Dallas SEO Expert Testifies as Expert Witness in Federal Court

April 18, 2012

Dallas, TX (PRWEB) April 10, 2012 Search engine optimization expert Mike Stewart testified in late March before a United States Federal Judge during a hearing on motions in an international trademark case. Stewart, who operates Dallas-based SMBSEO, was an expert witness in the case regarding the impact of similar business names in the geotargeting environment of today’s search engines.

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The hearing, Civil Action number 3:10-CV-0165 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, involved a Canadian owned company operating under the name Cash Store Financial Services, or CSFS, and a Dallas-based company operating as Cottonwood Financial. Cottonwood Financial operates short-term lending stores in several states under the trademarked name Cash Store. CSFS also operates similar stores in Canada under the name The Cash Store. Until recently, the similar names did not cause a problem because of the vast difference in geography and customer base.

However, CSFS is now a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange and has several million US investors. They distribute information online and through hardcopy to US locations, often under the names CSF, CSFS, Cash Store Financial Services and The Cash Store. As US information distribution brings the CSFS branding across international borders, a trademark issue and brand dilution may be occurring. Cottonwood Financial is bringing legal action against CSFS in an attempt to prevent the Canadian company from using the Cash Store name.

During Mike Stewart’s expert testimony, he presented screenshots showing location-based search results pertinent to the case. He was able to show that searching from a computer with a Dallas-based IP address for terms like “cash store financial” or “cash store financial services” returned results indicating that the company had physical locations nearby. Canadian company CSFS does not have Cash Store locations in Dallas, but Cottonwood does. Google’s geotargeting logic, which attempts to align search terms with top results in the geographic area surrounding the user, causes the issue.

According to court documents, Cottonwood’s pleadings attempted to prove that the Dallas-based company would be harmed by the dilution of the trademark. Possible harm could include loss of business, negative brand connotations and dilution of online marketing efforts. They filed a preliminary injunction to prohibit CSFS from using the Cash Store name within US communications. CSFS filed a motion to dismiss the case.

According to court documents, dated March of 2011, Judge David C. Godbey stated that “Cottonwood does have a strong likelihood of making a case for dilution.” However, according to the most recent court documents, he has not determined whether Cottonwood made it’s case for all legal action requested. Last year, he granted a partial motion from CSFS to dismiss certain aspects of the case. At the same time, he also granted Cottonwood’s motion for preliminary injunction. CSFS will not be allowed to use the name The Cash Store in US communications until the case is fully decided. According to Mike Stewart, with his recent expert witness testimony, the pending final ruling from the court case may indeed go in Cottonwood’s favor.

Businesses that rely on search engine marketing or online branding should keep an eye on the outcome of this case. The implications already seen provide compelling reasons for businesses to take proactive actions like keyword research to ensure their trademark and online brand is not threatened.

About SMB SEO LLC SMB SEO LLC, a Dallas-based advertising agency, helps small and medium-sized businesses grow in revenue by dominating online, mobile and social media marketing channels. SMB SEO offers a cost effect, transparent, and holistic search engine marketing service solutions that includes Organic Search Optimization, Local Search Optimization, Paid Search Optimization, Link Buiding, Content Marketing, Listing Optimization, Video and Website Development services. SMB SEO recently relocated to the Urban Towers Offices in Las Colinas at 222 W. Las Colinas Blvd. Ste 1650 Irving, Tx 75039. SMB SEO is proud to be a corporate member of the Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, the oldest and largest search marketing meetup group in the US. For more information, visit http://www.smbSEO.com.

About Cash Store The Cash Store is a trusted financial lending company with more than 270 locations across the country. The Cash Store specializes in providing customers with a fast and convenient way to meet unexpected financial expenses. The Cash Store is not the average lending company and prides itself on providing a stress free environment and simple approval process. For more information on services, visit The Cash Store on the web at http://www.cashstore.com.


What is the future of local small business advertising?

February 5, 2012

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With search marketing officially taking over traditional media marketing channels it is no surprise sleazy sales tactics still work for some Internet marketing providers.

check out what I got from ReachLocal recently:

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I will be sure to add some of the stats.

I just want you to understand that there is a difference between a backlink building content marketing SEO agency like SMB SEO and the product or platform specific Google Adwords reseller agencies and yellow pages.

In the month of July we created over 550 pages of content for less than 25 clients. This past January I had te responsibility for scheduling over 1,000 pages worth of offsite and onsite content marketing articles, blog posts, and pages for around 35 different businesses. Let’s see the yellow pages or ReachLocal folks provide that kind of Internet marketing strategy and schedules!

Just because my agency saves clients a boatload of money in PPC up charges by not paying anyone other than Google or Bing direct for clicks, doesn’t mean we are less effective or inferior to these larger marketing organizations. What they fail to offer:

Google Analytics
You own all the PPC campaign work
You own the PPC campaign account
CallMeasurement.com Call Tracking
woopra analytics
Custom Video Production
Web Ranking Reports Weekly
Niche Site Domain Development
Mobile Ads
Mobile Sites
PRWeb.com Press Releases
Local listing optimization
UBL Listing (universal business listing)
Localeze Data Center Listing


Why Paying a Monthly Retainer for Local SEO and PPC Makes Good Business Sense

November 16, 2011

In the old days you bought a display ad in the yellow pages to get calls from customers ready to buy.

These days you purchase a yellow pages ad so your established brand doesn’t lose potential phone calls to unknown and lesser quality brands who can afford the financing that the yellow pages offer. The bottom end churn for print YP is constant. Google doesn’t offer financing on pay-per-clicks and writers don’t finance content writing.

In 2002, 80% used the yellow pages to perform a local search. Today that number is less than 15% and phone book fragmentation (a way of looking at print competition) is at an all-time high.

Marketing dollar resource allocation has flipped over the years. The days of me giving Internet marketing advice to sell ads in phone books has been over for sometime.

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Businesses are struggling to dominate search the same way they dominated local search in the 90’s with big full-page and eventually double truck 2-page ads. The same style duopoly exists were you have a telco or main provider and second incumbent choice (AT&T + GTE/Verizon = Google + Bing/Yahoo Search Alliance.)

In the earlier days of search the businesses with names and domains that contained the product or service being offered including the city they served, such as “Dallas Auto Transmission LLC” naturally had an upper hand. It was easy to make a title tag match your business name. Optimization of a website required the efforts of a website coder and FTP access to the sites backend. SEO was all about meta-tags and links that were hard to come-by.

Today you will see:

  • 60,000 new websites will be added to the web
  • 2 million new videos added to YouTube
  • 1.6 million blog posts will be created (out of 150 million blogs)
  • 1.5 billion pieces of content will be added to Facebook
  • 200 million tweets will be tweeted on Twitter

Paid search ads with Google use to only costs pennies per click. Volume was low. Again things have changed. Paid search offers so much more than the past.

Things have gotten a bit more complex:
– mobile extensions
– local extensions
– site links
– retargeting
– promoted videos
– product feeds
– demographic targeting
– new channels of distribution
– new match types like modified broad match

It is easy to mistakenly dump hundreds of suggested keywords in a campaign and see quality scores never rise above a 4. Google makes it easy to spend your money or daily budget and target keyword searches via broad match types with non relevant ads. Buyer beware: You need an agency or consultant!

