iPhone + Book equal great Children’s Christmas Gift Ideas

November 30, 2009

Thanks to Dick Larkin for pointing me to this video.  And as he said in his blog here:

I really don’t think this has an application outside of children’s entertainment.  For example, I can’t see cutting a hole in a Yellow Pages directory for an iPhone to be inserted.

But I’ve been wrong before.

I agree. But I also think that a talented artist + iPhone + Children’s Book with a hole = Great Fun with the Kiddos!

I find it interesting that often the most meaningful memories cost the least amount to produce.

Mike Stewart

P.S. Thanks Dick. I always enjoy your blog!

What Could Save The Yellow Pages? 10 Ideas

November 29, 2009

What Could Save The Yellow Pages? 10 Ideas

https://i2.wp.com/nettoolkits.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/yellow-pages-dead.jpgI noticed that not many have re-Tweeted or shared this article. Great suggestions from Chris Smith, another former employee of Verizon/Idearc Media, who is highly regarded as one of the country’s top 10 masterminds in Local Search Marketing. He is a true expert. He is one of the reasons Superpages.com was ranked higher than YellowPages.com and RealPages.com for so many years.

In this article he suggests 10 things the print yellow page industry can do to evolve into a media company of the future.

I strongly agree with the sentiments on saturation distribution, unwanted phone books, and improving diversity and product offering in the internet space.

Posted using ShareThis

Are you having problems with your “SMLocal” advertising?

November 28, 2009

SMLocal + Your Own AdWords Campaign = No Phone Calls

I have a “former client” who I helped setup a Google AdWords campaign. He also signed up with Idearc to have listings on Superpages.com. He specifically instructed Idearc’s PPC managers not to put him in Google distribution. The reason for this was because he had a great performing campaign on Adwords already. After a few months, Idearc asked him to raise his budget. He agreed to do so. Apparently without his permission they also overlayed his existing Adwords campaign with his “SMLocal” campaign. For the past few weeks he has been wondering why his calls dropped to his office.

Go figure! And to boot….. they don’t offer customer service on Saturdays!

This PPC campaign manager also seems to be really good at copying other companies ad messages and campaign settings!  lol

The other day I searched for pics of Gina Carano (the talented female cage fighter who I think is extremely “HOT”) and found another “former” client, John Teakell (one of Dallas’ top criminal defense attorneys) on a page result. Now that is some impressive talent at wasting a clients click budget with “content network” folks! Only a company that specializes in print advertising can do this kind of think for you with the internet.

Here is a pic:

How does Idearc Media waste your click budget with content network?

I am guilty of taking the results or “lackthereof” personal. I really want my clients to succeed and make money. I am passionate about Search Engine Marketing. When I earned the trust of a client to represent his business and provide a return on this investment, yet the company does not have the desire or tools to fulfill his expectations, I take it personal.

Take a look at the website Idearc and Superpages.com did for Robert at All Action Water Extraction & Carpet Cleaning Fort Worth Tx


Pretty bad if you ask me! They could have at least taken the time to make sure the page titles were setup for search!!

I am going to build a site for him. He did a great job cleaning my carpets a month ago! He is a really nice guy to boot!

He charged me $145.00 to clean all of my carpets and even went as far as wiping the window sills when he moved my furniture, two other well known carpet cleaning companies in Dallas-Fort Worth charged me $220.00 and $310.00 for the same quality service.

Fort Worth Carpet Cleaning by Robert at All Action

Picture of Robert's truck in front of my home while cleaning my carpets.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

November 25, 2009

What is Search Engine Optimization? Why would you ask an SEO? I think the best person to ask is Google!

SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization” or “search engine optimizer.” Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site. Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:

  • Review of your site content or structure
  • Technical advice on website development: for example, hosting, redirects, error pages, use of JavaScript
  • Content development
  • Management of online business development campaigns
  • Keyword research
  • SEO training
  • Expertise in specific markets and geographies.

Keep in mind that the Google search results page includes organic search results and often paid advertisement (denoted by the heading “Sponsored Links”) as well. Advertising with Google won’t have any effect on your site’s presence in our search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results. Free resources such as Webmaster Tools, the official Webmaster Central blog, and our discussion forum can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search. Many of these free sources, as well as information on paid search, can be found on Google Webmaster Central.

Before beginning your search for an SEO, it’s a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work. We recommend starting here:

If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.

Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:

  • Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
  • Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
  • Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
  • What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
  • What’s your experience in my industry?
  • What’s your experience in my country/city?
  • What’s your experience developing international sites?
  • What are your most important SEO techniques?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?

While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index. Here are some things to consider:

  • Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:

    “Dear google.com,

    I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”

    Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night”
    diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.

  • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
  • Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.
  • You should never have to link to an SEO.Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of “free-for-all” links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don’t affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines — at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.
  • Choose wisely.While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. You might also seek out a few of the cautionary tales that have appeared in the press, including this article on one particularly aggressive SEO: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002002970_nwbizbriefs12.html.
    While Google doesn’t comment on specific companies, we’ve encountered firms calling themselves SEOs who follow practices that are clearly beyond the pale of accepted business behavior. Be careful.
  • Be sure to understand where the money goes.While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they “control” other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn’t work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results,
    but be sure to ask any SEO you’re considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.
  • What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter?
  • One common scam is the creation of “shadow” domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client’s behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor’s domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.

