The Final Nail is In The Coffin, Bye Bye to Greater Dallas

July 27, 2012

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SuperMedia, the formerly bankrupt publisher of the Verizon Yellow Pages, will announce what will likely be another double digit revenue decline in print advertising during the company’s quarterly earnings call today July 27th.

What the company will likely not be sharing is the decision to discontinue what was once the most profitable directory in the company’s publishing footprint. The Greater Dallas Yellow Pages will not have a 2013 edition. Rumor is that the company is no longer making money printing the once ginormous brick of recycled paper waste material, which was once the most used local search tool in North Texas.

Am I heart broken? No! Besides today being my birthday, I am overjoyed that they finally came to their senses.

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Who still uses the yellow pages?
Since phone companies no longer have a monopoly on printing books and thanks to Google, smart phone technologies, and the advancement of online search and online content, Dallas area consumers no longer need a bulky yellow pages to find information. The phone books that still receive ad impressions are likely hyper local books in more rural non-urban markets, like the ones “Idearc Media” (the former pre-bankruptcy name of SuperMedia) bailed on.

Word is the company will continue to push digital offerings and more failed attempts to sell advertising via channel partners while failing to create digital assets of its own. They have repeatedly outsourced all attempts at “quality online marketing” not limited to even include the advertising for the yellow pages brand itself. Don’t expect the company to hire hundreds of copywriters and begin offering content marketing like my company SMB SEO.

Back in 2009, I had a meeting scheduled with Dave Bethea, former Executive Vice President of Sales for SuperMedia, to discuss ways to improve the company’s online offerings. I had been helping clients with online marketing and SEO for almost an entire decade. Dave was a good friend of the company’s CEO at the time Scott Klein. Dave and Scott both came from a background of selling materials and fasteners for the building industry. Nails, fasteners, and whatnot. In my opinion Dave should not have been put in charge of running an organization like the Verizon Yellow Pages. He had zero experience with a consultative sales approach and it showed. I cancelled my meeting with Dave and shortly thereafter left the company.

The discontinuation of the Dallas Book represents an official changing of the guard and further proves that my concerns were justified back in 2009.

The reasons why consumers don’t use the yellow pages has little to do with the fact that the yellow pages abused the power and influence it had on small to medium-sized businesses. Constant annual rate hikes. Penalties for decreasing budgets. While other companies protected the customer base with affordable ads that brought a rate of return, the yellow pages disregarded the rules of the marketplace and repeatedly found ways to manipulate earnings. From selling customers ads they clearly could not afford, to 13 month long life publications and new double double truck seniority ads, and countless other gimmicks and tricks squeezing more revenue while providing less and less value to clients.

I have always maintained that it was wiser to keep a client then be forced to replace one. When a publisher loses a customer due to overselling or errors a publisher might miss revenue from that particular enterprise permanently, sooner or later your new business opportunity dries up and you have managed alienate your potential customer base.

What the yellow pages did was simply getting a significant stake in the SMB profit margin. Today business owners are not extorted out of revenue by a local directional search monopoly.
Google offers affordable pay per click (PPC) ads that fit most budgets and combined with analytics and dynamic call tracking offers an awesome value to businesses. Organic search marketing also concentrates on content contribution, brand authority, and share of voice vs “who has the deepest pockets” to buy the biggest ad.

RIP Greater Dallas, you will not be missed. Businesses thank you for helping them grow over the years… Now GO AWAY!!!

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SuperMedia executive murdered in Ontario California

August 17, 2011

I was just notified by a friend that a longtime Verizon Yellow Pages employee, John Hillrich, was shot and killed at the company’s Ontario California office by individuals in a black SUV.

Do you know what happened? Many people are searching for more information.

My condolences to his friends and family. Everybody stay safe.

