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


Do people use yellow pages online vs Google?

November 20, 2010

Stats by Dallas SEO Consultant Mike Stewart at SMB SEO

Local Search has changed. Take a look at the following graphs.

A picture is worth a thousand words… in this case it might also be worth $$$ Thousands of Dollars $$$

Are you advertising where the traffic is?

comScore Local Search Marketshare Market Share Graph IYP Searchvs

comScore.com IYP Properties by Share of IYP Searches Q1 2007 vs Q1 2006

As you can see, search engines are taking local search searches from internet yellow pages sites and local directories. Increased competition in the local search landscape or industry fragmentation has also created a challenge for the IYP (internet/interactive yellow pages) and local search directory listing providers.

Local search traffic is now in the hands of social media sites, mobile browsers, and Google/Facebook Places. Check-in sites like Gowalla and FourSquare are also going to help connect with the who, what, where, and when…. something the phone book companies just don’t get! Even companies like Local.com are growing in marketshare, while traffic and marketshare to Yellow Pages sites like SuperPages.com and other IYPs keeps declining. They can’t use the “more people to distribute rule here.” They, like the print companies, are failing to compete with mobile and social media!


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 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?)

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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


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 »


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


Corporate Ethics and High Pressure Sales Environments

April 11, 2010

“an ethical company will in the short run and in the long term be a better institution. . . . Ethical behavior is simply good business.”

You can create a Company Code of Conduct and have all your employees sign it. Does not mean that your company is ethical. You can also create a Code of Ethics, this also does not mean your company is an ethical one.

Ethics begin at a corporations mid-level management team. If your management team has been corrupted and pressured to pressure the “system”, this is when ethics challenges will begin to impact the future of your organization.

Some industries don’t have honest ethical leadership at the top of the organization. Remember the mortgage fraud from Countrywide Mortgage and the CEO? What about Enron? Or Toyota for hiding information related to faulty gas pedals? Greedy CEOs and Executives may make it hard for managers to follow “a good conscience”.  The future of any organization and industry is not in the appearance of an ethical corporate culture, but in the philosophy and acceptance of a ethical corporate culture. Ethics catch up with you (unless you bailout before they have been discovered, as is the case with SuperMedia’s corporate fraud to investors and executive compensation fraud.)

Having been an employee of an organization that was ethical, GTE/Verizon Directories, and then seeing the company move the opposite direction from ethics as IdearcMedia/SuperMedia, I can tell you that it is a relief to no longer be associated with a business that has a horrible reputation.

Idearc/SuperMedia has by far the worst reputation on JobVent, RipOffReport.com,  ComplaintsBoard.com, BBB.org (see below), and countless other websites. Customer service is a cost center. Product fulfillment is outsourced for margins. Talented and ethical consultants are being fired for activities and not forcing clients into products that are overpriced and fail to meet expectations. The actions from the leadership team demonstrate the worst in corporate ethics. An unethical leadership team rewards itself with bonuses, raises, and short and longterm stock rewards not based on results, earnings, or growth, but based on the opportunity for a buyout or change in control for what is a dying business model.

So with all the new pressure from Scott Klein as CEO from SuperMedia and coercion to sell clients on misguided and unachievable results from a dying product that has prices higher than ever and competition like never before do to SuperMedia in just a few short years?

Well, SuperMedia’s BBB.org rating was revoked for the company nationwide due to the sales fraud and lack of results in October of 2009!

hey…. that was the month that I left the company!

SuperMedia Review at BBB.org YellowCrooks.com

Regarding cancelling advertising contracts SuperMedia’s Terms and Conditions states the following:

“SECTION 28 REVISIONS AND CANCELLATIONS – If I wish to revise or cancel my advertising in the issue(s) specified on the cover section of this Application, I must do so by giving written notice to Publisher at Idearc Media Corp., P.O. Box 610609, D/FW Airport, TX 75261 or by fax to (972) 453-6764 no later than 14 days from the Date of the Application or by the applicable close date, whichever is earlier. For subsequent issues,I must give written notice of revisions or cancellation to Publisher at the address or fax number set forth in this Section 28 by the close date for such issues, which date may be obtained by calling Publisher’s Customer Service Office at (800) 555-4833.

“SECTION 29 AUTOMATIC RENEWAL – If Publisher does not receive written notice of cancellation in accordance with Section 28 and Publisher elects to publish my advertising in subsequent issues of the Directory,I agree to pay Publisher as provided in Section 25 and that the then current version of the terms and conditions will apply to such advertising. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Publisher will have no obligation to automatically renew my advertising or to notify me that my advertising will not be renewed. Limited inventory advertising will not be automatically renewed and requires a new Application and applicable addendum.”

If you choose to cancel your contract, the procedures above must be followed.

It might be a good idea to include this in the SuperMedia Perfect Sales Pitch?

Instead of going back to the drawing board to recreate a business model that leverages the best local small business advertising sales team and discovering a means of evolving the organization into a lower margin service business model, they chose to permit a culture of sleezy sales.

I remember listening to a discussion by my executive team at Idearc regarding the collapse of Polaroid.  They discussed the fact that consumers no longer wanted instant Polaroid pictures and rather preferred the quality of digital pictures that required a trip to a photo shop.  Even today instant cameras are losing market share to cell phones with cameras.  Technology evolves, so do industries. Your cheese gets moved, you evolve and go find new cheese or move with it. All the while you maintain ethics and retain ethical employees and loyal customers. Do you practice what you preach? Sounds more like Washington and less like Main Street if you ask me. Cheating on your wife while asking to be re-elected. Paying for high dollar hookers on the company petty cash account? Bankers being rewarded for fraud and bankrupting companies and investors.