    Another illicit practice is to place “doorway” pages loaded with keywords on the client’s site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO’s other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.

  • What are some other things to look out for?
    • owns shadow domains
    • puts links to their other clients on doorway pages
    • offers to sell keywords in the address bar
    • doesn’t distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on search results pages
    • guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway
    • operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
    • gets traffic from “fake” search engines, spyware, or scumware
    • has had domains removed from Google’s index or is not itself listed in Google
  • There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO. It’s far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO:

    If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.

    In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/ and click on “File a Complaint Online,” call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:

    Federal Trade Commission


    Washington, D.C. 20580

    If your complaint is against a company in a country other than the United States, please file it at http://www.econsumer.gov/.

An SEO is a person who can help your website become an authority on Google. They can do the things necessary to get your site ranked, help your potential customers become conversations, and the conversations turn into dollars.

An SEO helps you make money on the internet. Some SEOs over promise and under deliver. Some SEOs have a good reputation. Some SEOs have a bad reputation. I think that what decides whether a SEO firm is worth his muster is what kind of ideas do they have. What are they going to do beyond “optimizing your website” that is what dictates whether Google sees your site as a local authority on your subject.

Give me a call to discuss this further or feel free to comment in this blog.

Mike Stewart
http://www.DallasSEOguru.com <—— new site coming soon…. stay tuned!

Just got off a long conversation with a potential “new” SEO client…

November 25, 2009

First question is always the same, “What do you charge for SEO on my http://www.InsertHere.com Dallas local website?” The answer is always going to be the same too!

“If I had 10-15 clients paying me $1000.00 per month for SEO, Content, Web Design, PPC, Social Media (gotta love HootSuite for Twitter!) and Link Building, I think that is all I would have to make to sustain my “standard of living.”  That is just about all it would take in order for me to replace the career and “6-figure” income I EARNED as a successful Media Consultant and SEO Strategist at Idearc Media (the antiquated bankrupt publisher of the Verizon Yellow Pages and Superpages.com.)”

Sounds like a plan to me………..  Let’s do the math:

I worked 50-60 hours per week while at Verizon/Idearc Yellow Pages for 9 years and 3 months.

Making my clients a good return on investment in the process (up until the Internet started killing the yellow pages) with my suggestions and implementation of ideas related to online marketing strategies, concepts, innovations, and ad messages. For years I have been promoting my holistic  approach and understanding of Search Engine Marketing (another plug for multi-verticle web marketing folks!)

10 affordable steps to effective local internet advertising

So if you do the math…….  that comes to around $35.00 per hour. Not a bad living, huh? Add in a little bit for the (at one time) great Health Benefits, 401K,  and you have a really great income. Now if you subtract the huge amount of stress due to the companies inability to actually become “America’s Small Business Local Advertising Agency” that they so claim to be, as well as subtracting the profit margins and end with accountability, you have a very rewarding career!

10-15 clients a month for 50-60 hours per week at around $40.00 per hour for work performed on the clients online brand.

That is just about 250-300 hours per year for each client.

Add that up and I just replaced my “corporate job” with one that does more to help local Dallas business owners get good advice on Google and Local Search Marketing.

That is the plan at least. Let me know what YOU think!

I hope all the other thousands of educated “Yellow Pages Media” Consultants can adapt to changing consumer behaviors due to the “INVENTION of the INTERNET”. We all can agree that America doesn’t need more unemployed workers!

Feel free to give me a call folks!


Mike Stewart


P.S. No Contracts…. No Big Collection Agencies….. and Excellent Client Focused Service and you have a win-win for everyone!

Socialism 101 – Why Welfare is Only Temporary

November 25, 2009

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that. What a profound short little paragraph that says it all:

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.

What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for,that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

Google.com – Making Life a bit Easier.

November 25, 2009

Great video of how Google can help make life a little bit easier!

Who will be the first Internet Yellow Pages to add Twitter?

November 23, 2009

What’s Happening: Twitters Geo-API Huge – as posted by Greg Sterling on his blog Screenwerk http://ping.fm/lgCLX

Stay Tuned for a great discussion regarding the use of Twitter in Yellow Pages results! Who will be first to add client Twitter information, Superpages.com, YellowPages.com, CitySearch.com, Yelp.com, Local.com?

What about Google adding a Twitter tab to the local business listings? Feed your profile with Twitter real-time search results!

Just a suggestion folks!

Well, update:

CitySearch partners with Twitter!

Citysearch and Twitter Team Up to Offer Business Tools

A new partnership between Citysearch and Twitter offers some clues about what Twitter’s long-awaited paid accounts for businesses might look like.

Citysearch announced Monday that it will provide the businesses on its site a few tools to help them make use of Twitter — and said that more tools would be coming soon, including some that sound a lot like what Twitter has repeatedly said it will offer businesses for a fee.

Businesses will now be able to write tweets from their Citysearch page and create a Twitter account from Citysearch’s Web site, the first time it has been possible to sign up for Twitter without going to Twitter.com.

“We’re excited about it because it’s a step to demystify Twitter, to help small businesses get on from a site they’re comfortable with,” said Kara Nortman, senior vice president of publishing at Citysearch. Many of the types of businesses that appear on Citysearch have been using Twitter as a marketing tool.

