After reading a new article regarding the internet SEM investments and recent venture capital funding to WebVisible (another $20M), Reach Local (original $55M back in Oct 2007), and Yodle (recently funded with another $38M) I wanted to comment about The Next Bubble. Let’s discuss the what where and why investors are hot for SEM, Search, and what I see is still groundbreaking opportunity in local search marketing consulting, as Greg Sterling’s blog pointed out here in his blog titled Screenwerk.
The thing about this topic is that it is both political, thoughtful, and very personal to me.
If you look at the success of Google (information from Wiki:) over the “somewhat” recent years-
Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG, FWB: GGQ1) is a multinational public cloud computing and Internet search technologies corporation that hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, generating profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while the two were attending Stanford University as Ph.D. candidates. It was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998, with its initial public offering to follow on August 19, 2004. Its headquarters, located in Mountain View, California, is often referred to as the Googleplex, which is derived from the number googolplex. The company’s stated mission from the outset was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, and the company’s unofficial slogan, coined by Google engineer Paul Buchheit, was Don’t be evil. It runs over one million servers in data centers around the world, processing over one billion search requests every day and about one petabyte of user-generated data each hour. Even the company’s name, Google, was a play on the large number googol to represent the large amount of information the company set out to organize.
Google is set to become the largest company in America.
What is all this? A massive transfer of wealth if you ask me. Both for corporations (GTE Telephone/Bell Atlantic/AT&T Long Distance and Yellow Pages) to the same corporations (Verizon & AT&T mobile) to new corporations (Google and Yahoo.) Now what is preventing phone companies from making money is partnerships. Mobile search, just like internet PC search, is being dominated by Google (and in this case even Apple has skin in the game with the iPhone.) The phone companies are no longer making the big bucks in advertising. Yellow Pages are going bankrupt due to mismanagement and poor decisions by top level executives early in the Internet Bubble. Verizon did not properly invest in SuperPages or fund the company, unlike Google and Yahoo who have had very little trouble funding. Verizon sapped the life out of Idearc further with debt to prevent investment in itself. Venture capitalists are not “glamoured” with Verizon or yellow page companies when it comes to internet marketing. They are only”glamoured” by Google and companies like Google. Unfortunately SuperMedia is stuck with a bad perception and trends of decline and increased competition from ReachLocal, Yodle, and now WebVisible are “moving the companies cheese” even faster.
They now employ more folks than the entire Yellow Pages industry, just shy of 20,000. They also are the foundation to a relatively new way of thinking. They are the creators of the television. The creators of the phone book.
Google co-founder Larry Page provides several tips for entrepreneurs. Tip 1: Just don’t settle. Especially with employees, it is very important to find great people you are compatible with. Tip 2: There is a benefit from being real experts. Experience pays off. Tip 3: Have a healthy disregard for the impossible. Stretch your goals. Tip 4: It is OK to solve a hard problem. Solving hard problems is where you will get the biggest leverage. Tip 5: Don’t pay attention to the VC bandwagon. Don’t start a company just because you can. Instead, have a really good idea that is good regardless of the funding situation.
Where is the next investment? I don’t think it will be in systems (proprietary bid management and measurement systems) but in people. Who are the people? Potentially they could be folks like me who were displaced from yellow pages. I have been in local small business internet advertising for almost 10 years. This year I turn 29 (scary thought believe it or not!) This business is growing fast and I don’t think it is even a toddler! If this next Internet Bubble were compared to the hay days of Phone Books and Yellowpages we would be around the time they first started putting color ads in the books. Very EXCITING times to be in if you ask me.
While venture capitalists and hedge funds have had the first crack at making money, Google has been able to keep the companies stock out of the reach of folks like me. Stocks that trade at +$500 per share are not easy to trade for small players, much like a share of Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett’s company) stock.
This is a massive wealth redistribution movement if you ask me.
Greater than the Industrial Revolution and the roaring 20’s! Digital is still growing. Mobile Search is the next internet boom.
DOES SALES = TRUTH?
It is great to be in the industry. I am excited. Nervous. And eager to help local Dallas area business owners take a chunk out of this “land grab.”
If you stick with a company who forces you to sign a contract and does not give you a dedicated consultant (much like your business coach, pastor, or attorney) to speak with face to face and show you what, why, and how they are helping you make money in these exciting times…. Isn’t it time to find a new local advertising consultant?
As a Board of Directors member of the Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing association (and the first fully designated “Local Guy”) I am eager to create America’s First Local Small Business Advertising Agency who offers 110% transparency and the GUARANTEED best value in local advertising service.
My blog will soon be moved to a new domain and archived. This is the last post I will make to this blog. I am sure some folks are excited to hear the news. Am I sort of turning my hat? Sure. I look at it more as a change of uniform and marching to a different beat. A faster one. A consistent one. An honest one.
Since being terminated by Bill Brewer (the new Regional Vice President at Idearc) for making 192 phone calls vs 200 for the week (I had 76 more than the second most of my peers) and his discontinuation of the local sales office call logs, coupled with the direction Scott Klein and Executives are taking the organization, (such as the cold call, sign a contract, funnel the service through India or an understaffed and underfunded department of rookie Google account manager) business model the Verizon/Idearc/SuperMedia put in place.
