Category Archives: Industry News

Overall industry happenings/events

Where’s my white pages?

Once again YP/AT&T being taken to task for removing their residential white pages from the print directory: http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20140207/ARTICLES/140209903#gsc.tab=0

As an independent publisher now, I’m glad they do.  It provides a real differentiator between their yellow only directory loaded with mostly national accounts, and our yellow pages (with only local small businesses) which also have a white page section (business & residential intermingled) in a type size you can actually read, and a real community section.

Now that’s a “real” yellow pages….

As the company noted, consumers/users have “other” options.  Sure.  But what they seem to have missed is that if someone is hold a print yellow pages, and using it to look up stuff, why would they want/need to go online for something else?

 

Kill those print yellow pages — not so fast!!!

In another classic case of how directory publishers in telephone companies can shoot themselves in the foot (and several other very painful places), Frontier Communications petitioned the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) for permission to stop providing printed directories to its customers or, in the alternative, provide phone books only to customers who request them (can you say “opt-in”).

For those not aware of it, by PSC requirements, most Telco’s have to publish a directory every year.  In it’s deep wisdom Frontier argued that “…printed phone books are “antiquated” because of the availability of directories on the Internet…” – and we all know that if it’s on the internet, everything else be damned.

Well, not so fast sparky — The Pocahontas County Commission considered the issue during its meeting on October 15 and quickly concurred that Pocahontas County residents need a printed phone book. The Commission agreed to send a letter to the PSC, stating its opposition to the phone company’s proposal. Commission President David Fleming offered to draft the letter.

“I can draft that letter, if you’d like,” Fleming said. “What I would say, basically, is that the County Commission is adamantly opposed to Frontier’s petition to request ceasing of the printing of the phone book. I’ll say language, to the effect, Pocahontas Countians rely on the phone books. As a rural county, a significant percentage of our population doesn’t even have a computer. Moreover, we have relatively unreliable Internet service. Therefore we request that Frontier’s petition be denied.”

Remember we aren’t talking about NY city or LA, or some other cement suburban area, we are talking about rural America where people like to shop locally and not online.  They want to know who they are doing business with.  Frontier obviously doesn’t get that, or more factually has no clue how to run a highly profitable advertising sales organization in a rural market.  Clearly no one from corporate wants to go live in a God forsaken place like this and manage Yellow Page sales.  Not when they can sit behind a desk in some glass tower in a more attractive city and play on their computers all day.

As a former manager once schooled me on “…you can’t help stupid…”.  Add another Telco publisher to that list.

If these books are “antiquated”  how come I got 3 calls today from people that are upset their phone listing was left our of the directory, or the 4 people who wanted more copies of the book?????

New Yellow Pages Market Forecast 2013 Available

It’s back and all new!  Local Search Authority (aka David Goddard) has just released its latest edition of the industry’s premier market analysis and forecast report, Yellow Pages Market Forecast 2013.This annual report is always packed with all of the most current statistics and detail you need to build a successful plan for growth this year and beyond. It offers an in-depth, authoritative analysis of the entire U.S. yellow pages market, from utility publishers to independents.   This study is the source for informed perspective on significant market developments and objective, accurate forecasts for industry growth.  At YP Talk we frequently use the Forecast in our research to uncover the driving forces shaping the strength and direction of the overall industry and specific markets. This annual report has been published continuously since 1986.

yellow page market forecast

This forecast comes from the desk of David Goddard who has been tracking the industry since it first started in the late 1800’s (ok, well, not that long, but at least for the last 20 years I have known him).  He is also the author of The Goddard Report, a leading publication that concentrates on the unique interests and needs of companies involved in print and online directory operations.  The Goddard Report is published continuously online, and 12 times per year (monthly) it is issued digitally as a PDF for download.

Who Needs the Yellow Pages Market Forecast?

YP Talk readers know that I don’t endorse just anyone.  But the simple answer to the question of who needs this forecast is that the players in the industry are changing constantly.  If you are a stakeholder of any type in the Yellow Pages/Local Search industry – publisher, CMR, investor, consultant, or even an industry supplier, you cannot afford to NOT own the Yellow Pages Market Forecast 2013. If you are serious about participating in the market this is the go-to source you need on your desktop.

