UK moots breakaway search marketing body

The UK’s search marketing industry could soon have its own, home-grown trade body, after a number of British experts expressed dissatisfaction with the existing US-based international organisation.

The new body – the Search Marketing Association UK (SMA-UK) – is at an embryonic stage, but already some continental European search marketing companies are calling for the formation of a sister organisation, the Search Marketing Association Europe (SMA-EU).

SMA-UK is being formed in reaction to attempts by the US-based Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (Sempo) to establish itself as the international trade body for the search marketing industry. Sempo recently announced the formation of a European division, but leading figures in the UK industry were incensed, claiming they had not been consulted and that there were no UK members on its governing body. Other questions were raised over the way Sempo officials are selected.

But Andy Atkins-Kruger, managing director of UK search marketing company Web Certain and acting deputy chairman of the working party which has been set up to form SMA-UK, is adamant that SMA-UK is not being positioned as an alternative or rival to Sempo, adding that there are many tasks a local trade body can do better than an international organisation.

Pointing out that his own company is a Sempo member, Atkins-Kruger also stresses that SMA-UK’s remit is wider than just search-engine marketing, and includes search in all its forms.

If the SMA-UK working party gets 50 signatories for its draft constitution, it will launch as a fully fledged trade body.

Meanwhile, Copenhagen-based search-engine marketing expert Mikkel deMib Svendsen is leading a similar working party to create SMA-EU.

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