Citysearch will also incorporate tweets about a business into its profile page, so people reading about a restaurant, for example, will be able to see what people have recently tweeted about it. Though people can review businesses on Citysearch, they generally do not do so as actively as they do on Yelp, Citysearch’s competitor, so this will be a way to bring more of the customer’s perspective onto Citysearch.

Citysearch wants to become a directory of social media listings, Ms. Nortman said, so that any time someone is looking for a business’s Twitter or Facebook page, for example, they can find it on Citysearch. That will also be useful on Citysearch’s mobile application, because people who want to tweet about a restaurant or bar while they are out can easily find the business’s Twitter name.

Perhaps more intriguing, Ms. Nortman said that Citysearch’s new offerings are the first step in a plan to offer small businesses a bunch of information to help them “understand when and how and where their business is being talked about, across the Web.” This will include analysis of what people are saying and whether the sentiments are positive or negative.

That matches up with what Twitter’s co-founders have said Twitter will eventually do, and Ms. Nortman confirmed that the two companies have discussed doing this together. “Our conversations have involved that as a next stage in the partnership,” she said. “They’ll be offering corporate services through their partners.”

Evan Williams, Twitter’s co-founder and chief executive, recently told me something similar, although he suggested that any partnerships wouldn’t be exclusive.

So far, when Twitter has released a new feature, like location-aware tweets or Lists, it has made the technology available to all third-party developers building Twitter applications through the API.

When Twitter unveils commercial accounts, it will do the same thing, Mr. Williams said.

“We don’t plan to do everything, and we plan to offer an API for everything we do,” he said. “It’s the same thing with anything commercial –- it will be a platform for other people to build upon and make money as well.”

In Google WE Trust…..

November 23, 2009

CitySearch & Yelp have a higher percentage of traffic from Search Engines

What Percent of Traffic to IYP Sites Come From Search Engines?

In Google WE Trust……In Google We Trust

and in Internet Yellow Pages sites you don’t.

A question many business marketers ask me is:   Should I advertise in the online yellow pages sites? And what budget should I allocate?

Local Search traffic details year over year

Online Yellow Page directory sites such as Superpages.com, Yellowpages.com, CitySearch.com, Yelp.com, and YellowBook.com accounted for approximately 1/3 of all local search traffic in 2008. Since then Google, who has approx. 77% of all internet searches, has made big changes to the way it displays local search results. This change to the “10-Pack” of listings, Google Local Business Listings or LBL results, has made a huge dent into the overall traffic to IYP sites.  So considering that IYP sites account for less than 30% of overall local search traffic, why would you give an IYP company more than 30% of your online advertising budget?

My answer to the question of How much money should I allocate to sites like Superpages.com and Yellow Pages.com for my internet advertising budget would be no more than 30% divided up according to ComScore data.

Now the next question: Which online yellow pages sites should get the larger share of my local search budget? In my professional opinion it is best to see which sites have a higher ranking under your targeted keywords. For instance, Let’s say you have a local Dallas Divorce Attorney website, if you conduct a search on Google for “Dallas Divorce Attorney” you will see FindLaw as the only directory in the first page results on Google. I would advise this client to list with FindLaw to be listed on this:  http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/Divorce/Dallas/Texas page result.  You always want to be listed where the traffic is going to from the major search engines like Google and Yahoo, and the other even more significant reason to be listed is that it will help your SEO efforts. Your ranking on Google is dependent upon being linked to from other popular results. You want to create an authority with Google and you cannot become an authority without links that build this authority. Who is the authority on Google for “Dallas Divorce Attorney”? Google ranks your website based on authority.

If you online budget for pay per click is $2,000.00 per month, I would allocate around $400-$600 per month to the online Yellow Pages sites.  A suggested budget allocation would be as follows:

$250 to Superpages.com

$250 to Yellowpages.com

$100 to other high Google ranking IYP’s for your keyword search phrases

To achieve high organic web page rankings on Google you must first understand that SEO or Search Engine Optimization is 40% your website keywords, articles, and content and 60% depends on links, social media, and overall off-page authority of your website. Local IYP sites are great tools to build authority. Most local directory sites offer a “FREE Listing” or profile page that you can “optimize”. This profile or listing is very important to your organic rankings. A large percentage of the traffic to local search sites is from people looking for “white pages” type information. It is very important to take this into account and avoid paying a premium for leads and traffic from existing clients who are looking for your business contact information. This is easily accomplished with Google AdWords with bid management strategies. I have seen IYP sites charge clients for business name searches the same fees it charges for new client leads (around $2.50 per click or more).

You Don’t Want Traffic, You Don’t Even Really Want Clicks……. YOU WANT CONVERSIONS!


If your Google Adwords Reseller is only giving you Clicks and Call Reports without discussing your website converting visitors into conversations, it is time for you to stop giving them money for HORRIBLE advice, or lack thereof.

As far a concerns about click fraud, I would not participate in ANY online marketing without detailed analytics. One of my former managers at Idearc Media once told me years ago that “treatment without diagnosis is malpractice” and I have been telling my clients for years that you can’t manage what you can’t measure (“management without measurement” is an Internet Marketing malpractice“.)