Click here to find out more, to get your discount, and purchase the report:  http://www.imslocalsearchauthority.com/2013marketforecast.php

Herb Gordon, Former ADM President/CEO Has Died

There are always people who you run across in your personal and business careers that make a lasting impact.  For me, Herb Gordon was one of them.  It saddens me deeply to tell you that Herb Gordon, retired former president and CEO of the Association of Directory Marketing (ADM), passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on Saturday, May 4, 2013.  Herb is survived by his wife, Annemarie, three sons, nine grandchildren, two sisters, and a large extended family.

Herb led ADM (which merger with what was then the Yellow Pages Association – YPA – more info) for eighteen years, retiring in June 2009, after the merger.  During his tenure, he served on the Boards of ADM, the YPA (now Local Search Association), and Association of Directory Publishers – the only person in the industry to have the unique honor of serving on all three boards.  He served at a time when the industry was just starting to experience unparalleled change.

It was during the time that he was on the YPA board that I got to work directly with Herb.  Simply put, he was a gentleman no matter how passionate a discussion got, he was a masterful politician keeping the peace between publishers and CMRs who were always at each other’s throats, and he was a passionate supporter of the national channel.  I can say I didn’t always agree with him, but I did have a great deal of respect for him no matter his views.

Previously, Herb held senior management positions at Ketchum Communications, including president, Ketchum Yellow Pages, and executive vice president, Ketchum Specialized Services, and was a member of the company’s executive committee and board of directors.

Herb was a well-educated man.  He was a graduate of Tufts University and the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.  And he was a patriot, having served as a U.S. Air Force missile officer from 1960 to 1965, working on the country’s first inter-continental ballistic missile unit.

Following his retirement from ADM, Herb continued to write the NMD Flash newsletter.  He enjoyed finding articles of interest for readers and kept up to date with the industry.  In his spare time, Herb played tennis (a lot of tennis as he wasn’t a big fan of golf), cheered on Pittsburgh sports teams, traveled, played bridge, researched WWII history and enjoyed gardening.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2013, 11:00 a.m., at St. Andrew’s United Presbyterian Church, 801 Beaver Street, Sewickley, PA 15143.  Contributions may be made to the Salvation Army, 700 North Bell Avenue, Carnegie, PA 15106; or the American Cancer Society, 320 Bilmar Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15205.  Remembrances may be sent to the family at 310 Maple Lane, Sewickley, PA 15143.

Herb was a unique man in with a great enthusiasm and passion for life, and equally as enthusiastic and passionate about the industry.  People like Herb aren’t replaceable.  So he will unquestionably be missed.

Search Starts Here – A Preview of the Upcoming Local Search Association Conference

It only comes once a year, and it’s about to happen again. The Local Search Association annual event – Search Starts Here: A Blueprint for Making Local Pay Off will be kicking off April 13-16 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

This year’s event has a diverse agenda and speakers from across the pond and the search space to discuss current industry trends, lessons learned,  success stories, new technology applications, and useful innovations in the local search industry.

To get a better understanding of what to expect at this conference we sat down with Association president Neg Norton find out more.  The conversation occurred just after the Associations major legal victory against the City of Seattle’s distribution ordinance.

LSA2013Conference

YPT:  With the court victory in Seattle, will we see you doing a couple of big victory laps at the conference?

Norton:  I would but I don’t want to pull a hammy! There is no doubt that a lot of our efforts have been focused on legislative activities over the past year. Clearly, this was a big win for the industry. However, we need to keep doing what we’re doing, promoting the Opt-Out site, honoring consumer choice and ultimately getting the industry back on a path to growing again.  We plan to get into all of that at our upcoming conference. We’ve got a great agenda and some really top-notch speakers.

YPT:  We noticed your recent announcement about your keynote speaker. Tell us more.

