Archive for May, 2010

CMR News: National Yellow Pages Media LLC Rebrands as Linkmedia 360

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Following the many exciting updates shared at the YPA 2010 conference last month in Las Vegas, it is great to see that transformation continues to sweep across the industry – including the CMR community.

Ohio-based National Yellow Pages Media and YellowWord Interactive reached out to notify us that they’ve just rebranded as Linkmedia 360.

“We are really excited to announce our new company name, Linkmedia 360,” writes Managing Partner/Owner David Wolf, “Our top priority is to be a one-stop directional media and lead gen shop for businesses.   In order to do that, we’ve moved beyond traditional yellow pages solutions to provide a 360-degree link connecting advertisers, media and consumers.”

The company is also working to launch a new expanded website: www.linkmedia360.com.

If your company has news to share – please let us know!

Seasonal Spikes in Catering Searches

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Each month, we highlight Yellow Pages headings that are most popular with consumers during particular times of the year. While some headings references stay relatively stable year-round (i.e. “veterinarians”), others like “caterers” experience seasonal spikes around major events like holidays, wedding season and graduations. One thing I find particularly interesting about catering advertising is the amount of consumer research that goes into finding the right caterer – and the ability of Yellow Pages to aid consumers in their search and ultimately drive business sales:

  • Prior to opening the Yellow Pages, nearly three quarters of users (72%) have a decision to make, meaning they do not have any particular business in mind, or are deciding between two or more places.
  • Nearly three quarters of consumers looking for caterers look at one or more ads and among those looking at ads, the average is 5.7 ads referenced (both values are notably higher than the all-headings average)
  • 60% of purchases made under this heading are made by customers new to the business (compared to 43% for the average heading)

Yellow Pages is a helpful tool for those who want to research what local caterers have to offer before committing to a specific business for their next big event. The catering heading receives more than 22 million references in print and Internet Yellow Pages each year.

Depending on the industry and business, different Yellow Pages platforms and offerings may work better than others to attract new business customers. That’s why it’s important to work with a Yellow Pages sales representatives on the best portfolio for your business.

For more information, read our press release about the Yellow Pages “caterers” heading.

Dex One’s Chairman & CEO Dave Swanson, Leader in the YP Industry, Retires

Monday, May 24, 2010

On Friday we received news that our long-time colleague and friend Dave Swanson, chairman and CEO at Dex One, is retiring after 25 years with the company.

According to Dave, he and the board concluded that the timing was right to transition leadership to a new executive after successfully guiding the firm through its recent financial restructuring.

We will sincerely miss Dave’s leadership and the great abilities he’s shown in transforming Dex One over the past eight years from, as he put it, “a small sales agent for telephone company yellow pages with just $75 million in annual revenue, to a multi-billion dollar market leader in print, online, and mobile business search and marketing services.”

We wish him the best in his retirement – lots of relaxation, and of course, golf—and hope that he will continue to provide his valuable insight into our industry from time to time.

UK’s Yell Group Purchases TrustedPlaces

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In yet another example of a Yellow Pages company expanding its footprint in the popular online local review space, Yell Group announced today that is has acquired TrustedPlaces, one of the leading neighborhood review sites in the UK.

According to Yell’s press release, the addition of TrustedPlaces’ user recommendations, combined with Yell’s database of more than two million local businesses, represents “a major shake-up of the fast-growing local reviews market.” Yell believes its purchase will strongly benefit its small business advertisers by generating additional leads and creating an environment for valuable interaction between existing and potential customers.

While the initial integration will take place under the Yell.com domain in the UK, the company said it will share TrustedPlaces’ technology with other Yell companies in the US, Spain, and Latin America.

In a post on his blog Screenwerk, Greg Sterling notes that the acquisition is a “smart move” that complements Yell.com’s recent redesign, which also included the addition of new street maps features and a business video channel.

AT&T, Yellow Pages Group, SuperMedia and others have also recently introduced new offerings that take advantage of online consumer reviews and social media—adding additional value to the company’s Internet Yellow Pages directories.

