Rock the Vote says “Hold Out for Healthcare” -not work safe video-

December 22, 2009

F the Vote w/ Zach Gilford & Eva Amurri from Rock the Vote, Zach Gilford, and Eva Amurri – Video.

Silly kids… voting is not for idiots. Holding out for Healthcare? You gotta be kidding me! Rock the Vote?

Is it in the Constitution for a state to succeed from the Union again? I am thinking about refusing to play with California, the States that have Senators named Nelson, and wherever Kanye West is from.

Who’s coming with me?

Entrepreneurs Can Change the World – A Must See Short Clip

December 22, 2009

You can change the world. Remember when you were a kid?

Obamacare Hazardous to America’s Health — David Limbaugh —

December 22, 2009

Time for real change in Washington and in corporate offices everywhere!

Obamacare Hazardous to America’s Health — David Limbaugh —

Crony Politicians needing to be paid off for votes. Crony Executives looking to use power and influence to get a leg up.’t you folks getting tired of all this? Wall Street and Capital Hill need to realize that Main Street Americans are tired of the bullshit!

The commonalities between Yellow Pages – A Prescription for the Future and the solutions to our Health care problem are very intriguing.

Senators on Capital Hill will do whatever it takes to shove health care “reform” (real health care reform fixes the insurance system and price of health care, such as fee for service costs etc, as well as builds health care awareness focus) which to me is another pay off. Instead of the banks, it is the insurance companies and doctors associations.

“Reforming” healthcare is one thing… paying off fellow Democrats simply to get the necessary votes to allow for debate is scandalous:

Staffers on Capitol Hill were calling it the Louisiana Purchase.

On the eve of Saturday’s showdown in the Senate over health-care reform, Democratic leaders still hadn’t secured the support of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of the 60 votes needed to keep the legislation alive. The wavering lawmaker was offered a sweetener: at least $100 million in extra federal money for her home state.

And so it came to pass that Landrieu walked onto the Senate floor midafternoon Saturday to announce her aye vote — and to trumpet the financial “fix” she had arranged for Louisiana. “I am not going to be defensive,” she declared. “And it’s not a $100 million fix. It’s a $300 million fix.”

Even when she finally announced her support, at 2:30 in the afternoon, Lincoln made clear that she still planned to hold out for many more concessions in the debate that will consume the next month. “My decision to vote on the motion to proceed is not my last, nor only, chance to have an impact on health-care reform,” she announced.

“My vote today,” she said in a soft Southern accent that masked the hard politics at play, “should in no way be construed by the supporters of this current framework as an indication of how I might vote as this debate comes to an end.” Among the concessions she’ll seek: more tax credits for small business and a removal of the version of the “public option” now in the bill.

Democrats have shown they don’t care what they do to this country fiscally.  The $787 billion “stimulus” ($1.24 trillion with interest figured in) not to mention the nearly $1 trillion cost to “reform” and all of the additional costs that will hit individuals and businesses will result in less money in the pockets of taxpayers, less hiring by employees, and lower wages as companies seek to try and maintain some profits in our new Democratically managed economy.

Witness the recent statement by Emerson Electronics’ CEO regarding how Obama is treating American businesses:

One of the country’s most important industrial companies says the United States is not a good place to manufacture and it will continue moving its assets offshore.

The federal government is “doing everything in [its] manpower [and] capability to destroy U.S. manufacturing,” says David Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson Electric Co., in a presentation at the Baird 2009 Industrial Conference in Chicago Ill., on Nov. 11. In comments reported by Bloomberg, Farr added that companies will continue adding jobs in China and India because they are “places where people want the products and where the governments welcome you to actually do something. I am not going to hire anybody in the United States. I’m moving. They are doing everything possible to destroy jobs.”

Expect this trend to continue as Democrats push for a more government managed economy.  The result is going to be rationed care, higher taxes, lower quality healthcare, higher unemployment, and more payoffs as we have already seen simply to buy votes.

The generational theft that the Democrats are perpetrating is criminal.