The company I spend over 9 years at chose not to evolve. In 2000, I joined Verizon Yellow Pages 2 months out of high school at the Texas Call Center (TCC) in Irving Texas. I won a my first Prestige Award and was on my way to earning a second (would have been the first to achieve such a feat) when I was promoted to local sales at 4500 Fuller Drive in Irving Tx. I began my career with Janet Bro and Scott Laver. I was the guy who could not be promoted to an outside sales position because I was too young to be insured to drive a company car. I won 3 President’s Awards as an ethical sales consultant for Verizon/Idearc over the course of my 9 year career. I was the only person to accomplish this in Texas Sales. In 2006 Kathy Harless changed the tune of the company. Employees feared change. I embraced change. The next big change was Scott Klein. After just a few months at the helm of the company, it was quickly discovered by employees that the company had taken many steps back and none forward.

The failure of SuperMedia begins with new crony corporate leadership and horrible ethics combined with a high pressure sales environment among a rapidly declining industry.

Supervisors

What this discussion of rewards and objectives ultimately points to is the critical role that supervisors play in determining the ethical character of a company. In a survey of more than 300 managers by the National Institute of Business Management, the behavior of an employee’s superiors was ranked as the second most important factor in influencing decision making. This was surpassed only by a personal code, and outstripped the behavior of one’s peers, formal company policy and the ethical climate in the industry.

As a result, another major challenge in institutionalizing ethics in a business is to be particularly sensitive to the danger of supervisors exerting the wrong kind of pressure. TI’s Skooglund observes that “If you’re going to have the kind of pressure that’ll make decent people go wrong, you’ll find it in the employee-supervisor relationship.” Relating this issue directly to other major challenges just mentioned, Skooglund notes that “there are two ways that the employee-supervisor relationship can really go wrong: 1) if you set goals that realistically cannot be met, and 2) if you have an environment where the employee is made to feel that failure is totally unacceptable.” When the cost of failure is too high, people feel enormous pressure to compromise both their own values and the company’s stated standards. And for all practical purposes, it’s an employee’s supervisor who determines the cost of failure.

Corporate objectives

The matter of rewards, however, brings us full circle and back to the issue of “cheating for the company” which opened this article. After all, what employees are rewarded for is one of the main factors that determines how strong the temptation will be for them to bend or break the rules–or even the law. The more that employees are rewarded simply for meeting quarterly objectives, the stronger that temptation will be. “Employees learn very quickly what they really get stroked for,” points out TI’s Skooglund, “and if the rewards come solely from shipping product or making financial forecasts, then that’s the drumbeat they’re going to march to. And that’s a tough problem for any company’s ethics.”

However, the greatest ethical danger occurs when raises, bonuses and promotions depend on unrealistic objectives. As Gary Edwards of the Ethics Resource Center explains, “When objectives are set improperly–too aggressively or without respect for a particular unit’s inability to meet a goal that may be reasonable for the corporation overall–all kinds of unethical conduct can be generated.” Another major challenge in incorporating ethical values into an organization, then, is to set objectives which stretch employees to the full extent of their capacities but do not push them to the point where they’ll be tempted to meet them by wrongdoing.

* Source:http://www.ethicsandbusiness.org/corpeth.htm

I have said before that to next logical step for SuperMedia was for sales to become local search engine marketing consultants. Scott Klein could not have done a better job of accomplishing the opposite. Corporate decisions that are based on the SPMD Stock Price and not a focus on training, fulfillment, and return on investments to clients. Instead of the stock being a good purchase longterm, the company changes name, declares bankruptcy, lies about fraud, and uses sales fraud and collections as a means of pumping up the value only for executives to jump off a sinking ship. Sounds like a great business plan if you are Bernie Madoff.

Meanwhile, if you are a media rep and looking for the next logical step to feeding your family, earning a living that you can be proud of, and working with the best small business owners in Dallas Fort Worth give me a call. I am working with a few investors on a creating a business model that rewards consultants for learning, then providing holistic search engine marketing services to small businesses. You won’t be able to take the time to make 80 appointments in a day. You don’t have to log fake activities to keep your job. It begins with working for yourself and not corporate America. It begins with transparency for the client. It begins with ethics.

Just to give you a hint:

Aside from Local SEO services that require years of study, there is a component to local search engine marketing that does not take brains. It is an effort. Something very basic, but is typically returned in value to the client in less than a few weeks.

This is a global search:
Branded Term or National Search vs Local Search

This is a local search:

Local Search vs National Search Optimization Dallas

When people search Google for local information, you can help small businesses across America show up in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) . I am offering you the opportunity to open up an office in your area providing these services. You will have a fulfillment department, access to a talented web development team, and get the best local SEO advice from the Dallas SEO Guru.

Webformance is working hard to provide the best value in Internet marketing for local Dallas area businesses. Who does the same in your area? Will you?

Imagine charging a client $300.00 one time and it impacting his or her business for years! Imagine being paid a 30-50% commission on these “sales” but never having to worry about the value for the client? Imagine a clean conscience.


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.