More Than 1,700 Students Participate in YPA’s Yellow Pages Advertising Challenge

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

While Yellow Pages continue to be one of the most widely-used mediums for local business search, the industry’s offerings are rarely discussed in college and university marketing and advertising classes— leaving the next generation of advertisers and marketers in the dark about the benefits of multi-platform local advertising.

Five years ago, the Yellow Pages Association launched a competition designed to raise awareness for print and Internet Yellow Pages advertising among college and university advertising and marketing students, as well as increase the likelihood that instructors would cover Yellow Pages in their course materials.

The Yellow Pages Advertising Challenge asks undergraduate students at two and four year U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities to create print and Internet Yellow Pages advertising for a local business. The program provides valuable “real-world” experience for students just starting their academic careers in curricula including marketing, advertising, and graphic design. It also increases their exposure to Yellow Pages, their overall positive experiences and/or attitude towards its offerings, as well as their perceptions about the role Yellow Pages plays in the advertising mix.

In addition to having their work showcased on the YPA Academic website, and competition winners and faculty sponsors share nearly $10,000 in total award prizes.

We are delighted to announce that the 2009-2010 academic year competition was the most successful ever with approximately 1,050 combined entries from more than 1,700 students across nearly 150 schools.

This year’s top three winners include:

First Place: Ashley Rich
Faculty Sponsor: Carole Mauge-Lewis
School: Kennesaw State University

View entry here.

Second Place: Kelsey Kohler
Roland Rueppell
Faculty Sponsor: Victoria Muschek
School: San Diego State University

View entry here.

Third Place: Joseph Byer, Jr.
Faculty Sponsor: Vivek Madupu
School: Missouri Western State University

View entry here.

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Independent Publishers Speak Out on Proposed California Legislation

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yesterday, Neg Norton wrote a post about why the Yellow Pages Association opposes legislation that puts the government in the middle of the small business advertising industry.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been talking to many small and independent publishers in California about this legislation.  Some of them publish listings oriented to Spanish-speaking, LGBT, and other specialized communities.  Others deliver directories that are very local in nature, which help consumers and small businesses in a very specific area connect with one another

What I keep hearing is that while there is a time and place for government regulation of certain industries, this is not one of them.  The Yellow Pages industry has existed for more than 100 years and will continue to exist as long as small businesses see value from the advertisements they place and consumers believe that our directories are a useful source of local business information.  California publishers feel their state government should not interfere with those natural market forces.

In California, the YPA and local publishers oppose Senate bill 920 introduced by state Sen. Leeland Yee of San Francisco.  Here’s why we think the bill is bad for Californians:

  • We already offer opt-out programs in California.  Anyone who would like to reduce or stop directory delivery can visit www.yellowpagesoptout.com to start that process.  The state’s government does not need to spend its very limited resources on creating new programs when they already exist.
  • Regulation puts our industry – and our advertisers – at a disadvantage.  We are part of the larger advertising industry that caters to small businesses, which includes radio, newspapers, and the Internet.  It is anticompetitive and unfair to legislate one form of advertising but not others.
  • The proposed legislation includes very specific language that regulates how information is displayed on our very own products.  Directory publishers have made phenomenal progress over the last year in making opt-out information more prominent and easily accessible in the directory and on covers.  But the directory cover remains a coveted place for advertisers and community groups, and the state government should not diminish the opportunities for them to secure space there.
  • Once someone opts out, how long should that address be on our do-not-deliver lists?  This bill says forever, and we disagree with that.  Given the turnover in real estate, we think it’s appropriate for a publisher to have an opportunity to re-deliver to an address after a certain number of years.  The opportunity for new residents to opt-out will always be available.
  • Sen. Yee represents urban San Francisco with a young, digitally-savvy population that may feel print directories are no longer useful.  But as research continues to show, this is an oversimplification of today’s fragmented media market.  Usage of print directories across many demographics is quite high, but especially among rural and suburban dwellers, older consumers (who have high disposable income), and for life events and certain emergency situations.
  • Yellow Pages publishers employ thousands of Californians and contribute significant taxes to the state budget.  Any legislation that puts that in jeopardy through unnecessary and anticompetitive regulation is bad for California.

