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Never have to sell yellow pages again. 

SMB SEO LLC is expanding to service clients throughout the U.S. and looking for Sales Directors to start local sales teams.

SMB SEO pays 50% commission for SEO sales the 1st month and 25% on the second month of billing. SEO services are scalable based on the industry and competitiveness online.  The onsite/offsite SEO monthly retainer includes optimized local listing citations, UBL/Localeze Data Center account setup, onsite content marketing, Google Panda and Penguin approved link building, Website hosting and management, and much more. SMB SEO also offers onsite video production, website redesign and design, WordPress blog conversions, custom application development, mobile websites, pay per click campaign management, conversion optimization and testing. Don't forget social media marketing too!

If you are interested to learn more about this amazing opportunity, just send an email to Kevin Adams, Samab SEO's Director of Client Services (former Superpages I-Care Kevin) at Kevin@smbSEO.com.

 

Add: "New Sales Dept." to the email title please.

 

 

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Verizon SuperMedia Stock Scam Logo

I recently blogged about the Verizon, Idearc, and SuperMedia stock scam and fraud to rid investors of hard earned money and pad the pockets of hedgefunds and crony executives. Verizon Communications was finally sued for fraud related to the Idearc bankruptcy, which is 50% Scott Kleins fault. Idearc had $ in the bank that meant the company was in no worse position from the original spin-off date. Stay tuned to this site to be informed. Recently, I received a comment on by blog from someone that I felt compelled enough to share on this site. Take a look. Very interesting indeed.

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supermedia_logo_www.yellowcrooks.com

If your company just emerged from a questionable bankruptcy, is it fair to reward the executive team with millions?

Dave_Bethea_Drinking_SuperMedia

Great 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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“Is it better to be loved or to be feared?” That was the question put forth by the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.  After discovering that her loyal subjects were basically sycophants catering to her every whim while mocking her behind her back, she decided that fear is better.  “Off with their heads!”

 History and art tend to repeat themselves in real life. Power corrupts ultimately and ultimate power can be vicious and controlling. The insanity and cruelty of monarchs throughout time was known and dealt with by their handlers.  Audacious acts of repression, debauchery, misappropriation, and bribery were carried out by the minions that enjoyed the riches and benefits of being associated with ultimate power.  Disagree and you’ll lose your land, your position, even your head!  Yet how many times did we later learn how quickly these same subordinates were found dangling in the gallows for offending the almighty king?

Corporate America is no different.  Autocratic CEOs and Presidents of companies rule with iron hands. It requires self-confidence and skill to reach that level, but egos of those that reach that pinnacle are frequently insatiable. Fearful of losing their own heads, those in the inner circle agree with their every pronouncement and idea.  They become an entourage of yes-people who protect the leader so he/she has no real idea what is going on out in the ranks.  Only positive feedback reaches the leader, who at this point, thinks he’s being loved by the masses for his original thinking and great ways of moving the company forward while improving their lives.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Programs and policies designed to look good for Wall Street are overloading and killing those working on Main Street.

 

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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.

 

Meanwhile, the SuperMedia Executive Team is taking money away from the bankrupt company and investing it into their own pockets. I challenge them to give the money back. How about Obama tax SuperMedia CEO Scott Klein on his fat cat bonus like the other Wall Street Bankers? What have they done to earn the bonus? Shouldn't that money go to pay investors and former shareholders? Did Klein ever "personally" purchase stock in "his" company? No. Why? He knew he would be declaring bankruptcy. It was pre-planned just like Fair Point, Hawaiian Telecom, and others. Reminds me of Enron, the AIG corporate parties, and other acts by crony capitalists!

Am I the only one asking tough questions about the direction that Verizon's former Yellow Pages brand, SuperMedia, is headed? Here are a few interesting comments regarding the financial status of SuperMedia posted around the web:

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Happy April 1st or April Fools Day! 

“Salesology or scamology...i refuse to do it!”....  so says a Supermedia consultant from the east.

“Our division’s rise in corporate sales ranks, can be credited to “Scamology.” Fellow salepeople have found a way to manipulate the Supermedia Identity Bundles presentation for quick sales.  The program guarantees the customer a certain number of leads per month and it is inticing, so they sign up.  Only later the client discovers what he really purchased was clicks on Superpages.com, not the real calls that he wanted.  He doesn’t get any results from that.  They don’t pay and go delinquent.

You’re always writing about the scams in this place.  It is true.  Some of my other co-workers have found their way around the credit system.  One of the top reps in the division is doing it by writing up high risk accounts on a cell phone number in non high risk headings.  He will take a handyman and find one thing he does that isn’t high risk and key it there.  He guarantees 50 leads a month.  They sign up, it doesn’t work because they really aren’t under the right heading, then never pay.  But the rep gets paid, his numbers look great and the company rings up the bogus sale.  Salesology or scamology...i refuse to do it!”....

