Video: Future of Phone Books w/ Verizon YP’s Ex CMO Sandra Crawford Williamson, Yellow Pages Opt Out Info

March 4, 2011

http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/special_report/future-of-phonebooks-030111

Future of Phonebooks?: MyFoxDC.com

We don’t want to “stop an institution.” We won’t to stop waste. For those that do not use your product, they should not have to opt out. Why do yellow pages companies choose not to evolve and ignore the sentiment of people who state they no longer want to receive the product.
The comment from the D.C. area reporter about the SuperGuarantee was wrong as well, she stated that “you won’t find that deal on the internet,” actually she should have done her homework. The first company to offer a $500 dollar guarantee was ServiceMagic.com with the ServiceGuarantee. ServiceMagic is owned by IAC, which includes CitySearch.com and many other sites (see below). The former CitySearch CEO Briggs Ferguson, who later became the Internet President of SuperMedia and SuperPages.com, copied the idea for the SuperGuarantee from ServiceMagic.

I appreciate the comment about them not following opt out. I recently received a book at my home from a few publishers after also opting out. Too bad the gal didn’t speak English when she came to my home the next day to pick up the book after my complaint. I apologized for her trouble, but I really wanted to opt out so I wouldn’t get the waste. I no longer have a green recycle-bin at my home.

IAC owns several companies and websites, among these are:

Ask.com
Bloglines
Chemistry.com
Citysearch
BustedTees
CollegeHumor
The Daily Beast
Excite
GarageGames
Insider Pages
InstantAction
iWon
Life123
Match.com
MyWay Searchbar
Okcupid
Pronto.com
Reference.com
ServiceMagic
Shoebuy.com
Urbanspoon
Very Short List
Vimeo
Zwinky

http://www.myfoxdc.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=7885

Future of Phonebooks?: MyFoxDC.com


Look here John, sorry to tell you this, but they lied to you.

November 18, 2010

image

“What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to lie and deceive…”

Just got back from the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Marketing Association http://www.DFWSEM.org meeting. You won’t believe it but the attendance was over 150 people tonight! The topic was the State of Search, featuring a gentleman from a Search Engine News Website and with two wonderful young ladies from Google and Bing. Very exciting stuff for search geeks like myself.

So… however that quote goes, has it never been more true  than in the advertising sales business.

You ever go out and tell a client what they are really getting from the service you provide? If you do it with an absolute clear conscience, you know, kinda like the feeling of helping someone down on his or her luck, wouldn’t you think you and the company you keep should be rewarded with this clients future business? Companies that can do this well have a great product or service to offer. Companies, like those that report phone book usage is down from 25% to now 11%, but then claim that they want to “opt themselves” out of paying a State mandated (so to speak) “tax” that requires them to produce a product that consumers don’t want or use, yet they then want to sue for the “freedom of speech” to saturate homes with unwanted industry waste… is that not pot meet kettle or what? The business practices of what was once an honest profession are disturbing. It is not all publishers. The problem is really all publishers combined. Take for instance my zip code, if you visit the Yellow Pages Opt Out site you will see that my home receives 4 different yellow pages company products, which equates to 6 books a year worth of collective waste. I wonder how much useful wood chips are being wasted? It is not like they are keeping legal citizens on payroll distributing the waste anymore? Have we officially handed phone book distribution responsibilities to illegal immigrants? I guess if the garbage man who doesn’t speak a lick of English can remove the phonebook trash for free, at no cost to the publishers, I am sure it won’t hurt for his Wife to keep busy littering our porches with them? Probably not the intent of the design behind the recycle symbol circle on your phonebook, but it sorts takes on a whole new meaning huh?

