Idearc Media’s New Way to Screw Yellow Pages Advertisers

According to Mike Stewart at DallasSeoGuru, Idearc Media’s President of Marketing and Transformation (the company that published the Verizon Superpages) has found a new way to screw local businesses. She inserted an ad for her husband’s business in a new category that’s alphabetically just before all of his competitors:

Apparently the latest news is that she authorized a new heading at book close II on the book designated “Pavers” which appeared before “Paving Contractors” thus allowing her husband’s paving company to be ahead of larger ads with a lower cost full page ad. I recall this going around local management and the media consultant who was required to make the submission.

That’s an interesting concept. Create a market around the value of the category “Paving Contractors” by sending your sales force out into the market to do what they can do drive up the cost of the ads under that heading in the print SuperPages. Then slip an ad under a new alphabetically prior heading, thus pulling the rug out from under the perceived value of local business’ advertising investments. One year of screwing your local advertisers coming up.

16 thoughts on “Idearc Media’s New Way to Screw Yellow Pages Advertisers”

  1. I wonder if Idearc will publicly address this? I am sure it was labeled to employees as a retirement. Why else would the President of TRANSFORMATION and Marketing for a company that is in transformation make the sudden decision to retire? If folks think this is the only problem with Idearc they are going to be shocked to hear about some of the investment related concerns. But hey, I am just one of the few local ad guys who has never picked up a phone book other than to bug someone to buy an ad. I wised up. They kicked me out 9 years later vs utilizing my experience to improve the business model. If Google told employees to hush as much as the Yellow Pages they would be Ask.com lol

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ed.

    Cheers,
    Mike Stewart

  2. ah the old heading jumping trick…dex did this a few years back in the st. paul book, they put ben franklin plumbing under the plating heading….wonder how the other plumbers liked that?

  3. the stuff that I find on your site is so petty. Whaa whaa whaa,,, Idearc hurt my wittle feeling and Im sad. get a life ahole. I dont even work for them but its clear your a disgruntled past employee who prob couldnt sell a bold listing if they were free. I could see if there was some major issue but all you do is bitch about meaningless bullshit. heading jumping! are you kidding me????
    this is a big nationwide company servicing thousands of business and distributing millions of books every year,,,,,,, you dont think there will be problems? no chit sherlock! what I find hilarious is there is an ahole out there name YOU and you think people give a rats ass! what about all the great things they do???? ever thought of that ahole?

  4. How about drive business???? Thats not a great thing? I have a ad in a book and a get quite a few calls even in a slow economy. Im just one of oh,,,, say,,,,, millions with the same story. Isnt that a great thing. How about feeding familys? How about employing thousands of people? Thats just a few, bet I can think of many more. Anyway,, if you always focus on the negative,,, well I guess thats what you will see. Question,,,,, do you like tomatoes? Well yes or no, millions of people do and they plant them in their gardens every year. Now every year as the tomatoes start to grow people contend with bugs and weeds and other crap that can destroy the tomatoes yet that doesnt stop them from planting them year after year after year right? So I focus on the tomatoes and the bugs, weeds and other crap,,,, well thats just all it is crap.

  5. Joe,
    I don’t plant tomatoes but Scott Klein’s leadership will end many families prosperity……like my mother who was rookie of the year for GTE or Myself who won 3 Presidents Awards at Verizon……sales is easy…. You try studying SEO. Your comments disregard the hidden truth behind corporate advertising…just like how private schools can provide a better education for less money invested. The YP giant axe is dull. Print is going to be greatly impacted by Google and mobile search……

    I study BIA/Kelsey etc………… I actually study industry trends. Do u? Or are u another mindless koolaid drinking follower?

    Cheers,
    Mike Stewart
    DallasSEOguru

  6. Ed……..They copied the ServiceGuarantee from ServiceMagic and gave the reps Folex watches from the dollar store. Lol

    That’s great.

    Joe, after 9 yrs at the company, I am sure I am the@most qualified to discuss what they do right and wrong. Lol

  7. @joe, your tomato analogy seems a little rotten. People put up with bugs and weeds to grow tomatoes because they reap the benefits that come from dealing with the crap. In the case of yellow pages, you’re asking people to deal with the crap so the yellow pages industry benefits. I receive NO benefit by having up to three sets of yellow pages littered on my property every year.

  8. Hey, all I did was state some good things they do. And,,,,,, SEO??? OoooooooH!! He’s a search engine optomizer, slash,,,,, GURU! Not another one! Aint that complicated doushe nozzle! Hmmmmm,,, Industry trends? You study them? Study? Yeah and you stay up late studying these “trends” do you? Yeah I read, (wouldnt go as far to call it study) but yes I do read industry trends. You can say you “study” but thats a crock of shit, you dont REALLY study do you? Isnt it more like you read them once in a while? Anyway,,,,, Yellow pages are still a very good resource for people to find local services and if you have three on your property,,,,,, news flash dipshit,,,,, throw 2 away! How hard is that? And who gives a rats ass if google and mobile explode and less people use the books…. Who cares? Things change do they not???? Hey heres one for you genius’,,,,, bet I can grab my phone book and find the phone number to a local plumber faster than you could go on your cell phone or turn on your desktop and find one..

