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Sempo -- Again
Posted 22 August 2004 - 12:07 PM
Your heart is in the right place, however the way-out-there claims some are making --with circumstantial proof at best-- could well hurt the message you're trying to get across. There is a big difference between illegal-that-puts-people-in-jail and illegal-that encourages-a-financial-penalty.
Let the courts sort that out. That's what they're there for!
The word "illegal" has become a lightning rod in this whole discussion.
Was SEMPO smart in the way they did some things?
No. Everyone can agree with that I think.
Did SEMPO do some things that are illegal enough to cost them their non-profit status?
Likely, Yes from what I know about the situation. Let the IRS and the Courts sort that out.
Can anyone pull out one part of the US Tax Code and make a blanket statement about it to prove a point?
No. The US Tax Code iss far too convoluted for that. Especially where non-profits are concerned.
For the record, I have no stake in this whole discussion. I wouldn't join SEMPO even if everything were perfect. I'm not in the SEO business anymore. I do my own thing, so whether I am a member of SEMPO or not is a non-factor. I could quite frankly care less whether SEMPO survives or not. It doesn't affect anything I do.
However having been on the board of several of non-profits before, and having had input during the establishment phase with three non-profits I have some experience in the whole process.
Put simply, from the outside looking in, it would appear that SEMPO, or more specically those directing SEMPO's efforts, have royally screwed up several things. Public Disclosure requirements that have not been met and advertising services that benefitted certain members being chief among them.
That's all bad. Really bad. And will likely have legal and financial consequences. As it should.
My impression however is that it was more a matter of those making the decisions either not having good legal advice concerning non-profits or choosing to ignore it. The determination as to which of those scenerios is the Truth has not yet been fleshed out. Therein lies the problem with the whole "illegal" argument.
The bottom line is that those involved with SEMPO will either take care of the details, make it right and survive with some major overhauling of current practices. Or it won't.
If it doesn't, the US Gov't and those who contributed will have certainly a claim. Those who have no standing, like myself, won't. No matter how much we scream and yell about damage done to the Industry as a whole that SEMPO as set up to serve.
One thing that you can certainly trust is that with the basic mis-trust in the US regarding any type of corporation doing something shady will make it a lot more difficult to correct any (possibly innocent) past problems. You can thank Enron, Tyco, etc for that. If there is any true fraud, or anything approaching it, heads will be laid on the chopping block where they deserve to be IMO.
Take a breath everybody. Please. Think and triple check your facts before posting.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 12:15 PM
Now, I've set up a moderated SEMPO Q&A forum in the SEM Section here. Here's the description I wrote for it:
This is a moderated forum with the purpose of communicating with SEMPO board members. Increased communication with SEMPO members is on SEMPO's agenda, and we at HighRankings support that mission. This forum is moderated, meaning that all posts will have to "pass the muster" before being posted to the public. We hope that SEMPO board members will appreciate our efforts to make communication to the members just a little bit faster and easier, and we hope that one or more SEMPO representatives will take some time to answer the questions being put forth to them.
I will post my questions regarding the newsletter there, and I will email them as well as the link to the thread, to Barbara Coll, Chairperson of SEMPO, as well as Greg Jarboe, who's been answering things here (as much as he could) to date.
I don't expect much, if anything, but all we can do is try.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 12:24 PM
I've been asked "why" I was not a member from potential clients. They have stole business from me illegally. I am already conversing with people about this fact and if anything can be done about it. Claiming that a firm must be somehow "better" than another firm simply because they are a SEMPO member is "not" what this org was suppose to be about. Putting up members on a pedestal simply because they gave $5000 was not what this org was suppose to be about.
Promoting the SEM industry was what this org "WAS" suppose to be about. Period. NOT the members within it. Period.
No amount of spin coming from anyone is going to change the facts above.
Also and BTW, anyone notice the new committees set up? LOL "Education" committee. Check the members. Exactly what kind of education are they teaching? LOL
<edited>had to add the word "not" to my first sentence.
Edited by ihelpyou, 22 August 2004 - 12:34 PM.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 12:50 PM
Here is a line from the IRS website.