John Paulson is a smart man for booting SuperMedia CEO Scott Klein, and his two EVPs out of the company. Time to make room for DexOne management. DexOne folks didn’t subscribe to the Verizon/Idearc way of cheating. With the bankruptcy of Idearc, FairPoint Communications, and Hawaiian Telecom, Verizon should be held liable for unloading massive amounts of debt free and clear after two years outside of the nest, especially considering the knowledge of mobile smart phone advancements and patents. Considering the timing of the bankruptcy, one has to question the integrity of the investors and executives, whom did an excellent job of raising executive salaries while demanding subordinates take massive paycuts and benefit reductions. I guess we should ask Congress to do the same too? It is not like the 545 folks that run our federal government ever get fired for doing a crummy job?

What does this have to do with Google?

Product advancements in search come from ideas. Problem solvers combined with engineers and designers who create amazing solutions and verticals for just about any consumer need. The best that the Worlds first and once most respected “internet technology” companies, the yellow pages industry veterans, could create was an online version of the printed product. Nothing more, nothing less. That was because they, like most other intelligent businesses, understand how to carve a niche. Too bad ethics and technology passed them up. Companies like the one I used to work for are inundated with mid-level sales managers, high quotas, fat profit margins, nepotism, excessive executive compensation, and a lack of focus on change. Just because you are relevant today, doesn’t mean you will be relevant tomorrow.  The YP industry lacked the foresight to see the near future. Even paid search was a rush it to market solution with an inferior product like SMLocal that didn’t incorporate the tools from Google’s UI and AdWords Editor desktop applications. What we got was a cheap investment of the BidCenter tool from the purchase of Inceptor vs true software as a service (SAAS) solutions or platform planned and engineered application, such as those from companies like ReachLocal.com. To build a massive search marketing company you must find a way to embrace a holistic methodology to search and social, stay transparent with cpc/cpa and offer measurement tools and reporting such as Google Analytics.

The next step is to incorporate content strategy, and then after dotting i’s and crossing all the t’s you get to sales. Not sales and then a wonderful and almost preplanned game of hot potato by the outsourced and overworked/understaffed fulfillment department. Beuller? ANYONE want to take some accountability for the clients problems? Your CEO must be on the same page as your head engineer and his team of programmers. This is the side of corporate that deserves investment. Clearly not what Verizon chose to invest in with its Yellow Pages division Verizon Information Services.

Do you know why two terrible companies, or expired business models combined, just make one really bad company or idea?

John Paulson’s Hedge Fund was lied to by yellow pages executives. Now Mr. Paulson’s fund managers are making plans to turn yellow lemons into lemonade by combining the administrative and management expenses of SuperMedia and DexOne. I guess that is what most people hope, just because some monopolizing of the printed yellowbook business would be a good thing for porches everywhere. So the plan is to cut costs, merge resources and expenses, kill white pages, and then sell whatever is left back to investors or bondholders, but not at 40 bucks a share and the thirty some odd dollars per share they shorted the way down…. does this ring a bell folks? Gotta love crony hedge funds as much as crony capitalists right? I guess you deserved to be lied to… that is what you get for backroom deals to rob shareholders on bankruptcies of a dying business model before the companies had the opportunity for fresh and creative leadership to take a shot. Too bad when Verizon Yellow Pages and Idearc Media was spun off of big Verizon that big Verizon didn’t get to keep the crony leadership team from Kathy Heartless…. errr I mean Harless.

Maybe they need to just stop pretending they are so Super and actually do what is needed to become it… invest in something… anything. Just RIF the entire Verizon Management Team and start fresh… or do what Local.com did and buy a company like Octane360 for a basic SEO offering? Heck, you can’t do worse than BidCenter/SMLocal and Business.com. (lol)


The Worst Case of Sleazy Sales Tactics in History by SuperMedia

October 23, 2010

To some organizations business is a collaborative process. Grunts at the bottom share suggestions to decision makers at the top on policy related issues. Solutions to problems that impact the good will of clients and the success of the consultants or grunts. In other organizations, unless you are in a position of power, your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions are worthless. You are more or less an assembly line worker who can only impact the decisions that you have been given “authority” to control. Decisions such as what to do when you have a customer complaint.

Companies of the future are nothing-like companies of the past. The old ways of doing business just plain sucks compared to the “Google” or “Zappos” type business environments. You don’t find many mindless slaves who are told to do as they are told without permission for contribution of ideas for improvement.