Meanwhile, Yellow Pages publishers want to shove phone books on you whether you want them or not. Then they hold the local government accountable for paying to remove the waste. I think they need to get your permission to send you a book. No OPT OUT… now that you are not regulated to send us one (the phone companies have said they don’t feel getting a book is now necessary) distribution needs to become an OPT IN based system.

The first yellow pages to announce that they are going green and creating a subscription based model will earn the respect of business owners everywhere and show that they want real change.

Prescription for the future

Clearly the advertising spend for SMBs is changing. This August, for the first time, the number of SMBs using the Internet to advertise (77%) was higher than the number of SMBs using traditional advertising (69%). However, the full weight and enormity of this has not yet been felt, as a disproportionate number of dollars were still attributed to traditional advertising. That, however, is about to change. In fact, Internet advertising, currently the third largest spend, is expected to surpass the newspaper spend before 2013 – newspapers being the biggest advertising spend overall today. Unless newspapers react with products other than print, we think this day will come as early as 2011 or 2012.

Much of this shift is happening as SMBs shift their advertising spend from traditional media  to their own online presences, pure-play verticals and Google Adwords. The YP industry is in a truly unique position to take advantage of this opportunity and potentially even grow their share of SMB advertising spend.

A successful future for YP will include evolutionary changes such as transitioning online to IYP, embracing transparency, pay-for-performance, user-generated content, publishing cycle changes, pricing model changes, and sales process changes. However, revolutionary change will need to be embraced to truly seize the opportunity. The YP industry will need to think back to their origins and rediscover the essence of what made them the most valuable source of advertising to their customers. Before the Internet the Yellow pages were:

  1. The most trusted and complete source of business information.
  2. A business model that was incontrovertibly the best ROI available.
  3. The most convenient, fastest way to engage local businesses.

Here is our prescription for how Yellow Pages can attain the above:

  1. Become the most trusted source by providing Social Context to consumers visiting the directory.
  2. Become the most complete and richest source of business listings by allowing all businesses to provide complete and rich data and participate in the online directory for free.
  3. Provide an incontrovertible ROI by embracing a new advertising model in which advertisers set their own advertising fee and only pay based on a successful transaction, and use this model to leverage the advertisers’ spend on their existing web presence.
  4. Become the most convenient, fastest way to engage local businesses by providing consumers with an interactive system to communicate with advertisers on a one-to-many basis.

We would be remiss if we did not tell you that we have developed the set of tools that can help YP companies do exactly what we’ve described.

Using our platform, the Yellow Pages can once again attain this position of advertising dominance. Yellow Page companies have both the sales force and the means to take advantage of the shift of advertising dollars from traditional print to online models.

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The Ethics in Paying for Reviews

December 22, 2009

Recently the Internet began buzzing about Google discussions on buying for $500 million.

I can only assume that either Yelp decided not to sell, or Google discovered how became the top online consumer review site for local businesses.

Paying Reviewers to Review.

Recently Dick Larkin, a well-known and knowledgeable yellow pages industry insider, commented on Yelp’s tactics of buying reviews on his blog:


Why does Google really want Yelp?

Yelp Slumber Party

Google is reportedly buying for around half a billion dollars.  Heck, it makes me wanna yelp!

Yelp is a consumer review site that sells advertising to local businesses.

In a perfect world, the honesty of reviews adds credibility to each business, and advertising simply provides for greater exposure and content.

But it’s not a perfect world, and advertisers prefer not being bad mouthed where they spend their money.

Yelp has 8 million reviews on its site, which I suppose would make it one of the most popular review sites online.

When Yelp was expanding into San Diego, I noticed that a few people were posting massive amounts of business reviews.  So I called one of the most prolific posters and asked her if she was being paid by Yelp.

Indeed she was, and her job was to post information on businesses that she encountered.

That seemed like a good way to get exposure for local businesses, and since I was running an Internet marketing company, I decided to hire people to post Yelp reviews for my clients.

Imagine glowing reviews, “Dude, my sewer rooter guy is totally awesome!”