Be cautious of a company that offers a bid system on top of Google’s perfected bid system. It is not as challenging to manage PPC ads as many Google resellers and PPC lead companies may lead you to think. Paying for phone calls has always been the most effective means of tracking ROI to advertising. Phone calls is only a measurement of ROI, not a very good measurement of what is going on with your potential clients thoughts and whether they saw your ad, read your message, and felt about your website. The combination of Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Landing Page creation, Ad Testing, and Google Voice is an extremely strong offer to local small and medium-sized businesses.

You Know Your PPC Company is Doing It All Wrong When They Charge You The Same Fee Per Click for Traffic Regardless of Conversions & Quality!

My agency offers affordable PPC management for a flat fee with no contract.

Why buy the cow when the milk is free? If you want to buy the cow…….. I can “sell” Daisy to you as well!

No agency should own the PPC work that you pay for… that includes the ReachLocal and Yellow Pages companies.

Give me a call! 214-267-9553.

I look forward to serving your Dallas Search Engine Marketing needs soon!


Mike Stewart

Crony Capitalism vs Main Street Capitalism, Duopolies of Economics and the future of Yellow Pages Advertising.

November 17, 2009

Our American economy, politics, and consumer spending market have all become a duopoly.

A true duopoly is a specific type of oligopoly where only two producers exist in one market. In reality, this definition is generally used where only two firms have dominant control over a market.

The most commonly cited duopoly is that between Visa and MasterCard, who between them control a large proportion of the electronic payment processing market. In 2000 they were the defendants in a US Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit.[1][2] An appeal was upheld in 2004.[3]

Examples where two companies control a large proportion of a market are:

What is most common in all these examples is the fear of competition by the capitalists at the top of these companies.  Regular Americans are not afraid of competition. Competition creates better jobs, better, economics, and better political policy. Competition creates innovation. Google is essentially afraid of it’s competition from Microsoft, Yahoo, and the next greatest internet fad or brand. It is what keeps Google on it’s toes and innovating.

What has contributed to making the above companies successful is creating a duopoly. Duopolies can be very profitable for category leaders. The only thing better for a large company is a monopoly. Take a moment and think of the yellow page advertising industry. For many years the local phone company was the only game in town for local advertisers to reach out to local consumers, essentially a monopoly. In 1984 the AT&T Telephone company was broken up. This essentially created healthy competition in an industry that really did not have competition. It was good for consumers since very few options existed at the time other than printed yellow page phone books, thus creating a duopoly.

Fast forward to the Telecom Act of 1996: It opened up competition and gave consumers more choice. Over the next few years  we saw an increased amount of competition among incumbant and CLEC phone companies in the yellow page advertising industry. No longer did the “phone companies” have a duopoly on the yellow page market. GTE Yellow Pages competed with Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages in the Dallas area market. Then all of a sudden we  saw a few independent phone books pop-up (mostly due to employees of the phone companies leaving and starting yellow page publishing companies with investors who saw the huge profit margins in yellow page advertising sales) over the next few years.

So what really happened to the yellow pages? The birth of the INTERNET. Google. Yahoo. MSN. etc., but most of all……” a huge change in the manner in which consumers find information.” Consider this, the internet has only been around for “Local Search” online since about 1999-2000, that is  just about four years post telecom deregulation.  I can tell you that from 2002-2009 the industry has done very little to compete with Google. While losing business to other forms of advertising media (such as Google and direct mail growth.)

The Yellow Page Duopoly in Media is Over

I witnessed the following questionable practices by executives of major yellow page publishers in order to create new revenues:

  • Dave Bethea at Idearc

and last but not least, what I witnessed first hand:

  • Sporting and Concert Tickets to friends and family vs Clients

Competition is good for all businesses (and in politics.) Competition creates innovation. Competition always offers a better value to consumers in the long run. Competition is bad for Crony Capitalists. Competition could have been good for the yellow pages, but since the Industry apparently disregards the feelings of its end-users by inundating homeowners with yellow page waste, It will eventually become a smaller factor in Local Search. Local search online will continue to outpace printed yellow pages. This is a FACT. The problem for Yellow Pages publishers is that they are not Google. They are not Yahoo. They are not MSN. They are FAR from innovative. They don’t ask the right questions. They do not care about the opinions of those that sale to clients. I was told this first hand.

I would love to conduct a poll among yellow page advertising sales reps about the usage of yellow pages. The company never asked for the information the entire time I was an employee? Why you ask? They don’t want me or 80% of the other 6,000 employees to let them know that we do not use the phone book. This is a fact. I have discussed this very subject with folks in the office while at Idearc Media in Dallas Tx.

Now there is the possibility that I am wrong. Considering that the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has always been the #1 Market for Yellow Pages in the country, I have a feeling that I am correct on my opinions. After almost 10 years at Verizon/Idearc I have come to realize that my employers did not value my opinion or the opinion of sales. Chalk it up to crony capitalism!

Google is currently still a Monopoly in local Search

By the way, be sure to check out the national CMR agency TMP., the largest client for yellow pages companies in the country, on what is happening with phone book usage, advertising rates, and the true value of print yellow pages. You can follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TMPDM. They are doing a great job of distributing “syndicated” research on the trends of Local Search Marketing. Don’t ever rely on the statistics from the industry. Don’t ever trust a “sales rep” who is not accountable for achieving your results.