Before I ended my employment with Idearc/SuperMedia in 2009, I happened to hire one of the best family law firms in the Dallas area to represent me for my Mother’s estate. My Mom died tragically in a motorcycle accident in October of 2008. While at the Idearc/SuperMedia office during this time, I witnessed first hand the questionable actions and backstabbing tactics on behalf of SuperMedia’s sales management team. This deeply disturbed me. I attempted to correct this problem as an employee but was ultimately pushed out the door by Bill Brewer, the new head honcho of Texas Sales at Fuller Drive in Irving Texas. Bill, in all his infinite wisdom, had been on the job for just 2 weeks.

On SuperMedia’s website they claim:

We stand side-by-side with plumbers and painters, landscapers and exterminators, roofers and dog groomers, movers and mechanics. We are the voice of house cleaners, window cleaners, carpet cleaners and pool cleaners. We are their catalyst of commerce.

So to resolve this longtime customer issue, I sent this long email last week to SuperMedia’s management team and public relations department decision makers.

from

Mike Stewart <dallasseoguru@gmail.com>

sender-time

Sent at 4:08 PM (GMT-05:00). Current time there: 8:11 AM. ✆

to

Andrew.Shane@supermedia.com

cc

scott.klein@supermedia.com,Peter.McDonald@supermedia.com,Sandra.Williamson@supermedia.com,Cody.Wilbanks@supermedia.com,mike@smbseo.com

date

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 4:08 PM

subject

Hammerle Finley Law Firm – Potential Win Win Here?

mailed-by

gmail.com

Thanks for talking with me this past week. First, a quick recap of the Hammerle Finley Law Firm Verizon Yellow Pages advertising account, and then some suggestions for a good resolution for SuperMedia.

From the information I have gathered, HF has been a loyal customer and a big advertiser with the company for more than 25 years. They first started dealing with GTE Yellow Pages in 1984, basically at the infancy of lawyer advertising. Because they grew so quickly to a large and respected law firm in the community, a lot of area law firms followed their lead with advertising dollars. In fact, the sales reps often bragged to them about how they sold so many ads based on “what Hammerle was doing.” Pete Hammerle, the law firm’s Executive Director and marketing guru, actually was asked, and appeared, on a customer panel at several kickoffs/seminars that GTE put on for their marketing managers. It was a very good relationship, and HF placed the bulk of its marketing dollars in the company’s yellow pages. By 2007, HF had decided that it would drop all of its yellow page advertising with competitors and contract only with the Company (by then it had morphed into Idearc.) Considering the degree of fragmentation in the yellow pages market by this time, I think this was a very strong commitment on part of Pete.

Unfortunately, their move coincided with the dramatic drop-off in quality and ethical standards at Idearc. I saw that while I was on the inside, as you have seen me rant about on my websites. I know that I don’t have to convince you of the problems that mired down Idearc at that point.

Because they had concentrated all of their advertising in the Idearc books, HF was able to identify the problems with the Lewisville distribution of the book. Their telephone calls dropped off dramatically when the competitors’ new books came out. They found out that their clients had never received the 2007 Idearc book. Then, in June 2008, the 2007 book was delivered bundled with the 2008 Dallas Yellowpages on a “secondary distribution”. When Pete Hammerle complained, Idearc compounded the problem by denying that there was any delivery issue, and gave him a sheaf of delivery receipts containing forged signatures. (Note that Idearc publicly made it a selling point for later books that they had installed a tracking method to fix their delivery problems). By the time the 2007 book was delivered, it would only be in the marketplace for 60 days before being replaced by the 2008 book.

Then the Denton Yellowpages came out, and their advertising was so full of mistakes that it was worthless to the law firm. HF had paid for a solo forced tab, such as had appeared in countless years before it, but that year, for the first time, the salesman sold two forced tabs in the book – and the other forced tab was to another law firm that appeared before the HF tab in the book just a few pages in front (likely a coupon tab.) Some HF attorneys were completely left out of listings, and attorneys who had been removed from the advertising by HF were left in. They were invoiced $1500 more a month than the contract amount.