The bill’s intentions may be good.  We understand the natural inclination to look for ways to help consumers and protect the environment.  That’s why our industry has done so much on these fronts already – the progress is real and tangible. But this bill presents risks and costs to the state, to small businesses, and to long-time California employers  that we simply cannot afford.

Protecting California’s Local Businesses

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On Monday, May 17, the California Senate Appropriations Committee will consider a new bill designed to regulate the delivery of print directories in the Sunshine State, including Yellow Pages directories.

Currently, thousands of California businesses advertise in the Yellow Pages, generating a high level of new business leads and revenue across numerous industries from ready-to-buy consumers.

It’s clear that any effort to limit local businesses from reaching consumers not only hurts businesses, but negatively impacts the state economy. In times like these, we can’t afford to place an undue burden on local business owners trying to make ends meet.

These days, Californians  access local business information in a variety of new ways, including  online directories and mobile apps. But studies from both Burke and Simmons show that 70% of Californians continue to use print Yellow Pages to find neighborhood businesses.

Over the years, our industry has made concerted efforts to design consumer choice programs that let consumers manage their Yellow Pages experience, as well as introduced a variety of environmental initiatives that further limit our impact on the environment.

Last year, the Yellow Pages Association launched www.yellowpagesoptout.com, a one-stop destination for consumers across the country to reduce or stop directory delivery.

And through advancements in paper production, it is no longer necessary to use new trees to make directory paper. In fact, most publishers now use a mix of recycled directories and leftover woodchips from the lumber industry to create Yellow Pages paper. Read more about our sustainability programs.

Additionally, Yellow Pages companies are proud members of the California economy, employing thousands of local residents and paying local and state taxes.

We hope the California state legislature will take into account the value our industry brings to the State when considering this bill and the negative impact its passage will have on local businesses and publishers. In short, we believe the bill is unnecessary in light of industry programs that are in place, working well and getting better.

So far, a number of key constituents in the State are standing up against the bill, including small and large business publishers, LGBT and minority publishers, advertising agencies, and local and regional suppliers.

To let your voice be heard, contact any member of the California Senate Appropriations Committee by clicking here.

The Chi of Hidden Pizza

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We asked Wayne Aspland, group manager of corporate positioning at Sensis, to share some further thoughts on the Yellow Pages Hidden Pizza campaign in Australia.  The campaign has attracted a fair amount of attention in the media and among bloggers, prompting discussion about how Yellow Pages advertising works in tandem with social media.  Wayne elaborates on some of the points raised in this guest post.

Call me a violent thug, but one of my favourite films is Stephen Chow’s beautifully farcical 2005 epic Kung Fu Hustle.

In it, The Beast, who is the world’s (as it turns out, second) greatest kung fu master – and a thoroughly nasty chap – dishes out the beating of all beatings to our hero, Sing. In fact, he pulps Sing so badly that he inadvertently releases Sing’s chi flow and turns him from a street beggar cum wannabe gangster to ‘The One’ – a kung fu master capable of feats that would bring tears even to Chuck Norris’ eyes.

And that’s saying something when you consider how tough Chuck Norris is (check out www.chucknorrisfacts.com if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

In other words, in attacking Sing, The Beast actually helped him.

In a roundabout (okay, very roundabout) way, Sensis’ recent Hidden Pizza campaign has sparked a not dissimilar joust in the local search industry.

Last week, YPA’s Stephanie Hobbs used a Search Engine Land article to explain how many Yellow Pages companies (including Sensis) are focused on providing integrated solutions to advertisers at a time of fragmentation in media consumption.

