Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Free Teleseimnar - Featuring StreetSmart Marketer Michael Hepworth

The secret to great marketing is clarity. BUT if that's ALL you have, you'll FAIL MISERABLY

David Ogilvy, the greatest advertising man of the last century said it best,

"You can't BORE someone into buying your products."

It's much easier said than done.

If you find yourself asking why it's so hard to convert browsers into buyers, then you must dial in to this free no "B.S." teleseminar to uncover your hidden marketing magic bullet.

I've spent the last 7 years studying why one ad in a Yellow Pages directory can receive hundreds more calls than its competitors' larger, more expensive ads in the same directory.

In my quest for knowledge, I've interviewed thousands of advertising and marketing professionals.

And if you want the truth, most advertising sales people are just barely good enough to keep from getting fired.

Then I met Michael Hepworth, and I instantly knew that he was light years beyond most marketers.

For the last several years, Michael has been giving me guidance that has helped me become one of the top earning Internet marketing professionals in the country.

After months of persistence, I've finally convinced Michael to share his unique marketing strategies of two of his clients.

These are two average companies that have rocketed to success by following Michael's advice.

Normally, Michael Hepworth's speaking fees run into the thousands of dollars. His last mentoring program sold out in a number of hours.

This free teleseminar is a one-shot opportunity for you to hear from the master himself.

I know you're busy, so we're going to cram a full day seminar into only 50 minutes.

Thursday, April 27 at

* 5:00 PM - Eastern
* 4:00 PM - Central
* 3:00 PM - Mountain
* 2:00 PM - Pacific

This is going to be a "must listen call" as I grill Michael about this bulletproof strategy, reserved until now for his consulting clients.

He will illustrate his results-oriented approach with two real life examples as part of this call and will show you how to do the same for your business.

You don't even have to leave your office and you can have as many people as you want listening in.

The teleseminar is free, but you do have to register, as I need to make sure we have enough lines.

Register now, you will be glad you did.

If you prefer registering by phone, call Melissa at (416) 204 0352 to reserve your space.

Dick Larkin

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Score one for the little guys! Massachusetts Attorney General: Full Article

It's about time! The Massachusetts Attorney General finally shut down Yellow Pages Inc., a "reputed" scam operation that tricked thousands of small businesses into paying for bogus Yellow Pages advertising.

Company Used Promotional Checks to Lure Consumers into Purchasing Ads
April 25, 2006
(617) 727-2543

BOSTON - A Nevada-based corporation with principal offices in Anaheim, California accused of luring Massachusetts consumers and small business owners into unknowingly purchasing on-line directory listings through the use of promotional checks must put an end to the deceptive practice, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced today.

Under the terms of a multi-state agreement reached with Massachusetts and 27 other states, Nevada-based Yellow Pages, Inc., California-based Electronic Directories Company, LLC, and John Wurth, president of these companies, are prohibited from using promotional checks to bait consumers and small business owners into buying listings in their directories. The checks, according to AG Reilly's settlement, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, did not clearly explain that, by cashing them, consumers were committing to pay for an annual listings in Yellow Pages publications. Those consumers who cashed these checks were later hit with a bill averaging $179.

'Consumers and small business owners must be wary of live check promotions,' AG Reilly said. 'Promotional checks are almost always used to lure consumers into making a much bigger purchase. In this case, by cashing a check for very little money - $2 or $3 - consumers were unknowingly purchasing advertising with this company.'

According to AG Reilly's settlement, Yellow Pages used checks, described as 'instant cash back offers,' to lure consumers and small business owners into contracting for annual advertising listings in an online directory and printed publication. The face of the checks gave no indication that if cashed, it would commit the consumer to paying for an online directory listing. The information on the"

When Bigger Isn't Better


I have little sympathy for an advertiser with an ad that works and who is making money off the ad. I am a lawyer who had a horrible experience with the yellow pages. I had a small add which paid for itself and then some. Based upon that, I decided to go with a bigger ad expecting that the improved position and the bigger ad would mean more calls. I received far fewer calls than I received with the smaller ad. For what I spent on the big ad, I made less than half in fees from the ad on what I spent for the ad.

It was a risk and an expensive education. I took the risk, I live with the consequences. It does not mean that I will do it again.

The ads need to work
for the kind of money that is charged for them. Someone making money off an ad has no right to complain. Had I made money off the ad, I can guarantee you that I would have renewed it however expensive it was.

