Back in August 2004 Mike Grehan tore chunks out of the American SEO organisation SEMPO. Grehan, CEO of Smart Interactive, then went on to play a key role in setting up SMA-UK and he is currently the Vice-President.
I did not disagree with many of Mike's observations on SEMPO. They did seem to take your money and then do nothing.
After the SEMPO controversy there was some press releases from the organisation. One of the key points on SEMPO's agenda was to raise awareness of the SEM industry and it seemed hard to believe they were doing much of this without even a press release in their belt.
Looking back on 2005 I find it hard to find any evidence of work from SEMPO or SMA UK (or other SMA franchise either).
One key problem is getting search engine optimisation agencies to talk to one another. This is a secretive industry. I would not want our company associated with a "governing body" who could not govern its own members, who could not enforce ethical SEO, or who did not care about ethical SEO. Right now, I can't see what these organisations do and I can see the disadvantages in joining them. I hope this changes in 2006, either through one of these organisations changing or by a new one appearing on the field.