I ran an ad on Craigslist seeking people who would post reviews of local businesses on Yelp.  I was probably a little too forthcoming about the details in the ad, and I received an email from Craig Newmark (the “Craig” in Craigslist).

Craig Newmark

He said that my ad sounded shady and he wanted to know if I would really pay people to post honest, positive reviews of local businesses.

I informed him that I was doing exactly what the founders of Yelp were doing.

Craig contacted the owners of Yelp, and after a few more emails, he removed my ad.

Yelp was clearly much smarter than me, hence the half a billion Google’s tucking into Yelp’s G-string.

But it makes me question sites that post reviews about businesses that they then solicit advertising dollars from.

It creates a pretty big conflict of interest.

BBB Logo

Of course, the grandaddy of them all is the Better Business Bureau, who run the closest thing to a protection racket with hush money that you’ll ever find.

Some businesses have questioned the authenticity of an “authority” that rakes in dollars from businesses who try to clear their good name.

I’m certain that the Google advertising machine will make the Yelp acquisition into a gold mine of revenue.

But I really wonder how well Google’s “Do no evil” slogan syncs with the way local review sites actually operate.

I’d love to hear your comments.  Post them at: Post your opinion here:


So back to my soapbox:

Realistically, what do you expect from companies? Consumers leave reviews when they have a bad experience more than a good one.  I feel as though there is going to be no means of avoiding the reprocussions of the bathroom wall of America: The World Wide Web. When you start paying people to add data or manipulate the information for profit, the integrity of the site is at question. Questionable activities and sites do not last for a longtime or build a large subscription base once people find out what is going on behind the scenes.  Even the BBB is not 100% authentic with reviews. Of course folks like me have known for years it is about as governmental as “Federal Express” (or the Federal Reserve for that matter.) What are the solutions to maintaining integrity and ethics in online reviews? How long until the publishers manipulate reviews to keep protect and keep from losing clients? What happens when a big advertising spender offers horrible service? Will people who work for online directory publishers, such as’s site by Idearc Media, influence consumer perception by removing negative reviews or sales agents adding fake positive reviews? If you folks don’t think this is going to be an issue going forward, you are sadly mistaken!

What is a possible solution to this issue?

A few years back Idearc attempted to leverage content from Sue Goldstein of  The Underground Shopper on the cover of local Dallas-Ft Worth area yellow pages directories.  It didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time since folks seldom use the yellow pages to research products and reviews/ratings information.

Sue Goldstein  Now it makes great sense to reach out for local experts and create a paid “secret shopper” program. Now, I would first recommend that said “media company” that leverages a great idea, like partnering with local bargain hunters and experts such as Sue Goldstein, on the right vertical. Social media is the vertical for ratings and reviews. Internet directories can become great rating and review sites. The issue is: How Do You Encourage People To Leave Reviews? How about a day of shopping with Sue paid for by the publisher to members who are subscribed to the companies print and online products? How about subscription based rewards programs? It would be a great idea to leverage the expertise and reviews of a bargain hunter like Sue Goldstein? How many unknown Sue Goldsteins exist? I am sure there are a few of them all over the country.

I also think it would be wise to pay for reviews from experts such as SuperHandyman Al Carrell.  This is the kind of marketing that the print industries can take offline and leverage online (or vice versa.)  I am less than pleased with the attempt from the major phone book publishers to adapt to a content strategy for local search. Unlike vertical web properties (sites like, Ebay,,,, etc) the yellow pages internet brands do very little to leverage important consumer content other than a list. If you are looking for tips and information, all they are attempting to do is API tweets on Twitter with very little focus. I don’t understand what they are attempting to accomplish.

My suggestion to print publishers: Take your ideas that won’t work in print and see if they stick on the web. Some of the ideas: like leveraging well-known local experts, can really work well in the social media world wide web.

Time for the YP Industry to start leveraging relationships with area experts. Create a new form of content that folks want to subscribe to. What about a column from the areas expert in the phone book with a barcode scanner app on a mobile smartphone such as the Droid or iPhone? Time for the industry to get creative.

If the best you can come up with is a copied gimmick…… you deserve your fate:

The Future of Yellow Pages