Archive for the ‘Yellow Pages’ Category

Attending & Reporting On BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’10 Conference

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

DMS '10 Yellow Pages and BeyondThe Directional Media Strategies 2010 conference is happening this week in Dallas, and I’ll be attending and reporting on it. DMS is the central conference of the Yellow Pages industry, and is attended by many directories, directory service providers, and other local tech companies.

The conference is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 12:30 pm CST, and I’m planning to live blog some of the sessions over at Search Engine Land.

I’ll try to Tweet the URL and update it here when I start, so check back.

SuperMedia & Dex One To Cross-Pollinate: Precursor To A Merger?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This morning, Greg Sterling reports that SuperMedia and Dex One have entered into a distribution agreement, allowing listings and business content from Superpages to be displayed on DexKnows and vice-versa.

The first thought I had upon reading this was that it’s likely a precursor to a possible merger between the two companies, a little further on down the road.

SuperMedia, Yellow Pages publisher of       Dex One, Yellow Pages publisher of DexKnows and

I’ve been predicting some collapse amongst the players in the yellow pages industry for quite a few years now, and I’ve even stongly suggested (see: What Could Save The Yellow Pages? 10 Ideas) that some of the large YP directory companies might want to merge in order to reduce costs and improve their competitive strength.

There’s also been talk among financial analysts about how the hedge fund, (more…)

Yellowbook’s Weforia: Could Group Deals Be Yellow Pages’ Game-Changer?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Yellowbook has just this week announced the launch of Weforia, a group-buying/discount-deals service similar to Groupon. Like “Groupon”, the Weforia name is another “portmanteau word“, combining “we + euphoria”. The website for the new service sports a cheering crowd, evoking a music concert with the fans breathlessly waiting for the rock star to come out on stage:

Weforia - Yellowbook's new group-buying discounts and deals service

The excitement of the rock concert certainly illustrates euphoria, and is probably channeling the hopes and feelings of the YP industry even more than reflecting what the new product will do. But, you can forgive Yellowbook for wanting to celebrate with a victory dance prior to having their eggs all hatch, because this is unquestionably a very strong concept that has a great chance of working exactly as they hope, and they were first out of the gates in the U.S. to integrate this type of service (Yellow Pages Group in Canada announced their service,, just a few days before). Read on and I’ll explain. (more…)

Is it “Game Over” for Internet Yellow Pages SEO?

Monday, July 19th, 2010

In my article on Search Engine Land today, I outline how the recent local SERP testing being conducted by Google has the potential to not only reduce organic traffic to Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) and online directories, but could also freeze out many well-marketed small-to-medium businesses.

So, is it “game over” for IYPs? Should they throw in the towel and move their promotional dollars to other, greener pastures?

IYP SEO - Game Over?

My answer to that is a confident “no!”, and not merely because I do SEO consulting. (more…)

Print Categories Can Be Optimized, Too

Monday, June 21st, 2010

My piece on how tweaking category names could double your traffic published today on Search Engine Land, and it seems nearly too easy to be possible, doesn’t it? Yet, miscategorized and under-categorized businesses abound online.

I sometimes forget that there are also optimizations possible for print directory advertisers, and an article from about a week ago in the Chicago Sun-Times reminds me how bad categorization has also been a problem for businesses in phonebooks as well. Neil Steinberg has done a biannual review of yellow pages since the nineties, and in this installation, “Marshall Field’s open in Yellow Pages“, he documents how yellow pages books are shrinking, advertisers are reducing their spend, and how some business listings appear in the wrong category — often to amusing effect.

Yellow Pages Categories

In the article, he recounts how a few businesses are listed in the wrong categories, some of them for years.

He further recounts anecdotal assessments from a few businesses that print phone book usage has decreased. I know that a lot of business owners have become dismissive of the value of yellow pages, but there is still some percentage of usage in the medium. So, just as I recounted for internet marketing purposes, fixing miscategorization/undercategorization in print directories could increase your business.

So, check your phone books to make sure you’re appearing where you should. Are there other categories where you could/should appear? Are you getting weird phone calls or visits from people seeking some other type of business? You should be listed within your most-popular business category, and if you get weird visits/calls — ask the people doing it where they saw your business listed so you can get it fixed.

There’s another compelling reason for fixing your categorization, aside from getting more referral business from YP books. The data from YP books is one of the sources of info that feeds into online directories and local search engines. So, fixing your print listing can improve your presence everywhere else.

New Law Makes Florists Happy, But Has Wider Implications For Yellow Pages & Search Engine Ads

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

A story in the Rochester, Minnesota Post-Bulletin describes a new state law that florists apparently campaigned-for which bans non-local companies from advertising local business services (in “New law removes thorn from side of local florists“). The story reports that this new law prohibits “deceptive” advertising by companies that misrepresent their location by using a false address and “local” phone number, and it would bar “any business from advertising on the Internet or in the Yellow Pages unless they also list a physical address.”