Norton:  We were excited to announce that Jean-Pierre Remy, CEO and President of PagesJaunes Groupe will be our keynote speaker on opening day.  What’s exciting about this is that PagesJaunes is one of the greatest transformation stories across any media; newspaper, magazine, YP as they moved from print to digital media.

PagesJanunesGroupeFor those that may not know, PagesJaunes is the Yellow Pages publisher in France. Approximately 59% of their $1.5 billion in annual revenue comes from its digital offerings.  They also enjoy 45% margins. So Jean-Pierre Remy gets credit for having led this remarkable transformation from France’s traditional print publisher into one of the world’s most progressive local search companies.

For publishers in North America, Jean-Pierre can provide some insights on how to use their “cash cow” print products to help fund their digital development as the transformation continues. Generally, many companies are still trying to find the most effective and efficient way to market an array of products and services to local businesses with limited budgets.

Right before Jean-Pierre we have Paul Plant, Founder & Principal, of Radicle Consulting who has worked a lot with John Pierre’s team. Paul will comment on his work with PagesJaunes as well as a recent report published by the MIT Sloan School of Business/Cap Gemini Consulting titled “The Digital Advantage” that featured PagesJaunes.

 YPT:  Tell us more about the overall agenda

Norton:  The agenda has a good mix of strategic and tactical topics including discussions about transformation, sales effectiveness, what’s working in mobile, how print directories fit in the product mix, the Hispanic market and a lot more.

On Day 2, we just added Jason Finger, CEO of CityGrid and Dan Levy, Director, Small Business, at Facebook where he is responsible for sales, marketing, and service for the millions of small businesses who use Facebook to connect with their customers and grow their businesses.   He’s going to talk about the new Facebook’s “Nearby” feature that has captured a lot of press recently.  We expect he will share insight into some of the recent updates to Nearby as well as plans for future updates such as the addition of information from third-party services.

Facebook’s Nearby combines the social elements of Facebook with its geo-location services by allowing users to find local spots that friends have checked into or “liked” such as restaurants or other local stores and businesses. In addition to social information, users are provided with addresses, contact info and hours of operation for these local businesses. Facebook also goes a step further by tapping into the hugely successful online reviews space with features that allow users to rate and review local businesses and recommend them to friends.

Prior to Facebook, Dan started his own marketing business – Justarrive, and spent seven years at PayPal.

 YPT:  You really are pulling in some big digital players for speakers.

Norton:   It’s a good mix of key players across the local search space.  Greg Sterling is working with us on the agenda and he’s helped tremendously with the content and is also participating as a speaker.

YPT:  What are you expecting in the way of attendance at the event?

Norton:  Our internal goal is 500. We’re cautiously optimistic as we are actually ahead of pace in registrations from where we were in prior conferences, and we’re also doing well on sponsorships, but there are still several sponsorship positions available. It’s a great way for people to have their businesses featured at the event. People can call Terri Stabnick at 248.244.0743 or email her at terri.stabnick@localsearchassociation.org to find out more.

 YPT:  In a time of tight corporate travel budgets, why should people want to attend this event?

Norton:  We try to present an event that has strong content so people can come learn from others who are doing interesting, creative things. We also have a lot of opportunities for people to network, to get to know others in the industry better. And of course, it’s Vegas so there’s always an opportunity to have a little bit of fun.

 YPT:  Is there any discounted pricing for the conference still being offered?

Norton:  Yes.  If people register by February 13th they can receive the Early Bird rate, which is $200 off the full registration price.

 YPT:  Are you still planning to do the Strategic Exchange Sessions?

Norton:   Most definitely.  And if people sign up today for a Strategic Exchange Session (SES) sponsorship, they also get one full registration to the conference on the house! But they have to hurry. The sessions are where attendees can meet and discuss strategic opportunities with the industry’s key partners and suppliers.  We have sold out sponsorships for the sessions at our last couple of conferences.

Sunday’s agenda starts with our annual golf tournament, the Strategic Exchange Sessions, and in the evening the Industry Excellence Awards ceremony.  Just a reminder for your readers that the Industry Excellence Awards, which showcase the industry’s most creative marketing ideas, plans and communication tools, creativity, know-how and implementation compare to the competition are still open for submissions until February 8.   (For past winners, categories and more, click here!)