  9. @joe, if I was going to be on where a business’ future leads and sales will come from, I’d imagine that investing in search engine optimization of a professional website for relevant search terms would be an effective strategy. The web isn’t getting any smaller. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be any question about whether print is on the decline. That’s not to say that it’s not an effective advertising channel today, when the books are delivered to those who still use them.

    I’ve never met Mike, but it seems pretty clear to anyone who knows how to use Google that the guy worked in the YP industry for years and has a passion for the industry at both a local advertising level and higher level industry health focus.

    Joe, maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t it seem rather insane for people all over the country to receive, only to throw away, yellow pages books due to over-delivery? In my personal case, any of the three YP books delivered in my market would be considered over-delivery. For others, 66% of the books they receive are over-deliveries (that’s not even counting books for cars, white pages, etc.).

    The plumbing hypothetical is tired. Really tired. Here are two times I’ve previously written about it. If you put an old mechanical typewriter up against a computer where the computer was turned off, you could clearly finish the first paragraph of a story on the old typewriter first. But to justify the typewriter you have to ignore all of the positive features the computer offers once turned on. The YP industry seems to understand that its future is not going to be in print. They haven’t entirely figured out what it’s going to look like on the web, but at least the industry seems to understand that they’ll eventually stop the presses in order to provide more efficient advertising solutions to local businesses.

  10. not a bad thing at all and doesnt make yellowpage companies bad guys either. things change as i said earlier. I too know alot about seo, sem, cpc, ctr, quality scores, ratings, good landing pages, bounce out rates blah blah blah blah blah PUKE! its not rocket science. I stil beleive yp’s will still be in print for years to come. Maybe not as many, mabe by consumers opting in while others opt out,,, sorta like the no call lists. Makes sense. who really knows? I still use yps almost every other day and I have 4 cell phones, 2 desktop computers and 2 laptops in my home. Online yp directorys I am sure you will agree still have a ways to go before I stop seeing cocksuckers from other area codes when I am searching for a local plumber. they still have to collect those ad dollars and give top listings to anyone who is willing to pay. and organic searchs on google suck! if google really allowed true relevant results to show when someone does a search,,,, then clearly they wouldnt sell as many sponsored link advertisers. and google sems to be the dog to chase so other seach engines try to operate in the same manner so they too can make their billions on ad word type advertising.anyway,,,, gotta go,,,,, check out http://www.supermedia.com and while your at it, buy some stock.

  11. @joe, you’re right that that stuff isn’t rocket science. It’s just business. Companies who are better at it make more money.

    Back to print yellow pages, at some point, do you think the number of people who use books may become small enough that it’s no longer justfiable to print and distribute books to those people?

    It sounds like you have plenty of excellent talking points worked out against print YP alternatives, and imagine they work will with many customers. However, I wonder how well they work with businesses who’ve had success in new advertising mediums?

    I agree that local search is far from a solved problem today, but there are some really brilliant people working on solving that problem within a fast growing industry, so I’m not particularly concerned about that. I just ran a spot check for the term plumber together with my zip code and found a mix of known local companies and some national brands, which feels pretty good. I can then click to see reviews of the plumbers so choose them based on something other than the size of their ad or alphabetically. And I’m seeing companies that are truly nearby rather than on the other side of a large metro area. To me, that’s a better user experience than print, but I may be the exception.

  12. As a current employee ( or should I say Indentured Servant), I’d like to ask Klien if he, like his sales fore, took a 25% involuntary pay cut in 2009. Was this money used to pay for his egotisical, narcissistic in-house TV show where he has actually been captured on camera throwing candy corn at these same employees who were unfortunare to be forced tonsit in the audience? Or did it help Sandy pay for her husband’s ad? Or pay for Debbie-the-trophy-wife’s Neiman card? However you cut it, we’re gettin screwed.
    Bush League, even by Texas standards.

  13. The comments above…very funny. Folks forget that I started with Verizon YP 3 months post High School. 10 yrs later, I left. The company is antiquated like the products it offers. My Mom was also a sales rep…. my step father…my brother…and countless friends who I still consider family. There is some mewrit and truth behind my disgruntled former employee rants. I love how folks claim to be search marketing experts. http://www.yellowpageguru.com dates back many years. It contained the latest on local seo from 2003. I was told repeatedly to be careful what info I shared. I also shared many new ideas….more so than 99% of the companies advertising consultants. I also won 3 President’s Awards….something that has not been replicated by my peers.

  14. After doing business for over 20 years and owning 3 companies I am now down to the most basic listing in the yellow pages for two reasons. I think is a dying form or advertising, mostly used by older clients/customers and second the tactics Idearc Media is now using to force you to renew your ad. Last week I was contacted by a sales rep and I was busy therefore my secretary took a message. I returned the phone call 3 times only to get a voice mail machine over the next few days. The following week I received a certified letter stating that I had 5 days to respond or my ad would be automatically renewed for the $1200 rate. divided into 12 payments and added to your monthly phone bill.

    That is the customer service I get. No thanks! I mailed a certified letter back and canceled my advertising.

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