SuperMedia Executives Find Financial Riches in Former Bankrupt Idearc’s Treasury. Crony Capitalism

March 19, 2010

http://punditkitchen.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/political-pictures-corporate-bailout.jpgGreat way to start out the description of the new “Long Term Incentive Plan Stock Unit Awards” with Departure of Certain Officers, and the repeated words “Change In Control” that they seem to emphasize. SuperMedia mid level managers, sales consultants, investors, and Board of Directors members (other than the Chairman whom is also the CEO!) need to really consider, do these executives, many of whom are directly responsible for the companies bankruptcy and pitched the 9 billion dollar debt to investors in the first place, deserve additional incentives for doing nothing to turn the business deep revenue  declines around?

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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.

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A SuperPrediction on the Future of SuperMedia and Dex One – Merger?

March 11, 2010

update on the Merger click below:

SuperMedia merges with Dex One

According to Media Post, for the first time in history digital ad revenues is set to top print in 2010.

The long-predicted tipping point has arrived, with total U.S. digital advertising and marketing revenues set to surpass print revenues in 2010, according to a new study from Outsell, a consulting and research group serving the information industry.

This prediction, based on Outsell’s annual survey of over 1,000 U.S. advertisers and marketers in December 2009, heralds one of the most important symbolic milestones in the history of online advertising.

Altogether, U.S. advertisers and marketers plan to spend $368 billion in 2010, Outsell found — up 1.2% from about $364 billion in 2009. Within the 2010 figure, 32.5% ($119.6 billion) will go to digital, versus 30.3% ($111.5 billion) for print.

Savvy investors might have noticed that SuperMedia is now reporting all revenues lumped together for the companies print and electronic product., something that competitors are not doing. This is believed to be a plan by CEO Scott Klein to cover-up the fact that electronic revenues are not growing as they believed they would and the company no longer has a shining star among the 20%+ year over year declines in total revenues. In my opinion it is a sinking ship destined to end up at the bottom of the sea. Online revenue growth was previously something the company wanted to show off, so now they are only reporting overall revenues to Wall Street investors so they cannot determine that their .com product offering (or lackthereof) is suffering. Do you think they are hiding something? As an insider to both SuperMedia and Local Search Marketing, I can attest that this rumor is most likely true.

All Hands Abandon Ship.......

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@yellowcrooks Did You Memorize The Perfect Yellow Pages Sales Pitch by SuperMedia?

March 9, 2010

Memorize the Perfect Pitch…. It goes something like this:

The local advertising world is very complicated. There are lots of choices and everybody wants your business.  Today, I’ll show ya how to simplify all that so I can earn your business. We’ve improved our ability to connect buyers and sellers with the changes we have made to our business. For a lot of our clients this connection is the difference between making ends meet, or making it big, between writing down losses and ringing up sales.  It really comes down to helping you protect your current and referred clients, bringing in new clients, and most importantly making money. The best place for us to start is to look at how many people are looking for a product or service just like yours {in your local area}. Research indicates that {percent} of the adult population {in your local area} was in the market for your service last year. In this market that is about {really big number} adults. Does that sound about right to you? Those {really big number} are in different stages of making a buying decision and are influenced by different forms of  media based on where they are at in that process. For example, disengaged consumers are not actively shopping. However, they are still exposed to ad messages from traditional media like billboards, tv, and radio,  which build brand name and brand awareness.  Passively engaged consumers are shopping around, researching, and thinking about making a purchase. They are often influenced by media like direct mail, magazines, and newspapers.  Incentives or special offers can move them to buy.   Ready to buy consumers are actively engaged. Media like local search, internet yellow pages, and print yellow pages target these buyers at the exact moment they are ready to spend money. The best advertising mix reaches all three and not only bring in the most qualified new leads, will also help protect your referred or repeat business. Whether someone has passed by your building or been influenced by your advertising, being online, in the book, or in the mail will help make sure that they don’t end up as someone else’s customer. Although current customers are the mainstay of most companies, research shows that businesses can lose up to 1/3 of their clients/customers every year. In order to make sure that your business continues to thrive, you need to be able to reach new clients who have moved into the area, have an emergency, or possible are undergoing a life changing event. Whether they know you or not, advertising helps you maintain your current customer base,  grow your market share, and reach new customers to replace the ones you lose. My job is to show you how to make money through an effective media plan. Because we specialize in results. Blah blah blah results ….. “click here results, ring the phone results, knock on the door results.” So, Click ring knock. That’s the sound of your business growing. And I will help it grow with a media plan that includes SuperYellowPages.com, SuperPages Direct, and SuperPages.com. Which will help deliver your share of the active buying market. No other media firm can deliver the active market in {your area} like we can. I‘ve been told by other businesses the easiest decisions to make are those based on fact. Ratings and research provides the facts about advertising. Let’s look at the research in your market. This research was provided by TNS. The world’s largest provider of market research on consumer buying habits. They have over 15 thousand employees worldwide, with clients like Toyota, Microsoft, and Proctor and Gamble. This research illustrates the influence different media types have on consumer purchases. It also validates that consumers refer to multiple forms of media when making a buying decision. This will help us determine how to allocate your media budget. SuperMedia’s advertising solutions are among the most influential. We are confident we can help you capture your share of dollars being spent in your category. We deliver {distribute via saturation} quality products supported by {copied} differentiators our competitors just don’t have. Here is another reason to choose SuperMedia products. Consumers are choosing SuperMedia over other local media, because they are protected by the SuperGuarantee Program. They have OUR WORD {LOL at that} that service providers will get the job done right, or we will step in and make it right, guaranteed. We have seen our usage grow since introducing the SuperGuarantee, and this benefits you directly. Doesn’t it make sense to leverage the SuperGuarantee and capitalize on its success? At the core of our transformation is our “Super Promise” {lol again}  Many organizations have a mission, we have a purpose {to chase you with collections attorneys in the event we fail to deliver results after your 12 month contract, we do not guarantee results or our service}, which is defined in our promise. You can be assured that I will communicate in a direct and honest manner. That I am committed to going to work for you {or the highest bidder…. and the next potential sales lead} and will strive to meet your expectations, and that I will build a partnership with you to take on a world of changing ideas. If I failed to fulfill my SuperPromise, please contact our CEO Scott Klein at Scott.Klein@SuperMedia.com. And finally, we’re hosting the SuperTradeExchange, an exclusive program for our clients that will help you save cash and get new customers.  It is like barter, but better, because it allows you to trade your excess goods or capacity for anything else you need in the exchange. Not just 1:1 with another business. We are proud to be SuperMedia. Allies, advisers, advocates and partners for our local businesses.

