Posts Tagged ‘IYP’

AT&T Lets The Walking Fingers Take a Walk – Selling Stake in Yellow Pages

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

AT&T has decided to sell a 53% stake in its Yellow Pages unit to Cerberus Capital Management for $950 million.

Jennifer Fritzsche, an analyst with Wells Fargo, referred to the valuation as “sensible” at roughly 2.1 times an estimate for EBITDA, “given that the directory business is declining fairly quickly.”

Beyond “sensible”, AT&T may have well decided that they would incur undue risk of intervention from state and federal regulation authorities if they had pushed for a much higher valuation. I had earlier suggested it would be grossly irresponsible if AT&T overvalued their Yellow Pages, and, after Verizon’s divestment of Idearc/SuperMedia, I’m not sure another company could get away with an unreasonably high price tag. (more…)

AT&T Selling Off Yellow Pages Unit?

Friday, February 24th, 2012

AT&T (NYSE: T) appears to’ve obliquely referred to their YP unit as a “low-performing” “non-strategic asset”, and signaled that they might sell it off.

If this sequence of events sounds familiar, it is — because Verizon did this when they spun off their Yellow Pages to form Idearc.

It’s a little disappointing to see AT&T likely planning to divest itself of and their print directories, because only in January of last year it had seemed possible that they might have toyed with the idea (more…)

Infogroup’s New Directory Poses SEO Challenge To IYPs

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Infogroup - data aggregator for local business listingsInfogroup‘s Monday announcement of enhancements for their Express Update service mainly focused upon how they could help businesses claim their listings, optimize through an expanded set of data points, and submit their information to the Infogroup database. But, the press release also contained an unhappy surprise for Internet Yellow Pages companies: declaration that Infogroup is also launching an online directory in tandem with the improved Express Update service.

Here’s the key part:

“Express Update will also create public online profile pages for every business in the Infogroup Business Database. This new feature essentially gives all businesses — whether they have a website or not – a visible online presence.”

For IYP companies, this cannot be a good thing. Quite a number of Yellow Pages sites receive business listings data from Infogroup, as well as many other types of online directories such as reviews sites, local social media services, mobile directory apps, etc. (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.

Local Search’s Lacuna

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Tyler Bell wrote a very interesting post today, over at O’Reilly Radar: “Why check-ins and like buttons will change the local landscape“. In it, he talks about how a lack of common locality conventions is perhaps the main stumbling block of advancing local search technology, and he points to Gary Gale’s Geo Tower of Babel concept wherein different systems refer to places and placenames in different ways, meaning different things. Essentially, every different local info system out there refers to common places with variations on names and differing geocoordinates, and this lack of accurate specificity across systems causes many problems.

Local Business Profile

Tyler states that “developers are left holding the buck” in this issue, and he cites three top reasons for it. His top three reasons are the most interesting part of the piece, because I think he really describes many of the basic challenges of the local search industry beautifully. His first reason, “Focus on listings data as end rather than means” is described like this:

“Local search as we know it today is the parthenogenous child of the Yellow Pages industry. Many local search sites, and the data vendors they rely on, remain grounded in YP-era thinking, where the value was found in owning the listing data, making them discoverable in alphabetical order, and advertising against these listings. Local search for ages focused on being an electronic version of the Yellow Pages. Few organizations have looked above the horizon and considered carefully what value could be realized if listings were viewed as a means to connect users to businesses, rather than only advertise against their search.”

His other two reasons, “Attempts at distinction with common data” and “Over-fascination with pins on maps” are good, too.

However, I think his ideas on resolving the issues are unrealistic. (more…)

AT&T’s Rebranding To

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Greg Sterling called attention to AT&T’s apparent rebranding project which will use “” as their dominant online site/brand going forward. the new

While I’ve been openly critical of some of AT&T directories’ decisions in the past, I think this is definitely a smart move. I think there’s sufficient indication that the concept and recognition of the “Yellow Pages” brand is becoming obsolete. It would appear that AT&T agrees with me, since this amounts to a major tectonic shift in their branding. (more…)

Yelp CEO Claims Biz Owners Just Don’t Understand Their Review Filter Algorithm

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

YelpA few days ago, a New York Times interview with Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman quotes him as saying that they don’t extort companies in return for suppressing negative reviews, but business owners fail to comprehend that reviews may appear and disappear based upon an algorithm that runs in the background.