Great SEO starts with keyword research. Those keywords need to be put in a report and measures with rankings on search engines. You then need to create content, pages for the various keywords, both on your site and pointing to your site with anchor text. Social signals are also important. LoMoSo or local mobile social is the new Internet. NAP, or name address and number, mentions of your business are the key to local. This begins with data-center directory submission (the only real form of directory submission) which is not something you get from Outsourced India SEO providers.

Next, you must begin eating the elephant so-to-speak. Start with the low hanging fruit or keywords that have less competition and in many cases less volume. Quick rankings measured via Google Analytics as clicks. The short-tail competitive keywords take more offsite backlinks, more onsite content strategy, great NAP data, and the help of an experienced Internet marketer to reach success.

To build a successful Internet marketing campaign you need to have your SEO content strategy and PPC campaigns work together. PPC tells us what keywords drive impressions. Content marketing helps you rank for correlating keywords that you can add to your PPC Campaign and both help you test landing pages to perfection.

A SEO & PPC Monthly Retainer will allow you to gradually scale your efforts, rank for more keywords, and create great authoritative onsite content for your visitors. Mix in high volume with low competition keywords and you will monetize your efforts from the start.

Smb SEO’s retainer includes conversion optimization consulting, domain registration, quality hosting (not that slow GoDaddy hosting) and all the transparent reporting you need to make sure that you are not on a road that leads to nowhere. It also does not require a contract and the service is based on real-time and materials vs paying for the concept of SEO. You can only optimize a single page a couple of times before you must add new ones.

If this doesn’t sound like the services your “SEO company” provides, don’t walk…. RUN AWAY.

Call me at 214-267-9553 for a free ranking report and let’s see what is keeping you from making good business sense of your internet marketing.

Also, FYI, Tonight Google and Bing Representatives will Speak on “State of Search” at Dallas / Ft Worth Search Marketing Group…

Register at DFWSEM.org

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7 ways to get an internet marketing job

September 19, 2011

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Unemployment has hit an all time high. Businesses are not hiring. Those that are highering are paying lower wages. The world economy has not recovered from the economic collapse of 2007/2008, especially the job market. In the US nearly 1 out of 9 are unemployed and 1 in 7 live in poverty. Just 5 short years ago only 1 in 4 were unemployed. Now more people than ever are looking for work. Despite all this doom and gloom news, digital marketing agencies are sprouting out of the woodwork. There is one industry that continues to grow at a rapid pace, this industry is the internet marketing business.

The internet provides many career opportunities for folks who otherwise might not have a job. This has been the case since the internet .com bubble.

Internet marketing related jobs in high demand include the following areas of skill:

° web design
° content writing and content management
° paid search analyst
° internet marketing sales and business development
° social media marketing managers
° SEO experts
° videographers

These positions maybe in-house for a big brand or with an internet marketing agency that works on behalf of a brand or company.
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What skills do some of these positions require?

Web content writers must understand the importance of authoritative quality content on a company’s website. Businesses will pay money for unique content that can be added to the company’s website. Great content is also used to create links that point back to the company’s website from other sites, this is referred to as “backlinks” and this is an important factor in high search engine results rankings. If you are a decent writer or copywriter, there may be many opportunities for you to get a job as a web content manager.

SEO Experts may have a lot of different roles depending on the company. They may focus on linkbuilding from various websites to client or company websites, they may strategize an SEO budget and schedule for a client, and also be responsible for submitting content to blogs, article sites, and press releases. Some SEO skills might also include forum posting and website commenting. Social media marketing and content distribution is also an important area for an SEO strategist to understand. A strong knowledge of how the web works, how content management systems are used, and how automation tools can be used to improve a websites visibility are crucial to the success of an internet marketing SEO specialist. One thing is for sure, SEO strategy requires you to have an A.D.D. type approach, a short term memory (so you do not dwell on your failures and keep moving forward,) and plenty of time to attend conferences and training sessions or meetings like the Dallas Search Engine Marketing Association or http://www.dfwsem.org.

Paid search marketing experts manage PPC ad budgets on Google AdWords, Bing AdCenter, and other contextual ad networks including display and retargeting ads. This skill is especially suited for analytical data crunchers who have a knack for testing, analyzing, and filtering paid search ads and campaigns. These sort of skills and traits are not the same as SEO specialists. For most businesses, over 40% of internet marketing budgets should go towards paid search marketing.

Web Development and design, like SEO, is a skilled profession. Some corporations hire in-house website developers and others hire agencies to build websites for them. Web developers redesign or maintain existing sites as well as building new ones. Website design requires experience with Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop. Designers create .psd design comprehensives and covers convert these graphic files into PHP/html/CSS. This is sorta lime taking a scalpel to a graphic file and making all the elements work and respond to the website visitors mouse and actions on the site. Great website designers understand SEO and website usability. Having SEO knowledge will give a web developer a huge advantage on the competition.

The number of SEO and internet marketing related jobs will continue increasing over the next few years. More and more businesses are looking for ways to make money online. Even if you have a modest knowledge of internet marketing topics, you have a great shot at landing a job in SEO work.

Of course probably the easiest and fastest way to make the most money in internet marketing is sales and business development.

I spent years making over SIX FIGURES a year selling, designing, and strategizing with small and medium-sized local businesses on print yellow pages advertising solutions for Verizon Directories. Sales reps almost always received more money from a sale than the fulfillment department made from processing the order. Of course it didn’t hurt that yellow pages companies had profit margins in the 60+% range and could afford big commission rates.

Internet marketing sales consultants can make more money than the yellow pages sales reps of yesterday. Yellow pages reps typically earn 7 to 15% of the total sale. Internet marketing sales consultants at my agency, smbSEO, earn upwards of 20% residual commission and unlike yellow pages sale reps they do receive continuity on accounts they sell. If an agency has a $1,200 minimum retainer, after just 30 total clients a sales rep is making over $6,000 in residual income. What is required from a sales rep? Facilitating SEO schedules including graphics and content strategy, communicating with clients, and working with members of an internet marketing team to discuss KPIs (key performance indicators) results and client expectations.

In my opinion the best internet marketing job is the sales consultant one. How many businesses need help strategizing internet marketing efforts? How much money is being wasted? Are they using analytics and call measurement services? Do they have a holistic approach that ultimately means they rank multiple times on the search engines? The odds of you knowing a business owner or manager who needs help with internet marketing are very high. Due to the complex nature of an effective internet marketing strategy, most companies are dissatisfied or looking to improve their internet marketing strategy.

If you would like more information or to sign up for an internet marketing job in your area, visit my website at http://www.smbseo.com/new-sales-person and I will send you a referral link to have your clients sign up for my internet marketing solutions at http://www.smbseo.com/store. When they sign up for services from the link provided to you on the /new-sales-person page you will get paid residual commission. You don’t even have to quit your current job (although you are likely going to after you see how much money you can make.)


SEO Prices: Why some SEO companies charge by how much you can afford vs time and materials.

