Posts Tagged ‘Superpages’

Double Bankruptcy Required for Dex One / SuperMedia Yellow Pages Merger?!?

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

In nothing short of earth-shattering news, it was reported that the Dex One – SuperMedia yellow pages companies merger is apparently on the rocks due to the companies’ creditors being unwilling to accept financial terms. Worse yet, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission filing states that the companies might have to restructure under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to make the merger deal work!

Quoted from the Form 8-K filed by Dex One:

In light of the current negotiations, however, Dex One recognizes that the parties may not be able to obtain sufficient approval from the senior secured lenders to any proposed amendments to the parties’ respective credit agreements. Therefore, possible alternatives to the current transaction structure to effect the Merger are under consideration, including a “prepackaged” restructuring of the parties’ senior secured indebtedness through proceedings instituted under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code to implement possible amendments that may garner sufficient, though not unanimous, support from the parties’ respective lenders, while otherwise maintaining the basic economic terms of the Merger Agreement.  However, there can be no assurance that Dex One and SuperMedia can effect a transaction through an alternative structure, that the necessary consents will be obtained, or that the Merger will be consummated.

SuperDex! Dex One - SuperMedia MergerIf you haven’t kept up with recent years’ history, the surreal part of this is that both companies already emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring not that long ago. In June of 2009, R. H. Donnelley Company filed for bankruptcy, and Dex One rose from its ashes in February of 2010. Idearc Media, earlier known as Verizon Information Services, had been spun off from Verizon with an irresponsibly high debt load, and as a result filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March of 2009, later to emerge from the rubble as SuperMedia in December of 2009.

The Triangle Business Journal headline reports that bankruptcy is a possibility for Dex One, perhaps because the filing states that “Dex One recognizes…”. However, the wording is such that it clearly states that possible (more…)

SuperMedia & Dex One Layoffs

Friday, January 21st, 2011

A few people internally at SuperMedia’s Superpages have pinged me this week to let me know of a larger layoff that happened yesterday at the company – reportedly 300 or more employees, primarily in the Internet Sales Division, were layed-off. I’m surprised Dallas Morning News hasn’t reported on it.

Dex One is apparently also planning to lay off 65 graphics workers in Colorado.

Both companies have already gone through a few rounds of cuts at this point, severely reducing the numbers of employees they have. I’ve also heard that both companies are using similar language around plans to outsource various functions overseas.

SuperMedia + Dex One = SuperDex

I've speculated for a while that SuperMedia, Dex & another company might merge.

While it’s not surprising that either company would be doing cost-cutting activities, I continue to believe that the silver lining may be that these actions still look like possible advanced reorganization plans prior to merger of the yellow pages companies.

It might be significant that the layoffs are happening somewhat in sync.

My heart goes out to the layed-off employees — I hope you all find new replacement jobs quickly! Just know that there is life after Superpages. :-)

Trust Seals May Be Super Local Ranking Factors

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Over on SEM Clubhouse this morning I posted an article about how online trust seals could increase conversions for local businesses. That proposition is not all that controversial, when you connect the dots. Lots of research finds support for the idea that trust seals increase consumer confidence for online retailers — and online retailers need this, since there’s often mistrust of the safety of making online purchases.

However, confidence is also needed in order to translate online traffic into offline customers. For local businesses, this is key. It is hard in some industries to tell if the online presence represents a real, actual business. As I touched upon in an article earlier this month, there are quite a few false business addresses cropping up in Google Places and elsewhere, and these undermine consumer confidence.

So, the logic seems fairly solid to believe that if you can increase consumer confidence in a website, by extension they may have a higher initial trust in the business itself. For businesses relying upon people visiting their premise, this could be key to improving referral rates from online sources.

Of course, the value proposition just may not be there. Many website certifications and trust seals may be costlier than their worth to offline businesses. This is why I suggested some lesser alternatives, such as making local chambers-of-commerce badges.

SuperGuarantee badgeThe issue of trust is very key to getting a consumer to choose your business. This is why some local business marketing companies have created trust badges and guarantee programs. For instance, the Superpages.com SuperGuarantee program is one such, and for a while was considered to be a primary strategy for that internet yellow pages company, which has otherwise struggled with survival as consumers turn from print media to online resources such as Google Maps.

