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Search Engine Marketing Standards
Posted 04 April 2008 - 01:34 PM
If and when SEMPO comes up with a set of standards, will it require them to throw out some of their members, or will they design the standards in such a way that none of their members will find themselves in conflict with them?
Posted 04 April 2008 - 08:13 PM
Frankly, I think this is more harsh than what I'm pushing for. I'm not even sure I can meet these myself under all circumstances...
The interesting thing is that this came about as a push from their members. I suspect that if you looked at the "spammer demographic" of SEMPO now compared to 2 years ago, the current spammers are now the very, very tiny minority.
Posted 05 April 2008 - 09:18 AM
That's an interesting question! I am sure they could do it in such a way like credit card companies do when they change the rules. They simply mail them to you and say that you agree by default to these.
Did you link to the right post, Ian? Where's the harsh stuff you're talking about?
Posted 05 April 2008 - 12:44 PM
Posted 05 April 2008 - 08:45 PM
Be very careful with statements like that, because you won't be part of the debate if you take that stance
But that isn't the issue. Everyone wants to talk about proficiency and the what. Get passed that. Proficiency is what you sell, standards are what you agree to uphold.
As an example, what spam is cannot be defined absolutely, but it can be understood, and a professional should know what it means.
Reread American Marketing Associations Statement of Ethics: http://www.marketing.../content435.php and see if that isn't a good strating point as a concept.
Posted 08 April 2008 - 12:39 AM
Geez. And you're from Alberta too!
At best, maybe 10% of the members in a forum actually post. That's about 1600 sociopaths and psychopaths in our midst. Of those 1600, I'm pretty sure less--much less--than 100% will rape and pillage. Or maybe I'm being generous there.
Are we honestly concerned about sociopaths and psychopaths here? I mean, if you hire a consultant and (s)he's a psychopath AND (s)he swindles you for lots of money and such then you've got a problem. But this cannot be a scenario we let frighten us into the standardization (or even regulation) of the SEO industry. Can it?
As marketers, we can subscribe to any set of standards we wish vis-a-vis membership within professional organizations and the like. As Jill pointed out.
But to liken working with a bad SEO to working with a socio/psychopath doesn't make sense to me. A bad SEO could indeed rob you blind. So could the guy selling used cars down the street.
Whatever happened to Buyer Beware? If you're the type to click on every stupid link you see in your inbox, or to give your credit card number to every idiot who calls you from a 1-800 number, well, you will probably get what you deserve. Harsh? Perhaps. But true if you put politics aside and think long and hard about it. (And I like little old ladies who keep their savings under their mattresses. I truly do. But I'm pretty sure we are not talking about those little old ladies here.)
Hard working people are getting swindled day in and day out everywhere in every industry. Standardization has done very little to stop any of it. Does the law ameliorate things? Sometimes. But standardization? No.
Regarding the other post Ian made regarding the whys and what fors of standardization, I admit, the point regarding how to defend oneself in a court of law with no standards to fall back on is a point well taken. Made me really think. And then I realized that any industry wide standards or "minimums" that could be applied are more akin to laws than actual standards per the context of this discussion.
But maybe I'm going in circles ...
Edited by Karri, 08 April 2008 - 10:18 AM.
Posted 08 April 2008 - 02:05 PM
Everyone should be expected to do due diligence.
But what if there is no way to do due diligence? What if you could not even come to agreement on the basic terms of the contract (ie what SEO is?). What if there was no way to know if the firm you are hiring is doing risky things or not? What if you had no way to gauge whether the SEM you are working with even understands SEM? How can you do due diligence when the information necessary to do due diligence is missing? This is why there are disclosure laws for public companies. It's not buyer beware. If that information is missing, then you can't do due diligence. Standards help ensure that consumers can do due diligence.
If you know (or can easily learn) what the terms used in the industry are, what is generally considered to be best practices, and what is considered to be high risk, THEN you can do due diligence and decide what you want to do. Buyer beware then applies.
As an example, There are cloaking firms that inform potential clients that cloaking is a no-risk technique, that since cloaking is done on throw away domains and no changes are made to your domain, cloaking is actually less risky than "standard SEO", which actually makes changes to your site, and thus puts it at risk that one of those changes was a bad one. That's the sales pitch. I've actually seen it.
As a consumer who doesn't know anything about SEO or cloaking, what do you do then? Go on a forum or check wikipedia? No both are full of BS and everyone knows it. Check out SEMPO? Well great, except there is no help on that subject right now. What do you do? How do you inform yourself? If you ask another SEO firm they may say that cloaking is risky, but of course the cloaking company would come back and say that the SEO company has a conflict of interest, because *they* are the ones doing the risky stuff and want to make a sale.
What is a consumer to do? How can the buyer beware if there is no independent, trustworthy information available that would allow them to make an educated decision? Should they just beware of everything, and assume that the whole industry is a bunch of liars and scam artists? With no other information available, what else are they going to think? What would you think after listening to both the cloaking company and SEO firm calling each others tactics risky and dangerous?
Here is some more information on the idea of buyer beware that closely matches what I was taught in law school:
The modern trend in laws protecting consumers, however, has minimized the importance of this rule. Although the buyer is still required to make a reasonable inspection of goods upon purchase, increased responsibilities have been placed upon the seller, and the doctrine of caveat venditor (Latin for "let the seller beware") has become more prevalent. Generally, there is a legal presumption that a seller makes certain warranties unless the buyer and the seller agree otherwise. One such Warranty is the Implied Warranty of merchantability. If a person buys soap, for example, there is an implied warranty that it will clean; if a person buys skis, there is an implied warranty that they will be safe to use on the slopes.
A seller who is in the business of regularly selling a particular type of goods has still greater responsibilities in dealing with an average customer. A person purchasing antiques from an antique dealer, or jewelry from a jeweler, is justified in his or her reliance on the expertise of the seller.
If both the buyer and the seller are negotiating from equal bargaining positions, however, the doctrine of caveat emptor would apply
Source: http://legal-diction...om/Buyer beware
Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:37 PM
Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:09 PM
If I understand Ian correctly, by defining things like common terms, standards and best practice, we shift the balance from pot luck to the buyer. If the buyer can reasonably inform themselves of the risk of an action, they have that responsibility. But if they can't, then who bares the responsibility?
Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:34 PM
I still agree with Jill because there are laws to protect consumers from misrepresentation in selling. (I'm not saying those laws always work the way they're supposed to - different matter.)
Edited by Karri, 08 April 2008 - 08:19 PM.
Posted 08 April 2008 - 08:19 PM
If the seller informed you that the car was a lemon, but it was cheap as chips, that wold probably be OK. If they claimed it was XY and Z, and road worthy, and it wasn't then yes, you could sue.
Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:44 AM
In Massachusetts, we have a "Lemon Law" for just that purpose.
Posted 09 April 2008 - 01:12 PM
We are responsible to our clients. Clients should never be harmed by our actions, and are entitled to be dealt with in a fair and accountable manner.
We are responsible to the profession. We will not engage in actions that are likely to bring the profession into disrepute in the eyes of the public.
We are responsible to society. We shall obey all laws pertaining to our professional actions and efforts.
We are responsible to ourselves, to continually improve and update our skills and knowledge.
Are we also responsible to the web itself? I know that's a bit dicey, since one could argue that promoting our clients' sites could potentially make it slightly harder to find other valuable content.
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