More info:

Ontario police arrest 3 in slaying
Will Bigham, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/17/2011 02:09:04 PM PDT

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with a man’s fatal shooting Tuesday at a parking structure in Ontario, police said today. John Hillrich, 39, of Fontana was shot at about 2 p.m. at 3401 E. Centrelake Drive, and later died at a hospital. He was leaving his workplace at the time of the shooting, police said. His wife, 38-year-old Amy Hillrich of Yucaipa, was arrested at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Ontario Police Department, booking records show. Late Tuesday evening detectives arrested two of Amy Hillrich’s former co-workers: David Olvera, 24, of Yucaipa, and Emilio Saldana, 22, of Calamesa. The three suspects previously worked together at a care facility in Yucaipa, according to a news release.

Police said John and Amy Hillrich were estranged, and Hillrich had a relationship with Olvera. Investigators determined that Olvera and Saldana were in a vehicle that left the scene after the shooting, according to the news release. Investigators also recovered bullet casings and other evidence at the scene, police said. The three suspects remained jailed without bail today at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, according to booking records.

Police encourage anyone with information on the shooting to call Detective Gary Naranjo at 909-395-2764.
Information can also be submitted anonymously by calling We Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME.


Why the Internet and Google Kills The Yellow Pages

May 15, 2011

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On the most recent SuperMedia Verizon Yellow Pages earnings call the company’s CEO Peter McDonald, the 3rd CEO in 4 years for Idearc/SuperMedia, was asked a question:

“Okay. And then last question. I was wondering if you could comment on —

Google recently changed their algorithm for searches, if that’s affected small business? And if you’ve seen any impact from that?

SuperMedia CEO Peter McDonald replied:

“I really don’t –I don’t keep up with Google changing their algorithm. I think they do it every day.”

He also probably doesn’t consider Google or Bing Local competitors. This is a sad reality. You see, back when folks like Chris Silver Smith and his team of SEO experts ran SuperPages.com, the site was the #1 local search destination and was the site that Google used most for citations or references to local listings. The site had tremendous authority. Client content in the form of business profiles ranked high on Google for terms like “painting service Denver” and other category/geography keyword combinations.

The yellow pages are facing continued decline of use, which is attributed to a shift in local search from printed books to cell phones etc. People once needed the book to order a pizza, now they turn to a mobile application or simple search for “pizza” on Google for local results.

Peter is an old school print YP dinosaur who doesn’t get it. He probably thinks that half of Americans prefer the printed yellow pages local search product over the internet local search. This is only true in small rural areas. Peter is a yellow pages preacher. He preaches his faith regardless whether science and academia state otherwise. Peter will hire lobbyist to prevent municipalities from creating opt-out programs that circumvent his industry’s attempt to collect consumer data with opt-outs. When homeowners associations begin to put restrictions on yellow pages delivery it will be too late..

SuperMedia just announced plans to layoff 267 employees because businesses no longer need listings in the phone book to be found….. Why not? People don’t use the yellow pages or white pages to research local business information such as addresses and phone numbers. The call center they are closing once handled a bulk of the company’s business, including all the low-cost mailout renewal accounts. These accounts consisted of multi-heading and bold fonts etc. The demand for such a thing is non-existent.

Google’s algorythm change and the inability of Peter McDonald and his team to invest the time to “keep up with it” is exactly why SuperPages doesn’t get the traffic to client websites that it once did.

Another potential area of focus or failure for local search websites is the Social check-in, group buying and engagement sites. These sites are great response tools for measuring subscribers or the online social user-base. Unfortunately the yellow pages again have failed to adapt. They don’t seem to understand the word “subscription”. People don’t subscribe to the yellow pages. You must unsubscribe to get them to stop polluting your front porch or lawn with the once bulky books. If you continue to solicit your products to people that do not want them, fail to offer them a clear and easy means of opting out, your industry will fail by not respecting and appreciating consumer demand. Time to close up shop.