Now let’s go to work and talk about specific products that will help you grow your business. First, let’s talk about yellow pages. Despite common misconception the yellow pages remain a trusted source for information when making a buying decision. In fact, more than 12 billion references were made last year to print yellow pages. 82% of consumers who made a reference, followed that up with an action, and those spent 25% more than the average consumer. People turn to the yellow pages when they want to make a purchase of a product or service like yours. My job is to make sure you are considered when consumers use the yellow pages and are ready to spend money. A fully integrated advertising program maximizes results. Direct mail turns a passively engaged consumer into an active shopper by providing a compelling offer. In Today’s market, the offer you make is critical. In fact, studies show that 32% of consumers are more likely to use a coupon or offer in the current economic climate. SuperMedia has two direct mail solutions, exclusive mailers and card packs. Our exclusive mailers allow you to target the exact market you want, when you want to reach them. Our card pack options target affluent homeowners in your local area and are distributed quarterly. The best part of our solution is, we will handle it all for you with no list management, postage, or creative development fees to worry about. And as an added value, we will post your mailer online through the Superpages.com network. SuperMedia’s identity bundles take the guess-work out of online advertising by delivering real results. 83% of local search users search for a business online, then contact the business offline. Superpages.com, with a long-standing history as a leading internet yellow pages, and our network of over 250 affiliates will gain you instant access to the millions of potential customers who are online viewing businesses everyday. The foundation of our identity bundles is our business profile, which helps you differentiate your business, by providing searchable information on your products and services, which gives you a greater chance of making a connection with an online buyer.  Additions like SuperSites or SuperVideo, help bring your business to life. So let’s talk about the specific products and services I put together to help you achieve your business goals.  Earlier we discussed the easiest decisions to make are those based on facts {or lip service and jargon and a great script.} Don’t you agree that this plan makes the most sense for you and will generate the business you are looking for? All we need to do now is take care of the paperwork.

I would like to thank you for making the decision to become apart of the SuperMedia family. As we discussed earlier, I am committed to building a partnership with you and exceeding your expectations. And our relationship doesn’t end Today. I am happy to introduce a new program to you called “share the wealth” that can earn you credits to apply to your SuperMedia campaign. All you need to do is refer qualified businesses who then make a purchase from us.  If you know of anyone that can benefit, please let me know. I would be happy to go over the details of the program with you. And before we wrap up, let’s take the opportunity to transfer you to a SuperTradeExchange expert who can help get you trading immediately. The number is 866-988-TRADE. Once again thank you for your time.

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My Rant……..The Next Bubble.

February 16, 2010

After reading a new article regarding the internet SEM investments and recent venture capital funding to WebVisible (another $20M), Reach Local (original $55M back in Oct 2007), and Yodle (recently funded with another $38M) I wanted to comment about The Next Bubble. Let’s discuss the what where and why investors are hot for SEM, Search, and what I see is still  groundbreaking opportunity in local search marketing consulting, as Greg Sterling’s blog pointed out here in his blog titled Screenwerk.

The thing about this topic is that it is both political, thoughtful, and very personal to me.

If you look at the success of Google (information from Wiki:) over the “somewhat” recent years-

Google Inc. (NASDAQGOOG, FWB: GGQ1) is a multinational public cloud computing and Internet search technologies corporation that hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, generating profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while the two were attending Stanford University as Ph.D. candidates. It was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998, with its initial public offering to follow on August 19, 2004. Its headquarters, located in Mountain View, California, is often referred to as the Googleplex, which is derived from the number googolplex. The company’s stated mission from the outset was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, and the company’s unofficial slogan, coined by Google engineer Paul Buchheit, was Don’t be evil. It runs over one million servers in data centers around the world, processing over one billion search requests every day and about one petabyte of user-generated data each hour. Even the company’s name, Google, was a play on the large number googol to represent the large amount of information the company set out to organize.

From this house:

Google Started Here

to multi-million dollar complex in Mountain View California:

https://i2.wp.com/www.propertyinvesting.net/cgi-script/csNews/image_upload/default_2edb.googleplex.jpg

GooglePlex

Google is set to become the largest company in America.

