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Opinion Editorials

Evil, RUDE Paid Search Telemarketers

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original photo courtesy of casey lee


Why oh why do all of the telemarketers who call me on my cell phone HANG UP ON ME after I politely tell them I don’t need their services. Really, I am sick of it.

BLOCK this number in your phone: 971-222-3695.

The woman there “works on behalf of Yahoo.” She told me she had about 80 buyers a month who need the services of buyer’s agent in Birmingham, MI, and that she could place me at the top of Yahoo’s search results so I would get the call. (I think the whole MLS *might* show 25-30 transactions a month in Birmingham, so she must be hiding all of these pent up buyers from finding actual agents who want to pay her.)

I sweetly told her, “I already come up at the top of the search, organically. I don’t pay for search results.”

Click. She hung up.

If it were the first time this week I had this experience, I might not be so testy. I understand her job is to sell me something, but why do these people all hang up? Really?!!

I suggest we compile a list of their phone number right here in this post. Hey, some lead gen companies have done this to me to. I will add them to my list of Evil, RUDE Telemarketers. I think I am on a crusade.

Have a great Tuesday.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Greg Cremia

    June 3, 2008 at 10:29 am

    They can’t hang up on you if you hang up on them first. I used to try to be polite but their attitudes have become so horrible that I now try to beat them to the punch.

  2. Nick Bostic

    June 3, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I have a feeling that may have actually been a Yahoo employee or contractor. 971 is a Portland, OR prefix and they have offices near mine. Have you tried calling it back by any chance?

  3. Elaine Reese

    June 3, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I get quite a few of these calls from area code 717 (Colorado?). They call my office # which forwards to my cell. I tell them that the number they called is on the DNC list. I had one guy say that if it was on the DNC list, then why was it provided on my website. DUH! The DNC is for telemarketers, not clients.

    I also get quite a few calls from a “search engine” call Red Z.

    A lot of them are rude. I assume it’s because they’re tired of agents hanging up on them. Do agents EVER sign up with these lead generators?

  4. Ricardo Bueno

    June 3, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    They hang up because they don’t have a rebuttal for this: “I already come up at the top of the search, organically. I don’t pay for search results.” — Maureen Francis

    Thanks to all the Google juice you’ve garnered for yourself over the months you just don’t have to. I used to get a lot of telemarketing calls from my profile on A|R…I simply told them to email me some materials; most of them didn’t. I try to be friendly and say “I’m sorry I just don’t have a need for your services right now.” They’re either rude about it or they acknowledge what I’ve said and move on. Either way, I don’t let it bother me. 😀

  5. Ken Smith

    June 3, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I don’t waste my breath anymore and just hang up on them. If I have time I will ask them to hold and set the phone down and see how long it takes them to hang up, the most ever to date is 18 minutes.

  6. Jay Thompson

    June 3, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    @Nick “I have a feeling that may have actually been a Yahoo employee or contractor. 971 is a Portland, OR prefix and they have offices near mine. Have you tried calling it back by any chance?”

    I just called it. “Link Tech Solutions” was on the message. That line doesn’t accept messages. In other words it’s an out-bound only line. Snotty telemarketers typically don’t want people calling them back.

  7. Eric Bouler

    June 3, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    They would not be calling if no one bought their services. This is there only cost so why not try.

  8. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 3, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Still, even if they are unable to sell you something – they are still representatives of the company. A response of something along the lines of “Congratulations on your current placement. If however, you would like additional exposure at some later date, please keep Yahoo Marketing in mind. Thanks, and have a great day.” That would at least leave a positive after thought – rather than making a potentially life long enemy of the company.

  9. Rich Jacobson

    June 3, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I’ve been in negotiations with some of my mafia connections on a new start-up. For an offer you can’t refuse, we trace any number to its source. Then the cousins, Vinny and Joey, run over and cap their knees. Wouldn’t take too long before word of mouth got around and the phone calls would stop!

