Posts Tagged ‘phone books’

RHD Suit Settled for $25 Million – Yellow Pages Obsolescence Claimed

Monday, February 27th, 2012

A class-action lawsuit brought by stockholders against the former R.H. Donnelley Yellow Pages company and some of its executives was settled earlier this month for $25 Million.

The stockholders in the suit (“Local 731 I.B. of T. Excavators and Pavers Pension Trust Fund et al. v. Swanson et al“) had said that executives had made false claims during the period, stating that print Yellow Pages were not becoming obsolete, among other things, and that they had made false assurances about the financial condition of the business.

RHD had filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2009, and later emerged from bankruptcy under the new name, Dex One Corporation, in 2010.

Aside from the claims around the company’s finances, the issue of whether print Yellow Pages are becoming obsolete or not has been a controversial one in the past. (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…)

Yellow Pages Argues Seattle Law Limiting Distribution “Unconstitutional”

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Yellow Pages Legal Conflict in SeattleAs you may be aware, Seattle passed an ordinance in October which required yellow pages print directory companies to pay for an annual license and to allow consumers to opt-out of receiving print yellow pages phonebooks from being delivered to their properties. The Yellow Pages Association filed a motion in federal court last week, seeking to have the ordinance canceled on the basis of unconstitutionality.

The YP industry claims that the print directories should be considered protected speech, and that their content is also primarily informational content, with a lower percentage of advertising content than magazines and newspapers.

I think that the YPA may technically be right, but are putting themselves in direct opposition of an influential demographic which are irritated by directory books getting dropped on their doorsteps, apartment buildings and in their places of business. The argument is somewhat facile — rather like me saying that I can write nearly whatever I wish and it’s protected as free speech — however, that doesn’t give me the right to spraypaint it upon the side of someone’s home. It’s the method of transmission of this free speech that’s being contested.

For many in Seattle, the ordinance doesn’t sound like an unduly heavy limitation for the YP companies. After all, only a minority of recipients are likely to opt-out of delivery, and the licensing fee is very small. (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.

[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)

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…)