kids too and all other "challenged" individuals. They will leave you be so you can breed and they can eat your kids again. In order to insure the survival of his bloodline, big bad Leo takes over a pride by killing the present owner and follows by killing all the kids so the females can get in heat again. The female permits this because she wants to insure the survival of her bloodline. (read this she would get killed in a fight with the male).

This is "the concept of self organization" discussed above. Substitute for some of the names.

Human animals go against the grain because we have morals, an unwritten code of ethics. We invite Stephen Hawking to supper but not as the main course like on National Geographic.

OK so not everyone follows the code of ethics.



#34 cre8pc

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 01:48 PM

This is not going away, so for those who are interested, here is part one of a series that Jennifer Slegg is writing.

 

 

http://www.thesempos...ed-code-ethics/

 

In part 2, she asked 5 questions and sent them out to people who wanted to answer them.  I was one of them.  

 

This is part of what I wrote:

 

The Code of Ethics is a bad idea because they are using the term “ethics”, that implies a set of laws, beliefs and compliance which would need to be enforced.

Clients don’t understand that search engines want money.  Any practice that an SEO comes up with that does not make money for a search engine may eventually mean a punishment from the search engine.  What is unethical is not being honest with a client that certain strategies are high risk.  This has been a complaint since SEO first began.  What may be considered as unethical is continuing to perform tactics that are out of date, but practicing bad strategies is not about ethical SEO, it is bad business.  So my concern is creating a system that has one purpose, which is to destroy individuals and agencies for being stupid business people.  Secondly, judgment and enforcement is performed by industry peers.

 

and

 

I would prefer that rather than ethics, SEMPO focus on education.   What does a well-run online marketing business look like? 
What companies are examples of excellent business practices?  How can SEMPO help site owners choose the right company to work with?  What are safe SEO practices?  Where can people report SEO spam email and websites that promote outdated SEO practices?  What are fair prices to charge clients?  When are certain practices necessary?  Aaron Wall wrote an excellent perspective on one of my sites on that.  I would rather
see SEMPO find ways to support the industry rather than creating more ways for dividing it.

 

Both Tony and Chris insist on this being a democratic process and I wish them the best.  I respect people who stick out their necks and take action.  They, as many of you, are sick to death of the bad rep that SEO's have and the years and years of whining about it, but nothing is ever done.  I don't agree with this particular plan but rather than be grumpy about it, my hope is to provide suggestions for what might be helpful. 

 

We do our part here at these forums by the way.  None of you regular members have any tolerance for bad tactics and don't permit bad information here.  We are not like other forums that allow incorrect information and bad advice to go unchallenged and corrected.  You created that. :applause:  :applause:  :applause: 



#35 cre8pc

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 12:46 PM

I would be remiss as a reporter if I excluded this.

 

Beanstalk and Some Other SEO’s Unite in Call for The Internet Marketers Code of Ethics

 

 

Initial Organizational Meeting to be held somewhere on the Internet.

Victoria, BC, Canada, October 23, 2014 – We are making every effort to make sure our brothers and sisters are appropriately corralled into an enforceable Internet Marketing code of ethics for North America. The Galactic Senate and Corporeal Association of Marketers (GSCAM) joined by any other marketers who want to have an opinion are calling all delegates to participate in our first ever “Internet Marketers Code of Ethics Congress”. During this congress all participating delegates will master debate what codes shall be enforced.

The Internet Marketers Code of Ethics Congress shall take place at a time and date to be determined in 2015 if we get around to it. In the meantime we’ll be taking suggestions on possible additions to our proposed ethical guidelines.  Currently there is only one guideline as will be discussed below.

In order to take part of as an intergalactic delegate in the “Internet Marketers Code of Ethics Congress”, you must be nominated by GSCAM and Beanstalk Certified. These organizations may include among others: self-help gurus, D&D Wizards, or a member of the Ferengi Dabo Club of America.



#36 bobbb

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 03:27 PM

They propose the same rule as me (sort of): Don't screw others.

 

They have got to be kidding! They will include Ferengis? Completely void of morals. They are worse than the Cardassians or Romulans.

I wouldn't be seen within 10 parsecs of a Ferengi

 

At least the Klingons have a code of ethics along with honour.

 

A parsec (or parallax arc-second) is a unit of astronomical measurement, equal to roughly 3.26 light years. It was in common use by the United Federation of Planets in the 23rd and 24th centuries.


Edited by bobbb, 23 October 2014 - 03:30 PM.


#37 beanstalkim

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 05:25 PM

Bob ... that is arguably the nerdiest and perhaps best reply I have read on a forum ... ever. :)



#38 cre8pc

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 06:08 PM

Bob ... that is arguably the nerdiest and perhaps best reply I have read on a forum ... ever

 

We are highly secretive society and only the cleverest of universal aliens gather here.

 

So welcome Dave!!!!   :dazed:  :cheerleader:  :cheerleader:  :capeguy: 





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