Archive for November, 2010

The 2011 YPA Annual Conference, ‘Search Starts Here,’ Scheduled for April 16-19 in Las Vegas

Monday, November 29, 2010

I’m excited to announce that plans are already underway for our 2011 YPA annual conference, one of the most important industry conferences of the year!

Our theme, “Search Starts Here,” emphasizes the pivotal role that local search is increasingly playing in our industry. New offerings and partnerships, the growing role of social media and continuing print to IYP expansion will all be hot topics in 2011.

For the second year in a row, we’ll return to Las Vegas from April 16-19 to hear from leaders in the search industry about their vision for how we can continue to drive digital growth in our business. This time, we’ll be housed at the beautiful Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Boulevard.

We’ll also celebrate our industry’s successes with the Industry Excellence Awards (click here for info on how to submit your entry), a gala dinner with special entertainment, and both tennis and golf tournaments sponsored by BuyYellow.com. Additionally, we’ll come together for networking receptions and Strategic Exchange Sessions designed to foster important professional introductions and opportunities.

We’ll post more on the blog in the coming months about sessions, speakers and additional details, but in the meantime, visit our conference website now for more information and to register!

Holiday Time is Peak ‘Family Portrait Season’ According to Yellow Pages Research

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are right around the corner! And in true holiday form, families across the country are turning to Yellow Pages directories this season to find a local photographer to capture those special moments.

Yellow Pages research indicates that married women with families drive references in the portrait photography category. More than four out of five references are made by women (85%), with above-average usage among those who are married and have more than five family members.

If you’re thinking of looking for a photographer this holiday season, check out these important tips on how to select the right person, courtesy of the Professional Photographers of America:

  • Shop Around: It’s important to at least have an idea of the photography style you like the best, and that comes from researching and looking at photos.
  • Ask to See It All: Be sure to ask for samples of entire photography sessions (like a finalized album). This will help you determine if a photographer lacks consistency in the quality of the images…and if the images look too much alike.

  • Look to Connect: When you’re relaxed and comfortable with someone, you become more natural in front of the camera, allowing for even better pictures.

  • Seek Credentials: Look for the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation, granted by the Professional Photographic Certification Commission, the world’s leading certification agency for imaging professionals. Or look for photographic degrees earned through programs like those at PPA. The actions photographers take to earn PPA degrees help keep them abreast of the industry changes and keep their skills sharp.

  • Think About the End Result: What do you want to take home with you? Part of your photographer search and planning should include what portrait products you want. Do you want something for Facebook? Ask the photographers what they have to offer for online use. As for prints, do you want something a little different? Something more than the usual wallets? Options abound and professional photographers are happy to help you choose the products that best fit your needs and your budget.

For more information, check out our “Family Portrait Season” press release here.

Businesses Must Get Proactive About Managing Their Online Reputation

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In our Locals Only column this month on Search Engine Land, I talk about the growing importance of local business reputation in today’s increasingly digital environment.

Traditionally, business reputation was mostly shaped and influenced by word of mouth and through advertising in Yellow Pages, broadcast and print media, and direct mail. That model, however, has drastically changed.

Over the past few years, growth in local online and mobile search, combined with the introduction of a variety of new local business listing sites and apps, are transforming the ways consumers find and select local businesses. Today, consumers have more access to information about your business—the good, the bad, and the ugly—than ever before.

Businesses, therefore, need to make extra efforts to maintain proactive online strategies for managing reputation.

In my column, I offer four essential tips for local businesses to consider when navigating this new environment, including ensuring that they are properly represented on local business listing websites, launching a website, leveraging social media, and monitoring and influencing the online conversation about their business.

You can read the full column on Search Engine Land.

Our Perspective on Seattle’s Unconstitutional Phone Book Law

Monday, November 15, 2010

In Seattle today, the Yellow Pages Association, Dex One and SuperMedia jointly filed a law suit to overturn a new law that we believe restricts Yellow Pages publishers’ right to free speech.

Our suit essentially says that the ordinance violates the First Amendment, which prohibits government from licensing or exercising advance approval of the press, from directing publishers what to publish and to whom they may communicate, and from assessing fees for the privilege of publishing. 

This is a path that I wish we didn’t have to take. We tried working with the City of Seattle on a solution that would have helped the city accomplish its goal of reducing unwanted directory delivery, with no cost to the taxpayers and with in a way that would have easily integrated with publishers’ current systems.

Unfortunately, the ordinance that the city passed unfairly singles out the Yellow Pages industry with regulations and fees that are not imposed on other media, including discriminatory license fees for the right to publish and unprecedented “advance recovery fees” that previously have been limited to toxic or hard-to-recycle materials. The ordinance also mandates that publishers turn over consumers’ private information to the City of Seattle and imposes obligatory cover language dictated by the city government.

We agree that residents should have a choice of whether they receive a Yellow Pages directory, but the Seattle City Council has passed a law that violates the most basic freedom in the United States. Even as we oppose the ordinance in court, we are moving forward with plans to provide a first-class, national consumer choice website at www.yellowpagesoptout.com. This website will easily enable consumers to opt-out of unwanted phonebooks and will add no costs to taxpayers anywhere – in Seattle or across the country.

If every city in the U.S. decides to build its own opt-out system, the end result won’t be good for consumers and will make compliance for publishers extremely difficult. I am personally committed to making our consumer choice website at www.yellowpagesoptout.com the standard for delivery requests. We can do this better than cities can, and in a way that doesn’t put our government on a slippery slope of taxing media for the “privilege” to communicate with the public.