So what is the real future?


Mike Stewart


Great video (very long…….) on Duopoly, Capitalism, and Politics…….

Comscore Announces Mobile Touchscreen and Smartphone Subscriber Statistics up 159% over one year ago

November 17, 2009

Interesting information. After playing with my Verizon Droid phone for the past week it is obvious that the manner in which consumers find local products and services will be migrating from printed products to the internet. I do not have all that much confidence in a yellow pages print industry that feels it is socially acceptable to distribute via saturation.

Another interesting stat:

18.5% of Mobile Users Conducted Local Internet Searches in 2009  

SOURCE: BIA/Kelsey’s Mobile Market View – Wave III

Touchscreen Mobile Phone Adoption Grows at Blistering Pace in U.S. During Past Year

Touchscreen Device Market Up 159 Percent vs. Year Ago with iPhone Accounting for 33 Percent of the Market

RESTON, VA, November 3, 2009 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released a study of touchscreen mobile phone adoption in the U.S., which showed a significant 159-percent growth rate during the past year to 23.8 million users in August 2009. The growth in touchscreen device adoption substantially outpaced the already strong 63-percent growth in U.S. adoption of smartphones.

Touchscreen Smartphone Adoption
3 Months Ending August 2009 vs. August 2008
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers, Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Device Type Subscribers (000)
Aug-08 Aug-09 Percent Change
Touchscreen 9,219 23,843 159%
Smartphone 20,735 33,779 63%

“Touchscreen phones have quickly gained adoption as new devices have flooded the mobile marketplace,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of Mobile. “It’s clear that consumers are embracing touchscreen interfaces that allow them to easily navigate the increasingly powerful and complex services afforded by new phones. This is a trend that should continue to pick up as additional touchscreen devices, many of them running the Android operating system, arrive in the market before the holiday shopping season.”

Top 10 Touchscreen Device Families

The Apple iPhone ranked as the top touchscreen device family with 32.9 percent of touchscreen device users age 13 and older, nearly four times larger than the market share of the next largest device family, the LG Dare (8.7 percent). LG Voyager ranked third with 7.8 percent of the market, followed by the Blackberry Storm (7.0 percent) and Palm Treo (6.5 percent).

Top Touchscreen Device Families by Share of Device Users
Three Months Ending August 2009
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers, Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Device Family Share (%) of Touchscreen Device Users
Total Touchscreen 100.0%
Apple iPhone 32.9%
LG Dare 8.7%
LG Voyager 7.8%
Blackberry Storm 7.0%
Palm Treo 6.5%
Samsung Instinct 5.0%
T-Mobile G1 3.6%
HTC Touch 3.3%
Samsung Glyde 2.7%
LG Xenon 2.6%

“The iPhone clearly set the trend in the industry for touchscreen devices, so it’s no surprise that it has the largest share of the market,” added Donovan. “But as other players have entered the touchscreen market with compelling devices, competition is clearly heating up.”

Touchscreen Users Younger than Average Mobile Phone User

Smartphones in general and touchscreen devices specifically tend to be more popular among younger users. While 38.8 percent of all mobile subscribers (age 13+) are under the age of 35, 51.4 percent of smartphone users are in this age cohort, as are 57.7 percent of touchscreen device users. In fact, a significant 20.6 percent of touchscreen users are in the narrow age range of 18-24. Meanwhile, less than 5 percent of smartphone and touchscreen device users are age 65 and older, compared to 13 percent of the total U.S. mobile audience.

Demographic Profile of Smartphone and Touchscreen Users
Three Months Ending August 2009
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers, Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
  Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Total Smartphone Touchscreen
Total Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Age 13-17 7.8% 6.3% 8.5%
Age 18-24 13.1% 16.4% 20.6%
Age 25-34 17.9% 28.7% 28.6%
Age 35-44 17.6% 22.9% 18.8%
Age 45-54 18.2% 13.6% 12.3%
Age 55-64 12.4% 7.5% 7.3%
Age 65+ 13.1% 4.5% 3.9%

About comScore
comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com/companyinfo.

Andrew Lipsman
Director, Marketing Communications
comScore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6510

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Google webinar on the recession, economy, marketing in 2010…. out with the old, in with the new!

November 14, 2009

With 2010 just around the corner, getting ahead of the recovery is top of mind. But where should a marketer focus? In our ever-changing marketplace, marketers need to thoughtfully plan the moves that will differentiate their offerings, increase competitive advantage, and seize opportunities as the economy recovers. On November 10, 2009, Google’s Bonita Stewart, Managing Director of U.S. Sales, hosted a webinar covering these topics.

* Social Networking @ 16%

* Twitter impact

* Subscription marketing

* Ratings & Review Sites grow

* Consumers are SEARCHING more than ever, not just text, but images and video as well.

“Short and sweet…… the manner in which you market your brand must keep up with consumer demand”.   – Mike Stewart

Marketing in 2010 will change consumer buying habits. Consumers want to connect with businesses. Imagine having a discussion with a potential client on Facebook, Twitter, or a online chat prior to providing the service for that consumer. Marketing in 2010 can be measured unlike marketing in 2008. Times are changing.

Deliver your brand message while offering consumers the ability to engage at the same time. Create a YouTube channel to allow clients the ability to subscribe.

