Our friends over at 1-800-Recycling recently asked Neg to author a post on their blog. Check it out to learn more about how print directory recycling rates are improving and our efforts to reduce the number of unwanted directories that are delivered via our www.yellowpagesoptout.com program.
Archive for March, 2011
It sure has been busy over here as we get ready for our annual conference in Las Vegas next month at Caesar’s Palace. We’re really excited about this year’s theme: Search Starts Here because 2011 is such a pivotal year for our industry and it sets the tone for great discussions about the shift towards digital integration that we’ve been talking about on this blog for the past few months. I look forward to hearing about all the new ways that we can better serve customers in the local search market, among many other topics.
We are also pleased to announce that our keynote speaker will be former Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty. He has always been a strong supporter of small business and his balance of innovation and leadership helped Minnesota balance its budget, cut spending, reform health care, and improve schools without raising taxes.
We’ll be giving away copies of his new book, Courage to Stand, to all attendees, signed immediately after the close of the General Session on Tuesday, April 19. We hope you can join us to hear first-hand what this potential presidential contender has to say.
Some of our other key speakers include:
- Dan Danner, President, National Federation of Independent Business
- Yvette Liu, Facebook
- Rachel Pasqua, VP Mobile Group, iCrossing
- Marc Tellier, President and CEO, Yellow Pages Group
- Martin Tobias, CEO/President, Tippr
And like last year, we’re bringing back the very successful Strategic Exchange Sessions. In place of a traditional conference exhibit hall, these sessions give companies an opportunity to make appointments with industry executives and set the stage for profitable business initiatives.
There will be many opportunities for attendees to engage in one-on-one conversations with industry leaders, attend a variety of networking and awards receptions, and enter our golf tournament or play video games in our Game Cafe.
We hope to see you in Las Vegas. For more information, including the list of speakers, agenda, and registration form, please visit the conference page on the YPA website.
As I posted last week, The City Board of Supervisors in San Francisco held its hearing yesterday and the Yellow Pages Coalition attended in force. Representatives from IBEW, TURN, Seccion Amarilla, the Chinese Yellow Pages, Valley Yellow Pages, AT&T Advertising Solutions, YPA and ADP, as well as a number of loyal Yellow Pages advertisers took their turn at the podium to make their voices heard.
YPA president Neg Norton spoke to the many “misrepresentations” that have been promulgated by Supervisor Chiu, successfully countering each with third-party research and facts. We’ll post Neg’s full testimony here on InsideYP soon.
As each representative spoke in turn, attempting to keep their jobs safe and their small businesses viable, the Yellow Pages value story was clear. With 7 out of 10 US adults using the YP, small businesses continue to rely on our products to reach consumers who are ready to buy.
After listening to the concerned Coalition speakers, it was clear that the industry has no desire to deliver a directory to those who don’t use them, and the speakers repeatedly referenced the industry opt-out site as the solution for San Francisco residents.
It was very frustrating to watch Supervisor Chiu ensure that our Coalition would not receive a fair hearing. From last minute changes in scheduling the vote – to inviting fellow “big government” advocates – to insinuating that our Association is “scaring” publishers into participating in our efforts, we are seeing the very worst of our democratic system. Indeed, even when confronted with the low opt-out rates in San Francisco thus far, Supervisor Chiu seemed to assume that the problem was on our part, rather than the possibility that he has overestimated consumer interest in the subject.
And so, despite the overwhelming facts and jeopardy to jobs and small businesses, the amended proposal (which stipulates that the legislation will take effect May 1, 2012) was passed out of committee. The industry coalition will be working diligently over the next week to influence the other members of the board of supervisors in advance of an expected full board vote on Tuesday, May 10.
We will continue to keep our members posted of the Coalition’s efforts on behalf of the industry.
A few days ago I talked about the growing opposition in San Francisco to the proposed Yellow Pages ban there. The Wall Street Journal and Greg Sterling have covered how small businesses and others in the San Francisco community have become increasingly concerned about this proposed legislation’s impact as a small business and job killer for the city.
Today we saw that opposition in full force. Even with the continuing threat of a downpour, a rally in front of San Francisco’s City Hall drew more than 300 people from all corners of the city. All of them were united in the same cause: To let lawmakers know how much this ban would hurt San Francisco, working people, and how it would disenfranchise San Francisco’s Spanish-speaking, Chinese-speaking and LGBT communities. (We’ll be posting a link to video of the rally shortly.)
Speakers at the rally included Peter Pusateri, the Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 1269, whose members’ jobs printing and distributing the directories are at risk. In addition to members of IBEW Local 1269, the opposition to the ban by the San Francisco Labor Council meant that dozens of workers representing other unions also took part in the rally.