August 22, 2011

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How much can someone charge for SEO.

For some SEO companies it depends on how  big your company or wallet can afford. Does the owner drive a Mercedes out front? Do you have a fancy office?

For us it comes down to our onsite and offsite seo schedule, where you currently rank on a ranking report, and how competitive your target market keywords.

We also charge for the meta tag and title work for existing pages inside the schedule, but have a limit to the number of pages per month.

We charge extra for posting content not going into a CMS (content management system like WordPress.)

We also charge extra for AdWords invoices, etc. Standard reporting is included in the schedule and everything we do our clients own.

We also charge for each additional niche site.

The real crooks charge by keyword. I would steer clear of those folks.

Also stay away from the $100-$200 per page folks.

Do they offer topical blog, one-way site, news, video, and article link building? Real SEO includes link building, afterall 60% of your ranking is offsite SEO and 40% is onpage!

If the company doesn’t include content, call metrics, or conversion optimization, don’t walk…. RUN!!!!

P.S. You can signup to resell our services at http://www.smbseo.com/new-sales-person or signup for service at http://www.smbseo.com/store


House panel approves broadened Internet snooping bill

July 30, 2011

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In today’s news…

House panel approves broadened Internet snooping bill – Patriot Update.

Big Government takes snooping a bit further…

This is just one reason why I am a Conservative Libertarian and not a Republican.


Dallas PPC Advertising Expert Will Speak at the DFWSEM Association on June 15th

June 15, 2011

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Dallas PPC Advertising Expert Will Speak at the DFWSEM Association on June 15th.

Come join our sponsor smbSEO and yours truly at tonight’s meeting. If you need a pass to tonight’s event you can email me for one.

Dallas, TX (PRWEB) June 15, 2011

Pay Per Click –Some Super PPC Advertising Tips and Secrets

With all the buzz about social media dominating the discussion over the past year or so, a person might think PPC was a lost art, but nothing could be farther from the truth. PPC remains a viable form of search engine marketing, and for many businesses it’s still the cornerstone of their online marketing strategy.

Join DFWSEM on June 15th as Jim Gilbert presents “Pay Per Click –Some Super PPC Advertising Tips!”

About Jim Gilbert:

Jim is vice president of KeyRelevance and one of the co-founders of the DFWSEM. He has been involved in both organic and paid search engine marketing since the early ‘90s and spent his early years working with a number of iconic organizations, including Sabre and EDS. As a highly sought after speaker, and author of numerous articles and published studies on the industry, Jim is uniquely qualified to share insights learned through years of critical analysis and real-world experience creating and managing PPC campaigns for some of the largest and most high-profile names in business.

The Presentation:
As the title implies, this presentation will focus on what the search engines don’t tell people about PPC, and will include:
■Some Super PPC Tips (for Google & MSN/Yahoo)
■Knowing what your company plans to do with PPC and the experience required to do it
■Measuring success and conversions
■Understanding and using the various keyword match types
■Understanding and using the various “negative” keyword match types
■Understanding and managing Quality Scores
■Managing Ad creative Rotations
■Understanding and utilizing “filters”
■Understanding and using Google Ad Extensions
■Brief introduction to Google’s “Product Listing Ads”

Top 10 Worst PPC Practices –

Jim will also give his list of the top 10 worst PPC practices to avoid.
PPC Account Reviews -Have Your Actual PPC Account Critiqued by an Expert Have specific concerns about an actual PPC campaign, or just want to show off PPC chops before the group? For the last 30 minutes of the meeting, Jim will be conducting live reviews of our members’ PPC accounts. If you would like to be considered for this PPC account review, please send an email to info (at) dfwsem.org with the URL of the site that you are using in your current PPC efforts (we will NOT need your account login information).
As is the case when DFWSEM does site reviews, the PPC account reviews will not be a collective “beat down” of the examples, but a way to find out what the audience is doing right and what someone might want to consider doing differently in order to deliver the best results for clients. Whether a PPC newbie or AdWords certified, folks will leave this meeting with a greater understanding of how to successfully create and manage highly effective PPC campaigns.

This month’s meeting is sponsored by smbSEO, a holistic Dallas area based local internet marketing agency dedicated to helping small businesses advertise on Google.

Where:
Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel
900 E. Lookout Drive Richardson, TX 75082
(972) 367-2000

When: June 15, 2011 –Mixer 6:30 –7:00 p.m., Meeting 7-8:30 p.m., Social 8:30-?

Join DFWSEM or Renew
Membership Membership Types:

Individual -$150 per Year
There is no Charge for Individual members to attend monthly meetings.

Corporate Memberships -$300 per Year

Three people from the company can attend each meeting.

Additional seats can be purchased for $50 per year.

There is no charge to attend monthly meetings.

Nonmembers -Nonmembers can attend monthly meetings for $35.

About the DFW Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM):

The Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Organization (DFWSEM) is dedicated to education and promotion of the Dallas/Fort Worth search engine marketing industry, conversing various topics related to search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click search (PPC), as well as other emerging media. The group meets monthly at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson, Texas, and is open to anyone interested in search engine marketing, including in-house marketers, independent consultants, and agencies.


“Gravity Doesn’t Suck Customers Down the Internet Funnel”

March 17, 2011

According to Wikipedia:  sales process, also known as a sales tunnel or a sales funnel is a systematic approach to selling a product or service

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One of the great things about being involved in an industry group or association is the opportunity to learn new ways of saying some of the same things.  Ask any expert and they will tell you that they didn’t become an expert overnight and most likely paid a hefty price to be one. Time is money. Research only gets you so far. Listening to those that have “been there, done that” puts a big shortcut in the learning curve. Learning from mistakes helps take you the rest of the way.

In December 2009, I became a Board of Directors Member of the first local professional search engine marketing association, the Dallas / Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association or www.DFWSEM.org.  DFWSEM was founded by a group of blackhat SEOs back around 2001. Bill Hartzer, who I tremendously respect as an authority in search marketing, was one of the original founding members of DFWSEM. DFWSEM is the largest local meetup for search professionals in the country.  We meet once a month in Dallas to share insights, tips, tricks, and tools related to all things SEO, PPC, and Social Media.

I have invited many clients to attend these meetings and have found that not only do many learn more about what I do for them (this works so much better than those tacky one call closes folks!), some of my clients have actually joined the association and attend regularly.

Tonight was one of those nights. It just clicked. While on a panel discussion of the lessons from PubCon Austin 2011 and SMX West, two of the biggest conferences for search geeks, Tony Wright, the witty CEO of WrightIMC, a reputable reputation management and SEO firm, said something that will forever stick with me:

“Gravity doesn’t work in the sales funnel”

He was referring back to a comment from a PubCon keynote speaker who stated that if you have an authoritative site with great content you won’t need to pay for advertising. Sorta like Amazon or Wikipedia, right? Tony said that this really is more of a fallacy in theory. Those with strong brands become strong from authoritative content and paid promotion.

Moving a potential customer from research and awareness to buying intent doesn’t just happen. As marketers, we must make it happen. Moving people from one step in the buying process to another requires many different types of marketing methodologies, such as conversion optimization and testing, unique value propositions, identifying key differentiators, and incorporating solid calls to action. Building trust is also important. Sharing features and benefits also helps move them down the funnel.