The theory goes that by giving companies the ability to advertise not just in Yellow Pages print but in online, voice, mobile and in other sites like search engines – all in the one bundle – you help them get searched for in more places, more easily.

Along the way, Stephanie’s article referenced Sensis’ recent ‘Hidden Pizza’ campaign as an example of how Yellow Pages continues to deliver considerable advertiser value.

And that’s where the fun begins.

You see, there’s been a bit of disquiet about this campaign in certain sectors of the digital industry.

As a spin off of this, Stephanie copped a bit of flak for her Hidden Pizza mention.

And that’s fair enough. We’re all adults here (even if we do love whacky kung fu films).

But what I find priceless about these particular attacks is that in trying to discredit Hidden Pizza, they actually did a beautiful job of proving Stephanie’s core point. That:

“a multi-platform approach makes the most sense for local business advertising—it realizes the benefits and opportunities available across all forms of media, whether they’re in print, online or on mobile.”

On the one hand, the critics of Hidden Pizza claim that by restricting the contact details to Yellow Pages, you’ll get a high percentage of Yellow Pages responses.

But, on the other, they show graphically how word of the campaign did, in fact, get out.

The end result being a pizza restaurant with whopping great queues of hungry patrons, 70% of whom came from Yellow Pages and the rest from social media and other sources.

To me, the conclusion is pretty plain. Yellow Pages works – both as a powerful advertising medium in its own right and as a part of the broader media landscape as well.

People today are searching for local businesses in Yellow Pages print, online and mobile as well as other media. So the prime position for businesses is to be searchable across as many of those channels as possible.

Which is precisely what Stephanie is advocating and precisely what the Yellow Pages industry is working to deliver.

Thanks for your criticism guys. We appreciate your support.

Dex One Further Expands Online Video Services

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

These days, online video is all the rage. Whether its watching a clip on YouTube or catching up on favorite TV shows on Hulu, consumers are increasingly turning to online video as a primary channel for entertainment and information.

So it’s no surprise that local businesses are also signing on to the video bandwagon in their efforts to showcase new products and services to potential customers. In fact, just yesterday we posted about how Yell launched a new video channel on its website that includes thousands of videos uploaded for free by shops, restaurants, hotels, real estate agents, and beauty salons all over London.

This morning, I came across another announcement from Dex One about its plans to continue expanding its online video services. The company said it is helping local businesses create and post videos on Dex One search sites, as well as across the web on the DexKnows YouTube channel.

Video is now a standard part of Dex One’s online Enhanced Pack service and is offered at no additional charge to clients. Local businesses can now have video, ad placement, logos and other images added to their DexKnows.com listing, which also feature user-generated ratings and reviews, e-mail and website links, coupons, and other offerings.

Today’s announcement comes just weeks after the company launched DexKnows Weddings, a wedding-specific website that includes hundreds of wedding-related videos from local businesses.

For more information, read the Dex One press release here.

Yell Introduces New Street Maps Feature and Business Video Channel

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back in March, we shared news that the UK’s Yell Group had launched a new Augmented Reality iPhone app for Yellow Pages listings – one that we felt showed the company’s leadership in the mobile search space.

Now, Yell is showcasing its latest innovations on its popular online Yellow Pages directory, Yell.com.

In a post on Screenwerk on Friday, Greg Sterling wrote that Yell worked with C3 and Tridoo to create new 3D maps and street-level photography tools on its website for cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.

Sterling said that he believes Yell’s maps offering poses “the first real challenge to Google Maps in the UK” and “adds huge value to Yell.” I agree that the technology and quality of the images are first-rate – check them out by clicking here.

Additionally, Sterling notes that Yell introduced a new video channel that features clips from local businesses, and a “shortlists” tool, which allows consumers to create a list of their top 10 favorite businesses that can be shared via e-mail and social networks.

Yell.com launched the offerings with new branding and a fresh design on its website, including clearer layouts that improve the search experience.

Check out the new Yell.com here and let us know what you think.