You cannot manage what you cannot measure!

How to Link Google Analytics to AdWords accounts:

and last but not least… how to track and determine your Return on Investment (ROI)


Check out the video review of the latest Verizon Wireless smartphone the Motorola Droid

November 14, 2009

Idearc Media phone number list source and deregulation cause FairPoint phone book to have missing numbers and errors

November 12, 2009

UnionLeader.com – New Hampshire news, business and sports – More FairPoint woes: Phone book lost numbers – Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

Posted using ShareThis

If you can’t seem to get the phone book to be any more accurate than the internet…. why bother printing it? Seems as though the companies need to get it right if they are going to attempt to state that they are the “best yellow pages” out there. If you saturate my house with phone books… atleast make sure the information is accurate. It isn’t enough that the yellow pages industry saturate our Dallas area homes, they also don’t seem to be that interested in making sure the information is accurate! Take some accountability and fix the problem… might go along way to creating the subscription based business model consumers deserve!

Meanwhile folks in New Hampshire are going to really not suffer as much as regulators might think. Take a look at the recent comments from local consumers regarding FairPoint’s phone book mistakes and Idearc’s errors when the the local phone book was published.  See, it wasn’t a big deal after all. AT&T also has announced recently that it intends to stop printing as many White Pages directories.

EveryCarListed.com from Idearc has my thumbs up. The only future for Idearc..

November 11, 2009

Here is a recent press release many may have missed regarding changes happening at Bankrupt Yellow Pages company Idearc Media.

Before I offer it to you, if you are looking for the latest reviews on Yellow Pages advertising companies visit www.YellowCrooks.com …..

Before I share the most recent press release of Idearc Media’s newly purchased acquisition of EveryCarListed.com.  I ask that you take a second and offer your thoughts on the site from a consumer’s perspective. I am a huge believer in the  “Field of Dreams” quote “You Build It, They Will Come.” The same applies to verticals.  Unfortunately, the antiquated yellow pages industry has been slow to create new verticals but I am already digging what they are doing with video and cars down in Tyler Texas at EveryCarListed.com, a company that Idearc Media (the creators of Superpages.com) has included in its business mix. I hope they leverage the remaining years of revenue from 90% of the company’s business, print yellow pages, and fund more verticals such as EveryCarListed.com. Although I must admit, I do recall the company making the purchase at the time of spin-off from Verizon in the same manner it purchaEven a Blind Squirrel finds a nut once in a while by Dallas Google Guru Mike Stewart on Idearc Mediased Inceptor.com. Timing was great on the purchase and an excellent move by Scott Klein’s team in my opinion. The all video car shopping site is very innovative and forward thinking. I am digging the way the site hunts down pictures and converts the still images into a video. Very cool. Although the video work is terrible to say the least. I would prefer to watch videos if they were live vs just video picture montages.

Let’s see if http://www.EveryCarListed.com catches with consumers!  And then we will soon see if it catches with advertisers. (if the price from what I’ve been told is only $ from $1400.00 per month it might be a great alternative to spending money in printed newspapers for dealerships which has been proven to be a horrible return on investment lately for Car Dealers.

A few weeks prior to leaving the company I had a meeting scheduled with Dave Bethea one of Idearc’s Executive Vice Presidents regarding a few ideas. My Regional Vice President at the time, Janet Bro,  suggested that I meet with him to discuss my ideas on new verticals for the company and some inherent issues with the companies internet product mix. I was unfortunate to have Strep Throat and had to cancel my meeting. Never rescheduled it since my manager at the time expressed his opinion and results from meetings with the executive team at Idearc.

I am crossing my fingers that they take a step towards additional new .com verticals and transition to focusing on a client service .com model vs the sales model the company focuses on. Until you put the right talent in front of your top tier advertisers you will continue to experience churn.

So without further adieu………………..

via  Lisa Vilfordi, Idearc Media, lisa.vilfordi@idearc.com, 972-453-3916

EveryCarListed.comSM, Powered by Superpages.com, Becomes the Only All-Video Car Listing Site and One of the Only Car Listing Sites Providing Free Videos.  Superpages.com launches a new “Cars” tab housing all listings from idearclogo1


