WhitePages.com CEO: White Pages Opt-In Shouldn’t Apply to Yellow Pages

Contributed by: Stephanie Hobbs

If you’ve been reading the news over the last few days, you’ve seen a good amount of discussion on the future of the residential white pages.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution yesterday covered AT&T’s plan for opt-in residential white pages in parts of Georgia.

That news followed on the heels of a survey from the online residential information provider WhitePages.com that found the majority of consumers embrace opt-in residential white pages programs.

The WhitePages.com survey prompted some people to ask if the same applied to Yellow Pages. WhitePages.com CEO Alex Algard responded quickly with a guest post on Greg Sterling’s blog that clarifies his thinking on the issue.

In his opinion, Algard does not believe Yellow Pages “will or should” embrace opt-in for the following reasons:

  • Yellow Pages are a proven means of local advertising for small businesses across the country.
  • Without access to Yellow Pages, a small business’ ability to attract new customers suffers, thus greatly impacting their ability to generate revenue.
  • Yellow Pages play a useful role for consumers, as there is rich content (sometimes richer than what is available online), the listings are generally up-to-date, and the coverage of listings is generally comprehensive.
  • There is a viable financial model for Yellow Pages that supports an entire industry.

I applaud Algard for clarifying this position on Greg’s blog. Residential white pages and Yellow Pages are fundamentally different tools that serve different purposes. And the reasons for falling usage of residential white pages – namely, the increase in unlisted cell phone numbers and the information storage capabilities of mobile phones and handsets – don’t necessarily translate to Yellow Pages.

That said, we recognize consumer behaviors are changing and the challenges small businesses face are getting tougher.

For our advertisers, we continue to generate one of the best return on investments of any advertising medium and have tools in place to help measure that, such as our metered ad program. Yellow Pages advertising offers businesses more for their money by generating an average sales ROI of 27:1 for national display advertisers and nearly 13:1 for local display advertisers. No other advertising medium can offer this unmatched ROI for display advertising.

To address changing local search preferences, we offer digital and mobile search platforms, in addition to print. We also have launched www.yellowpagesoptout.com to make it easy and effective for consumers to manage the delivery of Yellow Pages to their doorsteps. But even as we’re focusing more than ever on consumer choice, we think it’s important to recognize that the value of print Yellow Pages directories to both businesses and consumers is still very, very high.

3 Responses to “WhitePages.com CEO: White Pages Opt-In Shouldn’t Apply to Yellow Pages”

  1. This should not even be up for discussion. How ridiculous to even include the “Original Search Engine” with a residential white pages. Much of this so called research concerning whether folks want the phone books to be delivered or not is foggy at best. People do not want six telephone directories delivered to their door. I get it but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Do the majority of consumers want to delete their local utility company yellow page directory out of their lives? No they do not. One can make research say whatever they want based on how, when, where and who they ask. If people have pests in their home (too many bogus yellow pages) they don’t burn the house down and lose everything they own to get rid of them. They call an exterminator and solve the problem. The major publishers have been taking it on the chin for a long time and it is about time that we give “the devil his due”. Folks still have lead pencils even though they own mechanical pencil and ballpoint pens They have not stopped going to movie theaters because they have pay-per-view in their homes. They are still laying by the pool to get a tan even though tanning booths are busy. Should I go on? You really don’t want to hear anymore do you? How about the power of on-line yellow pages like YellowPages.Com? How about the recent studies proving the flood of yellow page searches to hand held mobiles? Another study that just proved that people are in fact going to the print yellow pages because research has proven those consumers are seeing URL’s in the ads and going to the companies’ web sites. In conclusion, yellow pages has been around for over 100 years. It is not new. It is not exciting, sexy or controversial. It still works and people need it, want it and use it. I have to go now because I am going to the stadium to see the Braves play. Oh yea, I can watch it on cable or record it on my DVR and watch it later but I still enjoy going to the live game with thousands of other folks. Maybe now you get it. If you don’t….well…..go find an old white page directory and kick it until you feel better.

  2. [...] newspapers seem to be doing so today)? The folks at Yellow Pages like to boast huge returns: average sales ROI (return on investment) of 27:1 for national display advertisers and nearly 13:1 fo…. Personally, I’ve never heard any client (or other advertiser) boast of these results. But some [...]

  3. [...] WhitePages.com CEO: White Pages Opt-In Shouldn’t Apply to Yellow … [...]

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