Dex One Launches ‘Dex,’ a New Multi-Platform Mobile App

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dex One joins the ranks of major industry players including SuperMedia, AT&T, and Citysearch in introducing improved multi-platform mobile apps that are changing the way consumers search and share local business information on the go.

In an announcement this week, Dex One said it is unveiling a new mobile app, Dex, which will be a local resource for iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, BlackBerry, and other web-enabled mobile device users. According to Dex, the app will provide users with real-time, detailed insight into millions of business, events and more in neighborhoods across the country.

Dex’s new app includes a variety of useful features:

  • Local event information: Look-up information on upcoming concerts, plays and other local events and save it to their mobile calendars.
  • Cheapest gas prices: Find the cheapest and closest gas stations using the GPS on their phones.
  • Find a taxi: Use their devices’ GPS to find the closest cab company to their location.
  • Restaurant reservations: Find local restaurants and make reservations via OpenTable.com.
  • Share information via Facebook and Twitter: Share information about local businesses via their social media profiles.
  • Popular category search: Search for local businesses by favorite topics.
  • “DexSays”: View rotating tips that help users learn more about Dex Mobile’s features.

I took some time this afternoon to download the Dex app on my BlackBerry and am really impressed with how easy it is to use. I can’t wait to put the app to work next time I’m out and have something important to look up!

Facebook Launches Local Deals for Mobile

Friday, November 5, 2010

Recently, we blogged about how Yellow Pages companies such as Yellow Pages Group and Yellowbook are launching group buying and other deal offerings as a means of attracting new advertisers and consumers on their websites.

Now Facebook is entering into the deals space with a new feature that will allow retailers and other merchants to offer coupons and special deals through its popular mobile application, The New York Times reports.

According to the Times, people who use Facebook’s new location feature, Places, will see a yellow icon indicating that a redeemable deal or coupon is available within their vicinity. Users can then use Places to “check in” at the store or restaurant and show their mobile phone to the employee to receive the deal.

The article notes that Facebook will not charge businesses directly to list deals and coupons, but that businesses can purchase advertising to attract visibility for their deals on Facebook.

While Facebook’s initial advertisers will include major retailers such as Gap, H&M, and McDonalds, the company said it plans to eventually expand to all merchants and small businesses with a Facebook Places page.

The new feature will initially only available to Facebook iPhone app users and to Android users through a special mobile website, however it certainly has the potential to be added to additional platforms in the future. More than 200 million people currently use Facebook via their mobile devices.

Yellow Pages Group Announces Positive Earnings, Digital Grows to 27% of Revenue

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This year, we’ve chronicled the ongoing transformation of one of our major Canadian members, Yellow Pages Group, which after rebranding in March has rapidly expanded its digital portfolio by launching new initiatives, upgrading its existing products, and making acquisitions to widen its offerings.

Today, I’m pleased to see that YPG is beginning to reap the benefits of its digital investment, setting the stage for continued growth in today’s changing media environment.

As Reuters and The Globe and Mail are reporting, YPG announced favorable third-quarter 2010 earnings this week, which the company said resulted from improving economic conditions and a stream of new digital products and initiatives. The company said its online revenues set a record this quarter, representing 27% of total revenues.

In its press release, YPG noted several initiatives that are paving the way for its continued success:

  • On the mobile front, YPG created a partnership with TELUS to have its mobile application preloaded on select BlackBerry devices. The company said its app has been downloaded more than 1.8 million times.

YPG’s progress is something we can cheer and I believe the company serves as a great example of how our industry is successfully embracing the digital space. More to come!

YPA Appoints Bradley Carson as Vice President of Operations

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I’m pleased to announce the addition of Bradley Carson to our YPA leadership team as the new vice president of operations. In this role, Brad will be responsible for maintaining and developing all of YPA’s systems, products and standards. Kathy Roush, former vice president of operations and long time member of the YPA staff, will be retiring later this year.

Brad’s credentials include more than 20 years of Yellow Pages industry experience, most recently as director and executive account manager of Amdocs from 2003 to 2010. He’s also served in executive positions at SBC / AT&T Communications, Inc., Business Trends, Inc., and Ameritech Advertising Solutions.

From his diverse background and my conversations with Brad, I’m convinced he has the knowledge and vision necessary to help innovate YPA’s existing programs and create new opportunities for YPA to better service our members in the future. I look forward to seeing Brad take our organization’s offerings to the next level.

Please join me in welcoming Brad to YPA.

Yellowbook Launches Yellowbook360 Business Center

Monday, November 1, 2010

We all know the importance of providing local businesses with the tools necessary to manage their online visibility and reputations, which both directly influence how consumers search and select which businesses to make their purchases.

Late last week, Yellowbook announced Yellowbook360 Business Center, a centralized online tool that provides Yellowbook clients and non-clients with opportunities to increase their business exposure, manage their Yellowbook marketing programs, and monitor their online reputation. The tool is a testament to how far our industry has come in providing local businesses with next generation digital offerings that surpass those currently available in the marketplace.

The Yellowbook360 Business Center includes the ability to view the results generated by Yellowbook marketing campaigns and track return on investment, incorporate more detailed information about local businesses, and learn more about other Yellowbook products and services.

The Business Center also features ChatterHub, a reputation management tool that allows businesses to read online reviews and mentions of their companies, manage and respond directly to social networks, and view what’s being said online about the competition. A free basic version of ChatterHub is available to Yellowbook clients and non-clients who register. Also, a business profile tool allows all businesses to update and add more information about their business on yellowbook.com.

For more information, see Yellowbook’s press release on the Yellowbook360 Business Center. I think this is a great step in the right direction for our industry and look forward to seeing how well it is received by Yellowbook customers.