Florists in the Yellow Pages

I’ve heard florists complain about the wire services companies for many years over this very same issue. Companies such as FTD, Teleflora, Proflowers and 1-800-Flowers have long provided florists with broker services — they market themselves through many channels, both local and nationwide.

My family actually used to own a wholesale floristry service in West Texas, so I have some degree of direct understanding of how these florists feel. Many yellow pages companies, both online and print, have allowed these large, influential florist services to advertise with seemingly-local area listings. Consumers grabbing a yellow pages book or searching online for floral shops rarely can discern between the independent local florists and the ads of the brokers. Once the consumer orders flowers from the broker, they end up paying various service charges — the broker subtracts their cut and sends the order on to a local flower shop to fulfill, based upon standardized catalogs of products. Florists have long gnashed their teeth that consumers pay extra for less product, needlessly passing on money to these referral services.

I’ll confess: I’ve been a floristry industry insider, and I’ve ordered flowers both ways. I can tell the difference between good-quality flowers and bad ones, too.

You might think I’d side with the independent florists on this issue, but I don’t think it’s that cut-and-dried. (more…)

AU Yellow Pages Campaign Provokes Incredulity

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Hidden Pizza - Yellow Pages Marketing Campaign

YPA’s Stephanie Hobbs wrote an article for this week’s Locals Only column at Search Engine Land, and in it she used the recent Hidden Pizza marketing campaign for the Australian Yellow Pages as an example of why local businesses need to take a multi-platform approach to modern advertising. However, Ed Kohler, outspoken critic of yellow pages advertising, took exception to the article in both the comments and on his blog, calling it a “rigged study”.

I earlier critiqued the Hidden Pizza yellow pages campaign myself, (more…)

[yellow collection]

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

What would you do with 10,000 phone books? [yellow collection] is a site set up to collect ideas on what to do with printed yellow pages books. Some artists have contributed photos of pieces they’ve created involving the color yellow and/or phonebooks.

Yellow Pages Art from Yellow Collection by Petter Palander

Yellow Pages Art from Yellow Collection Petter Palander / CC BY 2.0

Obviously they’re taking it for granted that people don’t use yellow pages to look up business information any more!

Making art from old phone books has a lot of appeal for me — I’ve long thought of using old directory covers to make origami stars for Christmas decorations for my friends who still work in the Yellow Pages industry.

It would actually be cool if YP industry were to create a factory to generate recycled furniture out of compressed yellow pages composite — I’ve seen chairs and tables made out of recycled paper before, and I think doing something so visible and useful would likely provide postive publicity to the ailing print directory business.

In a similar vein, the “Hidden Pizza” marketing campaign by Sensis yellow pages company in Australia used recycled material from their yellow pages billboard campaign to cover seats in the restaurant.

If more were done to diffuse the environmental complaints about unwanted phone books from those who no longer use them, it might have reduced hostility towards the industry. For instance, I do not see/hear nearly as much irritation from people about receiving unwanted newspapers in their yards, and this poses much more inconvenience to me in an ongoing basis than phone books do.

(Image courtesy of Petter Palander / CC BY 2.0)

Guerrilla Marketing Yellow Pages Down Under

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Or, “How to get the hipsters to use the yellow pages again – give them free pizza!”

Using free pizza to promote the Yellow Pages in Australia

A secret restaurant offering free pizza to any smart enough to find it is apparently a front organization for a guerrilla marketing campaign to promote the Yellow Pages down under. “Hidden Pizza” emerged via a website and some word-of-mouth-marketing, offering free pizza to anyone who can find it for the next two weeks.

Hidden Pizza - Yellow Pages Guerrilla Marketing Campaign

Catch is, they apparently want you to find it a certain way. According to their site’s “Find Us” page:

Finding the restaurant is easy, just look it up the way you would any other business from April 12 – April 25 and the pizzas are free.

The business apparently doesn’t have a Google Maps entry as of yet, but The Age reveals that the restaurant is part of a marketing campaign that’s likely on behalf of Sensis, Australia’s Yellow Pages company.

Kate, over at the Eating Melbourne blog says what I’m thinking: (more…)

Monday, April 19th, 2010

DirtyPhoneBook.comMy piece on “Making Businesses of Negativity” apparently caught the attention of one of the businesses that I criticized,, since they forwarded a Tweet to me this morning of a followup article over on Silicon Alley Business Insider where their CEO had provided a rebuttal letter. SAI had posted an article earlier about them, dubbing them the “Horrifying New Startup Of The Day“.

In the apologetics letter, Peter Green compared Dirty Phone Book with other, better-known social media services, Facebook and MySpace, and he says it’s all about freedom of speech. He goes into further comparison, pointing out hate groups active in Facebook, and tries to say that Facebook is actually worse than Finally, he suggests that DirtyPhoneBook is treated worse by the press than sites Chatrouleette and Facebook because people have some sort of prejudice against he and his cofounders because they are a “stripper”, a “degenerate gambler”, and a “washed-up Las Vegas comedian” instead of being young whiz-kids from Harvard or Moscow.

While he makes a very well-worded case for the business, I’m sorry but it isn’t sufficiently convincing. (more…)