DALLAS – July 21, 2009 – Idearc Media LLC, home to Superpages.com® and publisher of the
Verizon® Yellow Pages, today announced that its Internet site EveryCarListed.com SM has
launched one million vehicle videos on its free automobile listing site. The videos are provided
to each listing for free and by year end, EveryCarListed.com will launch videos to the remaining listings creating the only all-video vehicle listing site in the nation.
The vehicle videos simulate a trip to the dealer by providing consumers a “walk around”
experience while a voice-over describes the car features. View this video of a 2007 Hummer H2. According to comScore, in  November 2008, 146 million Americans viewed 12.7 billion online videos. “Online videos are becoming part of the buying process,” said Briggs Ferguson, Internet President at Idearc Media. “Videos touch consumers’ senses and enhance the buying experience, which in turn provides dealers and for sale by owner listings more quality leads from EveryCarListed.com.”
EveryCarListed.com, which launched in August 2008 and was acquired by Idearc Media in February 2009, has more than 2 million dealership and “For Sale by Owner” listings. Vehicle listings on the site are current and updated daily through EveryCarListed.com’s agreements with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). When inventory changes at local dealerships, the OEM relationship ensures the most up-to-date vehicle information is posted to EveryCarListed.com. Superpages.com features a new “Cars” destination tab at the top of the home page, allowing consumers to shop for vehicles within the site. According to comScore, the Superpages.com network has more than 27 million unique visitors a month and ranks 27th in the top 50 U.S. Web properties.
“With Superpages.com’s traffic and EveryCarListed.com’s content, we are creating a powerful automobile sales arena,” said Ferguson. “These sites will provide a venue for dealers to take advantage of exclusive advertising opportunities that will bring more consumers to their dealerships.” On the EveryCarListed.com site, consumers can search listings by make, model, fuel economy
and many additional preferences. Automobile dealer inventories are listed at a basic service 2 level at no charge to the dealer. The site also offers new vehicles from franchised dealers, and “For Sale by Owner” listings free of charge. The EveryCarListed.com video technology, provided through Digital Motorworks, Inc., is the Liquidus Video Platform. Liquidus offers a unique real-time video capability that ensures vehicle information is always fresh and up-to-the-minute for every dealer and every vehicle.

Certain statements included in this press release and the hyperlinked materials constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect Idearc management’s current views with respect to Idearc’s financial performance and future events with respect to its business and industry in general. Statements regarding Idearc’s exploration of alternatives related to its capital structure are forward-looking statements. Statements that include the words “believe,” “will,” “anticipate,” “foresee,” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Idearc
cautions you not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The following important factors could affect future results and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements: (i) that the bankruptcy filing and the related cases disrupt current plans and operations; (ii) risks that Idearc’s business could suffer
from the loss of key customers, suppliers or personnel during the pendency of the bankruptcy case; (iii) risks that Idearc’s plan of reorganization fails to obtain the requisite approval from the claim holders entitled to vote on the plan; (iv) risks that Idearc will be able to maintain sufficient liquidity for the pendency of the bankruptcy cases; (v) risk that the bankruptcy court rejects Idearc’s plan of reorganization; (vi) limitations on Idearc’s operating and strategic flexibility during the pendency of the bankruptcy cases; (vii) risks related to a long and protracted restructuring; (viii) risks related to Idearc’s declining print revenue, including a reduction in customer spending resulting from the current economic downturn; (ix) changes in Idearc’s competitive position due to the  competition from other yellow pages directories publishers and other traditional and new media and its ability to anticipate or respond to changes in technology and user preferences; (x) declining use of print yellow pages directories; (xi) changes in the availability and cost of paper and other raw materials used to print directories and reliance on third-party printers and distributors; (xii) increased credit risk associated with reliance on small- and medium-sized businesses, in particular in the current economic environment; (xiii) changes in operating performance; (xiv) Idearc’s ability to attract and retain qualified executives; (xv) Idearc’s ability to maintain good relations with its unionized employees; (xvi) changes in U.S. labor, business, political and/or economic
conditions; (xvii) changes in governmental regulations and policies and actions of regulatory bodies; and (xviii) risks associated with Idearc’s obligations under agreements entered into with Verizon in connection with the spin-off. For a discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, see Idearc Inc.’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which you may view at http://www.sec.gov, and in particular, Idearc Inc.’s Annual Report on Form 10-K.
About Idearc Media LLC
Idearc Media LLC, a subsidiary of Idearc Inc. (IDARQ.PK), delivers products on multiple
platforms to help consumers find the information they want, wherever they are. Idearc’s multiplatform
of advertising solutions include Verizon® Yellow Pages, Verizon® White Pages,
Verizon® Yellow Pages Companion Directories, FairPoint® Yellow Pages, FairPoint® Yellow
Pages Companion Directories, Superpages.com®, Switchboard.comSM, LocalSearch.comSM,
Superpages MobileSM and SuperpagesDirect™ direct mail products. For more information, visit
About EveryCarListed.com
EveryCarListed.com the nation’s largest all video free-listings Web site for automobiles,
designed to contain all new and used vehicles for sale in the U.S. Its business model is like that
of the Yellow Pages, which has a highly utilized model of free listings. Including all dealer
inventories at a basic service level free of charge and allowing all “For Sale by Owner” listings to
be placed for free, EveryCarListed.com creates a powerful automobile marketplace. Millions of
current vehicle listings, updated daily, and agreements with Original Equipment Manufacturers
(OEMs) as well as GM Certified Used Vehicles and other strategic partners, ensure that when
inventory changes at local dealerships, the most up-to-date vehicle information will be posted to
the Web site. For more information visit http://www.EveryCarListed.com/corp.

So what is your opinion of the site? Please give me your feedback and comments on the direction Idearc is taking.

How to build a Google ad that performs well. Great ad tips from Google.com

November 5, 2009

Google Adwords Ad Tips

Better ad texts, better performance

Your potential customers decide to visit your website based solely on what they see in your ads when they type in a search query, so ad texts play a crucial role in determining the success of your AdWords advertising.

In the video below we share with you our best practices for creating winning ad texts. These will provide you with ideas to test when writing your ads, which will help to differentiate your business from the crowd and drive even more relevant traffic to your website!