Lastly, you must advertise. Advertising can be both creative (for building your brand) and directional (helping people find your brand.) Advertising is what brings people to your funnel. Gravity pulls us all down, but not down the funnel. That takes expert strategy and creativity.

Sorry to contradict the great lyrics of John Mayer, but gravity isn’t always working against us. Sometimes it doesn’t bring us down. Especially when it pertains to the buying process, contrary to what most business owners and even some experts seem to think.

Another great quote from PubCon:

“$92 out of every $100 invested in marketing goes to advertising. Only $8 is spent on making ads convert.”


The Future of Print Yellow Pages Will Be Great HyperLocal Content via Subscription

March 3, 2011

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What must yellow page publishers do to evolve or fail to do to die faster?

How can Yellow Pages print products evolve:

– Cease publishing free business listing in all forms (ie: white and yellow)

People no longer need to reference a printed book for brands and companies they have familiarity with. White pages are being cut from the business models of many print publishers, proving that these companies realize that consumers will search from mobile devices or Facebook sites for brands and companies they like. The known market references in print do not help consumers communicate with companies they have an existing relationship with.

– Directional media needs to retire the annual distribution cycles, they are no longer effective in Todays environment.

Publishers have manipulated distribution dates and long-lifed books (13 months instead of 12) in order to be the freshest and most up to date product on the street. Why continue annual distribution if consumers will discard your product for the most recent one? Yellow pages competition or fragmentation (which was once a monopoly by telephone companies) with independent and new rural publishers has made the challenge of being the latest information a near impossible task.

– Print publishers need to build a subscription-based model, much like website blogs and email marketers do.

Opt out will kill the yellow pages. Homeowners associations begin pushing residents to opt out sites by educating them on latest opt out initiatives and municipal publishing fines, restrictions, and movements to curb waste and litter from books on doorsteps and in yards.

Stop selling on the fear of not being represented or losing your position. These fear tactics do not work. Businesses have more choices. You want to continue to ruin your industries reputation with these sort of sleazy sales tactics?

Maybe the subscription business model is the http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com site?

– Books need to streamline ad sizes.

DOUBLE DOUBLE TRUCK ads that once started as full pages but grew to allow publishers new opportunities to increase rates, a broken promise to size and seniority commitments. Why? For the sake of corporate profits and an effort to generate revenue to curb decline all at the expense of usability.

Phonebooks need to become hyper-locally distributed via the USPS.

If directory companies choose to avoid the stereotypes of being environmental polluters, they might want to figure out another way to get doors into consumers homes.

Using the postal service instead of Illegal Immigrant labor to distribute books would be both cost effective and socially responsible.

Books need to be hyper-locally targeted based on neighborhoods and not cities. In rural markets citywide distribution works. In urban areas, much like Dallas, books need to be neighborhood targeted. For instance, Dallas has a very affluent area known as Park Cities, which includes Highland Park, University Park, and Uptown.

Phonebooks need to become creative directional magazines with dynamic content.

This is the big one. Why are brands not in books? If you remove the worthless “listing information” and replace that with great brand sponsors, such as Crest Toothpaste sponsoring the Dentist heading of the book or Scott’s brand fertilizer sponsoring the lawn or landscape heading, publishers can find new revenue. Something similar has been done with Bose Home Radio ads by the National Sales Channels at many publishers.

Why don’t yellow pages offer  businesses the ability to contribute columns to directories that help consumers during certain seasons? Of course the publishers could also create the content and allow businesses to “sponsor” these sections.

Why doesn’t the phone book offer real coupons, but not shoved out of sight and out of mind into the back or front of the book? If you make the largest ad a single page, why not include coupon codes inside of ads with special offers, including web addresses to a publisher maintained group buying site.

Yellow Pages Publishers need to continue to include mobile barcode scanners and QR codes

Help consumers (or subscribers) use the book with a mobile device, such as the ability to connect to business social profiles (twitter, facebook, foursquare etc) and also claim coupon or promotional codes.

How can the Yellow Pages die even faster?

Phonebooks worked because lists of local businesses and offerings from different providers were not available via web, mobile, TV, or socially.

Now that yellow pages no longer has the most up to date and relevant information available on local products and services, thus enabling consumers to make the best choice or decision, they need to evolve.

Content is the next internet evolution. This same content could create new life in print products as well. The yellow pages have always been a quick reference, but lack the details to help consumers educate themselves on how to work with local merchants and protect themselves. Some publishers copied gimmicks from internet companies like Service Magic who offered a “ServiceGuarantee” for consumers who purchase from certain merchants. While this is a great differentiator, there are many other ideas and strategies that can also be adopted from internet marketers to employ in traditional print mediums.


Tired of Managing Complex IT Solutions? Costs Always Going Up? Want Marketing Collaboration and Social Media?

February 14, 2011

Are you a CIO, IT Professional, or Marketing Manager for a corporation or small business?

Having trouble with IT solutions, bandwidth, or social collaboration?

I am working with a new cloud based application service delivery platform that is perfect for any organization. It is a professional virtual desktop that works with all devices, on any platform, and any enterprise or application.

This new solution will allow you to:

  • Cut Costs and Reduce Downtime
  • Increase Employee Productivity
  • Handle Web and Information Security & Backup Peace of Mind
  • Single point of contact for all your IT needs

and includes:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Web2.0 Applications
  • Administrative Console
  • 3G-10G Storate
  • Web Conferencing
  • SEO Management Dashboard
  • Business Continuance
  • Collaboration Tools

with

  • Access from Anywhere and Any Broadband Enabled Device!!!!!!

 

Email me to share the real scoop!

mike (at) smbseo (dot) com

 

Cheers!


Dallas SEO Consultant Explains SEO Targeting and Scheduling

January 16, 2011

Targeting. All marketers say they do it… few really do.

Targeting saves money. Targeting puts your ad message in front of the right eyeballs. I have said before that if you focus on marketing you don’t have to advertise as much. If your business focused on differentiating your brand from your competitors better, you wouldn’t need to use as many methods of advertising to promote your marketing messages.

Targeting is about putting your business in front of those consumers ready to buy your product of service.

Targeting has been the key advantage of directional marketing efforts over creative ones. Directional marketing, a term that was first coined by TMP in 2001, is when buyers are looking for sellers vs the other way around, like creative marketing.

According to Wiki:

Directional Marketing is a type of marketing, a measurable form of direct response advertising, whose primary role is to point a potential consumer toward the completion of the sales process or service selection. Unlike traditional direct marketing which typically communicates to unsolicited consumers, directional marketing is primarily consumer initiated where consumers seek out advertising to aid in their purchase decision, e.g., to identify potential vendors with which to do business. Examples of known forms of Directional Marketing media are the Yellow Pages, Internet, or Electronic Yellow Pages and Local search (Internet).[1]

For most small businesses, every dollar is precious. Small businesses do not advertise for the sake of advertising, they can’t afford it.  Small businesses, to the most extent,  do not have the financial resources necessary to invest in brand recognition. Branding requires repetition of the brand message.  Which takes a lot of money to become the most effective. There are many forms of creative branding media, such as the radio, television, magazines, and direct mail.