I am excited about the now. Disappointed about the past. Eager towards the future.
I started with Verizon, thanks to a bit of nepotism. My mother and my experience cold calling at US Wireless Communications in Mesquite Tx helped me get the job. It took me 5 years to believe it was a career. I lost my Mother, who worked in the same Verizon Yellow Pages sales office as me at Fuller Drive in Las Colinas, in a horrible motorcycle accident on October of 2008. The past few years have been challenging. October of 2009 was the end of my career (which had hit the corporate glass ceiling, ( again thanks to folks like Bill Brewer, Dave Bethea, and crony SuperMedia CEO Scott Klein.) Crony executives don’t see talent or believe in passion. They don’t care if you do it right. They don’t really even care what happens to the client. (Clients used to get all the tickets to the Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers, Stars games… now the executives take 4 off the top for “personal use.” In my opinion they care about themselves and the price of the stock vs the employees and clients they work with. Who cares when you live in a 3.2 million dollar house in Highland Park? If only he could read the comments emailed to me from current and former employees.
Just like the day he showed up to a local division meeting talking about his “Keys to Success” and the way he likes his cocktails. His cocksure attitude of trust me everything it is going to be alright amid turmoil and chaos yet not having a clue about the real challenges of being a GREAT COMPANY is pathetic. His leadership is pathetic. The people whom he chooses to keep and who he decides deserves dismemberment is based on his personal opinions.
Scott Laver.. Gone
Briggs Ferguson.. Gone
Janet Bro.. Gone
Mike Stewart.. Gone
Countless other media “experts” being told to exit his or her career. He want telemarketers. Jobs farmed out to India. A culture that only resembles the mess we were put in by greedy mortgage lenders and mortgage backed securities fraud. Who is to say that Scott Klein doesn’t have India provide the SMLocal account management?
Call me a Royse City Texas redneck Main Street Conservative……. so be it! Call me unprofessional. I am not living to please or impress you!
I laugh at who he has chosen to put on the companies board of directors. Himself for one. I laugh at his videos and lip service. I am sure meanwhile he is laughing at me. You see Scott Klein never knew I existed. Never cared. Never cared about my Mom. (Did you know that in 1997 she won the GTE Directories Rookie of the Year Award?” Never cares about his employees. He only cares about his inner circle. You can see it in his face and hear it in his voice. All he cares about is how many calls or how many 99.00/ month SuperMedia Meals you sell. Put money first and you never become Google Scott!
I do not have even 10% of the college education that SuperMedia’s CEO has. My education is self taught. I have spent countless hours and years studying local search engine marketing.. while selling advertising to local business owners. Yet apparently I have a greater amount of common-sense than the companies CEO.
I am the one who really cares about the success of client. Just like many of my former Idearc/SuperMedia co-workers. Klien doesn’t offer SEO not because it doesn’t work. Idearc has done SEO for SuperPages.com for years. He doesn’t offer SEO because he can’t make money servicing SEO. You can only make money selling products and moving on to the next sale. Something that Idearc / SuperMedia and Yellow Pages have always been good at. Sell an ad.. move on to the next one. Sell and ad.. and so on. But what happens when what you are selling is no longer providing the same ROI due to competition and technology? You hold on to your bootstraps and pocket some cash (I am sure declaring bankruptcy has made this even more profitable… (cough COUNTRYWIDE cough) while the ship is sinking.
DO SALES ETHICS STILL EXIST?
HOW CAN COMMISSIONED SALES REPS CARE ABOUT SERVICE WHEN THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO SERVICE?
HAVE YOU EVER DONE SOMETHING, REGARDLESS OF COMPENSATION, JUST BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO?
The hedgefund industry just bailed out SuperMedia. Do hedgefunds do naked short selling? Most hedgefunds are crony capitalists!
If you support this sort of organization……. you deserve the same fate!
Here was a quote from the YouTube video:
@writerjudd As one who works with investments, the lesson is: investments do not work on autopilot. Not even the humble savings account. Investments have to be constantly watched and monitored. If you even suspect something is wrong, bail out. If you think an investment has topped out, bail out. If your bank is on the troubled banks list, bail out. Do a thorough due diligence, then be always on the watch. Caveat emptor.
So the next question is:
I am going to continue beating the accounts and websites from Yellow Pages companies on Google. My clients will get a better value than all the so-called Super Media Companies combined.
Stay tuned… just not here!
WHAT KIND OF EXECUTIVE SUCCEEDS IN BUILDING A CORPORATION?
ONE THAT CARES ABOUT PEOPLE, NOT INVESTMENTS. PEOPLE CONTROL INVESTMENTS. NOT PRODUCTS. NOT POLITICIANS. NOT CRONY CAPITALISTS. EXPERT ADVISERS ARE THE ONES THAT ENSURE THE LEAST RISK AND GREATEST INVESTMENT GAINS.
Folks always laugh about my quotes — well my favorite is:
“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.” — Albert Einstein
This blog has been fun, self inspiring, and a new experience for me. I hope you enjoyed my rants…. bitching… complaining…. and most of all the knowledge I have been able to share.
Cheers and here is to the future of finding what you are looking for locally,
“The Dallas Google Guru”
soon to be Director of Search Marketing