The rep should have pushed me initially for a more effective ad, cut me some breaks on the first ad so that color, pictures, design was better so that I was hooked and reliant upon an ad that was making money. For the money being charged, the ad needs to work. Once the ad failed, they lost my business (despite a valiant effort by the rep). He knew up front that if the ad worked, he would have a loyal customer.

For a small business person,
the amount being charged is significant. Also the yellow pages is unforgiving because if you have an ineffective ad, you are stuck with the monthly bill for a year (or in my case 13 months because the next book was delayed). It is way too expensive for me to take that risk again. Both the yellow pages and the reps need to remember that.

Kevin (last name withheld)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How Craigslist Beats the Yellow Pages for Home Improvements: Technology Evangelist

How Craigslist Beats the Yellow Pages for Home Improvements: Technology Evangelist

Here's an interesting example of how the free CraigsList brings together buyers and sellers in a way that does not add profits to any Yellow Pages publisher.

An extreme example?

Well, it's a matter of time vs. money.

Should a contractor / handyman spend time monitoring craigslist for postings? Perhaps not. However, there is no doubt that consumers are looking for information on the web today more than ever.

Why Do Advertisers Hate the Yellow Pages?


Love the newsletter, always something worth reading in it.

Great title on this edition of the YP&SBCN. I often wonder the same thing myself.

The thing I wonder about your HVAC contractor though, is why he hasn't forced the publisher to some sort of accommodation. $127k/yr ain't chump change, especially in the current YP advertising environment. He's got some leverage - can't he demand that the tab be located in some unrelated heading?

The second thing I wonder is, how much time/effort/$$ has he spent evaluating the return on his YP ad, or is he just ticked off at Verizon (it is VIS right? if so tell him to go ahead and cancel hehe) for diminishing the equity of his seniority position with the leader ads and tab (and I happen to agree with him about leader ads - it's a stupid thing for publishers to do). I suspect he would be advertising in the independents regardless of his frustration with the utility publisher, because the bottom line is YP delivers customers, whether it's the incumbent's book or a quality independent.

I get a lot of the same sentiment btw - to a lot of advertisers, Yellow Pages isn't "marketing," it's a necessity. YP spending is a "cost of doing business," not an advertising function. In other words, a lot of advertisers recognize the power of the medium to attract customers, but aren't thrilled about being in the auxilliary position at the bargaining table. In my opinion, this is mostly due to publishers doing a poor job of marketing the medium. It is not at all unreasonable for advertisers to demand that we be able to show them what they're getting for their money.

There are very few "true believers." The last one I had the pleasure of working with was Michelin, which had a great co-op program for their dealers. Still had to convince the dealers (all independents, no company stores for Michelin) that paying to run a mostly Michelin, BFG, or Uniroyal ad - without reference to Cooper, General, Goodyear, or Firestone - was their best choice, even if they did only have to pay for half of it. Sears was the best example of which I am personally aware, crazy big increases year over year, and their advertising department (one contact, yea!) handled the whole program, but I didn't work on that account. Dunno if that's still the case, this was eight years ago when I was still with TMP. Most often, we'd get "We have X dollars for YP, do what you can," rather than "Here are our sales goals for this year. What can you do to help us get there?"

Mark Keating
Communications Analyst
Alltel Publishing
330 650-7707
330 650-7321 (fax)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bad Yellow Pages, Bad!

I honestly met with my yellow page "Representative" last week.

My experience was horrible. I felt like he was bullying me the whole time he was here (ONE AND HALF HOURS!!!) and that I was being taken to the cleaners.

My company has been in business for 30 years and we have been steadily "advertising" in the yellow pages for last 15.

You think we might catch a little break for being faithful? Of course not, we are in the HVAC business in the California Central Valley, over the last 5 years this business has exploded with lots of Single Man operations coming into the field.

Anyway, many of these single men are taking the BIG ads and paying way too much money,

I spent a little over a $1,000.00 a month last year. This year my "Representative" tells me the price for my same ad this year will be $1,300.00 a month and next year I can barely even say it up to $1,800.00! When does this price gouging stop!

My ad keeps getting pushed further and further down the page because of these no namers.