The most effective form of advertising for small businesses has been and always will be the one that has the highest usage and frequency. Selecting the right media to advertise has commonly been an easy choice for SMBs, since this used to be the yellow pages. It is now Local Search.

Local search is Easy.

Oops. I said it.

Local search is not as fragmented as the industry wants you to believe. Everyone in the space is fighting for a piece of the pie. Internet yellow pages sites (like SuperPages.com, YP.com, Local.com etc) are fighting for traffic just like the local vertical directory sites (AttorneysListed.com, Lawyers.com, Elocalplumbers.com, Restaurant.com etc) and they all want a piece of the location-based social networks (FourSquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places etc.) With all these different options to advertise, why did I say that local search is easy? It all begins with Google (and 25% Bing.) All of these sites must get traffic from Google in order to provide value to advertisers. Traffic from Google brings eyeballs which turns into leads and phone calls. If you can master Google, you master local search.

Since Google is where consumers begin researching for local product and service providers, it only makes sense that the first thing a business do is optimize for Google Places. This does not mean paying some odd $150.00 per month fee to some company to “manage listings.” Google Places Optimization is a holistic effort that requires scheduling multiple activities, such as local listing optimization and blog content strategy.  It also requires positive reputation management and a well planned ratings and review aggregation process that incorporates leveraging your positive reputation online. All this sounds like some sort of mumbo jumbo, and likely the reason why so many are experiencing SEO scams.

Local SEO in a nutshell:

  • Schedule listing optimization to create Google Places citations
  • Schedule on-site content for your website pages and posts
  • Schedule off-site content for mass articles, niche directories, press releases, and industry vertical sites.

In “The Death and Rebirth of Editorial Citation on the Web,” Rand Fishkin suggests that as much as 20% of the links on the web exist solely for the purpose of influencing search rankings. Keep in mind that Holistic SEO tells us to consider the value of content, not just spammy article links with synonym swapping techniques that the search engine algorithm has accounted for.

  • Collect ratings and reviews from your clients and create a process to promote them in local search

Don’t be fooled by anyone telling you your local rank is dictated by a specific signal, especially if that signal is the number of reviews your business has. You do not need to go wild with reviews to rank. Reviews are game-able, and thus not a good long-term local search signal.

  • Become involved in your online community. Become an advocate and curator of online discussion…. this builds links too!
  • Learn how to use Advanced Search Operators to improve research on Google
  • Create an account with StepRep for Reputation Management and awareness for just $19 per month
  • Leverage the social signals and PageRank of sites like Facebook and Twitter, but don’t expect to receive the traffic needed to monetize the effort unless these pages rank on Google.  Social sites are great for influencing Google rankings, but they are more about marketing and reputation than new customer opportunities.

Social sites are great tools of creating a positive brand and increasing your authority online. I often recommend including social sites in your link building efforts. Social Media Optimization strategies can be scheduled and automated, such as social media bookmarking and social media posting. The main thing to keep in mind when looking to incorporate social media in your online marketing strategy is to focus on interacting with discussion amongst your online community.

Take a look at the strategies that Metro Tickets in Dallas has implemented. With my help, Metro Tickets offers FREE TICKETS to events around Dallas – Fort Worth with new FREE TICKET TUESDAY promotion. This once a week promotion on Facebook offers the chance for the companies FACEBOOK FANS to win tickets for answering simple trivia questions.

  • Don’t fall for the product pushers. Holistic search marketing methods require us to consider all opportunities, but this also means that you need to be careful where you invest your ad dollars. You will get calls everyday from some local website or person offering to list your business. One would think that the first thing you would do is conduct a search on Google for what it is that you do and where you do it. The results on Google should help you decide which product-centric pushers you should do business with and which ones are not on the radar. Keep in mind that most local web traffic starts with Google (and 25% Bing/Yahoo.)
  • Last but not least: Don’t participate in the SEO vs PPC debate. You need both! Holistic search marketing helps you rank all over Google, not just at the top. Everyone says they can get you to the top, but the clicks and conversions depend upon the message title and description in the SERP (search engine results page.)

I often recommend a 50/50 budget distribution between everything SEO (content, web design, video, listings, and images) and everything PPC (paid search, content network, promoted video, local tags.)

For further advice on local search marketing, visit my website.

 

Here are a few tips from Google on finding a local search engine optimization professional for your business:

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.

 


Local Social Search Will Be the New Repeat/Referral Yellow Pages

December 24, 2010

Earlier this year Google announced that new Google Social Search Features Went Live and more recently Google responded to Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land that, like Bing, Google uses social signals as a ranking factor in search results. I have a feeling that with the latest growth and advancements in Places Search (Google, Facebook, etc…) combined with the recent changes in the Google search results for the 20% of queries that have location or local intent,  Social search will be the next big factor combined in Google’s new blended search results algorithm.

Essentially, Social Signals + Place Rank = Yellow Pages of tomorrow.

The challenges, for Matt Cutts and the team of engineers with Google’s Web Spam Team, as it pertains to local search, has been the constant need for Google’s policing and scrutiny of ratings and reviews to ensure the authenticity of the local listing reviews. Many of the reviews in Google Places originate as a review on another site (we SEO Geeks call these “citations.”) Just recently Google made an algorithmic “manual tweak” due to a recent claim that a local business was treating customers bad in order to rank higher on search engines. If Google makes a better effort to incorporate social signals, branded term distinction, and incorporates a “QDF” or Query Deserves Freshness type mentality on local listings and results, it will be able to fight the future Facebook impact on local search. Facebook, the king of social, has the greatest ability to own the SMB repeat and referral business market.

In short, the days of making buying decisions based on limited information in a single display ad, like the yellowpages, are over.

My other predictions for 2011:

  • Social search will continue to evolve and it will become a replacement for rating and review spam. Google will continue to work on challenges with Google Places reviews.
  • Google TV will motivate Google to partner with gaming console companies like Nintendo (Wii) and Sony (Playstation.)
  • Video will become the new website of 2011.
  • Even more scam artists and other folks who are wet behind the ears about holistic search marketing will claim to be a SEO Expert. (BE VERY CAREFUL, the latest local SEO scam is by those that claim to help remove negative reviews on Google Places, including the actual practice of putting the review on and then calling the local business to help remove the negative review!)
  • Facebook will allow users to create custom background layouts and also allow users to report layouts they find inappropriate.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, from Me and Mine to You and Yours!


Who uses the yellow pages?

December 11, 2010

Who uses the yellowpages?

Via Greg Sterling at Screenwerk:

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older folks.

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rural folks.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say “nobody uses the yellowpages,” I would have been able to retire just 5 years into my near decade long career of selling and consulting on phone book advertising for Verizon Yellowpages and SuperPages.com.

To those that think people do not use yellowpages, I must disagree. Many people use the yelowpages every single day.

When I sold ads in Dallas, it was a challenge selling ads because in business perception often becomes reality.