  10. Jim Gatos

    June 3, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    I had a call from the jerks and their liars from RE EXPERTS, and I tried to explain to one of their clowns named Tim that I did not want any more phone solicitations and to tell his clowns to stop text messaging me (can you believe it?) Bad bad bad people.. He wouldn’t even answer his phone but I think he finally “got” it…

    Here is a link…

    https://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-866-861-7912

  11. Ken Smith

    June 3, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    BTW Maureen this person didn’t work for Yahoo or on behalf of Yahoo. That is a flat out lie. Sure if you stayed on the phone long enough they would have had you download a special update for your browser. That would have allowed them to show you any results they wanted above the normal Yahoo results.

    Jim I read the comments from the link you provided. It is amazing that companies like this can find enough people to stay in business. $3500 set up fee and 20% referral fee on all deals you close sounds like way to much money to me, but I guess there must be agents willing to spend the money.

  12. Ricardo Bueno

    June 3, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    @Eric Bouler: that’s true. But still, if they addressed things like Jennifer in Louisville suggested I’d be far more impressed and open to their presentation/proposal. Isn’t that what sales is about? Limiting barriers?

    If a tele-marketer approached me the way Jennifer suggested, I might just let my guard down a little bit more and that’s a step in the right direction. Do that enough and you have a sale.

  13. Eric Blackwell

    June 4, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Ken- Exactly…these guys are either just doing the same PPC that you can to yourself or the toolbar scam. They are not worth a minutes time

    Jennifer- spot on. They are not trying to help. They do not even know who ranks where in Louisville…just calling from a list.

    @Eric Bouler- yep. Why are there spammers…because it works.

    Eric

  14. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 4, 2008 at 7:39 am

    I’ve had time to think about it, and I am still somewhat shocked that Yahoo wouldn’t take into consideration reputation management as being a priority when hiring out these persons to make calls on their behalf.

  15. Ken Smith

    June 4, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Jennifer in my last comment I stated “this person didn’t work for Yahoo or on behalf of Yahoo. That is a flat out lie.” There is no question that yahoo isn’t calling real estate agents to help them rank higher, we are not even close to on their radar screen for marketing to.

  16. Dan Connolly

    June 4, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    I try to be pleasant since I used to cold call a little back in the old days. I say something like “I’m sorry, I’m just not interested today, thanks for asking though….” it really throws them off their game. It’s like they never heard someone being nice before. A lot of times they just say “Your welcome, goodbye!” They have nothing in their scripts for that!

    It makes me feel a little better then my old method (slamming the phone down or putting them on hold and never coming back).

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Opinion Editorials

How to identify and minimize ‘invisible’ work in your organization

(EDITORIAL) Often meaningless, invisible tasks get passed down to interns and women. These go without appreciation or promotion. How can we change that?

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Women in a meeting around table, inclusion as a part of stopping gender discrimination representing invisible work.

Invisible work, non-promotable tasks, and “volunteer opportunities” (more often volun-told), are an unfortunate reality in the workforce. There are three things every employer should do in relation to these tasks: minimize them, acknowledge them, and distribute them equitably.

Unfortunately, the reality is pretty far from this ideal. Some estimates state up to 75% or more of these time-sucking, minimally career beneficial activities are typically foisted on women in the workplace and are a leading driver behind burnout in female employees. The sinister thing about this is most people are completely blind to these factors; it’s referred to as invisible work for a reason.

Research from Harvard Business Review* found that 44% more requests are presented to women as compared to men for “non-promotable” or volunteer tasks at work. Non-promotable tasks are activities such as planning holiday events, coordinating workplace social activities, and other ‘office housework’ style activities that benefit the office but typically don’t provide career returns on the time invested. The work of the ‘office mom’ often goes unacknowledged or, if she’s lucky, maybe garners some brief lip service. Don’t be that boss that gives someone a 50hr workload task for a 2-second dose of “oh yeah thanks for doing a bajillion hours of work on this thing I will never acknowledge again and won’t help your career.”  Yes, that’s a thing. Don’t do it. If you do it, don’t be surprised when you have more vacancies than staff. You brought that on yourself.

There is a lot of top-tier talent out there in the market right now. To be competitive, consider implementing some culture renovations so you can have a more equitable, and therefore more attractive, work culture to retain your top talent.

What we want to do:

  1. Identify and minimize invisible work in your organization
  2. Acknowledge the work that can’t be avoided. Get rid of the blind part.
  3. Distribute the work equitably.