Check-in ratings are real. Use FourSquare or Gowalla and see how competitive it is to become a “mayor” of your local school or Starbucks. This is a great way to see the level of social engagement in your area. Something measurable vs drinking the company mantra and Kool-Aid.

Google loves a well optimized small business website. Which is better, a SMB website or Internet Yellow Pages listing? The answer is the SMB website.

I have also found that link-building from niche blog sites works well, just like topical content link-building from regional news sites and press releases.


Not So SuperMedia Keeps Shareholder Out of Annual Meeting!

May 11, 2011

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I am here in Southlake at the SuperMedia 2011 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

When I signed into the meeting at 9:05 I was told the meeting was over. What else did you expect from this crony executive leadership? Then they childishly moved the meeting to another room. With all the executives and board of directors members standing around chatting.

It is now 10:22 a.m. central standard time. I am going wait a few more minutes to take a couple more pics to prove the meeting was not over by 9:06 a.m. when I arrived. The woman at the desk explained to me that the meeting had already finished.

I am filing a request for the shareholder’s meeting minutes with SuperMedia’s legal team.

Pictures and additional details are coming soon. I would appreciate someone sharing the meeting minutes vs having to work with the company’s legal team.


Boulder’s Taylor Moving companies battle over business identity – Boulder Daily Camera

May 6, 2011

Businesses battle brand identity in the Yellow Pages:

Boulder’s Taylor Moving companies battle over business identity – Boulder Daily Camera.

The sales rep that sold the advertisement is also responsible for ruining the effectiveness of the real Taylor Moving’s ad. I will call to confirm that his invoices from the actions of the “SuperCrooks” sales rep gets resolved as well.


SuperMedia Closes the TCC in Irving Texas, 267 Jobs Lost.

May 3, 2011

According to a recent post by Jeff Bounds, Senior Staff Writer at the Dallas Business Journal, it appears that SuperMedia will be closing shop at it’s Irving Tx based call center.

I began my career of selling advertising solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in August of 2000, just a few months out of High School. I was hired by Cindy Crumpton and Jean Knudson thanks to a bit of nepotism and experience selling over the phone at US Wireless Communications during High School. My mom, Thressa (T.C.) Stewart Adams, was a GTE Yellow Pages Rookie of the Year Award Winner. She was also the trainer at the TCC. My experience at the TCC was great. I started out in outbound sales and ended up being promoted to ACD (Alternate Call Distribution) and never missed budget. I won my first Prestige Award, 13 Pay Periods without missing quota, and was on my way to a second before being promoted a year later to Texas Division Sales.

My heart goes out to all those impacted by the terrible decisions of Idearc/SuperMedia’s management team. Considering that digital marketing agencies are recruiting like wildfire, it is apparent that SuperMedia is facing challenging times.

I will see you at the company’s annual shareholders meeting. I still own stock in SuperMedia. The meeting is on May 11th and begins at 9 a.m.

SuperMedia Inc. (the “Company”) currently plans to hold its 2011 annual meeting of stockholders (the “2011 Annual Meeting”) on May 11, 2011 beginning at 9:00 a.m., local time, at the Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square located at 1400 Plaza Place, Southlake, TX 76092. The Company did not hold an annual meeting of stockholders in 2010.

When is Andy Shane going to stop putting the PR Spin on these announcements? Increase face to face? How does your micro-management teams allow sales consultants to spend more time in front of clients? Let me guess… Alexander Proudfoot Consulting has made a difference?

What a sad day.

SuperMedia to close Irving shop; 267 affected

Dallas Business Journal – by Jeff Bounds, Senior Staff Writer

Directory publisher SuperMedia LLC plans a July closing of an Irving call center, affecting all 267 people a company official.

“As part of its initiative to increase face-to-face sales and customer support and conduct these activities through local offices around the country, SuperMedia will be closing its centralized telephone sales and operations center,” said Andy Shane, SuperMedia’s group manager, external communications, in an e-mail.