Mindy Spatt from The Utility Reform Network (TURN) spoke on behalf of the 800,000 consumers and ratepayers across San Francsico, and the reduced service and increased costs they would face if the ban is enacted. Emma Acero of Seccion Amarilla let the crowd know how the ban would sever the link between the large Spanish-speaking community in San Francisco and the small businesses that serve their needs.
Two small business owners – Dina Kourmalos of Continental Appliance and Miklos Kovacs of Bay Cities Electric – told the crowd how they depend on Yellow Pages ads to drive customers to their doors – and keep their employees working. And Rob Black, vice president of public policy for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, lent the support of the city’s business community to the call for legislators to drop the proposal.
This was an incredibly strong showing of support – and, happening right on the steps of City Hall, one that would be hard for the Board of Supervisors to ignore. (In fact, Mayor Ed Lee passed by on his way to a meeting, and staffers working on the issue for some of the Supervisors also watched – although they had to stand across the street because of the size of the crowd!)
In a place like San Francisco, to find such a diverse range of voices all saying the same thing is pretty unusual. That should tell lawmakers that there’s something seriously wrong with this ban, and it needs to go. If you haven’t already, please go to www.keepsfconnected.com and add your voice to the group asking Supervisors to VOTE NO! on Supervisor Chiu’s proposal.
For more photos, please check out our Flickr gallery.
A new report from BIA/Kelsey and ConStat found that the rates of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) using Twitter more than doubled in 2010. As eMarketer reports, 19% of SMBs used Twitter in 2010, compared to 9% in 2009 while usage of print Yellow Pages remained steady at 29%.
While we’ve seen evidence of an expected increase in digital advertising in the local search market in 2011, it’s great to see that SMBs are still investing in print directories while increasing their digital spend. This is further proof that print directories are still an important tool to help SMBs generate business!
In terms of other social media, Twitter still lags behind the 48% of SMBs that have a Facebook presence. SMB owners also plan to spend more money in 2011 on digital advertising, customer review capabilities and video technology – all trends that we’ve seen come up in the past few months in the local search industry.
Following up its announcement about Yellow Pages 360º Solution, we’re beginning to learn more about how the service will help Canadian businesses develop websites as part of its suite of services. According to this article about the service, Yellow Pages Group will develop and maintain websites for SMBs for as little as $50 per month.
Annie Marsolais, director of communication for YPG in Montreal, says the company has site templates to offer its customers, along with search engine marketing services and 24-7 technical support. For a bit more money, YPG will send a film crew to write a script, film a 60 second commercial and upload it to the website and Yellow Pages listings. Very cool!
Check out this new commercial that Yellow Pages Group is releasing to teach SMBs about its new services.
For more information about the importance of a high quality website to any small business, read this post I wrote on Search Engine Land.
Check out this interview of AT&T Interactive CEO David Krantz on the Fox Business Channel. Like the recent story in USA Today, the interview focuses on how the local search industry is moving from print to digital – highlighting YP.com and the newly refreshed YPMobile app.
For decades, the Yellow Pages have been an American staple to help consumers find local businesses. Krantz says that the biggest reason why YP.com and YPMobile have been successful is because they’ve kept the same look and functionality from the original print editions. Currently, YP.com sees 30 million visitors per month and the YPMobile app has been downloaded 40 million times!
Krantz also points out that advertisers want to be where the consumers are and YP knows the local search market better than anyone because of its 5,000 person sales force around the country. When asked about the proposed legislation in San Francisco, he talks about how important print versions still are to Americans as they generate huge leads for many companies.
In our monthly Locals Only column on Search Engine Land, I write about how small- and medium-sized businesses are keeping their digital content fresh and dynamic – both in local search advertisements and on their own websites.
Consumer’s online expectations have never been higher and businesses need to offer the right kind of content to meets those demands. But making videos and using QR codes is only half the battle for a business trying to set itself apart – it’s up to local search engines to provide the right content to its users.
For example, EveryScape partnered with Bing and YP to offer digital advertisers a new local search solution – virtual tours. Called YP360, the technology will let a user step inside a restaurant in Baltimore while they’re still on the train. They can choose a place and even set a reservation, all within the same application on their phone.
It’s just one of many new technologies coming to the local search marketplace and there’s a clear business case which I also discuss in my column. Local advertising is expected to grow to $16.1 billion this year, up from $13.7 billion in 2010. So head over to Search Engine Land and read the Locals Only column to learn how to set your business apart!
Each year, the Environmental Protection Agency releases data on the disposal and recycling rates of Municipal Solid Waste. The latest data shows that directories continue to make up a very tiny – and shrinking – slice of America’s waste stream.