Why do I have to pay more every year when my ad is not half a powerful as it was say 6 years ago? My company is fortunate enough to have been in the business for 30 years so many consumers already know our name or have heard of us which gives us an edge over the no namers.

Frustrated in California

Competition makes strange bedfellows


To your comments about advertiser irritation with YP, I offer 2 observations.

a) some of it is deserved from how advertisers have been treated

b) The structure of YP guarantees that they will always hate YP regardless of the value they receive or how well they are treated.

YP, by its very structure, pits them against their competitors. In the short term, they are in a zero-sum game with their competitors - their competitors gain customers at their expense, or vice versa, they gain customers at their competitors expense.

This is what creates value for the users - they find comparative information about all of the businesses in one place, but it guarantees that the advertiser will always have gripes about the medium.

Other media strive to insure that 2 competitors ads rarely appear next to each other; Yellow Pages guarantees that they will.

YP are a "necessary evil" because YP truly works for the advertisers - it delivers great economic value, but they don't have to like the situation it puts them in relative to their competitors.

Just a perspective.

Dennis Fromholzer
CRM Associates

CallOurLawyers and Bell South

I paid BellSouth a lot of money to do Internet advertising for me. I finally came to the conclusion that BellSouth was more interested in the money than they were about making me happy. I terminated the contract and told BellSouth to sue me so I could cross complain against them. I'm still waiting for the lawsuit.

I was receiving no business while BellSouth managed my online advertising. I took over my advertising and receive a flood of calls from potential buyers. I asked BellSouth to prove that I was not a victim of click fraud. No documents were ever provided. Other than past due notices, BellSouth has not provided me with documents that prove how much they were spending on the advertising or even what the key words they were using were.

Bottom line: I terminated online and yellowbook advertising with BellSouth!

Burton Fletcher

Note from a Cutter


I am a independent yellow pages consultant AKA "cutter".

I created this concept in 1979 after a short time (5 years) with GTE now Verizon. Yellow pages publishers do what ever they can to squeeze their competition with more books, ridicules discount programs, and expansion of distribution into areas that will do nothing to advance the advertisers call opportunities. What the publishers do to each either effects the customers which teeters on the edge of criminal. In many cases they bully and use un-fair inference to keep advertisers ads in line. Polling the thousands of business owners that we have helped save money, nearly all of them consider yellow pages a "necessary evil".

I hear that time phrase time and again. I think your blog is a great idea.

I can’t wait for the flurry of stories

Currently I am contact with several Washington state lawmakers. Accordingly the insurance, real-estate, beauticians, plumbing contractors, etc. along with many other businesses who, are required by law, to have a fiduciary responsibility to their customers.

The yellow pages industry collects billions of dollars from the business community yet the only policing or inspection they have is the better business bureau or some toothless consumer protection office in the attorney generals office.

A licensing procedure such as a independent training school, testing, and license fees would improve the quality of the industry, or at least get rid of the rascals who cause the problems that your article has pointed out.

The reason why people hate the yellow pages is how they are marketed, very similar to used cars, old time magazine sale, or siding sales.

Matt P Tonning III

Tales from a former YP rep


Customers want to put the yellow page guys out of business, because we’re seen as the used car salesmen/women of the advertising business. Every yellow page salesperson comes in promising a better rate than the “other” guys and give away a lot of product to get people in the directory. Then when the calls don’t come in because no one goes to the yellow pages to find a candle shop, the customer is frustrated because they didn’t receive the 100 calls a month that would produce an average sale of $20, and their sales figures don’t reflect the $24,000 dollars in sales that you promised them this ad would produce.

And then the manager of the used car/yellow page company is screaming at his employees that they still need to sell $100,000 to make goal and that everyone needs to sell only $15,000 a week to reach this unrealistic goal. If you don’t reach the goal, then you don’t get any existing customers….you’re going to have to pay for your own gas….you’re not going to make any money…you’ll be written up. Just sell the candle shop the double truck and move on down the road to the car wash. It will work for them. Force the customer to buy more than they need...

Give me a break. So I got a real sales job…insurance. Is your family protected in case something happens to you tomorrow? Could your wife pay the bills, bury you and put food on the table. You need to purchase a million dollars worth of life insurance to leave your family covered in case of an emergency…

Sylvia McDaniel

Incorrect phone number in the yellow pages

About a month ago my phone started ringing, with people asking for quotes on redi-mix concrete. (We are not in the redi-mix business)

I would politely direct them to the local company. Finally I received a call from a man who got very angry with me when I attempted to redirect him. He said why the @#% do you have a listing under redi-mix in the yellow pages. I said I don’t. He said the @#% you do. I finally got him to tell me where. I found the book and there it was. And my fax #.