When HF refused to pay for the mistakes, their salesman, Scott Mobley, responded by saying they would be dropped from the North Collin County book. Left without any advertising in the area, HF went ahead and signed up for advertising with competitors. It turned out that Idearc left their ads in the book (albeit with many mistakes) and then invoiced them for the entire book.

The ultimate problem, however, came when their long-time Idearc salesman, Scott Mobley, started working with the head of the family law section for HF who was secretly plotting to take the law firm’s entire family law section, move across the parking lot, and start a competing firm. Rather than refuse to help this management employee steal half of the law firm’s business, or to disclose the manager’s plans to HF, Idearc’s sales rep Scott Mobley and his manager John Klein, who were assigned to Hammerle Finley’s account once again, schemed on how to get both accounts in the book. Two Idearc cohorts met with Pete Hammerle and said Scott Mobley was too busy and they were bringing in another salesman to work the HF account. They then proceeded to try to sell HF new advertising priced to include all of the attorneys in the Firm, including the 5 attorneys they knew were planning to leave. When the HF lawyer manager moved out with the entire section, it was in large part because he had Idearc advertising that was already under contract (signed while he was still an HF employee) and well under way.

(That last issue is one that is going to be raised in a lawsuit {and quite possibly on my sites} against Idearc and is going to lead to some really bad publicity at a sensitive time for the new company.)

Rather than resolve these complaints, Idearc sued HF.

With all of this history, I know you are wondering why I think there may be a way to salvage this long-time customer.

If it had been any other year, or any other top management, or if any type of ethical constraints placed on salespeople, then none of those events would have happened. When the complaint was received that the books weren’t delivered, then the company would have admitted that delivery problems were a huge issue that was being faced by the industry and given HF credit. When the misrepresentations and mistakes were brought to light, the company would have listened, evaluated them, and given a credit. The company would not have said it was pulling the ads, and then billed for them. And, most importantly, the company would not have allowed its employees to help a rogue manager commit fraud.

I’ve spoken with Pete at length, and I know that he is willing to believe that the old group and its philosophy is gone, and that the new company will be different. He is interested in the products and the new management direction at Idearc. He is a savvy marketer, and sees that there is a definite advantage to a web campaign that ties-in with the Firm’s website. He would like the door opened to talk to someone about a new contract. And where HF goes, so does the bulk of the legal advertising dollars in Denton County. He is willing to explore advertising, but he cannot do that while he is at odds with the company.

If you really want to show the world that the old Idearc is gone, and the new SuperMedia management is going in a successful direction, then I think you have a chance to do that here. For more than 20 years, Pete and HF were one of your biggest supporters and swung a whole lot of business your way. They are willing to do that again. When you do a risk-reward analysis, I think you’ll see that chasing a very difficult lawsuit (and facing a counterclaim) is bad business, and having a new contract, with new money, as a showcase for a new product is very good business. I’m willing to help you sell that to Pete and HF. Can you give me a response as soon as possible on this?

Cheers,
Mike Stewart

“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.” — Albert Einstein

P.S. Hammerle has a new website http://www.Hammerle.com, the only remnants of the old site is the thumbnail on SuperPages.com. The thumbnail is of the Lawyers.com site. It would be great to get someone in “I-Care” to correct this. Just like past problems, it would be nice to move forward from that outdated website design, lol.

So, what was SuperMedia’s formal response? TALK TO OUR LEGAL DEPARTMENT. I don’t talk to legal departments. The response from SuperMedia doesn’t shock me. They had the opportunity to win a big on back. They screwed up, but they sit behind some God forsaken bullshit 4 page microfont contract and want to keep the philosophy that the company has no corporate conscience.

From Seth Godin’s Blog:
The corporate conscience

There isn’t one.

Corporations don’t have a conscience, people do.

That means that every time you say, “It’s just my job,” or “My department has a policy,” or “All I do is work here,” what you’ve done is abdicated responsibility–to no one.

