Archive for October, 2011

Berry Network Receives Champions of the Environment Award from AT&T

Friday, October 28, 2011

I’m excited to see that Berry Network has received the “Champions of the Environment” award from its parent company, AT&T, for its employee-driven recycling program. This award honors programs and projects that make a positive environmental impact in the workplace or community.

Launched earlier this year to coincide with Earth Day, Berry Network’s recycling program encourages employees to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles, paper, and an assortment of other items such as eyeglasses, electronics, batteries, cell phones, and plastic grocery bags. Christa Fore, a Berry Network employee, established the award-winning program to make a difference in the environment. She and ten other employees volunteered to maintain responsibility for collecting and delivering all the recyclables.

The award includes a $1,000 grant by AT&T to a local environmentally-friendly nonprofit of Berry Network’s choice. Fore selected Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm for the positive impact it has made in the community.

I hope that our members will follow the example that Berry Network has set by making the local community a top priority.

Yell Appoints Scott Moore as First Chief Digital Officer

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back in May, Yell CEO Michael Pocock made news when he said, “digital will be approximately three quarters of our business by 2015, versus 25% as it is today.” Now Yell is further illustrating its commitment to building its digital business with the announcement today of Scott Moore, a former Microsoft executive, as the company’s first chief digital officer.

According to Yell’s press release, Scott will lead the creation and development of the U.K.-based company’s new generation of products and services that will enable small and medium-sized enterprise customers and their consumers to capitalize on the digital opportunity. His appointment demonstrates Yell’s strategy that will see the company transform its current print and online advertising business to become a leader in the emerging local eMarketplace, which will comprise of an innovative platform and digital portal where consumers and local businesses can connect and transact.

Scott, who will report directly to Pocock, will be based at a new Yell office to be opened in Seattle that will act as “a central hub to coordinate Yellow’s worldwide digital development activities.”

Scott comes from MSN where, as partner and executive producer, he was responsible for transforming Microsoft’s online consumer service and driving adoption of Bing, its search engine. Previously, he was senior vice president and head of media at Yahoo!, and has held senior roles at Microsoft businesses including MSNBC.com, Expedia Travel, and Slate.com.

We congratulate Scott on his appointment and look forward to seeing the results of his work.

BigGovernment.com: ‘First They Came for the Yellow Pages: Environmentalists Target Phone Books’

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Take a look at this interesting  article on Andrew Breitbart’s website BigGovernment.com that explores common misconceptions – promoted by groups ranging from environmentalists to local legislators – about consumer usage of Yellow Pages and the environmental impact of directories.

Echoing some of the arguments presented in the Valley Yellow Pages video we shared last week, the article clearly outlines important and factual responses to common inaccurate statements about our industry:

  • No one uses the Yellow Pages anymore: That’s simply not true. In fact, a high majority of U.S. adults – nearly 75% – refer to the Yellow Pages for local business information each year. Broken down by demographic, the usage figure is 85% of Baby Boomers and 66% of Generation Y, two groups that have among the highest levels of disposable income. Additionally, lower-income consumers, many of whom don’t have Internet access, continue to use the Yellow Pages in high numbers.
  • Publishers don’t give consumers a choice to stop delivery: Actually, Yellow Pages publishers think that directories should only be delivered to those who want them. If a directory won’t get used, there’s absolutely no economic benefit to delivering it. That’s why publishers launched an industry-wide initiative, www.yellowpagesoptout.com, which allows anyone across the country to limit to stop delivery of directories to their homes through a simple online registration.

I strongly encourage you to take a look at this article hear this point of view about our industry and use it with your fellow employees and advertisers to help spread the word.

BIA/Kelsey’s ILM West 2011 Conference, ‘Closing the Local Loop,’ Coming in December

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I encourage our members and others in the local search community to take a look at the exciting lineup coming together for BIA/Kelsey’s Interactive Local Media (ILM) West 2011 conference, scheduled to take place December 12-14 at Hyatt Regency San Francisco,

As the conference website notes, “local” has long been considered the new frontier in digital marketing. Now, a new wave of commerce-centric solutions – encompassing location-based services, geotargeting, deals, online coupons, customer engagement and retention solutions – is enabling local advertisers to realize the long-standing promise of local interactive media to promote and grow their businesses.

This three-day BIA/Kelsey event for the local digital community will focus on “Closing the Local Loop” by spotlighting the latest developments in “final mile commerce” – from tools to transactions.