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Dallas based SUPERMEDIA (SPMD) will report earnings for the first quarter of 2010 on May 11th 2010. 

Considering this is the first bit of real information to investors for the company out of bankruptcy I don't think they will show a flat line for revenue losses or see a growth. Local business owners are are just now getting calls from so-called "gurus" and former "Google Employees" out the wazzoo! I was shocked when more than 3 different business owners called me to tell me that they were seeing an increased amount of calls from not just yellow pages companies, as in the past, but with "sales reps" from local search marketing companies offering advertising on Google. What is worse is that many are pitching the idea of guaranteed organic placement (impossible to guarantee) and making rediculious statements that couldn't be farther from the truth. What does this have to do with SuperMedia and earnings?

I am sure the information you will hear from Scott Klein as the same hogwash. Couldn't be further from the truth. You see, he made the choice after joining the company to be dishonest to investors, declare the company bankrupt when it had yet to miss a debt payment, and failed to stop process paying sales reps for sales that resulted in zero revenue, end the abuse and fraud with illegal immigrants in the Spanish directories such as Greater El Paso that is over 80% sales fraud, and countless other forms of mismanagement and earnings manipulations. 

Here are a few SuperMedia facts:

Fast Facts

SuperMedia / Verizon Yellow Pages

Print revenue    2,512 $ 2,973 $ 3,189 $ 3,221 $ 3,374

2004: $3.5 billion

2006: $3.0 billion

2008: $2.7 billion

2009: $ 2.5 billion

2010:  "I project $ 1.99 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

My take on what is wrong with all this from the core:

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SuperMedia (NASDAQ:SPMD - News), a decreasingly less important advertising agency for local small to medium sized businesses across the United States, reported first quarter 2010 earnings on Tuesday, May 11, 2010. Earnings for SuperMedia narrowed to $143 million from $243 million last year. Loss per common share for the period widened to $9.56 from $1.66 a year ago. Non-GAAP net income amounted to $25 million compared with $26 million in the prior year period. However, non-GAAP net income per share increased to $1.69 from $0.18 a year earlier. Operating revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2010 declined 77.2% to $154 million from $674 million in the comparable period. Revenue for Q1 2010 was $533 million, versus $674 million for Q1 2009, a decline of 20.9 percent. Considering that the Executives rolled out bonuses and incentives valued around 25 million, that takes a good chunk out of the $533 million the company earned.

So an analyst from all different hedge and investment companies get on a call with the companies CEO.. not having a clue about the real inner workings of the organization. Wasn't it Warren Buffett that said don't invest in things you don't know? Hmmm.... anyway... here are the questions asked by investors: 

Question: Unidentified Participant - - Analyst: Hi. This is Brian sitting in for Ian. Good morning.

Answer By: Scott Klein - SuperMedia Inc. - CEO


Question: Unidentified Participant - - Analyst: You've talked about how you're encouraged by the early indicators of your business and I was just wondering if you could go a little bit further into it. How were ad sales bookings in the first quarter compared to the fourth and how are they now compared to the first quarter?

Answer By: Scott Klein - SuperMedia Inc. - CEO


Question: Unidentified Participant - - Analyst: Okay so things are getting better I guess you could say?

Answer By: Scott Klein - SuperMedia Inc. - CEO


Question: Unidentified Participant - - Analyst: Okay, well that's good. What was bad debt expense in the quarter?

Answer By: Dee Jones - SuperMedia Inc. - CFO


Question: Unidentified Participant - - Analyst: So that appears to be proving is it trending better as we go along?

Answer By: Dee Jones - SuperMedia Inc. - CFO


Question: Unidentified Participant - - Analyst: Great, great and then the last question would be as far as your SuperGuarantee, is that helping you gain share yet? Is there any way -- and if it is, is there any way you could quantify it? If not, is there any anecdotal evidence that you've seen?

Answer By: Scott Klein - SuperMedia Inc. - CEO


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As I posted here, about getting a copy of the Verizon Greater Dallas Directory after opting out of distribution, I have a real bone to pick with SuperMedia. 

Since they delivered the book, I figured I would take a moment and share with folks what is really wrong with advertising in the yellow pages in urban markets like Greater Dallas Tx. 

What is so bad about Sales Fraud? Not only does it hurt investors, it undermines the integrity and value of advertising in the product. The great thing about Yellow Pages is that it is a directional advertising medium in which the consumer already knows what they need. The bad thing about advertising in SuperMedia's phone book (more-so than AT&T or YellowBook) is that sales fraud is rampant. Sales fraud is the culture. Right next to a paying clients ad are hundreds of ads in each book that the company never collects a dime, yet sales reps, and managers keep putting the same businesses back in the book. 