Now I am getting unsolicited faxes as well (spam faxes). I called the yellow pages publisher. After being on hold and shuffled around, I was asked, well what category do you want to be in.

When I replied none, the person got rude. (I never paid for any yellow page advertising) I asked where they got the idea that I wanted a listing under redi-mix?

They couldn’t exactly say, but they thought it must have came from the local phone co. I asked to be removed from future printings. They couldn’t promise that it would be cleared up. It just brought back memories of past dealings with the yellow page people, none of which are fond.

Best regards,

KL Teed

Teed Sales LLC

If You Don't Have Your Health...You Don't Have Anything...So Ask Me How I Got My Health Back!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Is the print too small to read?

Type size if new phone book has shrunk
'I guess they've saved a few trees'

Here's a little article about a print yellow pages publisher reducing the font size to save paper.

What's your opinion. Is the print in the phone book too small, about right, or something else?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Are Remote Call Forwarded Lines Misleading? - Hell Yes!

It is a common Yellow Pages industry practice to allow, and usually encourage advertisers to include local phone numbers in areas where they do not have an office.

In fact, it works so well, that publishers help set up the lines for advertisers.

Do these numbers mislead the public. You bet they do. Heck, that's why they work so well. Even if they are not misleading, consumers prefer dialing a local number (consumers used to have to pay long distance rates for out of area numbers).

Now, an attorney is suing Dex Media (the publisher formerly know as US West and later Qwest) over a rival using call-forward numbers.

If the claim is deemed valid, tens of thousands of advertisers will be put at risk.

My problem is that according to this story, Dex representatives are claiming no knowledge of this practice being misleading.

Just how freaking stupid do the Dex attorneys think the judge and jury are to believe Dex's representative who said that
no facts have been established to prove Dex had any knowledge that is somehow deceiving people.

If Dex really has no knowledge about these local numbers misleading the public, I have only one thought.

They are either lying or they are incompetent. I'm not sure which is worse.

Below is the story.

Letting their fingers do some of the walking, attorneys for a personal injury law firm argued this week before the Utah Supreme Court that the state's largest publisher of Yellow Pages helped a competitor of the firm mislead customers.

Personal injury attorney Robert J. DeBry's firm says the QwestDex Yellow Pages' publisher, Dex Media, should not allow DeBry's rival, Siegfried & Jensen, to print ads listing an Ogden number.

An ad printed on the back of the phone book a few years ago listed an Ogden area phone number for Siegfried & Jensen, even though the firm has no office in Ogden.

DeBry claimed the rival firm's ads unfairly took Ogden customers away from his firm and contributed to his decision to close his Ogden offices in fall 2002 and in Orem in June 2003.

Dex Media offers so-called "market expansion lines" that allow businesses to place ads with local-prefix numbers in the Yellow Pages of distant cities without having offices there, argued DeBry attorney Lynn Heward.

Chief Justice Christine M. Durham asked Heward about what the justices should assume about consumers in the case.

"Don't we have to presume some level of reasonable sophistication on the part of consumers?" she asked.
Heward pointed to a survey paid for by the firm that indicated 67 percent of Ogdenites who see a local phone number in the Yellow Pages believe Siegfried & Jensen has a local office. But an attorney representing Dex Media told the justices DeBry's beef is with Siegfried & Jensen, not the phone-book publisher. She also said no facts have been established to prove Dex had any knowledge that is somehow deceiving people.

The court took the case under advisement and will rule later.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Yahoo Makes Unsolicited $21.2 Billion Offer for AT&T Yellow Pages

Small Business Commandos Logo
Yellow Pages & Small Business Commando News
Yahoo Makes Unsolicited $21.2 Billion Offer for AT&T Yellow Pages
April 1, 2006
in this issue
-- Yahoo Makes Unsolicited $21.2 Billion Offer for AT&T Yellow Pages
-- The Definitive Guide to Yellow Pages Advertising
-- Answer to Last Redneck Riddle
-- I can't get the image out of my head
-- New best seller
-- It ain't the Ritz
-- Hey Kim . . .
-- Shopping in San Francisco
-- We've come a long way, baby.
-- Flawed business model
-- This Week's Redneck Riddle
-- Quote of the Week


This news shocked me so much that I had to send this special report.