“As many as 234 sales employees and 33 operations employees may be affected,” Shane’s e-mail added.

The facility is at 5601 Executive Drive in Irving, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. SuperMedia’s headquarters is at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Affected employees will receive at least 60 days of notice about the facility closure, and are able to apply for any available positions in SuperMedia (NASDAQ: SPMD).

“We also will provide employees with access to an outplacement agency,” Shane said in his e-mail.

Jobs will soon be available at Lockheed:

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=8705

Lockheed Martin Workers Caught Boozing It Up On Break: MyFoxDFW.com


Yellow Pages Sales People Are Liars.

April 14, 2011

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Not all.

Just some yellow pages sales people are crooked.

Just got off another lengthy phone call on this particular subject…

Here we go again. Read the contract. Please people!

Help me… help you!

It never ceases to amaze me how many folks call me, post on my site, or submit a request to a business lawyer client of mine on subjects related to Yellow Pages sales fraud, contract issues, ad errors, or just straightup lies or promises to follow-up that never take place. Do the yellow pages have a client trouble ticket support system? 

If it ain’t in the contract, it ain’t the truth and it didn’t/won’t happen.

Do you think the “my Sales Rep said this and that” excuse will hold up in court? Do you even read the papers you signed? Do you have arbitration? They are henchmen. They have always had a sharp axe over your head to renew, sell you based on some bullshit “your competitor is doing it” concept while my own surveys said that my former colleagues at Verizon Yellow Pages own words were, “We never use the yellow pages, except to find those in a competitors book and not ours to sell to.”

The job of many Yellow Pages workers was to design ads, market products, manage sales results, or build crappy looking websites. The job of the sales rep was to move to the next customer.

Rep comes back in the office after renewals on 3 customers (corporate quota was 5 per per day once, which is now 1) and the first thing his boss asks is “did you sell a non-ad?” (Non-Advertiser) It was never really about keeping clients. It was a monopoly. The telcos had a monopoly which became a duopoly (more books… more costs… higher prices.)

A business is always limited by resources, thus they will always have a budget. This is common sense…. but I guess so is reading a contract put in front of you by a potential lier.

Just wanted to add that I was and still am one of the good guys… “an ethicical professional who practices moral capitalism.”

Unlike the yellow pages, I am not corporate and don’t have your business guaranteed for 12 months…. or more if I used some tricks in a contract. Or some legal and collections team dedicated to enforcing the.contract, regardless of what it does to reputation or client churn.


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.


YellowBook.com Loses Unique Visitors To SuperPages.com from October to January

February 22, 2011

The latest report on rankings for the top 50 websites that also includes the top local search yellow pages websites is out. According to comScore it appears that SuperPages.com has improved traffic since November and regained traffic from YellowBook.com’s network. I wonder how much of this is attributed from credit of Local.com’s UVs or is it from the recent decline in television advertising frequency of YellowBook’s360 promotion?

Nonetheless, Great improvement for the folks at SuperPages.com. We know how important this metric is to the company. Being the #1 Online YellowPages Site has been a claim the company wants to continue boasting about.

Borrell recently announced that LocalSearch Unique Visitor Counts are likely flawed and not a very good metric (KPI). According to a recent post from Greg Sterling at Screenwerk.com:

Among others, the report makes the following assertions:

  • About 30% of a local website’s visitors don’t live in the market.
  • On average, about one-fourth of a local site’s page views are delivered to people who probably won’t return for another year, if ever.
  • The average local website’s unique visitor count overstates the number of actual people visiting the site by a factor of 3.6, and overstates the number of local people by a factor of 5.
  • So a site that tells local advertisers it has a half-million monthly unique visitors should probably be forthright and start saying it reaches about 100,000 local people.

It has been said that one of the key reasons for this flawed data is that folks own multiple web-enabled devices, such as a cell phone, a tablet, and a desktop PC or two.