It’s convenient and even comfortable to blame the anonymous actions of many working in concert on a evanescent brand or organization, but that starts you on an inevitable race to the bottom. Organizations have more power than ever before. They are better synchronized, faster, and possess more tools to change the economy and the people in it than ever before. And the only option available to the rest of us is for individuals to take responsibility (it’s not given) for what they do and how they do it.

The very same tools that permit organizations to synchronize their efforts are now available to you and to me. I guess the question is: will we use that power to humanize the systems we’ve created?

PS It’s not just about being a good citizen: when bad behavior comes back to hurt the company, it hurts you, too.

Considering that “Attorneys and Lawyers” account for 13% of the revenues for yellow pages publishers, I am sure once my new “Attorney Yellow Pages Advertising” website is complete, lawyers everywhere will have a new place to discuss these sort of injustices.

As a libertarian, not that it matters other than my addiction to all things political, I firmly believe that social media will be the deciding factor in how business is done. No longer do you get clients from name recognition alone. Reputation is vital to the success of any business entity. Activities like those mentioned above do not go unpunished. We have been forced to pick sides, whether it be Democrat or Republican, since the early days of voting. Social media and online reputation has thrown a wrench in the way the gears of business turn. You can not avoid your questionable actions. Future elections will be decided in social media, not yard signs and bullcrap TV ad promises.

My response to SuperMedia’s management teams response to this email? “How about telling the legal department to call me!”

looks like the old walking fingers is flipping us the bird, huh?

Otherwise, I will be seeing you folks here later. Standing by the good guys. You know, the big local law firm that has padded the pockets of your crony executives and sales reps for countless years only to be stabbed in the back by your so called “media consultants”.  Just a bunch of mindless cold calling commission sales reps. They (specifically all the new folks you hired to cut salary costs) don’t know the first thing about real media buying.

 


Verizon Idearc SuperMedia Stock Fraud Scam discovered. How bankers and executives pad pockets!

July 30, 2010

Verizon’s Idearc SuperMedia Stock Fraud Exposed

Verizon SuperMedia Stock Scam LogoHere is a link to the Class Action Lawsuit filed against Verizon, JP Morgan etc for SuperMedia/Idearc Stock and Bankruptcy Fraud. Verizon, Idearc’s Executive’s including most of the same Verizon and now current SuperMedia leadership, committed a crime! I was a Verizon employee from 2000 to 2006, then Verizon Yellow Pages became Idearc. It all went downhill from there! Looked at the SEC filings and figured out what Idearc did. They may have gotten away with a perfect crime. I just can’t figure out how a bankruptcy court judge would allow it. But considering the compensation of Idearc’s bankruptcy lawyers in Dallas, and the history with the local federal bankruptcy judge… this looks worse than Bernie Madoff!

How to wipe out shareholders and pad the pockets of bankers, hedgefund managers, and executives 101:

Step 1: Create a public company with two accounts one public and one private.

Step 2: Load all debt to the public account at inception, but report all earnings as one entity, which makes most people believe the debt to asset ratio is okay.

Step 3: Put most of the money into the private account.

Step 4: File for bankruptcy and get rid of the public account.

Step 5: Do it again under a new name.

Very clever, but is it legal? The courts will have to decide. The company had $1.7 billion in assets when it filed for chapter 11 and that money was never factored in during the bankruptcy. On at least 3 separate occassions, Verizon has sold or spun off companies which they themselves overloaded with VERIZON debt. (Fairpoint Communications, Hawaiian Telecom, and Idearc Media) All 3 of these companies filed for bankruptcy resulting in massive losses to anyone who invested their hard earned money trusting the Verizon name. I have always been a strong believer in the “buyer beware” philosophy but Verizon’s hands are certainly NOT clean in all of this. Any individual investor who got caught up in this would be hard pressed to defend Verizon. The entire 2006 earnings is a fraud. Verizon declares $772 million net earnings minus any debt. Verizon then spins off Idearc and takes most of the cash and leaves Idearc with $72 million. Verizon set up two accounts in respect of its whole business: one to hold the cash (the $9 Billion that it borrowed), and one to hold the debt for the borrowing (Spinco). The latter it got rid of, but wrapped up in a pretty package, along about Thanksgiving time, called “Idearc” (vaguely reminiscent of a sort of Noah’s arc of supreme “wisdom”), and garnered with a handsome (though very perishable) dividend. Actually, it was a bomb, expressly timed (in the “tax sharing agreement”) to explode exactly at the two year mark necessary to avoid capital gain tax on the transaction.