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For example, when the United States Department of Transportation created the interstate highway system we ultimately created the suburbs. We killed the traffic going through Route 66 towns, but over the course of the next few years rural towns became almost extinct.  Just think of what the railroad did to towns that didn’t get rail lines a century before. This is apart of our country’s history. Technology and innovation lead to a migration of business growth and opportunity, from one media to another. Radio fueled the end of the Holocaust.

YELLOW PAGES ARE A BIG PART OF AMERICAN HISTORY.

I respect the contribution to local economies by the phone book. It was a catalyst for commerce and the creator of small business entrepreneurs everywhere.

Telecom employee unions also helped create high paying jobs for sales people and sales managers consulting in advertising solutions inside this simple product.

The suburbs are the future death of the yellowpages, because of mobile smart phone technology, saturation distribution, yellowpages industry fragmentation, and years of price-gouging and sleazy sales tactics by industry veterans. The phone book publishers now have a bad reputation amongst consumers and small business owners.

The phonebook has a continued chance of survival in Route 66 towns and most suburbs by catering to older, poorer, and less educated consumers. The age of phone book users are baby boomers with stable jobs and disposable incomes. Most of those that want to make the most educated and social buying decisions in suburban and urban markets won’t use the phone book. No matter how many books, with little incentive to use, you put on their porches, you will never see usage greater than 20% in urban markets.

Do yellow pages companies have a future? Sure. Just not the phone companies who were driven to fail by investors, bankruptcies, and greed.

Decisions by dumb bean counters and marketing reps at Verizon ended the focus in rural markets.

Verizon Telco pulled out of San Angelo Tx and the town hated losing it’s largest employer next to the city. The yellow pages death in San Angelo wasn’t caused by Verizon’s departure, but by the focus on margins and not putting resources or the business community first.

I witnessed this business model shift while just 19 years old working in the TCC Call Center in 2001 as a media consultant. ( First rep to never miss quota for 26 conscutive pay periods, I later received 3 President’s Awards at Texas Division Sales. ) First was ending the agreement to publish for CenturyTel, AllTel, and other independent telcos. Sprint took advantage of this. The rise of YellowBook as a serious competitor to the telco monopolies of the yellow pages industry. No longer where independent publishers not privy to the service order records for B1 and Residential phones lines. Independent publishers began publishing cheaper and more localized phonebooks. The creation of the independant publishers association began.

As a Board of Directors Member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, the first and largest search marketing group in the country, I am proud to be apart of the history in small business local search commerce.

I appreciate the role of yellow pages.

Just 7 years ago over 78% of Americans used the Yellow Pages print. Today that number represents less than 20%, contrary to what publishers try to tell you.

A old saying is “58% of all commercial statistics are false.” This is defined by industry research paid for by industry companies to the same researchers and analysts.

The future of the yellow pages will be in subscription-based magazines or hyper-local publishers.

Can the yellow pages successfully integrate content, group buying, and value to consumers leveraging the future technology of paper and tablets? We will see. I believe in the value of display advertising. Let’s hope phonebook companies recognize that display ads are in its future, or the reason for its death, like Route 66.

I have to admit, I love the small towns. I am from Rouse City Tx and my Grandma owned a Feed Store.

Can Yellowpage companies create small business advertising consultants offering a large bag of solutions incorporating content and transparency? Will the entire phonebook become call tracking lines for ROI measurement like we offer with internet marketing services?

The future will tell.

-posted from my DroidX


Blogs and Blogging: Social Media Today and SEO for Local Search Tomorrow.

November 30, 2010

Google is better than you

Just a prediction folks. It is common sense really.

Content takes all different kinds of forms: Social content, Blog content, Video Content, etc….

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When folks at the Yellow Pages company I worked for found out that I enjoyed forums and blogging, they said I was a geek. Many of the people involved in marketing functions of the company laughed.

A GEEK? Sure, call me that. I don’t mind. In my opinion, they just don’t get it. They can’t. They seem to earn friends by influence and business success. Not so much with social skills and communication.

Some executives and marketing managers earn their stripes. Most get them because of who they know… kinda like a club. As I stated before, when you reach the pinnacle of power in Corporate America you have typically had your ego stroked to the point of no return. You become unapproachable and unwilling to adapt to a changing environment. Heck, most CMOs don’t even comprehend how to manage based on objectives and results vs features/benefits/activity. Folks in many marketing channels are not compensated on a budget or objective, but by numbers.

This reminds me of how the Government measures the direction and success of the economy based on the number of people unemployed vs the productivity of a particular industry, or for instance, the rise in Government jobs that pay people to do busy work vs productivity or ROI.

So, who is it that drives the innovation and success of a businesses marketing channels? It is the product creators and problem solvers that create future business opportunities. In my opinion, it is the SEO and computer geeks that can understand what is coming next or what the next big problem that needs to be solved, thus creating opportunities for innovation and investment.

It is the ideas that originate from solving simple problems, improving communication and making decisions.

Simple concerns like: Imagine how great it would be if a contractor or home service company could really define his/her service area…. like pins on a map. Now consider that Google has recently being rumored to be interested in buying Groupon.com, the strongest player in a fragmented online coupon market and group buying site, for a price tag rumored at $6 Billion, do you think FourSquare or Gowalla are next on the local buyout? Considering the opportunities and growth of local search…… I wouldn’t count it out.

You would never see Google pay that kind of money for a Yellow Pages company, although YP sales professionals will continue to pray. Lol.

Content is King. You here this all the time.

LOCAL SEARCH will become {more} content based.

What kind of content? Blog content, price content, news content. What about image and video content? You need to understand what makes sites like Yelp.com (who apparently just recently fell out of the love and admiration of Google) and MerchantCircle.com so favorable for local citations. In my opinion the challenge for MerchantCircle is just horrible usability and an outdated Aol-esque look and feel.

If your small business directory and online yellow pages site ( or smb website for that matter) does not have a platform for blogging, a forum,community online, or social media interaction model for advocates, you will lose any opportunity for SEO tomorrow.

SEO is no longer meta-titles and descriptions folks.

Social media is 50% SEO, and 50% marketing and customer service. All of this requires strategic processes too complex for the yellow pages industries new rep every year bi-annual sales cycle.

Get a clue corporate America. Sometimes sharing how you really feel, think, and what you love can be a beautiful thing. Businesses will be forced to participate or take a back seat. Previously local search was about who could afford the fattest phonebook ad, had the most resources and the biggest phone bill.

It is amazing how folks with the most resources at their disposal have no clue how to use them. Your old way of doing business is dead. The old way of local advertising without sharing details beyond the page or broshure wont work. Businesses need to share authority to rank online.

SEO = Blogging

Tell your clients. Tell your SMBs. Tell your investors. Then go tell your real advocates and lobbyists.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Milgram Experiment in Crony CEO Capitalism, the Commonalities Between Enron and SuperMedia

September 11, 2010

Stop the Stock Scam by Crony Executives at SuperMedia and Verizon

In the early 1960’s Stanley Milgram, a scientist, wanted to uncover what kind of common characteristics existed in evil people. So he set up an experiment with an actor playing an experimental subject and a real experimental test subject. The real subject would ask a question to the subject (the actor) and then if the subject got the question wrong the real test subject would shock the actor with an “electric charge”, so long as the scientist, an authority,would reassure the test subject that what he/she was doing was the right thing. The electric charge was not real, the actor would scream out in pain as the test subject would increase intensity. Approx 50% of the test subjects tested would continue the shock treatment on the subject to the point of death.