  • Use keywords in your ad title and ad text

    The easiest way to improve the performance of your ads is to think about how to make them more relevant to your potential customers. You’ve chosen keywords that are very specific to your products or services – and therefore relevant to your target audience – so the next step is to make sure that the ads which are matched to these keywords relate closely to them.

    Including successful keywords directly in the ad title is an effective way of increasing clicks because customers can immediately see the link between the keyword they used in their query, your product, and the content of your website.

    In addition, using words from your keyword list in any line of your ad text means these words will appear in bold to users who searched on them. This helps to draw the user’s attention to the ad and further highlights its relevance.

    Think about it from a user’s point of view – if you type in ‘digital camera’ would you rather see a general electronics ad, or an ad that includes the term ‘Digital Camera’ in its ad text?

  • Direct your users to the right page

    Ensure that the destination URL you use for each ad brings users to a specific landing page which relates directly to their search. For example, if a prospective customer is searching for ‘8 megapixel cameras’, the ideal landing page would feature this exact type of camera.

  • Add a call-to-action to your ads

    Try using a call-to-action in your ads, as this will give your potential customers a clear indication of what they can expect to do on your site. For example, calls-to-action such as ‘Buy Now’, ‘Sign Up Today’ or ‘Order Online’ can be really effective in increasing your ad’s performance.

  • Include your unique selling points

    Your ad text should make you stand out from your competitors and highlight your unique selling points. These can be products, prices, delivery offers or services that make your business unique, attractive or different. Have a look at your competitors’ ads and see if you can make your ad stand out by highlighting what you offer that no-one else does.

    Remember your customers will choose you over others purely based on the benefits that your ad is selling. The more information about your product that a user can gain from your ad text, the better. For example, if a user sees the price of a product and still clicks the ad, you know they’re interested in a potential purchase at that price. If they don’t like the price, they won’t click your ad, and you save yourself the cost of that click.

  • Inter-capitalize the ad text

    This may sound obvious, but using appropriate capitalization in ads can really have an effect on how they look. See below for an example of two ads – which one would you click on if you were looking to buy a new camera?

    8 mega pixel cameras 10% off digital camerasfree delivery buy today!http://www.camerashopsite.com
    8 Mega Pixel Cameras10% Off Digital CamerasFree Delivery. Buy Today!http://www.CameraShopSite.com

    The second ad looks more professional and is more eye-catching to users. Look over your existing ads and see can any of them be improved by something as simple as adding a few capitals to the beginning of words. And remember this can apply to the display URL as well, as shown in the second ad text.

Log into your account today, and edit your ads to make them even more compelling to your potential customers!

If you would like to learn even more ways to improve your account performance, why not visit our new Optimization Center, which is full of useful tips to help you get more customers?

The hedge fund Paulson also agreed not to attempt a takeover of Idearc following its exit from bankruptcy protection.

November 4, 2009

Paulson co header

Hedge fund Paulson & Co. is seeking to acquire up to 45% of Idearc Inc.’s common stock by offering creditors cash payment for the shares they are slated to receive under the directory publisher’s proposed reorganization plan.

In court papers filed Thursday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas, Paulson said its offer is based on the common stock having a value of $200 million. Idearc’s lenders are slated to take 95% of the reorganized company’s equity and unsecured creditors, including bondholders, would see 5% under a bankruptcy-exit plan Idearc sent out to creditors for a vote in September.

A holder of both secured and unsecured claims, Paulson is already in line to take 13% of the Idearc’s stock under the plan.

In court papers, Idearc said the deal with Paulson “will confer a benefit upon creditors not currently available under the plan.”

The deal, which requires court approval, would allow Paulson to name one member of Idearc’s board of directors if it succeeds in acquiring at least 20% of the shares.

To achieve that goal, Paulson can raise the price it is willing to pay for the stock and extend the time creditors have to consider accepting the plan.

The Dallas bankruptcy court will consider Idearc’s bankruptcy-exit plan at a Dec. 9 hearing. Paulson’s deal with the company requires that it emerge from Chapter 11 protection by Feb. 28, 2010.

Under the agreement, the percentage of shares the hedge fund can buy is capped at 45%, including the stock that it is already slated to receive under Idearc’s Chapter 11 plan. If creditors seek to exchange a greater percentage of shares, they would receive a combination of cash and stock to satisfy their debts.

The hedge fund also agreed not to attempt a takeover of Idearc following its exit from bankruptcy protection.

Idearc said the deal will stabilize its post-bankruptcy share price because creditors that would quickly sell their stock following emergence can instead select the cash option.

Idearc was spun out of Verizon Communications Inc. in 2006. The Dallas company’s restructuring plan eliminates $7 billion of the debt it took on as part of that transaction.

The company publishes Verizon’s print telephone directories and also hosts the online directory Superpages.com.

Paulson & Co. to own approx. 10% of Conseco

An Interview with the foremost Expert in Google Local Search – Mr. David Mihm by Shagun Vatsa

November 3, 2009

a great read on Local Search Interview With David Mihm the foremost Expert in Google Local Search http://ping.fm/y92dc


Layed Off Reporters Become Freelance Content Writers for SEO Firms and Small Businesses

November 2, 2009

Reporters become entrepreneurs in wake of job cuts – SFBJ – NEW SOURCE 4 CONTENT WRITERS! http://ping.fm/pFByv