Google Stock History

Google stock compared to GE and Exxon

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Selling phone book advertising sucks!

February 15, 2010

Looks like SuperMedia’s (post bankruptcy Idearc Media) CEO Scott Klein has moved from “Tonight Show” themed Friday afternoon employee broadcasts to YouTube….. is Hollywood next?

Interesting how he doesn’t mention Verizon Yellow Pages? Hmmm.

Apparently they’ve now accepted the fact that phone books are dying off and “in my opinion” only 10-20% effective due to the impact of digital and print directory saturation.

It has been said by some that Yellow Pages usage stats are likely wrong.

Local Business Information references according to TMPDM (the largest “phone book ad placing agency” in the U.S.)

Primary Source of Local Business Information

I assume that if the number was 28% in 2009, then in 2010 in a digital urban marketplace like Dallas – Fort Worth it will be sub 25%? Sounds fair?

I still see a bit of lip-service with the SuperGuarantee (ServiceMagic.com’s Service Guarantee, rebranded the SuperGuarantee by Klein) since I have yet to see actual numbers reported on credits to consumers.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the video. Thumbs up. Mr. Klein is great on camera~!

Mr. Klein needs to not worry about “YellowCrooks” outside his organization…. or Yellow Book for that matter. (In my opinion the growth of educated and expert Local Internet Marketers will eat phone book companies lunch if you ask me. SuperMedia will never be able to compete with a well educated and dedicated search engine optimizer.)

Back to the videos, Klein does a much better job than this guy:

Just watch him here:

Back on topic: I see a shift coming soon for the company. Cold-calling will be a thing of the past. It doesn’t work.

While at Idearc, I spent much of my time researching, testing, and “fooling” with search marketing. I am 28 years old and have not used a phone book to find a business since I was 17 (minus cold calling from phone books as a “Yellow Pages Media Consultant/Planner”

During the shift from print it was apparent to me that if you have to “sell” your services, they must not be a tremendous value to your client.

Personally, I prefer to teach vs sell. I won 3 President’s Awards while at Verizon/Idearc for sales…. it is not sales when you are teaching. It is called coaching.

Being a sales rep and being a “Small Business Advertising Coach” are two totally separate things. One is responsible for commissions and contracts, the other results, creativity, success, and strategy.

Unfortunately, Today, Yellow Pages Sales / “Media” Consultants do not sell advertising but really just sell advertising contracts.

When is the last time a “sales manager” took the time to make sure a client was getting results from the advertising that was agreed to?

Contracts to advertise on Google when Google themselves does not require such a thing? Why do you need contracts when you can deliver?

Transitioning to “Media Consultants” from “Cold Callers” is going to be a huge challenge for SuperMedia without intense focus and training (the last 7 years for me) on Search Marketing etc….

12 month contracts only work for phone book ads....

When your ad agency says: “We Succeed Only When Our Clients Succeed.”

Do they really mean it… or is it just lip-service?

The first step is to learn about Google Analytics!

How do you know what is going on with your website if you can’t measure the traffic?

Isn’t that like having a storefront but never watching the folks entering to see why they are not buying?

What about PPC landing pages?

Phone book companies focus on print ads but when it comes to your Google ads they send all the traffic to your home page with a proxy “mirror” site. Just as important as the ad in the phone book, you must focus on building landing pages that match the message, questions, answers, and intent of the consumer.

If you invest more than $400.00 per month for management of a Google AdWords & Yahoo campaign that has a monthly budget (bucket) of less than $3,000.00 per month……. you have been and/or are being SCREWED! (in my professional opinion)

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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


The best local small business PPC service does not come in a box…..

January 29, 2010

So you signed a contract for Pay Per Click from the yellow pages?So I was driving by McDonald’s yesterday while on the phone with a local Dallas area business owner, the comedic timing for my comments to him could not have been any better.

Prepare for another soapbox soliloquy:

I said to him, “You don’t expect the so-called internet advertising experts at the yellow pages company, who state they offer “transparency in reporting,” to actually incorporate Google Analytics do you? I explained to him that when the Yellow pages industry started feeling the shift from consumers away from the printed phone books that litter millions of doorsteps, and finally decided that they needed to create an advertising product to grow alongside the world’s #1 search engine Google, they had very little focus and very little experience. It wasn’t that folks in the phone book industry were not smarter than I am. It wasn’t that they didn’t have the ability to put businesses in front of consumers on the internet. The real issue was fulfillment and transparency.

FACT: PPC campaign managers were on gag order and instructed not to disclose the number of PPC accounts managed.

FACT: 12 month contracts only work for print yellow page ads (since the books can not be undelivered)

FACT: Google and Yahoo do not have contracts for internet advertising

FACT: Yellow Pages PPC marketers use your data to build competitors campaigns

FACT: If your campaign does not perform, you are required to pay 400-1000.00 per month or more for management regardless of clicks…. for the ENTIRE 12 MONTH TERM!

FACT: PPC costs are higher when doing PPC with YELLOW PAGES (just look at the margins and overhead)

FACT: LOCAL SEARCH MARKETERS are on the rise…..

FACT: Management fees should not be a fixed cost. They should be billed hourly or transparent.

FACT: SEO is not as complex as the industry leads you to believe.

FACT: Wide spread abuse of Google AdWords Certifications exams exists at Yellow Pages organizations.