Check out the impressive agenda and list of speakers. Just some of the highlights include:

  • An opening keynote by new media pioneer Bob Pittman, CEO of Clear Channel Communications. Pittman is a cofounder of MTV and was president of AOL Time Warner and Century 21
  • A panel entitled “Focus on Local Verticals: The Hot Spots,” with Mark Britton, CEO and president of Avvo, and Larry Illg, VP, GM of eBay Classifieds U.S.
  • A sit down interview with Kara Swisher, co-editorial director, The Wall Street Journal’s All Things D
  • A conversation on “The New Wave of Local Lead Generation” with Tom Higley, CEO, Local Matters and David Sharman, senior VP and chief strategy officer, Dex One

Don’t miss a free webinar preview of ILM West scheduled for Wednesday, November 2 at 2 p.m. Eastern. And register today ILM West, where you’ll have the opportunity to connect with those who are influencing the future of final mile commerce.

Valley Yellow Pages Debunks Myths About Print Directories

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Valley Yellow Pages recently posted a great online video that debunks several myths about its Yellow Pages directories, including that publishers kill trees to produce directory paper and that bulky directories are overflowing our landfills.

As the video points out, most directory paper is made of woodchip scraps resulting from the cutting of square lumber for construction and other uses – scraps that normally would be thrown away. And directories today are using less paper than ever: in fact, the industry overall decreased its usage of directory paper by 8.1% in 2010, or nearly 35% since 2007.

The video also notes that when compared to other forms of media, Yellow Pages are delivered far less often – just once a year. And unlike obsolete computers, monitors, mobile devices and other electronics – more than 70% of which ends up in landfills – Yellow Pages are 100% recyclable. Today, Yellow Pages account for just 0.3% of nondurable products generated in the municipal waste stream – far less than newspapers (3.5%) and magazines (0.8%).

In recent years, publishers have also partnered with companies to find new uses for old directories. For example, a company called Green Fiber buys old directories and “up-cycles” them into new, useful products like coffee cup trays, egg cartons, cereal boxes and cellulose insulation.

Take a look at the video and post any comments below. Also check out our July post on Valley Yellow Pages and its various initiatives focused on sustainability and consumer choice. I commend Valley Yellow Pages on continuing to showcase the results of the industry’s sustainability initiatives.

5 Considerations In Planning Your Small Business 2012 Budget

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In our Locals Only column on Search Engine Land this month, I shared five key takeaways from BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’11 conference that are relevant to local business owners in the process of planning their 2012 marketing budgets.

My takeaways include:

1) Small businesses are increasingly investing advertising dollars online

Total small business ad spending for online media increased to almost 40% of total ad spend in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 22% in the third quarter of 2009, according to BIA/Kelsey’s Charles Laughlin. It’s safe to say that small businesses should be putting a heavy chunk of their advertising dollars into the online space in order to keep up with competitors.

2)  Small businesses are juggling marketing tools

With so many tools at their disposal, small businesses are especially struggling with how to manage social media channels and print media based on changing consumer behaviors. Since a growing number of platforms provide unique opportunities for businesses to reach target consumers, small businesses should explore an integrated approach that targets the widest number of customers possible.

3)  Once websites are covered, mobile-friendly sites are next

With the number of mobile Internet users set to surpass desktop users by 2015, according to BIA/Kelsey, the emphasis is increasingly on ensuring that websites can be viewed as easily on mobile as they can at the home or office computer. Small businesses should look at ways to optimize their sites for mobile over the next year to make sure their customers can easily view them on-the-go.

4)  Daily deals are hot, but customer retention and deal fatigue are issues

Daily deals will be a $4.2 billion market by 2015, according to BIA/Kelsey, but so far some small businesses who have tried them have had limited success retaining participating customers over the long-term. AT&T’s Todd Rose, who runs AT&T’s Deal of a Day offering, says capping the number of deals per merchant is sometimes necessary as well to keep consumers interested. Small businesses should ask daily deals providers to offer information on the type of return on investment they should expect – both for the deal and in the weeks and months following.

5)  Use specific criteria when choosing local ad partners

Small businesses need to take a long and hard look at the characteristics of the advertising partners they work with to make sure they’re choosing the best solutions possible.

Click here to read my full article on Search Engine Land.

Local Search Association and Cleveland City Council Raise Awareness for Consumer Choice Website

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Earlier this year, the Local Search Association and the Association of Directory Publishers launched an upgraded consumer choice website, www.yellowpagesoptout.com, which makes it even easier for people across the country to choose which phone directories are or are not delivered to their homes.