Overall the paper and paperboard category had the highest recovery and recycling rates of any category in the EPA’s study. Directories alone had a recovery rate of 36.9% in 2009, up from 21.4% the previous year. We believe these figures to be conservative given that some recycling programs may not be included, but just looking at the trending we see it’s certainly a good sign that more people are recycling old directories.
Recent legislation and concern over the Yellow Pages industry has been based on numerous myths about the environmental impact of directories. Of the total amount of solid waste generated in the U.S., telephone directories represent only 1% of all paper products. In fact, they represent a mere .3% of the solid waste stream – a very tiny fraction considering the argument that directories are a large contributor to landfills.
Here are some more interesting facts from the data:
- Americans generated about 243 million tons of trash – or about 4.3 pounds of waste per person, per day.
- We recycled or composted 82 million tons of waste – equivalent to a 33.8% recycling rate and about 1.46 pounds of the 4.3 pounds of waste per person each day.
- These recycling efforts, when combined with the 11.9% of waste burned at combustion facilities, mean that just over 54% of our MSW ends up in landfills – in 1980, that figure was 89%.
The EPA’s report covers data for 2009. I look forward to seeing the 2010 figures because I believe we’ll continue to see our story improve as the industry continues to reduce paper usage. Our updated consumer choice program at www.yellowpagesoptout.com will be a contributor to that goal.
Click here to download the full 2009 report.
Opposition in San Francisco is growing on the proposed Yellow Pages ban there. Yellow Pages Association has joined with a coalition of concerned small business advertisers, union representatives and directory publishers to oppose a proposed ordinance that would effectively stop Yellow Pages distribution in the city.
The coalition has launched a new website at www.keepsfconnected.com to help educate the public and legislators, and to encourage people to voice their concern with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
What’s been so interesting for me about the coalition is it demonstrates how far reaching the impact of the Yellow Pages industry is on people and businesses. In this case, supporters have come in from all directions: the labor union IBEW; consumer advocacy group TURN; the local LGBT, Spanish and Chinese Yellow Pages publishers; small business advertisers; market leaders AT&T and Valley Yellow Pages; and others who want to protect this trusted resource.
Our reasons why this legislation is bad for San Francisco are quite clear:
- Any effort to limit local businesses from reaching consumers not only hurts businesses, but also negatively impacts the economy.
- Directory publishers employ thousands of Californians. Any legislation that puts jobs and taxes in jeopardy is bad for San Francisco and the state.
- Research shows that 7 in 10 adults in California use print Yellow Pages. A system that puts a burden on the majority of people to opt in is the best path for consumer choice.
- The plan unfairly singles out the Yellow Pages industry with treatment that is different than any other media, not to mention industries that introduce far more paper products into the waste stream.
- It violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits government from licensing or exercising advance approval of the press and from directing publishers what to publish and to whom they may communicate.
In addition, the recently launched www.yellowpagesoptout.com accomplishes the same goals as the proposed legislation and should be given a chance. Since many small businesses and San Francisco residents rely on Yellow Pages, it’s crucial that they stay “opt-out” instead of “opt-in” especially when considering this legislation could cause job losses in a fragile economy.
I hope you’ll take some time to read our news release today, which includes some interesting perspective from all the groups I mentioned. You can also write the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to vote “no” on the proposal through the www.keepsfconnected.com website.
Roger Cheng of the Wall Street Journal recently filed a story on how YP.com is planning to offer daily discount deals to its users in the next two months – using a model that is similar to Groupon and LivingSocial. AT&T is planning on offering one deal per day in each local market on YP.com.
AT&T Interactive Chief Executive David Krantz said that they can be “a fast follower” of the Groupon model as they have a distinct edge from a large network of salesmen, advertisers and users. He also said AT&T is working on partnering with a technology company to help manage the distribution and tracking of its coupons on YP.com
As our industry moves towards digital advertising, Krantz believes it’s essential for YP.com to use its extensive resources to keep its 30 million monthly users coming back. Although the local deal market is definitely “red-hot” lately, there is some evidence that shows small- and medium-sized business owners might not be investing in group advertising as much as larger companies – but we might see these businesses changing their minds in the future as group deals become more prolific. This is the space to watch!
Over in Austria, Adaffix recently announced a partnership with Orange to bring its mobile customers a new service called NameThatNumber. It’s Adaffix’s first service to be directly implemented in the network infrastructure of a mobile carrier.
In Austria when you miss a call, you get a missed call notification SMS from your carrier – which traditionally only displays the caller’s phone number. NameThatNumber enhances this SMS data by adding the name of the person or business that called you and a link to a dedicated mobile site containing additional information about the person or company who made the call.
This mobile site is managed by Adaffix and will contain directory listings and even targeted advertising from its relevant directories – depending on if the missed call was from a residential or business number. NameThatNumber can also be used for visual voicemail, fax and email alerts.