The "sales-ology" culture has made it hard for paying clients to not lose calls to competitors that don't pay. 

Sales Rep Fraud does the following:

  • Circumventing Credit Policy
  • Disservice to clients who are put under headings that won't be searched for and the calls are not for the "real type" of business the client provides
  • Costs the company additional money in paper and ink (thus killing more trees)
  • Disservice to users who can't find what they need and go elsewhere
  • Disservice to "true" advertisers, like Anderson Paving in Dallas a well known Dallas Paving and Asphalt Construction Contractor who lost calls to Sandy Henjum's husband last year, who by the way didn't renew the ad that got her "Retired from Idearc Media."
  • Since both the sales rep, sales manager, SuperMedia CEO, know the clients have no intention of paying the bills for ads placed in these headings by these "new" companies, this is also a disservice since these junk ads are often times larger than what a real advertiser can afford.

But hey, You won't see the damage until it is already done. Scott Klein's security henchman, Mr. Vickers, who local rumor says is a black man who doesn't go after sales fraud from other blacks, he supposedly is the guy who Scott Klein sends out to fire folks when he no longer needs the fake sales from them, when the shit gets too thick, or when others get tired of witnessing the fraud and finally complain to HR. 

  • One other consideration: It drives up quotas. Sales fraud is likely a factor in why Mr. Klein has some sort of expectation of 60-80 appointments in a day! 

Here is a video that shows the "double double" and sometimes "double double double double" truck ads in the Greater Dallas book. I noticed many different "tricks" to inflate page count. It was obvious that they still consider the number of pages as a means to determine the success of a book vs the actual revenues earned from advertising sales after paying commissions. 

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Just in case you haven't heard the news today, SuperMedia CEO Scott Klein Resigns and the company appoints Peter McDonald interim CEO. I find it interesting that he resigned after his "big fat bonus" money is no longer in effect. The companies stock, which post bankruptcy was trading at $40.00 per share is now well below $10.00 and his stock options that vest on a "change in control" are worth significantly less. I guess he couldn't handle the pressure or had no incentive to continue driving the company into extinction.

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Guest Post by Ad Man New Year Uncertainty Like many of the older reps in the directory business, I took great pride in my work. This was not just a job to me, but a career in which I could hold my head up high and feel a sense of certain dignity when I identified my profession to my peers. Sadly, those days are now only memories. The demise of the yellow pages business by short-sighted iconoclasts has stolen from reps their sense of purpose and passion. Look at posts from small business owners on complaint boards. See the mistrust in your client’s eyes when you call upon them for repeat business. You will immediately know how little regard they have for your profession and moreover, if you are honest, you will have understanding and empathy for their feelings. Where you were once invited guests into their businesses welcomed for your imagination and service, you are now brazen interlopers they view only as thieves in the mist hell bent on stealing their hard earned money. You are the modern day equivalent of Tin Men, fly-by-night carpetbaggers to be avoided, despised and spat upon for your lack of ethics. How did such a great industry fall so hard, so fast? The answer to this question can be either complex or simple. You could point to changes in the way people access information and do a thesis encompassing all the possible permutations. You could also choose to look for the answer in a more pragmatic vein, one that simply says bad judgment is at the epicenter of the demise. I view the latter as the truth. Granted, the rise of the internet mirrors the demise of the print directory business for obvious reasons. It was an irresistible force of change and yellow pages were not an immovable object positioned to resist. A blind man could see this, yet executive management past and present stared at the new routes the information highway was taking and with eyes wide open ignored caution signs, choosing to stay the course of past experience even though it led to an obvious dead end. For this, amazingly, they were paid a King’s Ransom in compensation. Indeed, sometimes incompetence does pay. The yellow pages industry and especially Supermedia had it opportunities to reinvent itself. It could have embraced the internet with open arms and reached out to the visionaries that propelled the flow of electronic information, hiring them, giving them carte-blanch empowerment to effect change, encourage it and especially trail blaze it. What they did instead was take a modern technology and make it subservient to an antiquated one thus assuring its failure. If those in charge has simply said “let’s be the best internet information provider possible” we would not be having this conversation today. What they did was incredibly short-sighted. They chose to be aluminum siding salesmen, selling an inferior product at an inflated price and then walking away from those they harmed like gypsies on the run. The yellow pages sales representatives now enter the New Year wearing a Scarlet Letter of shame in the marketplace. They walk the streets viewed by businesses with disdain, much as senior citizens fear a visit from unscrupulous home improvement peddlers. Reps who were once honored, problem-solving consultants are now embodiments of their worst nightmares –product-oriented peddlers flagged by their customers as merchants of deceit. The questions that remains is singular: will this pattern of corporate behavior be the beginning of the end? Time will tell, and I venture to guess the wait will not be long.