I am still reaching out for clarification to the rumor that Local.com provides its Unique Visitor count credit to SuperPages.com, since the companies have a partnership of sorts. Until I hear otherwise, I will assume that this is true.


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


WEB.com Partners with SuperPages.com – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

December 10, 2010

SuperMedia just inked a partnership deal with Web.com to provide SMB (small & medium business) websites, the first move to update the companies online product offerings since before being Verizon Information Services, pre-dating Idearc Media.

http://smallbiztrends.com/2010/12/web-com-and-supermedia-announce-alliance-to-benefit-small-businesses.html

GTE/Verizon/Idearc/SuperMedia has had a long lasting relationship with Register.com, the company Web.com recently purchased for 135 million big ones. Just a 65 million dollar loss for the VC team that purchased the company for 200 million smack-a-roos 5 years earlier.

If SuperMedia has a buyout opportunity, now is the time. Considering that they officially appointed Peter McDonald as CEO, the guy from Dex, now is the time to sell SuperPages.com and combine Dex and VZ print publishing efforts with significant cost saving in management and operations payroll with combined efforts.

Good: WEB.com is proactive with negative keyword insertion strategies for online reputation management, better than SuperMedia’s ORM and PR Team.

http://www.web.com/blog/internet-marketing/web-com-scam-prevention-tips/

Let’s see how far they manage to drive these search results for “Web.com Scam” down.

http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/internet-scam-c109036.html

Good: Hostopia/Netopia Motorola outdated content management systems are done for.

Bad: Outsourcing web marketing to a DIY platform like Godaddy’s WebsiteTonight product or Web.com’s DIY based website products vs in-house.

Bad: Not following the masses with widely used, supported, and future-proof web based content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal is still taking a step sideways vs forward. This is not evolution.

Ugly: Does the client own the site design or is it still like Hostopia/Motorola sites that you can’t keep should you desire not to renew your contract?

If you can’t invest $1000.00 to $1500.00 in your online brand you must either be in rural America serving your local area or your target market consists of “OLD” people.

Ugly: This guy’s email from India this morning proves that folks overseas know more about search marketing solutions than Yellow Page folks, hedge fund managers, commodity sellers, and the average small business owner.

Hello,

Wishing you a great day!

We offer services for Search Engine Optimization for enhancing link popularity of the website on your targeted keywords. As well as our team has been serving for few SEO companies all across the globe for various themes e.g IT services , Real-estate, Online Shopping, Cosmetics . If you have any requirements for complete SEO or the related services below,

 

Please feel free to contact to may skype id: (removed to protect the innocent)

 

1. Manual Directory Submissions

2. Static Back links

 

3. Blog Posting

 

4. Article Submission

 

5. Press release submission

 

6. Social Bookmarking

 

We apply clean strategy as well as white hat techniques to achieve the desired results.

 

For any further information please feel free to contact.

 

Best Regards,

Dude from India

Ugly: When Google and Woopra Analytics state that your site is getting 59 website visitors in 6 months to your SMB website, yet the yellow pages or vertical directory send you a report stating you had 300+ visitors, something is wrong. This happens all the time. Most of the time folks don’t know it because they have proprietary website development platforms and the providers do not permit you to embed an analytics tracking code. Maybe website analytics doesn’t work right, otherwise why would there be such a huge discrepancy? Or better yet, maybe someone is lying to you in order to keep getting your money.

Let’s end this on a Good note:

Good: I am going out on a limb. I am offering FREE call tracking numbers for Christmas via CallMeasurement.com. Track the effectiveness of Yellow Pages, listings, or any advertising media.

Email me for details. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays folks!


comScore Top 50 Properties for October 2010, YellowBook beats SuperPages!

November 23, 2010

This week the most recent stats from comScore on the Top 50 Internet Properties for October 2010 were released.

comScore Top 50 Properties US in October 2010

If this is not a sign that SkunkWorks,  the internet marketing intelligence and product development department at SuperMedia, is deserving of a grade-F, then I don’t know what is?