Here is a simple example:

Step 1: Set up a way for staff to anonymously bring things to your attention. Perhaps a comment box. Encourage staff to bring unsung heroes in the office to your attention. Things they wish their peers or they themselves received acknowledgment for.

Step 2: Read them and actually take them seriously. Block out some time on your calendar and give it your full attention.

For the sake of demonstration, let’s say someone leaves a note about how Caroline always tidies up the breakroom at the end of the day and cleans the coffee pot with supplies Caroline brings from home. Now that we have identified a task, we are going to acknowledge it, minimize it, and consider the distribution of labor.

Step 3: Thank Caroline at the team meeting for scrubbing yesterday’s burnt coffee out of the bottom of the pot every day. Don’t gloss over it. Make the acknowledgment mean something. Buy her some chips out of the vending machine or something. The smallest gestures can have the biggest impact when coupled with actual change.

Step 4: Remind your staff to clean up after themselves. Caroline isn’t their mom. If you have to, enforce it.

Step 5: Put it in the office budget to provide adequate cleaning supplies for the break room and review your custodial needs. This isn’t part of Caroline’s job description and she could be putting that energy towards something else. Find the why of the situation and address it.

You might be rolling your eyes at me by now, but the toll of this unpaid invisible work has real costs.  According to the 2021 Women in the Workplace Report* the ladies are carrying the team, but getting little to none of the credit. Burnout is real and ringing in at an all-time high across every sector of the economy. To be short, women are sick and tired of getting the raw end of the deal, and after 2 years of pandemic life bringing it into ultra-sharp focus, are doing something about it. In the report, 40% of ladies were considering jumping ship. Data indicates that a lot of them not only manned the lifeboats but landed more lucrative positions than they left. Now is the time to score and then retain top talent. However, it is up to you to make sure you are offering an environment worth working in.

*Note: the studies cited here do not differentiate non-cis-identifying persons. It is usually worse for individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community.

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Opinion Editorials

5 secrets to a more productive morning, free of distractions

(EDITORIAL) Productivity is king in the office, but sometimes distractions and other issues slow you down. So what can you do to limit these factors?

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distractions stop productivity

Regardless of whether you’re a self-proclaimed morning person or not, more efficient mornings can be catalytic in your daily productivity and output. The only question is, do you know how to make the most of your mornings in the office?

5 Tips for Greater Morning Productivity

In economic terms, productivity is a measure of output as it relates to input. Academics often discuss productivity in terms of a one-acre farm’s ability to produce a specific crop yield, or an auto manufacturing plant’s ability to produce a certain number of vehicles over a period of time. But then there’s productivity in our personal lives.

Your own daily productivity can be defined in a variety of ways. But at the end of the day, it’s about getting the desired results with less time and effort on the input side. And as a business professional, one of the best ways to do this is by optimizing your morning in the office.

Here are a few timely suggestions:

  1. Eliminate All Non-Essential Actions

    Spend the next week keeping a log of every single action you take from the moment your eyes open in the morning until you sit down at your desk. It might look something like this:

    • Turn off alarm
    • Scroll through social media on the phone
    • Get out of bed
    • Eat breakfast
    • Take shower
    • Brush teeth
    • Walk dog
    • Watch news
    • Browse favorite websites
    • Get in car
    • Starbucks drive-thru
    • Arrive at office
    • Small talk with coworkers
    • Sit down at the desk

    If you do this over the course of a week, you’ll notice that your behaviors don’t change all that much. There might be some slight deviations, but it’s basically the same pattern.

    Now consider how you can eliminate as many points of friction as possible from your routine. [Note from the Editor: This may be an unpopular opinion, but] For example, can you skip social media time? Can you make coffee at home, rather than drive five minutes out of your way to wait in the Starbucks drive-thru line? Just doing these two things alone could result in an additional 30 minutes of productive time in the office.

