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.