AT&T Interactive, which includes sites like YellowPages.com and YP.com, and YellowBook.com’s Interactive Network beat the SuperPages.com Network.

For years media consultants, like myself from 2000-2009, with SuperPages.com had the distinct advantage of emphatically distinguishing the superior rankings for SuperPages over rivals at YP.com, YellowBook.com, and other IYP networks. It is sad to see an independent publisher like YellowBook beat them.

I attribute the success of YellowBook to the mobile shift and YellowBook’s awesome mobile application.

Have you seen any studies or results on the ratings of the best mobile yellow pages application or the most downloaded local search yellow pages application for mobile phones?

What happens if sites like Yellowbook.com decide to leverage advertiser created blog content like WordPress, which is essentially SEO? Which IYP will be the first to shift from a sales model to a content/community interaction based business model? Which publisher will be the first to create and manage a community notes, bulletin board, or wall for locals to share information on other locals?

Thoughts?


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!

Posted from WordPress for Android


Guest Post: SEM Scams from Big Media Yellow Page Companies Like SuperMedia

July 7, 2010

Super Media Search Engine Marketing programs are a scam because they over promise and under deliver, and the company is motivated by making money, not making YOU money.

Could this be one of the reasons the stock is at an all-time low Today?

Super Media receives the honor of being the first company on my SEM Scam list. Next on the hit list is Reach Local. They have many of the same problems as Super Media.

We have all heard “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.” Why then do we not listen to our guts when some smooth talking salesman from Super Media, or Yellow Pages, or Dex talks us into an appointment, and then delivers a perfect speech, with just the right amount of pressure to get us to sign a long term (12 month) contract for an internet marketing program?

I will preface this list by telling all of you that I am a former employee of Idearc Media, now Super Media. That is how I know some of the things I know. Before anyone decides that I am disgruntled, let me say that I am only upset, because Idearc Media made a liar out of me. I wanted to believe in this company, and from day one in training, I saw signs posted all around the training room that spoke of Integrity, and always doing the right thing. The trainers even spoke of NEVER selling a client anything they don’t need, and even implied that you could be terminated for such behavior. Then I got out of training, and stepped into the real world. That is when things went sour. Not because of a boss, or fellow employee, but because when I smell B.S. I ask questions, and that is not perceived very well in the corporate world.

Long story short – I was excited about the “new” SEM packages that Idearc was offering, and I bought in 100%. I hit the streets running, and sold a good amount of these programs, in addition to selling their other products, Yellowpages, and Direct Mail. I was a top 5 sales rep (top 3 for a while and tops on my team for a few months) and made over $75,000 my 1st year. Then the reports for my clients SEM program started rolling in, and let’s just say that the news was not good. There was red flag, after red flag.

Now you reap the rewards of what I learned about Super Media Programs, as well as their competitors. Listed below are the reasons I can think of why you should run from this SEM program, FAST, and don’t look back. These are just he one’s I can think of – there are more.

Read the rest of this entry »


You are the company you keep, SEC investigating SuperMedia and Paulson Hedge Fund relationship

May 3, 2010

They always say, “You are the company you keep.” When Scott Klein started working on preparing to wipe away Verizon debt and rob shareholders of retirements and bondholders from coupon payments for holding the bonds, who else did he choose other than John Paulson’s questionable hedge fund. The same hedge fund that helped bundle packages of investments, and then shorted them while declaring them good securities.

Is Paulson also a Yellow Crook?

Paulson bought 45% of SuperMedia common stock at $17.00 per share. But if you recall they had an initial offer of $13.00 per share. Paulson raised his bid just enough to cover the other bidder on the company. I don’t recall who made the initial offer. Needless to say at around $44-$46.– per share, Paulson could sell all shares of the company and make a substantial gain.