FACT: Yellow Pages do not build your brand, your website, or your Google AdWords campaign…. You have a bad experience and cancel your contract…………………………………. YOU LOSE EVERYTHING!

He told me that he and other business owners were in the process of filing a suit against a yellow pages company located in Dallas for click fraud. I asked him, “How can you prove it?” He stated that when he put analytics in the site, he was shocked to see that Google was not tracking the same data that the Yellow Pages company was billing him. I wonder to what extent business owners are experiencing this same problem? How many “bad experiences” exist for the business owners that rely on the “Marketing in a Box” products from the Yellow Pages?

It seems to me, as a fellow small business owner, the choice is very clear…..

Don’t expect to get good advice from Phone Book or Super dooper Media companies for your internet advertising!

“YOU CAN’T PUT LOCAL INTERNET MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA BRANDING IN A BOX!”Mike Stewart

Instead of signing a contract for a SuperHappySearchMarketing Meal served with “Kool-Aid” and cronyism….. find a local search marketer who will train, teach, consult, create, innovate, strategize, quantify, measure, fulfill, and be accountable for your businesses growth and prosperity.

NO CONTRACTS FOR PPC ADVERTISING * OWN YOUR WEBSITE * MEASURE YOUR WEB TRAFFIC * BUILD AN ARTICLE BASE


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.


The Web of Tomorrow is Going To Kill Print Yellow Pages. FACT

January 25, 2010

What the Web of Tomorrow Will Look Like: 4 Big Trends to Watch

Posted using ShareThis

I just finished reading this article from Mashable and wanted to share it with you. We all know it is coming, but putting it together on one page really puts things into perspective. So here is to looking forward. Stop looking at local search from a 2000 perspective. Print has become extremely fragmented. Google dominates search with over 67% of the search volume. Only Yellow Pages companies put contracts on Google Advertising. If results focus is not met, you deserve the option to find a better search marketer. You should not be chased with collections attorneys or be held to ambiguous contracts that only legal experts can understand.

1. The Web Will Be Accessible Anywhere


Nationwide Wi-Fi anywhere you go. Convenience of Local Access TV. FREE Internet access anywhere you go. 3G & 4G Networks are growing at rapid pace.


2. Web Access Will Not Focus Around the Computer


In a column on CNN earlier this month, Mashable’s Adam Ostrow explored one of the biggest trends at CES: the embedding of the web outside of the computer . At present, we focus our Internet use in the U.S. on our laptops. In Japan though, many more access the web primarily through their phones, a trend that is just beginning to sweep the states.

This is just the beginning. New Internet-enabled TVs will allow us to browse from the living room and soon our cars will become Wi-Fi hotspots.
The Apple Tablet looks to be the next stage of this evolution. Rumor has it that not only is the device going to have 3G access, but Apple envisions it is a shared piece of hardware among the family. Instead of having to jump onto the computer to check your email, you can just have your girlfriend or boyfriend pass you the tablet to check out what’s going on.

In ten years, computers will only be a small percentage of how we use our web. We’re going to be accessing it from nearly every device and appliance we own.


3. The Web Will Be Media-Centric


The time of text-based interactions is going to diminish until they’re just a minor component of our web experience. Yes, we will always write, blog, and tweet, but as more and more devices adopt touchscreen interfaces and alternatives to the keyboard and mouse (it’s already happening), our reliance on videos from YouTube (YouTube) and Hulu (Hulu), social games like FarmVille, and interactive interfaces like the iPhone OS will grow rapidly.


4. Social Media Will Be Its Largest Component


Stats published by Nielsen show that social media usage has increased by 82% in the last year, an astronomical rise. Facebook (Facebook), Twitter (Twitter), YouTube, blogs, and social interaction are becoming the focus of our online interactions, even more than search.

We’re social creatures, so it was only a matter of time until we figured out how to make the web an efficient medium for communication, sharing, and forging friendships. Now that we’re finally implementing the social layer though, it’s tough to find a scenario where the rise of social media doesn’t continue.

In ten years, when you access the web, most of the time you spend will be to connect with your friends. Almost all of that will be on social networks and through social media. It will be the #1 reason why we ever pull out our phones, tablets, or computers.


Great analysis of the growth and what to expect in internet usage. The trends have been set beginning with Universal Search in 2007 (blended results) and then real-time search in 2009. Mobile search is booming. Consumers will have two options for applications and browsers on the market: Safari (iPhone) and Android (HTC/DROID/NEXUS/MOTOROLA etc.)

Unlike traditional print local search (aka: the Yellow Pages), the internet creates a level of intelligence on service providers with transparency that you can never get from a sheet of paper in a book.

Barcode scanners on mobile devices will be hot. Check-ins and information sharing. Product reviews. Pricing. You name it… be prepared.

Mobile Coupons are also going to be important.

The trends in web2.0 are exciting to say the least. If you have not clicked on the article above…. take a peak. It is definitely worth a read!

SOAPBOX WARNING:

I am starting to think that the folks at Idearc / SuperMedia have “come to Jesus” and realize how challenging the existing business model is going to be maintained while attempting to continue being a profitable company. Outsourcing is going to be ever-so important. They even said it themselves that the business will not be a growth company. Not all companies are growth companies. When you are already so big… you have more to lose than to gain.

As I recently shared before, here are SuperMedia’s earnings forecasts over the past few years:

In a plan circulated to creditors, Idearc estimated its printed book revenue would be cut by more than half to $1.6 billion between 2004 and 2013.