  2. Reduce Distractions

    Distractions kill productivity. They’re like rooftop snipers. As soon as they see any sign of productivity, they put it in their crosshairs and pull the trigger.Ask yourself this: What are my biggest distractions and how can I eliminate them?Popular distractions include social media, SMS, video games, news websites, and email. And while none of these are evil, they zap focus. At the very least, you should shift them to later in the day.
  3. Set Measurable Goals and Action items

    It’s hard to have a productive morning if you don’t have a clear understanding of what it means to be productive. Make sure you set measurable goals, create actionable to-do lists, and establish definitive measurements of what it looks like to be efficient. However, don’t get so caught up in the end result that you miss out on true productivity.“There’s a big difference between movement and achievement; while to-do lists guarantee that you feel accomplished in completing tasks, they don’t ensure that you move closer to your ultimate goals,” TonyRobbins.com mentions. “There are many ways to increase your productivity; the key is choosing the ones that are right for you and your ultimate goals.”In other words, set goals that are actually reflective of productivity. In doing so, you’ll adjust your behavior to come in proper alignment with the results you’re seeking.
  4. Try Vagus Nerve Stimulation

    Sometimes you just need to block out distractions and focus on the task at hand. There are plenty of ways to shut out interruptions but make sure you’re also simultaneously cuing your mind to be productive. Vagus nerve stimulation is one option for doing both.Vagus nerve stimulation gently targets the body’s vagus nerve to promote balance and relaxation, while simultaneously enhancing focus and output.
  5. Optimize Your Workspace

    Makes sure your office workspace is conducive to productivity. This means eliminating clutter, optimizing the ergonomics of your desk, reducing distractions, and using “away” settings on apps and devices to suppress notifications during work time.

Make Productivity a Priority

Never take productivity for granted. The world is full of distractions and your willpower is finite. If you “wing it,” you’ll end up spending more time, energy, and effort, all while getting fewer positive results.

Make productivity a priority – especially during the mornings when your mind is fresh and the troubles of the day have yet to be released in full force. Doing so will change the way you operate, function, and feel. It’ll also enhance tangible results, like income, job status, and the accolades that come along with moving up in your career.

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Opinion Editorials

Is the tech industry layoff bloodbath coming or is it already here?

We have large online communities for job seekers, and we can affirm that the layoffs are on the way, but there is a silver lining for all involved…

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layoff time

If you were on Twitter at the end of last week, you probably saw a dribble of conversations about layoffs in tech coming, and today, the volume was turned up to 10 on social media. Several founders have said they’re cutting parts of teams and are nixing contractors. We’re about to be in a recession, y’all, and we can ALL feel it coming.

While this has been happening all of this calendar year, a pending recession is kicking the stock market in the teeth (especially in tech), and combined with a slowdown in fundraising, fuel has been added to what was simply kindling, and layoffs are already rapidly escalating.

JD isn’t the only one hearing it, my inbox has slowly been lighting up on this topic. In response, Joshua Baer noted that it’s a great time to scoop up talent. Love or hate him, he’s right.

There is a lot of data on tech layoffs, for example, Layoffs.FYI has been tracking meaningfully since COVID began, pulling info from public reports. We expect they’ll be busy for the next few months.

While VC funding in 2021 was at a global high, so far, 2022 has shown a significant slowdown, according to CrunchBase. Many believe valuations are tumified, a bear market is believed to be upon us, and tech firms are struggling to increase profitability, all combining to a bubble about to burst.

As Baer noted, the silver lining is for anyone looking to hire. It’s bad news for anyone about to get a pink slip, but it’s also empowering to know that candidates are still in the driver’s seat in this market and negotiations are still in their favor.

We at AG have communities dedicated completely to job seekers and employers, and have created neutral ground on which they can meet, and they do by the thousands (Austin Digital Jobs and Remote Digital Jobs).

We’re not seeing the “bloodbath” of folks with pink slips in hand yet, BUT today, a dozen mid- to senior- level technologists reached out to me personally that got laid off Monday morning.

With our finger firmly on the tech employment pulse, we agree with the assessment that layoffs are coming.

More on this topic: “Why are tech layoffs coming after such great Q1 earnings?!”

Here’s the TL;DR version in memes:

The end is nigh?
tech layoffs in memes

Seems about right

In and out Morty, a quick 24 hour adventure!

Diversification is the key


The May 2022 stock market

Insert angry title here

It’s fedish!

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