This poses a question, was Paulson the hedge fund that was NAKED SHORT SELLING IDEARC STOCK? Just like in other cases, did he jump back in to double dip again?

What do you think?


Verizon and J.P. Morgan Class Action Lawsuit for Investment Scam

April 17, 2010

The Latest Class Action suit for SCAM by Verizon & J.P. Morgan.

http://ping.fm/oKCcz

Well, I am sure you will see a few more regarding Paulson shorting Idearc then buying them up out of bankruptcy. Naked short sellers and hedge funds helped drive the company into bankruptcy (although it was pre-planned and Idearc never technically couldn’t afford debt payments.)  Paulson just got caught shorting a company he basically advised and guided. Wall Street bankers are getting bail outs. Goldman Sachs is in trouble and just got served a nice lawsuit. Paulson, who now owns over 17% equity in Verizon Yellow Pages publisher SuperMedia, is also “implicated” in the latest lawsuit regarding Goldman Sachs and investment fraud.

You run around with thieves and crooks…. that makes you a thief and a crook! Scott Klein is learning from the best crooked Wall Street bankers. Just take a look at his latest round of bonuses, stock options, and incentives for “emerging out of bankruptcy” that was created via fraud from Verizon and the same executive team that Scott Klein is now surrounded with. Here are a few more examples of golden parachutes.

Yet SuperMedia employees either agree with me and are labeled as “disgruntled” or are too damn stupid to see fraud when it is right in front of them. Or they are too damn scared to speak up!

visit the forum dedicated to ending the sales and executive fraud at SuperMedia for more discussion!


The SuperChallenge for Scott Klein CEO of SuperMedia.

March 15, 2010

Let me ask you a question. When you see a local search marketing company with 3.8 Billion dollars in revenue shrink down to 2.5 Billion, from 2005 to 2010, among what should be a growth business, when more and more local businesses startup and more and more local search options are available to choose from, who is to blame for the companies inability to adapt? Obviously, the GTE and telco local search ( print or web based ) dominance is no more. Reachlocal.com, one of the fastest growing local search companies is doing better.

Read the rest of this entry »


What is REALLY wrong with Yellow Pages company products and services?

February 4, 2010

Recently a few bankrupt Yellow Pages publishers sent letters to clients disclosing information regarding previous contracts and commitments.  Does this permit them to no longer follow SIZE & Seniority commitments to yellow pages clients?

Did you know that to curb massive revenue losses, as consumers have shifted away from print yellow pages phone books, the yellow pages industry is now offering ad seniority placement buyouts?

When Bell South began publishing mini-books other publishers quickly followed suit. When one does something… so does the other? Let’s not hope so!

Rumor is post-bankruptcy yellow pages directory publishers are considering offering “select clients” the option of jumping phone book directory placement (old contract agreements that outline size and seniority guidelines) with new “display ad placement buyout options”.

Seems like they will do anything to earn a buck, huh?

How can you trust a organization who fails to keep promises clients regarding these advertising investments. They made a commitment to the client that the ad they purchased would be placed by size and seniority from the date when the contract is signed. The print yellow pages industry has held the “decrease your ad and lose your discounts” AXE over clients heads to persuade clients into keeping ads for many years.  Is the Yellow Page industry selling products or services? Is the pricing fair? In my opinion the yellow pages industry needs to stick to products… not services.  Search Marketing service requires fulfillment and constant attention, something the print industry has very little experience in vs local advertising agencies.

Yellow Pages sites are attempting to become the local resellers of Google advertising. As a local search marketer, I don’t think the long contracts that leave little recourse and zero cancellation options in the event the Phone Book Companies PPC Management campaigns are not performing to expectations. In my opinion this is another means of continuing to grind the axe on cancellations. Without flexibility and a diverse offering (product portfolio) they are going to have continued issues with client churn.