Yahoo Makes Unsolicited $21.2 Billion Offer for AT&T Yellow Pages
yahoo logo Four days after Google announced a reseller relationship with Verizon, Yahoo CEO Terry Semel announced this morning that Yahoo had made an unsolicited $21.2 billion bid to acquire all of AT&T’s Yellow Pages and business.

This marks the largest acquisition of a traditional media company by an online company since AOL’s troubled acquisition of Time Warner in 2000.

Semel was quick to mention that AT&T had not yet accepted the offer, although the Yahoo board was “very confident” that the deal would go through.

Reading a prepared statement, Semel said that Yahoo’s acquisition of AT&T’s advertising products and sales force was a natural extension of the companies’ joint marketing efforts in both local online advertising and in DSL broadband marketing.US.

Semel did not provide details on Yahoo’s plan for AT&T’s print Yellow Pages business, but answering a reporter’s question gave some insight. Semel said that there was quite a bit of life left in the print directory business, and Yahoo fully expected to continue publishing most directories at least through the end of the year.

Regarding advertising methods, a Yahoo representative said that they intended to replace all Yellow Pages display advertising with two-inch square text ads. “That should dramatically reduce the page count of these directories.”

Could a Google / Verizon merger be far off?

Read the official press release . . .

The Definitive Guide to Yellow Pages Advertising
Ringing Up Book Nearly one thousand people helped me create the definitive guide to Yellow Pages advertising.

There's never been a side-by-side comparison of 38 full page Yellow Pages ads with a complete analysis of why one ad will generate thousands of times more calls than another ad.

The book also includes bonus material showing a beautiful example of an ad created using research based on 77,000 metered telephone lines. This knowledge is priceless for someone relying on the Yellow Pages to drive customers to his business.

Download an electronic copy of "Ringing Up Profits" BEFORE you advertise in the Yellow Pages

Answer to Last Redneck Riddle
Redneck Riddles
A group of 100 rednecks got into a massive brawl after the Daytona 500 and suffered the following injuries: 70 rednecks lost an eye, 75 lost an ear, 85 lost a finger, and 80 lost a toe.

What is the minimum number of rednecks that must have lost all four body parts?

The winner receives an autographed copy of my latest CD "Commando Secrets LIVE - How to Market Your Local Business Online."

Didn't win? You can still get the CD here.

See the answer and the Redneck Riddles celebrity winner

I can't get the image out of my head

Perhaps we should define "dressed up."

New best seller

Is that referring to the teacher or the students?

It ain't the Ritz

Here's one from the bad names file.

Hey Kim . . .
Chuck Berry
When the crowd chants his name, it's a little demoralizing.

Shopping in San Francisco

Take my advice

Avoid the ladies department in this store.

We've come a long way, baby.
penguin slap

Remember your first mobile phone?

I still have mine.

Flawed business model

Could somebody 'splain this to me?

This Week's Redneck Riddle
Redneck Riddles Logo
Buford's been rewiring the lights in his trailer home.

There are two rooms separated by a long hallway, with closed doors in each room.

In one room there are three light switches, in the other room there are three light bulbs.

How can Buford determine which light switch correlates to which light bulb if he can only walk down the hallway once.

No, he can't see from one room to the other and this is not a play on words.

Email your answer to

The winner receives an autographed copy of my latest CD "Commando Secrets LIVE - How to Market Your Local Business Online."

Stumped? You can get the CD here.

To improve your random chances of winning, please include your name, company name, and mailing address.

I draw the winner the day before I send the following newsletter, so keep voting until the polls close.

More Redneck Riddles

Quote of the Week
Paul Merton
I'm always amazed to hear of air crash victims so badly mutilated that they have to be identified by their dental records. What I can't understand is, if they don't know who you are, how do they know who your dentist is?
--Paul Merton

Got a good quote? Send it my way, and I'll give you the credit.

Contact Information
phone: (760) 579-1005

Forward to a Friend

This email was sent to, by
Instant removal with SafeUnsubscribe™ | Privacy Policy.
Powered by

Small Business Commandos, Inc. | 4348 Yuki Lane | Carlsbad | CA | 92008