Idearc/Verizon Yellow Pages

Print revenue

2004: $3.5 billion

2006: $3.0 billion

2008: $2.7 billion

Projected 2013: $1.6 billion*

Online business:

2006: $230 million

2008: $300 million

Projected 2013: $598 million*

Industrywide classified yellow pages printed:

Down 1 billion to 13.4 billion between 2005 and 2007

* Best-case scenario – Source: SEC and court filings

Now…….. the combination of talented Social Media Experts and Search Engine Marketers with creative web developers utilizing open-source concepts….. that is going to be the type of business model for WEB 2.0….. (or is it now WEB 3.0?)


SuperMedia Ships Jobs to India….. but Scott Klein Got His Bonus!

January 3, 2010

Have you seen the latest headlines about SuperMedia? (on October 5th 2010, SuperMedia CEO Scott Klein resigned, visit YellowCrooks.com’s forums for more info and participate in the discussion.)

Idearc becomes SuperMedia on Jan. 4 2010, meanwhile the Yellow Pages publisher lays off 150 workers in St. Petersburg Florida.


Idearc Media is now SuperMedia

Still $2.75 Billion in debt!



SuperMedia, the company that publishes the Verizon Yellow Pages, is laying off 150 employees in St. Petersburg and shipping the jobs to India.

Idearc / SuperMedia has been trying to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and sees the outsourcing and layoffs as a cost-cutting move.

About 245 people work for Idearc at its phone directory business at 10200 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr St. N in the Gateway business district of St. Petersburg.

Idearc said it will keep about 90 people in St. Petersburg as it transfers much of its publishing business to Tata Consultancy Services of Mumbai. Idearc plans to hand out severance packages as employees are dismissed in phases through next December.

“There are no surprises. In November, we told the staff in St. Petersburg what was happening,” company spokesperson Andrew Shane said. Idearc is also slashing jobs at phone book publishing operations in Los Alamitos, Calif., and Everett, Wash.

Based in Dallas, Idearc spun off from Verizon in November 2006. The $3 billion company distributes about 127 million phone books and owns Superpages.com.

The phone book business has been shrinking at accelerating speed. Between 2005 and 2007, the number of Yellow Pages printed shrank by 1 billion to 13.4 billion industrywide. In a plan circulated to creditors, Idearc estimated its printed book revenue would be cut by more than half to $1.6 billion between 2004 and 2013.

Idearc/Verizon Yellow Pages

Print revenue

2004: $3.5 billion

2006: $3.0 billion

2008: $2.7 billion

Projected 2013: $1.6 billion*

Online business:

2006: $230 million

2008: $300 million

Projected 2013: $598 million*

Industrywide classified yellow pages printed:

Down 1 billion to 13.4 billion between 2005 and 2007

* Best-case scenario

Source: SEC and court filings

Kinda funny. Internally Idearc is going to list Paulson & Co. as an investor on the site. Idearc forgets that Paulson picked up its share of Idearc for pennies on the dollar. Meanwhile if you noticed what Google was considering purchasing YELP for, it makes me laugh at the markets evaluation of Idearc. Just in-case you are not familiar with the situation, SuperMedia (formerly Idearc, which was formerly Verizon Information Services, which was formerly Bell Atlantic & GTE Yellow Pages) is emerging from a pre-planned bankruptcy.

Scott Klein, like many crony CEOs and Executives, has “lined his own pockets,”  and has “feathered his own nest” by hiring “cronies.”

It was obvious to me that Scott Klein planned bankruptcy the moment he took over Idearc in June of 2008. What folks from the investment community are unaware of is the example of corporate leadership that he has set since he took over reins as the companies CEO. SuperMedia (still working on getting used to saying the new name) operates on bi-weekly pay cycles. Media consultants and earnings are rolled in periods consisting of two weeks called “Pay Periods.” During the first part of 2009, Scott Klein instructed sales managers not to report losses (decreases and cancellations) for Pay Periods 12 and 13 of 2009 to make sure that “upper management” would get the semi-annual quarterly bonuses. SuperMedia sales reps were instructed by management not to report cancellations or decreases in order to make sure that the crony executive team and mid-level managers qualified for the incentive payouts for the period ending pay period 13. I was very disturbed by these actions as an Idearc media consultant. You see, as a yellow pages publisher, it is easy for SuperMedia/Idearc to manipulate the revenue that it reports to investors. All Idearc executives need to do to meet a bonus period is wait to report losses and cancellations. What was even more unique was that these instructions also included direction from executives on reporting the losses on pay period 15 and not dumping them all in pay period 14 which was what you normally saw while they reported earnings to Ivan Seidenburg at Verizon. I assume the company’s Board of Directors was paying close attention to this potential manipulation.  Now let me state that I specifically recalled this happening on a few occasions while at Verizon. The difference with Scott Klein, it was a directive that was company-wide and only a few months after him taking over. Maybe he was just taking advantage of the “quiet period”? Post bankruptcy, Idearc is no longer going to be financially liable for these actions and ramifications to retirees and investor’s 401k’s, pensions, and stock portfolios.

Did Scott Klein purposely default on the companies credit facility debt to enter into bankruptcy? Considering the amount of cash on hand to make the payments….. YES HE DID! That is one of the reasons the company was sued in January and April of 2009.