Did you know that when you place advertising on Google’s AdWords interface, not only do you own the work produced when hiring a local search marketer, (I do not recommend  signing a 12 month contract , considering Google does not require such a contract to advertise) you also are able to see what changes your account manager and “PPC coach” made to your campaigns

PPC management Account Activity Reports prevent PPC Fraud by Google Guru

Next topic for Today:

Google Maps vs Yellow Pages searches:

Here is the graph continued and combined with Searches for Yellow Pages companies:

"Yellow Pages" is now obsolete

Who has experienced the greatest and/or most rapid decline in the Top IYP (Interactive Yellow Pages) & local search brand sites?


Notice how much Yelp.com gained compared to the decline of Superpages.com? This goes to show the consumer preference for review based sites  (and why Google was tendering an offer for Yelp.com)

FACT:  Did you know that Yellow Pages print directory usage has declined over 50%?

Has your “Yellow Page Rep” told you about the trends away from print and towards digital that is taking place?

Have print ad rates gone down to accomodate for the decline of print yellow pages and the industry fragmentation?

According to Greg Stewart from TMPDM, “Print Yellow Pages accounts for approx. 28% of Local Search.”

Primary Source of Local Business Information

I will go ahead and state my prediction: Yellow Pages Print usage will be less than 24% of Local Search by 2012! That means the phone books of 2005 (that were over 70+% of local search product or service queries) are now less than half as popular as they once were as a medium. (yet more phone books exist today than ever!

Do you think it is time the phone book publishing industry adapt to OPT IN vs a very misleading OPT OUT method? What are your thoughts? Take my poll!

Cheers,

Mike Stewart

“Your Dallas Local Google Guru”

BTW, Webformance Inc. will be offering call tracking to all clients. If you want to track your phone book, direct mail, email, Google, Video, Business Card, or other advertising investments and see which ones are really bringing the calls….. all you need to do is call: 214-267-9553!

“You can’t manage to get the best advertising if you can’t measure what advertising efforts work!” – Mike Stewart the Local Dallas Google Guru


SuperMedia’s SuperYellowpages.com has real potential with Apple PC Tablet

January 27, 2010

In my opinion, putting a phonebook on the internet only works to save money shipping phonebooks to India’s telemarketers. When Scott Klein announced his initiatives last February to a room filled with 3000 sales consultants ( an effort to pump them full of that good Super Kool-Aid stuff,) I am sure I wasn’t the only one feeling sick to my stomach.

I now see potential in http://www.SuperYellowPages.com when combined with the Apple Tablet….what better way for the company to end dependance on a saturated and fragmented print publishing and delivery business? There are more phone books printed in the U.S. than people and VerizonYP/Idearc/SuperMedia only distributes to larger urban markets vs its predecessor GTE Yellow Pages. Idearc was not the first to create an online version of print. Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages sent CD’s to offices to curb distribution waste. Area-Wide created an online version of its print directories years ago vs focusing on a real IYP offering to compete with SuperPages.com, YellowPages.com, and other IYP/digital directories.

In another 5 years, I am sure other tablets will exist. Almost all consumers will have one and I also predict that we will cease flipping pages of books, newspapers, and magazines in favor of PC Tablets. I also believe Google’s YouTube site and NetFlix will merge as well as a shift away from old antiquated Yellow Pages.

Will folks with tablets visit the SuperYellowPages site? We will soon see…… in the meantime, Klein better get his shit together and plan for what is coming….. so far his SuperGuarantee Gimmick is far from impressive (copied ServiceMagic’s Service Guarantee, which by all accounts was not something consumers took advantage of.)

Will the Apple Tablet be popular? Sure….just like smartphones and mobile web browsers. Will SuperMedia manage to keep up with changing times? It is still to early to tell.

-this was posted from my Android phone via WordPress app. Folks, Pay real close attention to mobile search and the future availability of the internet.


22% of Households Do Not Have Landline Phones

January 12, 2010

Does the research from the Yellow Pages Industry account for this data? NO!

Picture 146