As part of our ongoing commitment to generating visibility for this valuable resource, today we joined with Councilman Matt Zone of the Cleveland City Council to issue a news release to Cleveland media and residents informing them of the program and providing additional information on how to contact local publishers to limit or stop directory delivery.

I applaud Councilman Zone for his leadership in working directly with directory publishers to raise awareness for www.yellowpagesoptout.com. As a chair of the National League of Cities’ Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR) Committee, I hope his commitment to this program will resonate with other local leaders across the country.

I’m eager to continue to work with other state and local municipalities to address any of their questions about phone book delivery and consumer choice options. By partnering together, we can ensure that phone books are only delivered to those who want to receive them.

Remembering Steve Jobs

Friday, October 7, 2011

Like millions of people around the world, I was very saddened to learn of Steve Job’s passing last evening. A true genius and innovator, Job’s creative vision has fundamentally changed the way we live and work and will have a lasting impact for years to come.

For our industry in particular, the products Jobs developed at Apple have had a major impact on the adoption of online and mobile search by both local businesses and consumers. The search tools and applications developed on and for his platforms – including the MacBook, iPhone or iPad – have completely altered the ways our industry connects local buyers and sellers.

He brought us the App Store – and now every major Yellow Pages company offers mobile app products.  He put GPS into the handles of every smartphone holder, and now location services is a staple feature in nearly every local search product that our industry produces.  He gave us a tablet we didn’t even know we needed, and now Yellow Pages salespeople across the country are relying on them to manage the entire sales experience with each business they visit.

So much has been said about his impact on the world, and I can say first hand that his innovations and leadership has pushed all of us in the local search space to innovate harder and faster than we ever dreamed we have to.

We continue to explore the various ways to leverage the opportunities he created.  I hope his spirit of innovation and always imagining what’s next will continue to drive us for many years to come.  He will be sorely missed.

Local Mobile Search Roundup: Google Android Dominates, Apple iPhone 4S Launches, Superpages Debuts New Mobile App

Friday, October 7, 2011

Google Android Continues to Grow Share of U.S. Smartphone Market

comScore released its monthly mobile subscribers study this week, and the results represent an ongoing trend in the industry: Google Android up, Apple iPhone flat, RIM BlackBerry down:

  • Google Android: 43.7% in August, up 5.6% from 38.1% in May
  • Apple iPhone: 27.3% in August, up 0.7% from 26.6% in May
  • RIM BlackBerry: 19.7%, down 5% from 24.7% in May

Additionally, the report had some interesting stats on usage:

  • 70% of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging (+1%)
  • Browsers are used by 42.1% of subscribers (+2.3%)
  • Applications used by 41.6% of subscribers (+3%)
  • Social networking + blogs accessed by 30.9% of subscribers (+2.3%)
  • Games played by 28.5% of subscribers (+1.6%)
  • Music listened to by 20.7% of subscribers (+2.1%)

As our industry continues to embrace new opportunities in mobile, it’s important for us to keep a close eye on these developments so that we can leverage areas of growth and recognize platforms in decline. For example, it’s increasingly clear that RIM’s BlackBerry is a fading leader in the mobile space.

Apple Unveils iPhone 4S

In a widely-anticipated announcement this week, Apple unveiled its next generation iPhone. But the news was somewhat disappointing to consumers, who were expecting the launch of iPhone 5, not the debuted iPhone 4S. Nonetheless, Apple says the new phone, which carries the same external design of iPhone 4, has a faster dual-core A5 processer, a camera with double the resolution and sharpness for crisp photos and video, and faster load time for web pages and video. The device also features Siri, a voice-controlled personal assistant, which among other things allows users to speak online searches. It will surely be interesting to see how this change affects our industry’s ongoing work in the mobile space – Siri sounds like it will be a powerful tool in helping consumers find local businesses.

Apple, which said iPhone 4S will also be available for the first time on Sprint, also announced that the older version iPhone 3GS will be available free to consumers with a two year contract. Given all of these developments, we’ll be keeping a close eye on how iPhone’s market share fairs in the face of Android competition over the next few quarters.

Superpages.com Launches New Mobile App

Superpages.com released a complete redesign of its Superpages mobile application user-interface and search engine technology. According to a press release shared yesterday, the updated Yellow Pages by Superpages app is easier to use with a new single field auto-complete search, voice search and a category spinner. The app allows users to search the Yellow or White Pages, find business information, maps, driving directs, consumer reviews, movie listings and more. Screenwerk’s Greg Sterling calls the app “more fun, social, [and] useful.Download this 4.0 version of the app on the iTunes app store.