This experiment is a classic example of what is wrong with evil corporations and crony executive leaderships. Test subjects or loyal sycophants will do anything, as long as they have the encouragement of the superior or authority figure.

For 10 years I was a participant in an industry that had an Enron style corporate culture. Regardless of what happened to clients, shareholders, and employees not in management, executives would continue to demand people stay the course. Executives, like Scott Klein the CEO of SuperMedia, had zero investment in the company. Employees who understand the business were told to “shut-up” and agree, accept, and fulfill the changes the new CEO was making. Regardless whether or not these changes are in the best interest of shareholders, employees, or the future of the organization.

Being a corporate leader requires the utmost ethical conscience, honesty, and fraud prevention and corporate crime policing.  Whistleblowers are to be respected and given a podium to speak from.

When the SEC began investigating Enron, Ken Lay reaffirmed traders and other employees that he and the company were frauded by “Andy” Fastow, yet the companies auditor Arthur Anderson was busy shredding evidence of wrongdoing. Ken Lay the Enron CEO shifted all responsibility to Andy, traders, the Government, and anyone else besides the executive leadership.

Jeffrey Skilling told employees to “invest your 401k” into Enron stock while he committed fraud. Skilling himself moved his money out of the stock. His Milgram Experiment was to keep influencing employees that what they were doing was right. Keep selling. Employees had faith in leadership. Leadership does not “fall on a knife” when corruption is discovered. When Scott Klein from Idearc met with employees, while being aware of his bankruptcy plans for the company, he assured employees and investors that the spin-off debt and stock arrangements were “strong.”

In Dallas, at a Fuller Drive meeting, Scott Klein the new CEO of Idearc Media reassured employees that the company was financially sound and had cash on the balance sheet few companies had. Instead of going into detail about the companies longterm plans, Scott Klein proceeded to pander to employees his “7 keys to success,”” a presentation better suited to High School kids.

Atleast, we now know how Mr. DeKlein likes his cocktails.

During the rise and fall of Enron, employees and investors were scammed for more than 20 billion. Just the same, Verizon scammed investors with Idearc stock, as well as FairPoint Communications and Hawaiian Telecom spin-offs. The fraud committed by Verizon, Idearc Executives, and SuperMedia’s CEO Scott Klein will be uncovered just like Enron in years to come.

I respect those who blow the whistle to protect the innocent. Those who are not in leadership or positions of influence. I respect the honest worker who gets up, turns on the pot of coffee and heads to work to do good. I respect the Good Guys, not those that put on a super cape and claim “Good Guy” status.

It is wrong to tell investors you have challenges with receivables yet turn around and increase the credit limitations to clients. It is wrong to tell investors good news while hiding the bad. This is manipulation and dishonest.

Milgram’s experiment emphasizes that leadership is ultimately responsible for corporate culture.

Leadership doesn’t get the axe. Take a look at the 545 folks who run this country. Do they get fired? They work for us voters, yet we can’t seem to fire them and they just blame the bad decisions on co-workers or subordinates.

It’s time to put your big boy britches on fellas. Grab your whistles, proxy statements and voting cards….. Make a CHANGE. It is in your hands. When people are crying out in pain, will you continue shocking them? Do you want the blood of the innocent on your hands? What will you do? I suggest it is time to grab and axe and start hacking away at the leadership team. Time for them to get fired!

(btw, I wonder why would an executive commit suicide? Enron’s executives did after the Justice Department began inquiring about illegal activities. Thousands of people faced with crimes go to prison or face social scrutiny, so why are white collar criminals so spineless that they become suicidal?)

Posted from WordPress for Android


What do you do when your cheese is moved?

September 4, 2010

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It happens.

Did landline phone companies expect to lose business to wireless, voip, and cable providers?

Did typewriter manufacturers anticipate the PC? (Well…sorta)

Will cable and media companies be prepared for the shift to a new era? The era of the contributor is near. Bloggers, video producers and folks that want to star in the next “Today’s Show” tomorrow. Wayne’s World is the future. No longer do we need to spend big bucks for big media. Demand media is the future. Subscription is the future. Pay as you go.

Apple’s AppleTV (what I prefer to call iTV) is coming. Cable companies will charge to store your preferences. YouTube will be the next YouTV.

Change is coming. Old media methods don’t work. Gen X, Gen Y, and the generation before them are not interested in telegrams, telegraphs, snail mail, or yellow pages. Search marketers understand that the channels of the future are authoritative, answer difficult questions (such as what, where, and WHEN…. then how much.)

Those that don’t have the courage to test the limits of human ingenuity won’t make it. Last week I attended OpenCamp at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Addison Tx ( http://www.OpenCa.mp .) OpenCamp is a bloggers convention of sorts. It is an event that discusses all things related to blogging, including the web content management systems used to blog (Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.)

At OpenCamp, I discovered the next generation of media: the artist. You see, the web is not fully evolved. New applications, coding such as HTML5, and creative ideas will revolutionize what we think of the internet. The art of entertainment, contribution, and collaboration is growing beneath big media. Channels and personalities for your entertainment are flourishing, such as iJustine on YouTube and Twitter.

Stay tuned. Adapt or die.

Can’t wait to say, “I told you so.”

To answer the question “what to do when your cheese is moved?,” you move with it. Just because you business is relevent today does not mean it will be relevent tommorow.

Marketing is not something you learn in a textbook. Marketing is effort. Marketing is experience. Marketing is about having something good to say, smart, funny, and interesting. It is about things people want or need. As long as you have the desire to stay relevent, you have something to offer.

Posted from WordPress for Android


Corporate social media integration is not expensive or challenging!

August 29, 2010

What is needed for corporate social media integration?

Social Media is the Future for Corporations and SMBsHere are my thoughts on social media and corporations.

Know your Goals:

– What are your goals? Sales?

– How realistic are your goals?

Know your audience:

– Customers?

– Comrades?

– Don’t be phony.

– Transparency rocks!

– If you social media department doesn’t have a clue “How to win friends and influence people,” you won’t succeed at social. You can’t fake the funk!

Metrics/Reports:

– You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

– Don’t worry about the numbers. If you spend two years in social media, and have not monetized the effort, then you can re-evaluate the need for social media.

Reputation Management is in the Social Media Department!

– Don’t forget to follow-up online with information on how you resolved things offline. Just because you repaired a problem.

– Keep negative comments off the first page of Google (and other search engines) with SEO.

PR Assault……Should have been done yesterday!

– It doesn’t have to be perfected within before you begin!

– It doesn’t take more expense than time and guidance from an expert

PreEmptive Strikes are great social media tactics:

– Social media is not just reputation or crisis management and marketing sales communications

– Create non company accounts and find your promoters or reputation “protectors,” those that defend your brand.

Make Sure Your CEO is 100% on Board:

– Don’t trust social media to interns. That should make your CEO comfortable.

