“Hello, We’re an Ethical SEM Company”

Look at the title of this post. That’s exactly what I heard today on the phone before a guy made his pitch to become our SEM/SEO provider.

Tell me … how bad does the industry get to have people start their pitch with “Hello, We’re an Ethical SEM Company”?

Now … I am an open minded fella and you might say … “Igor, that first sentence worked since you’re talking about it right now”. I’d say … you’re absolutely right. I am not questioning the tactic. I am concerned about the need for it.

It’s unfortunate that so many companies get burned when they decide to outsource their online marketing activities. They get burned once, twice and then right to the Craigslist website they go, posting an ad for an “IN-HOUSE SEO/SEM person”.

I’ve personally worked with 3-4 (popular … you know them) SEM companies that did PPC and all of them pretty much failed to learn the business and devote the time needed to really improve the campaign.


Well … could it be because outsourcing SEM activities is for companies that are just starting out and don’t know any better? Can I judge all SEM companies by the 4 that I’ve seen fail? No. I shouldn’t and I won’t. I am sure there are those SEM companies that perform well. It’s too bad they have to start with “Hello, We’re an Ethical SEM Company”.

3 Comment(s)

  1. Igor –

    I was more surprised that they’d assume you knew what an SEO/SEM was! I’ve heard “hello, we’re an ethical replacement window” company too many times to actually *hear* it anymore. :-)

    We’re coming out with a product for SEO/SEM folks to use and we seem to spend around 50% of our time figuring out how it could be mis-used or gamed.

    So maybe we’re just too close to the industry.


    Oliver Taco | Nov 30, 2007 | Reply

  2. Nice opening line but if you’re cold calling people to sell sem services that seems a tough way to go and you really don’t know what you’re doing. This field is way overcrowded and many don’t really know what they’re doing. That’s why the fail, even if they are ethical.

    David Temple | Jan 13, 2008 | Reply

  3. Well at least they didn’t start with “top of the morning, we’re a…”

    But it’s true, with so much information online people tend to start SEO/SEM businesses without knowing what they are really doing.
    On my country SEO is a business that’s just starting but people assume SEO = Google Adwords, page titles and links and when things don’t perform as expected it’s the industry that takes the shot.

    Mário Andrade | Nov 4, 2008 | Reply

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