SuperMedia online reputation management tool… not.

Perhaps a Supermedia online reputation tool can save the corporate reputation. In January of this year, SuperMedia came out of the ashes of Idearc’s bankruptcy filings. You can read about how people feel about the SuperMedia scam or my own personal viewpoint on how leadership at SuperMedia seems to dodge brand/reputation bullets: SuperMedia, Idearc, Verizon, GTE? Reputations don’t fade online.

Moving forward six months, SuperMedia seems to be creeping into the reputation management neck of the woods (isn’t everybody?)

As the reputation management space becomes more active, it wasn’t too long before a company like SuperMedia (Idearch/Verizon) came along and tried claiming it. I’m normally not that out-spoken about a new product, but the reality is that this type of corporate entry into a marketplace has a serious risk of damaging a lot of small businesses.

The problem is simple however: large organizations like Supermedia simply don’t understand the online space. I can say this with some level of experience as I spent eight years working within GTE/Verizon Superpages/Idearc (which is now SuperMedia) and have been monitoring the reputation niche for the past five years.

On Monday, August 9th 2010 – the old-school yellow page business announced the SuperMedia Online Reputation Management Tool (see press release here)

Reading through the press announcement, a person with niche expertise who knows anything about the digital reputation space quickly sees the fictional PR fluff (aka lies) that are used to make it sound a little bit better than it really is.

Press release quote:

“Online reputation management is becoming increasingly important to small businesses,” said Greg Sterling, Senior Analyst, Opus Research and principal, Sterling Market Intelligence. “By smartly integrating this tool into its product suite, SuperMedia has moved out in front of the industry curve.”

1) The first problem is that this really isn’t a new thing in any way:
Marchex launched its own “Reputation Management Tool” in October of 2009.

Marchex and SuperMedia Online Reputation Management tools ARE NOT reputation management tools.

They are simply listing mechanisms with almost no additional information or insight to reputation problems for small business. Both the Marchex and Supermedia online reputation management tools simply aggregate listing data into a dashboard and tell a business owner to get more listings (which is very ironic, since SuperMedia is a listing company.)

2) The second problem is that SuperMedia has a bad reputation itself.

If a company has a horrid reputation that is filled with fraud, bankruptcy, class action suits, and complaints that are highly visible online…. chances are that you probably don’t want to rely on them to handle reputation issues for your business either.

Simply do a Google search for “SuperMedia Scam” to see a variety of highly educated and technically savvy professionals talking about the negative points of SuperMedia’s Reputation. You can check these results on Google here.

3) Shame on Yext.

Knowing that SuperMedia executives who signed the deal probably have no idea what the “SuperMedia online reputation management tool” consists of, I was put off by the fact that the first thing I saw about Yext when exploring the “YextRep” tool was this very bold claim that they had the “first real-time reputation management system, FREE”

+ I hate it when the sexy selling pitch to a product is an out-right lie. Other companies had “real-time reputation management tools” well before Yext: BuzzDing, BuzzGain, Trackur, and ChatMeter (just to name a few.)


Knowing if your site is listed on other directories does not equal a “reputation management tool.”

The ability to track mentions of your brand name is not a “reputation management tool.

Reputation management entails a variety of strategies and tactics, crossing over a wide number of technologies and platforms (both real world and digital.) This post from Mashable on the top 10 online reputation monitoring tools shows how extensive the monitoring part of the issue is (and then you have interaction, engagement, etc on top of that.

Without a strategic and educationally sound business goal around your professional/business reputation, you simply have a collection of numbers with no actionable business impacts. The Supermedia online reputation tool is simply a FREE monitoring tool (we all know you get what you pay for… and in this case you don’t even get the FREE part because you have to be a SuperMedia client…)

Preying on small business owners who have little knowledge of the truth is just…. wrong. Thumbs down on the SuperMedia online reputation tool.