I think that people are getting confused though between business condition law and criminal law. Getting paid for doing a job is not illegal, but if you are set up in such a way that you are not allowed to profit, then whilst you may well jeopardise the charity standing of the setup, you have not committed a criminal act, simply broken the laws governing the association, and as such making it a 'for profit' and liable for taxes!
IANAL, but this is the way I am reading it. In the UK, if you are a trustee of a charity, then you are not allowed to earn from the charity, in any way shape or form, other than justifiable expenses.
I am glad that a direct line of communication has been opened up, but how easy would it be for someone @ SEMPO to slap up a phpbb forum , send a circular with the url, and have an open discussion there, where it controls the forum? Seems to me that if I were getting pulled across to 20 different forums, I would simply set my own up & tell everyone 'talk here or don't expect us to talk' That is me though being simplistic again I guess.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 12:59 PM
Surely, you're kidding about that. What clients have ever even heard of SEMPO?
I don't promote the fact that I'm a SEMPO member, and nobody...NOT ANYBODY...has ever asked me if I'm a member and why or why not.
If you really did have this happen to you, then it's your job to educate your potential client's as to why you are not a member. It's not SEMPO's job. They have created an organization in which you can join or not join. Nobody's forcing you to join it.
If there's are potential clients out there who believe that you need to be in SEMPO in order to be good, then they're just as dumb as the ones who hire Traffic-Power. They deserve everything thing get, imo.
Ahh, so the truth comes out. You are blaming SEMPO because you can't close your deals. Very, very interesting statment, Doug.
I may very well cancel my membership with SEMPO at some point, and I don't have even one tiny worry that doing that will hurt my business, my cash flow, or my ability to win client accounts. IT'S COMPLETELY A NON-ISSUE. Look to your own sales process if that's the reason your potential clients are giving you for not signing on the dotted line.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 01:34 PM
It appears (just appears - no facts) to me that Barbara directly participated in the decision making related to her own stipend. This is just one of many very serious issues that point towards the fact that this business is incorrectly categorized as a non-profit.
I think I am getting off track as I think what we want are answers as to what the legal conclusion was related to these types of issues. I'll check out the new forum and see if it getting any action.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 01:39 PM
SEMPO and those who run it, are really not the best people to run the organization.
I think SEMPO knows that and they are trying to get someone qualified in.
Once that happens, I think that many of the problems will slowly go away. That is if they hire the right person.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 01:53 PM
Posted 22 August 2004 - 02:36 PM
If there isn't a specific law covered in the section above 501(a) law comes into place and Governs all Sections of 501© this includes 501©(6).
Edited by bethabernathy, 22 August 2004 - 03:08 PM.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 03:17 PM
Surely you are kidding by asking that question? And NO; I'm not kidding.
SEMPO's mission was/is to promote the industry, right? They have had 1 1/2 years to do so, so why would you think that NO ONE has heard of SEMPO? That's a silly question Jill.
It's fairly easy if you subscribe to the SEW newsletter to pretty much know what is going on, right? It ain't that hard to come across Jupiter Media or SEW in passing, right? After-all, Jupiter's goal is to "dominate" the search industry.
So to take it one more step, it's not far fetched at all to think some website owners out there know about SEMPO and are also given the impression that SEMPO members MUST be good, right?
Don't you read some Board member websites and how they are misleading their visitors? The whole group has been nothing but a self-promotion machine since day one.
Yes I'm pissed. Losing one client only to a SEMPO is losing quite a few bucks.
They have mislead the industry as to what their mission was/is.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 03:18 PM
Posted 22 August 2004 - 03:22 PM
The only one who can lose business for your company is you (or your employees if you have them). The business you get or lose is your responsibility and I find it unbelievable that you are trying to pass it off on others.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 03:35 PM
BTW Old Navy is having a huge sale.
Edited by bethabernathy, 22 August 2004 - 03:41 PM.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 03:50 PM
It's a pretty well-known fact that advertising your business helps it to grow. Those who are willing to spend money can make money.
If SEMPO shouldn't in fact be advertising their members, then that's another story, but if it's costing anyone any business, then maybe they should think about how they could better advertise their own services instead of crying because they're not getting as much exposure as those that do advertise.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to advertise that don't involve becoming a member of an organization of which you don't believe in.
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