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SuperGuarantee replaces Idearc's Albany Community Guide

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Idearc’s SuperGuarantee (not pictured here)

Next time the Verizon Albany, NY Yellow Pages is delivered to your door, it will be missing the red section called Community magazine that has maps of the area and profiles of local landmarks along with contact information.

Idearc Media LLC, which publishes the books after acquiring the business from Verizon a few years ago, decided to get rid of the section and focus instead on a new program called SuperGuarantee, that guarantees the services of advertisers in the Yellow Pages and SuperPages.com.

Last year, SuperGuarantee was launched in Syracuse. It will appear in the Capital Region Yellow Pages in January.

“We researched the usage of the Community magazine and found it was not a widely used feature,” said Idearc spokeswoman Lisa Vilfordi.

The move to the SuperGuarantee marks an important shift for Idearc moving from simply a provider of information to removing consumer risk from local busying decisions.

It’s a big risk for Idearc, because guaranteeing someone else’s work is a tricky business.  I’m really curious to know how well this has worked in the markets where it is active.

  1. Mike StewartDecember 14,09

    You will continue to be curious. Idearc will not offer details on participation and consumer satisfaction of the program. The transparency in the Yellow Pages business is horrific. After reading Seth Godin’s recent free ebook, I have a strong feeling that gimmicks, like the SuperGuarantee.com that Idearc CEO Scott Klein stole from another company (like the ServiceGuarantee from ServiceMagic.com, which his Internet President Briggs Ferguson, took from IAC after being the CEO of CitySearch) will not work as a means of increasing consumer usage of the yellow pages. Smoke and mirrors work in marketing to only the unsuspecting and ignorant. Social Media is what folks want, since it also promotes word of mouth. Which if you ask anyone in the YP business, will tell you is the #1 form of marketing and advertising on the planet.

    Thanks for a great discussion.
    Cheers,
    Mike Stewart

    http://dallasgoogleguru.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/seth-godin-ebook-what-matters-now/

  2. barney barnhartDecember 14,09

    This “gimmick” most likely sounded great at the meeting..and the new CEO probably thought “why not it works for detergents”
    It would be one thing if you are dealing with a particular item ,ie a hotel room, I stay at Hampton Inns on occasion and have never had to take them up on their ” total satisfaction program” but when you are depending on business people to provide 100 % satisfaction….well, we know the answer to that one. It’s hard enough to get these guys to answer the phone.
    I will say this for IAR, they managed to gain some market share, now if the book could only look like a phone book again… can they put anymore national filler ads in there? Serioulsy do you think they are making money on that one?
    If you need a “gadget” how about proving usage and or ROI….
    BB

  3. Jack BrandtDecember 15,09

    I agree with Mike above to some extent. This is why reputation management has to pay off for those companies in that game. It adds transparency to real issues customers have with their vendors.

  4. ShawnDecember 15,09

    I’d be curious to know what they are charging the customer for this feature?

  5. Ed ShotwellDecember 15,09

    You’ve gotta love those guys at Idearc! Be sure to read and study the “terms and conditions” of the SuperGuarantee Program. It’s Great! 1) You must be a “member” of Idearc’s website and complete a Service Registration BEFORE work begins. 2) You must enter into a written contract with the service provider. And, many-many other details that almost nobody would ever take the time or effort to deal with BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER the work is completed. If everything goes just perfectly… you pre-registered with Idearc before entering into a contract… you became a member of their site… you engaged in a written contract… you filed within 30 days of work completion… you agreed in writing to all 6 pages of the superguarantee terms and condiitons… you filed your complaint IN WRITING… and then cool your heels for 6 weeks while they make a determination… then maybe, just maybe you’ll get $500… or less. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Can’t imagine any YP customer actually taking advantage of the program and coming out ahead. Take a look for yourself at: http://superguarantee.com/

  6. Lisa VilfordiDecember 15,09

    Hi Dick,

    The SuperGuarantee is available everywhere online. We launched the program in March and have been adding the SuperGuarantee feature into the new books as they roll out. Which means SuperGuarantee advertisers will be marked in the books, as they are on Superpages.com, with a shield.

    What the reporter was referring to in Syracuse was the fact that the Syracuse Verizon Yellow Pages distributed in May. Since that time we have seen the usage share of that book increase from last year. We are seeing growth of possession and usage share in markets with directories that have the SuperGuarantee reach levels we haven’t experienced in many years.

    This move is an important shift, thank you for that comment. We are proud to be the only company in our industry providing a guarantee like this. We are standing by our clients and providing a great service to consumers at the same time.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment,
    Lisa Vilfordi

  7. Frank KaslikDecember 15,09

    At least they’re making an effort. And if anyone truly believes word of mouth is the #1 form of marketing, you’ve read too much propaganda that claims this. In fact WOM marketing in most cases would barely represent 10% of a businesses turnover, and the difference between what I am saying and what everyone else says is that I have 10 years worth of data to prove it.

    Back to outrageous offers…more businesses should back their product or service with this sort of guarantee and it needs to HURT the business if customers make a claim on it, otherwise there’s no point…it’s just a Claytons offer. (Claytons is a brand of fake alcohol…get it?)

    How many of us have had TV or Radio sales reps (sorry, account managers) turn up wanting to sell us $10k worth of their product, promise the world, yet on most occasions, delivers poorly?

    They show us documentation and statistics “guaranteeing” us results yet whenever I suggest that if the campaign that they propose doesn’t even generate enough income to pay for the campaign and that they should either run it again or I don’t pay for it, HUGE protests flow freely from the hole in their head.

    Businesses that DON’T or WON’T offer great guarantees on their product or service obviously don’t think highly enough of it…so why should consumers?

  8. Charles MastersonDecember 15,09

    An ironclad guarantee can increase sales by 300%. But then, a weak, snivelly 30 day maximum with conditions will kill the golden goose dead. Amazing satisfaction where the business owner will drive a refund check to the persons home and pick up the faulty merchandise in person, does 2 things. It keeps the CEO on his toes covering quality issues, and it sells product. You can also get better margins with support like that. As well as the holy grail of sales… repeat buyers.

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