– Get someone who has the trust of the CEO or board of directors to be a social media department head.

– If you have to have a meeting before responding online at every social interaction, you might want to reconsider your policy.

– Employees respond stupidly in front of customers, don’t freak out if they respond or say something stupid online.  It will happen.
Who Owns Social Media?

– Trusted employees, policy department, fast-paced communications departments that has speed and agility, marketing comunications or public relations.  Ability to quickly communicate to other departments.

– Social media interaction can not be outsourced.

– Email is social media. Schedule your emails. Don’t miss deadlines. Be granular about it.

Where Does Social Media Marketing Take Place?

– Twitter

– Email subscription lists

– Facebook

– YouTube

– Newsletters

– Public Relations

– Press Releases

– Websites

– Events Offline

*Just Remember: Brands don’t communicate with people, people do. Social media is about interacting, your company’s brand with the community!

For additional expert advice and tips on social media integration just click this link.

Posted from WordPress for Android while at OpenCa.mp Dallas 2010, see #ocdfw on Twitter.


Why do crony executives hide behind “company policies”…

August 24, 2010

Were You Fired From SuperMedia Due To Executive or CEO Fraud?It is easy. Our company policy requires you to disclose wrongdoings. 

Take a look at Sea World. They knew the whale was more trouble than it was worth. A $75,000 suit later after discovering that executives tried to hide the fact that they knew about the potential troubles. 

All they do is blame it on the employees for not “filing a complaint” or grievance. Reminds me of the corporate culture I witnessed while working in “corporate America.” Executives know what happens. They just blame it on subordinates for not filing a complaint or reporting to HR. Yet I personally witnessed employees being pushed out, pressured, and terminated for “blowing the whistle” on wrongdoings. 

Easy for the executives. Let the minions fall on the sword. It is so easy to avoid it as the boss. Who is going to fire the boss? His team of circle jerks? 

Makes me sick and glad to be away from corporate politics. 

Seriously. I left High School and 2 months later joined Verizon Information Services. 9 years + later, I can attest that the only protections employees have is other employees. Yet I still have negative opinions about unions. I was one of the non union fellas who witnessed wage decreases and modest merit increases while unions negotiated cadillac contracts, pensions, and benefits packages. 

Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t. 

Guess the only option is to stop overpaying crony executives for working less hours than regular employees and to limit the ability for a single hiring manager to term an employee? But putting wrenches and restrictions on the workforce limits a companies ability to respond to the marketplace. 

So what is the solution? 

Culture. It begins at the top and finishes at how you train clients to agree, promote, and accept your ethics, mission, and positive working environment. Clients are trained to cheat by shady unethical consultants. Don’t allow executives to ignore wrongdoings. Don’t allow co-workers to do the same. 

Your company may not have great sales results, dividends to investors, or huge executive bonuses, but you can always take pride in your corporate culture. Atleast you won’t be ranked on JobVent as on of the worst places to work. 

Btw, notice how companies avoid the “blogosphere” by just posting press releases vs allowing comments? Another way to keep the community silent and from voicing concerns. I love exposing the tricks from so-called corporate reputation management professionals. 

Cheers, 

Mike 

Posted from WordPress for Android


Concierge….. potential future for publishers.

August 24, 2010

Yellow Page Concierge Services…..

It is not really lead generation, but more of an opportunity for publishers to become a subscription based business.

Service Magic has cost per lead for service companies locked and loaded. Yext is up and coming. Transparency is the future. Why? Because the internet is the “bathroom wall of America.”

Who will be the first publisher to attempt to incorporate pricing (such as a hotel concierge who provides the best deals to VIP clients for local sporting events, operas, and concerts) and providing the best local products and services. Not those backed by some long micro print guarantee that has nothing but a “these are the guys who purchased our ads” seal of approval. Consumers want to subscribe to the best deals. The best providers. And the best resources of information. The best directories offer traffic to advertisers. How do you get traffic? Well, you can buy it (not so smart) or earn it. Earning it requires unique value propositions and key differentiators.

What more can a yellow pages publisher do than stop offering up the biggest ad spenders, but those smbs most capable of servicing the true client of the yellow pages company, the CONSUMER.

Doesn’t sound cheap. Probably requires going back to the “compensation committee” and lowering the CEO’s salary and bonuses. But hey, when your stock is tanking and you already have an exit strategy in place, why would you want to rock the boat?


Phonebook’s are not dead…… seriously!

August 22, 2010

“Just because your business is relevant today, does not mean it will be relevant tommorow!”

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Have you noticed how the terminology of the word “phonebook” has shifted from discussions of 5lb paperweights to contact lists on mobile devices. I just did a search on Twitter for “phonebook” and noticed that the repeated complaints about getting yellowpages directories delivered unsolicited to ones domicile with the “#phonebook” hashtag/keyword have been trending down. It is not like folks simply stopped complaining about “phonebooks” and unwanted yellowpages directory spam, I am just saying that the overall awareness, meaning, and viability of printed directories is dead. Although the word “phonebook” may become a very popular word once again in the near future!

The resurection of the printed book is not likely going to happen, but mobile devices will keep the idea of a “phonebook” on the forefront of our daily activities. When is the last time you used the white pages? Most folks are no longer programming cerebral sponges (brains) to remember phone numbers. We are becomming increasingly relient on our “phonebook” to provide us numbers and contact information.

Recently Yahoo stated that mobile search will account for 50% of all searches. I predicted mobile being 40% in less than two years just a few months ago on this blog. Now that smart phone technology is advancing to new leaps with great mobile browsers like Google’s Android browser, which has just recently officially taken the #1 spot from the iPhone’s Apple Safari Mobile Browser, and smart phones are no longer priced for affordability by the wealthy, I have a hunch that this migration to mobile will inundate the “local product or service” market quickly.

This all helps explain why SuperMedia stock, publisher of the SuperYellowPages “phonebooks,” is at an all-time low of around $12 per share.  I also recall that Oppenheimer finally downgraded the stock from outperform to perform (the only other measurement is underperform) and the analyst who rated the company is likely on some sort of “shitlist.”  Oppenheimer is no longer covering SuperMedia due to the size, or lacktherof, of SPMD’s stock marketcap.

Link: http://www.learningmarkets.com/News-Feed/2010081939950/supermedia-inc-endures-analyst-downgrade-spmd-v-kong.html

The Paulson Hedgefund, who owns approx. 16.9% of SuperMedia stock recently sent a “not-so-secret” message to investors by selling a few small shares of the company. Last I heard this is a known trick on the street to encourage shortselling of a stock.

It is interesting to see that while SuperMedia’s pending doom is approaching, the “phonebook” is still alive and well. Phonebook’s will outlive the yellowpages phonebook. Trust me!

Meanwhile, I still feel 110% confident that I have a cure for wannabe “integrated media companies” who want to transition from a non transparent, unfocused, hard sell, high margin, dying business model to a transparent collaborative service oriented enterprise2.0 business model. Stay tuned.

Join me at PubCon Vegas for details! See ya there folks!

Don’t forget to wear your red on Thursday folks! SuperSleuth out!

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