Launched earlier this year, Apple’s iPad is already a popular innovation platform for Yellow Pages companies. And based on today’s panel, I’m convinced the iPad and other tablet versions—including those featuring Google’s Android software—will offer unlimited opportunities for our industry moving forward.
Mike Wilson, GM and VP, Digital Media for Yellowbook, said the development of his company’s iPad application is a continuation of its overall distribution strategy. Wilson said there is always a lively debate going on at Yellowbook about how to better distribute content and generate additional exposure—but that the debate raged like never before with the iPad.
Wilson highlighted how rapid consumer adoption of the iPad and other tablet devices drove Yellowbook’s interest in the device. He said that 2 million iPads were sold within the first 60 days of the device hitting stores—and that Apple will soon produce 3 million iPad devices per month to keep up with demand. He noted that by 2012, iPad sales will eclipse Apple’s Mac revenue—a remarkable feat. He also said that sales of tablets featuring Android software will eclipse PC revenue sales in just two years.
Wilson showed off the incredible interface on Yellowbook’s table app, which is the #10 most popular in the iPad lifestyle category and #5 overall free app for the Android. Yellowbook’s app features basic business information (address, phone number, map), social media integration (Facebook and Twitter), and reviews. It also includes embedded video and links to local business websites… and get this, the ability to “Skype” a local business!
Moving forward, Wilson noted that Yellowbook is looking at ways to leverage group buying opportunities on the app through its new Weforia.com website. He also said that Yellowbook will soon roll out a barcode scanning tool that will allow users to find local real-time inventory of desired products.
Ron Mintle, president and CEO of Yellow Magic, also highlighted his company’s iPad app, which takes a different approach by retaining all the facets of a print Yellow Pages directory with the added benefit of being searchable. One of the great things about Yellow Magic’s app is that local companies can update their listings throughout the year when they need to, as well as take advantage of splash screens, sponsored search, banners, and other features.
Another interesting offering from Yellow Magic is an iPad app that provides Yellow Pages sales teams with the ability to complete mobile electronic contracts and signature captures. This tool allows sales teams to monitor sales territories, reps, canvasses, and revenue in real-time and eliminates the need for sales call reports—allowing for more time for selling. It will be exciting to see this app in action out in the field.
And while not a native of the Yellow Pages industry, Tobias Dengel, CEO of Willowtree Apps, concluded the session by providing great insight into opportunities on the iPad and the need for our industry to continue innovating to stay ahead of the curve. He shared two great iPad apps as examples of what’s possible: an animated Alice in Wonderland app and the Kayak app, which allows users to search flight and hotel prices. Be sure to check them out!