Today, news broke that R.H. Donnelley is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection so that it can restructure debt to move forward in a changing economy and local search market.
This action isn’t a surprise. For months, there has been quite a bit of speculation in the media and among analysts about R.H. Donnelley taking this step. And given that another large Yellow Pages publisher, Idearc, filed for bankruptcy protection this spring, many are incorrectly connecting it to the health of the industry overall.
From where I sit, I can confidently say that the health of our product offering is very strong. Research continually proves our value; this week’s Telmetrics data is the latest. Our industry is successfully making the transformation from a single product – the print directory – to a multi-channeled lead generator in the local search space. We’re seeing exciting innovations coming out of Yellow Pages companies that I believe positions us well for the future.
And while Idearc and R.H. Donnelley’s bankruptcy filings are getting attention, we should remember that other Yellow Pages companies are posting positive financial results and many that are not publicly traded tell us that there is strong demand for our services – even in a very tough economy.
Like I said about Idearc’s filing, I think that R.H. Donnelley will emerge from bankruptcy a stronger company financially, ready to continue its long history of working with small businesses to implement successful marketing strategies.
In fact, I believe that it’s important for all the people who work at R.H. Donnelley – or anyone who works in the Yellow Pages industry – to not let today’s news distract focus from what we do best: deliver qualified sales leads to small- and medium-sized businesses. There’s no doubt it is a tough time. The economy is shaky and local search is changing. Our industry will look different at the end of this transformation. But, as long as we continue to drive large volumes of cost effective sales leads for our customers, and help them be successful, we will be continue to be relevant and financially successful.