• Report: #541838
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Fri, December 18, 2009
  • Updated: Mon, May 03, 2010

  • Reported By: Idearc Insider — Chicago Illinois United States of America
Internet United States of America

IDEARC MEDIA - SuperPages.com This company is dishonest, and I sold for them Internet

*Author of original report: Are you still with Idearc - Supermedia

*Author of original report: Idearc's Sales Technique is Dishonest

*UPDATE Employee: More Questions about 'honesty'

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I have been reading all the complaints about Idearc Media and their SuperPages program.  Let me say it is all true.  This company is deceptive, it lies, it distorts, it does anything to get your money.  I know, until recently I worked for them in their Chicago office selling advertising. 

I have never been with a company that was so deceptive in its practices.  Their practices can best be described as predatory.  It begins with their sales process, called "salesology"; the study of sales, but in reality it is the process of selling by deception.  I have read many of the complaints and I am hearing all the dishonest practices Idearc either directly taught or displayed via live example.

Their calls begin with the line, "hi, am I catching you at a bad time?"  Of course you will say NO, which is their permission to talk.  Then we follow up with, "we have people in your area who are looking for your services, if I send them to you are you able to handle some more business?".  Most likely, you will say, YES, then we ask, "are you the person I need to speak with so we can send these people to you, if so, I need to make sure you are qualified for our program, since we guarantee services to our clients.  Do you have 5 minutes to answer some questions?  You do, great because we don't work with just any company".  This is all one big lie.

To begin, Idearc does not have any people to send to you.  Many reps even go so far as to call these people their "clients", but the truth is there are no people or clients.  Idearc simply creates a listing for your business on the internet so you can be found on Google, Yahoo, MSN searches.  People who are doing a search on the internet are there regardless of Idearc.  Idearc has nothing to do with them, yet they present them as clients, and suggest they have the power to send them directly to you, when in reality all they can do is put your name in front of them.  The people don't call Idearc and don't know who Idearc is.  Yet, everyday Idearc sales people are telling owners that they are going to send new customers to them.  A lie.

The second lie in that statement is that they don't work with just anyone.  The truth is Idearc will work with any business as long as they sign and can pay.  Everyday I heard reps calling on the same business category and giving each person the same line.  The goal is to give you the impression that this is a unique opportunity and that your business was specially selected.  Bull! There is nothing special about your business, you were just next on the list.  The next "dumb-a*s" as they like to call it. You see, the reps make a ton of calls everyday trying to find the one person who falls for all this.  I also find that many of the reps are black and they prey on minority business owners who end up paying big money every month on worthless advertising, thinking they were going to have customers sent to them.  

As they move on in the Salesology process, they will ask you worthless questions that have nothing to do with their recommendation.  They really just want to make themselves sound reputable, it is like they are interviewing you so they can take your money.  What is sad is that so many business owners fall for it.  Many even agree and give them their credit card over the phone and sign up without ever knowing what they are signing up for.  Internally, the managers give a lot of lip service to the idea of consulting and developing the right recommendation.  The reality is that the recommendation has more to do with the business' credit standing than what is right.  The reps have a quick credit check run on every business, and they make their dollar recommendation up to that amount.  So if the credit check says the business is approved for $2,000 per month, the rep will bring a recommendation for $2000, even if that is more than what is needed.  The money comes first. 

The ultimate goal is to sell you advertising without you ever knowing that you are buying advertising.  That is why they are elusive in their answers, that is why they answer questions with questions.  The more you give them the more they have to use against you.  How do they get away with it?  Once you are signed they avoid phone calls, and the rep who sold you is no longer responsible for your business.  Once the sale is made you are passed on to other people, and at the end of your contract they will automatically sign you up for the following year if they can't reach you.  In short, the rep who sold you, has no accountability to your business.   Their job is to sell and walk away.  That gives them carte blanche to say whatever they want to say to close you.

To anyone who reads this, just stay away for Idearc or kiss your money goodbye.  They are the most deceptive company I have ever worked for and I am glad I am out of there.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/18/2009 01:10 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/idearc-media/internet/idearc-media-superpagescom-this-company-is-dishonest-and-i-sold-for-them-internet-541838. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Are you still with Idearc - Supermedia

AUTHOR: Idearc Insider - (United States of America)

Hi, this is Idearc Insider, I posted a report in December about how dishonest Idearc's sales practices were.  You were kind enough to respond with your point of view.  I was curious to know if you are still with them and if your perspective has changed at all. 

You were pro-Idearc in your rebuttal.  But 4 months have passed and I am wondering what you encountered since our postings.  I know more people have left the Chicago office, I also know that the SM, Craig left Idearc, he then got fired from the managers position he took.  Why he was selling advertising in the first place I will never know.

Just looking to see if you are OK.  BTW, there is a neat site called Jobvent.  Go there and check out what other Idearc/Supermedia employees have to say about them.
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#2 Author of original report

Idearc's Sales Technique is Dishonest

AUTHOR: Idearc Insider - (United States of America)

Thanks for your rebuttal.  I appreciate your views, in fact by your description I believe I know who you are.  Look, you have a job and you need this job to last, I understand that, but it doesn't  take away from the fact that Idearc's sales strategy is steeped in dishonesty.

Let me respond to the idea that this is sour grapes.  You are right, Idearc has let several people go in the last few weeks.  More so, Idearc has let a bunch of people go, so keep an eye out for your future.  Here are the raw numbers, Idearc Chicago has brought in 5 sales classes, I learned that 80% of the first class is gone, and may even be at 90% by now.  60% of the second class is gone, 40% of the third class is gone.  Those numbers will grow and you will begin to see  your class start to shrink around you.  Three ringers that were brought in from other markets are gone, one was a sales manager, the other two were sales people who sold a ton, but were too dishonest that Idearc couldn't hide them any longer.