I am confident that the personal lawsuit against Klein and his executive team will have a dramatic impact on the future of the organization. Just as Mike Leach is no longer the coach of my beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders for his actions, I am sure that Scott Klein will no longer be the leader of SuperMedia in the near future. If Paulson does not take control of the company and put someone more capable (such as Scott Laver) at the helm of SuperMedia, it will sink faster than a torpedoed ship. It is time for SuperMedia to cease crony executive leadership and “YellowCrook” WallStreet stock manipulation. Time to come clean. Time to become more creative. Time to make a commitment to become “SuperMedia” vs just lip-service. Time to put clients and service above sales and earnings. You build it….. they will come! You get the idea!

From 2004 to 2010 Idearc Media will shrunk from 3.5 billion to approx 2.5 billion. From 2010 to 2013 the company is projected to shrink another billion. Considering the company is doing a poor job of competing in a fragmented local search market and the usage of print directories is expected to drop even further (thanks to a wonderful tool such as the mobile web browser) I would expect to see continued outsourcing and cost cutting measures. The unfortunate thing is the company has many of the tools and people it needs to turn around, but with continued mismanagement from executives who do not fully understand what business owners want in a local ad agency, I foresee continued client churn and lackluster results in competing against other internet marketing offers.  Idearc does not seem to understand that you can not put an axe over a clients head to keep or pay for a poor performing internet product. The axe that the threatened local advertisers with to convince them to keep their placement in the print yellow pages does not work online. SuperMedia’s SMLocal product is, in most situations, a 12 month contract (at least the sales reps push you to sign for 12 months, thereby locking you into the companies costly management fees) and that just does not work for an internet offering. Why 12 months for Internet Advertising that can be changed daily, unlike a printed yellow pages advertisement. The company does not offer the client the ability to own the work and campaigns it creates on Google or Yahoo search engines. If they build your website, you never own it. Ownership is possession even after cancellation. In the event the company fails to fulfill the promises delivered to you by sales representatives, you are still required to pay for management fees, since your sales representative was paid a commission. I call these sales “Monopoly Money.” They look great on paper (considering a $2k/month budget for clicks and $800.00 per month management fee is really only $800.00 per month to report to investors) but horrible after they are reported. Maybe they need to just report sales on the monies  it actually collects from advertisers vs just the ink on the contract. Maybe they ought to pay “Media Consultants” for revenue and service to clients vs ink on the contract? Of course we know that when you are a large organization, with a very large resource of collections attorneys and agencies, it helps to work with ambiguous contract terms and conditions.

Once the company addresses core issues with its product offering,  if resolved, (although the company may potentially give up something financially in the short-term,) they will gain long-term in reputation and reduced client churn.The company needs to get web developers and marketers in the field vs sending web development work to India. You will be amazed at the difference a search engine marketer, a local CMS based website developer, and client can produce together vs a “Indian” (are folks from India called Indians?) website developer. After all, website companies that have margins like print yellow pages companies, are doomed for failure. How can they compete with local boutique web marketing firms? How can they produce the same level of service and attention to detail? Do all businesses need this level of service? I don’t believe so. I just don’t understand why a client would choose something else? The reason churn is high in a fragmented local search market: Clients have options! Unlike the print industry, which is dominated by major players, unless Google puts out a simplified internet offering, people will continue to see fragmentation in local search. Kind of like the fragmentation the yellow pages industry has experienced since the decline of print (thanks to the  increased amount of competition in the space.)

You piss off your client = You lose your clients investment for future years. You lose a client, you run out of options to replace them.

Over the years, Idearc executives discovered new options to replace the clients it lost as Verizon by recently changing the company’s credit policies. If folks owed money to Verizon Information Services, after a certain period of time, the balance was forgiven by Idearc. This was, what I consider, blatant attempt at earnings reporting and manipulation. Why would you give someone who has never paid you a dime for advertising a second chance? Oh, I know! You want more monopoly money on the books to get your bonuses! Those contracts that your sales reps bring back in the office, you know… the ones your talk about in meetings and management conference calls, do not mean anything to investors like Paulson & Co. They do not mean anything to clients. They are only important to commissioned sales reps and crony executives and managers looking for fat bonuses…..reminds you of other Yellow Crooks huh? Like the folks at WallStreet Banks and Countrywide Mortgage/Enron Executives?

Let’s see how long this kind of leadership continues?!

Let’s see if someone investigates what happened in Pay Period 13, 14 and 15 of 2009, or if the company’s executive and mid-level managerial leadership gets away with another form of corporate fraud.

Maybe SuperMedia needs to consider firing sales reps who get paid to produce “Executive Bonus Monopoly Money” and begin hiring Search Engine Marketers who can service clients local search marketing needs, you know, since the internet is the wave of the future and all?

Here is to Idearc…. errrrr, I mean SuperMedia and Scott Klein…..

May 2010 be a great year. The lives, careers, and financial freedom of thousands of Media Consultants is on your shoulders. May you make choices and decisions that positively impact your clients, employees, and investors. Let’s end the old tricks of the yellow pages industry.

Happy New Year!

too bad 7 out of 10 people prefer not to get another phone book and the phone book companies don’t care. Meanwhile we must dispose of the waste ourselves. OPT IN vs OPT OUT!

Here is the Scott Klein Lawsuit:

Scott Klein Lawsuit for Securities Fraud SEC