Check the most recent income and cash flow statements and you will see that the company is an operating cash cow. But in 2009, I think management wanted the bankruptcy to succeed to get out of paying the debt, so they paid out huge sums to bankruptcy attorneys and for marketing consultants. Now that the bankruptcy is over, management owns shares of new stock and will have an incentive to cut costs and raise the stock price. Paulsen had an obvious incentive to provide a low ball value estimation to get the stock as cheaply as possible.

And then, when it did explode in hands of remote purchasers for value (relying on the Verizon name and integrity), and just as was certainly predictable, Verizon, acting like a total stranger, simply walks away. It might have stopped; it might have looked, and thought of something – thrown a blanket over the victim of its own actions – it could have guaranteed the bonds; taken a preferred issue to pay them off, made a short term loan to help its own telephone book get through the recession – many things…but no. The causal agent of the catastrophe acted just like the driver who hits the pedestrian – 437,000. of them in this case – and just goes on driving down the road….the SEC POLICE nowhere to be seen. It is likely the low point of the American securities system and the New York Stock Exchange. Current participants in this don’t want to tell it. History certainly will.

Just in case you wondered:

Counsel to the Debtors  (Idearc) – Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. 2200 Ross Avenue, Suite 2800 Dallas, TX 75201-2784 T: 214-855-8000 F: 214-855-8200 http://www.fulbright.com

Counsel to Unsecured Creditors – Haynes and Boone, LLP 2323 Victory Avenue, Suite 700 Dallas, TX 75219 T: 214-651-5000 F: 214-651-5940 http://www.haynesboone.com

The Debtors’ actual cash balance as of July 31, 2009 was $616 million.

and check this out: http://www.belltelretirees.org/images/stories/docket_29_-_supermedias_motion_to_dismiss_reply_brief.pdf

Latest update: Verizon Sued for Fraud http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-16/verizon-sued-by-idearc-creditors-claiming-2006-spinoff-led-to-bankruptcy.html


My WordPress Website Statistics. Check em out!

July 9, 2010

Search Terms for 7 days ending 2010-07-09 (Summarized)

Summarize: 7 Days 30 Days Quarter Year All Time

2010-07-02 to Today

Search Views
supermedia rumors 42
dallas google guru 21
supermedia scam 18

Proof of SuperFraud by a not so Super Media company

May 30, 2010

Want to see proof of SuperMedia sales fraud? Visit www.YellowCrooks.com


April Fools Day at SuperMedia

April 1, 2010

Apparently it is everyday!

From another Super Media insider –

Hey, Mike, I just heard that they have let go all the credit reps. They got a package this morning and were told to either find a rep job as a P1 or pack up their desks and get out. You know that this means. Credit will be coming to the field. We’ll all have to defend it (Yeah, right) or we’ll end up losing our jobs, too. I’ve seen what those guys handle. It’s about a third of the money in our division. This is going to be pure blood, man.

You need to say something on your blog about this. We all know regular reps won’t work the credit and it will just get canceled. What’s that going to do to the bottom line and our stock? On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t. lol

.

Can you believe this? It is only going to get worse. Better hold on for dear life Mr. or Mrs. SuperMedia Insider!

Btw, Do you want to know how sales reps and management at SuperMedia fraud paying clients and also earn commission without making the company a dime of profit? Take a look at YellowCrooks.com for more information. The art of SuperMedia Sales Fraud and how they always manage to put more ads in the phone book while usage and ROI decreases.