Across the country Idearc goes through sales people like a kid goes through chips.  And, please, I am not being racist by pointing out that black sales people prey on minority owners.  I see it happen in the office, I hear horror stories from other offices
and I saw the "A" team, the inside sales team from Atlanta, in action.  They worked over poor black businessmen without mercy.  I remember one of the ringers that was brought in, she was black and sold a $2,000 package to a small restaurant on the south side.  The restaurant was small, so I asked her how a $2,000 package was going to benefit them, her response, "I don't give a f___, I am just getting my money".  That attitude is pervasive. 

Sales techniques are great, but even Tom Hopkins and Napolean Hill would have issue with Idearc's scripts, those are 2 religious men who believe in partnership and win-win situations.  When you tell a customer that you have people or "clients" in their area looking for their services, when you say you will SEND these people to them if they can handle more business, when you say you are only calling a few select businesses because Idearc doesn't work with just anyone - these things are NOT TRUE, they are lies.  You are not saying this to make the "person feel special", it is being said to fool the person into thinking they have been specially chosen to receive an exclusive opportunity where Idearc will send them ready-made customers.  Have you received  emails, direct mail or calls saying, "congratulations, you have been specially selected to receive...".  This is all the same, Idearc just uses different words, but the intent is the same.

As for overselling a client, it is standard.  The two check system is not there to protect the client, it is there to protect Idearc.  This is straight from Account Managers and former sales managers, so listen to them.  The credit check is there to tell you how much your proposal should be for.  Listen around the office, you will hear managers asking reps 3 questions:  how much are you asking for, what were they approved for, and why didn't you ask for that amount.  That is why reps are happy when a credit check comes back for thousands, because that is the amount they will propose, assuming the viability check matches, which it usually does.  So it is clear that with Idearc, the credit approval drives the proposal, not the needs analysis.

In your case, if the viability reports came back fine, it would be expected that you propose a package for $5,000 per month.  Whether the client needed that much is not important.  Plus, the viability report is not to protect the client, its real purpose is to limit the gap between proposed and actual revenue.  If you sell a package for $1,000 per month but the cost per click activity comes to $300, that is $700 per month of lost revenue.  Multiply that by 12 and by thousands of clients across the country and you can see how this plays havoc with a Idearc's revenue projections.

Having disclosed all that, I still think Idearc was a pretty good company, but doesn't give its products enough chance to breathe or be successful.  And the sales process encourages dishonesty.  That is why most salespeople get terminated - they are trying to sell honestly, while a minority is being dishonest, but they get the load of sales.  But it does catch up, did you know that Superpages.com retention rate is about 40%. 

I don't know if you were with the company when the CEO did a broadcast to us.  He showed a clip of a lion stalking, chasing and killing a zebra.  He then turned to his studio and online audience and said, "that is how I want my sales team to perform".  That said it all to me, we're the hunters and the clients are victims, to be devoured, used up and left for the buzzards while we move on to the next.  I don't want to treat my clients that way and they don't want to be treated that way.  There is no  place in media sales for dishonesty.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

More Questions about 'honesty'

AUTHOR: Chicago, IL - (United States of America)

I am a current employee at the Chicago office and have been for the past 4 months. I would like to address this complaint step by step.

Salesology is nothing more than a sales technique. Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, as long as their have been salesmen, there have been sales trainers. Asking somebody if you caught them at a bad time is nothing more than a pattern interrupt that is designed to do one of two things. One, get them off the phone if it is truly a bad time or if they just do not want to talk to you. Or two, gain their permission and attention to continue the call.

As for the person being just the next number on a call list I would ask how many people would continue to speak with you if you told them "I am calling a bunch of people in the phone book and your number just came up". Not many is my guess. You try to make the person feel special just like a hair stylist does when she tells a client the color really brings out her facial features or a tailor who tells a person that the suit really looks good on him. Sales is a win win situation and I have yet to see anybody hold a gun to any clients head to either sign a contract or to continue talking on a telephone.

As for overselling a client, this is just not true. We have two check systems where we get people approved for both credit and their viability on the internet. We have a system that checks how much potential business is out there in a clients field and we can not sell more than that. I have a client who was approved for $5000 a month based on their credit, yet were only approved for $650 a month in internet advertising. I proposed the $650 and I think they will sign up after the holidays.

As for the charge of black salespeople preying on minority owners I will only address this as a question. According to the guidelines on this site, you are not to make racist comments. I wonder if this statement crosses that line? I am a white middle-aged male.

As for the customer being able to do the exact same thing themselves, the answer is yes, but this can take up huge amounts of their time and if they do not watch their advertising closely can end up costing them much more in lost business. We are professionals at Search Engine Marketing and we do not mark up or make profit on our clicks in our SM Local program, some of our competitors do mark up their clicks. The other thing that the customer gets is a page on Superpages.com the largest on line yellow page website in the world. We average over 30 million unique visitors to our site monthly, that is something they can not do themselves fully, though we do offer free listings on the site in their home town.

As for honesty, I can tell you that I have worked in the sales field for 30 years. I have worked for the second largest metropolitan newspaper chain here in Chicago and also the worlds largest on line automotive web site and I find nothing less honest here than in either of those companies. I can also tell you that I serve on my local police pension board on a volunteer basis for the past ten years or so. I am also a past Boy Scout Master and both my sons are Eagle Scouts. I think I pass the honesty test.

As long as we are being honest, I have to disclose that our company did let several people go in the last few weeks. Some of these people were probably paid close to $30,000 over the course of six months in base pay, commission ramp ups and benefits. Some of these people NEVER SOLD ONE PENNY in sales! Now who is being honest here?

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