The SuperGuarantee program was a fairly good idea. The concept of leveraging a trust mark and guarantee program is an overall good idea for internet yellow pages (even if the program was obviously very derivative and immitative of similar services offered by other companies, such as the ServiceMagic Guarantee, and even if it never quite lived up to being the “savior of yellow pages” it was virtually touted to being).

From a business’s perspective, it might be a good proposition, if you count it as mainly an advertising/promotional cost. Statistics indicate that very few consumers actually avail themselves of money-back guarantees in most cases. The question of whether the SuperGuarantee ever actually has achieved sufficient consumer recognition to be valuable to businesses is still up in the air. I’m not sure they have done enough promotion of the badge and service to reach critical mass with consumers.

However, I’d say that even with services that have lower overall consumer familiarity, merely having an independent service providing you with an endorsement could give you a leg up above similar competition which does not have any endorsement.

There are quite a number of industry-specific and product-specific rating services which might be valuable to display on your website. For instance, among attorneys the Super Lawyers rating might well be worth gold. Super Lawyers magazine names attorneys across the United States who receive highest point totals, as selected by their attorney peers and through independent research they conduct. The Rising Stars names each state’s top up-and-coming attorneys.

Super Lawyers - trust seal badge

While the Super Lawyers guidelines won’t allow recipients to directly call themselves “Super Lawyers”, having the association with the Super Lawyers designation likely makes an immediate impression upon consumers. If you’re protecting your business or getting representation for an upcoming divorce, don’t you want to avail yourself of the cream-of-the-crop? Having such a badge would provide an immediate differentiator.

I first became aware of Super Lawyers a number of years ago, when I saw a special section for them in my Texas Monthly magazine.

The more controversial idea I floated in my article on trust seals is whether Google may be using or planning to use the presence of trust seals on websites as a ranking factor. I don’t have any stats as of yet which indicate for certain whether Google or other search engines could be using the trust badges for ranking.

However, I think they could easily factor in, because I think that Google is increasingly using some indicators such as the click-paths of users in determining whether webpages are relevant to search queries. Some metrics such as “Bounce Rate” may be factoring-in, and badges which are linked to related information pages on the certification service sites might well provide Google with indication that consumers are finding the presence of that info quite valuable on your website.

Poor Taste: Lay Off 100s Of Employees, Then Write A Blog Post Advising How To Retain Employees

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

SuperMedia Cracking UpIn a blog that SuperMedia operates to provide advice and information for businesses, they published this surreal post on “Employee Retention During a Corporate Restructure” at the end of December.

SuperMedia has been laying-off employees in droves over the past two years, as they struggled through revenue decline, heavy debts, Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, and subsequent cost-cutting (possibly paving the way for a three-way merger between SuperMedia, AT&T and Dex One). So, “corporate restructure” is an accurate term for what SuperMedia employees have been enduring for quite some time, if not an understatement on a massive scale.

So, publishing a post on how to retain employees seems downright… odd under the circumstances.

The article advises a number of tactics for employee retention (my interpretation/paraphrasing): (more…)

What’s Happening In Yellow Pages Land? Perhaps A Trifecta Merger Between AT&T, SuperMedia & Dex One

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Back in September I predicted a merger between SuperMedia and Dex One. However, there’ve since been other developments and rumors coming out of these yellow pages companies which lead me to suggest a possible “trifecta” — a three-way acquisition/merger could be in the works between AT&T’s Yellow Pages (NYSE:T), SuperMedia (NASDAQ:SPMD), and Dex One (NYSE:DEXO).

Trifecta Merger Between AT&T Interactive Yellow Pages, SuperMedia, and Dex One Corporation

These three companies operate some of the largest print and online yellow pages in the country, with AT&T Interactive operating YP.com, SuperMedia operating Superpages, and Dex One operating DexKnows. Read on for more speculation and observation on my part. (more…)

Idearc (Superpages) Trustee Files Lawsuit Against Verizon Over Bankruptcy

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Wow! U.S. Bank is suing Verizon for spinning-off their yellow pages unit, called “Idearc Media” after the spinoff, with too high a debt load. Idearc Media was the operator of Superpages.com, a major internet yellow pages site. U.S. Bank is the trustee for Idearc.

Verizon & Involvement in Fairpoint Communications & Idearc Bankruptcy Filings idearc media logo

For anyone who hasn’t followed the string of companies involved, here’s the super-brief overview: (more…)