YPT:  What can we expect to be different this year?

Norton:  This year you might expect to see a lot of new faces in the crowd, people from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yelp, and other heavy hitters from the online space.  In addition, we plan to feature start-ups with new products/services during the Lightning Round session.  We started this last year and people really liked it!

YPT:  What can we expect to hear in your presentation?

Norton:  Good question. I’ll have to start thinking about this! Obviously, I am going to talk about the marketplace changes and how the LSA is evolving to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our members. We had a lot of success this year and we want to make sure we keep the momentum going we earned this year.

We are really looking forward to seeing everyone in Las Vegas at the Planet Hollywood Casino & Resort!

 

ADP Launches “Power of Yellow” Campaign to Fight A “Virus of Misperception”

In a packed meeting room on Friday in Chicago, the Association of Publishers rolled out a new multi-phase effort entitled the Power of Yellow™ , to increase the factual understanding of advertisers, consumers, and the press about the continuing value of print Yellow Pages, and to immunize the industry against the “virus of misperception” that it believes it threatening the industry today.

The genesis of the campaign comes from a desire on the part by independent publishers to initiate a “Got Milk”-grass roots style of campaign for the Yellow Pages industry.  Larry Angove, President of ADP, indicated that earlier efforts to work with the former Yellow Pages Publishers Association (YPPA) on a campaign were rebuffed.

This is the first coordinated industry marketing effort since the mid-90’s when the then named Yellow Pages Publishers Association (YPPA), tried a light bulb and the tagline in the “Get an idea”

Unable to achieve any significant traction with the new branding (traction that could be verified through higher sales) the “Get an Idea” campaign was abandoned two years later.

This new, multi-faceted program general first-phase components are being provided to all ADP members at no cost, and include templated adds that can used in a range of media

  • Phased Media Releases
  • Television Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Print Media Ads
  • Newspaper Op-Ed Articles
  • Magazine Feature Articles
  • Directory Filler Ads
  • Sales Presentation Video
  • Coordinated Sales Collateral

Support for the effort also includes:

  • Placement Guidelines and Schedules
  • Offensive Talking Points
  • Defensive talking Points
  • Advertiser Testimonials
  • Data Source Documentation

A unique feature of this new program is the inclusion of four of the industry’s leading research experts to “star” in a series of 30-second television and 30-second radio spots proclaiming the Power of Yellow™ which publishers can then add their own product information to for local release.  Featured in the spots are:

  1. Dr. Dennis Fromholzer, President, CRM Associates
  2. David Goddard, EVP, IMS Local Search Authority
  3. Paul Gordon, Vice President & General Manager, Catalyst Paper USA
  4. Steve Sitton, President & CEO, Market Authority, Inc.

In presentations at the kickoff event, each of these industry experts noted key aspects of the factual arguments this effort will present:

Dr. Dennis Fromholzer:  “….the value of a lead from print yellow pages is 25X more valuable than a click to an online ad”

David Goddard:  “….people where saying print was dead 10 years ago.  We project the print/digital revenue mix will not reach 50/50 until 2018 at the earliest…”

Paul Gordon:  “…the reality is the industry isn’t knocking down trees solely to make paper for its products”

Steve Sitton:  “…print is not dying on schedule as many said it would.  Our research has found that the migration to digital is slowing.  That’s a very inconvenient truth”

At YP Talk, we have long advocated that the industry needs to begin to confront its many critics about print.  As far back as 2005, we made several calls to action (here, and here are just two examples).  As Goddard noted at the kickoff, if the Seattle and San Francisco opt-out ordinances had held up, they could have resulted in a $500+ million hit to the industry.   In June, we advocated that the industry reconsider the use of the iconic walking fingers in its local marketing efforts (June article here).  As a result, we are ecstatic to see this new initiative from ADP and will be supporting it fully as it rolls out.

As Sitton noted at the kickoff, it’s time to stop this “virus of misinformation”.  Amen.  But the industry needs your support.  Do we have it??

BIA/Kelsey SMB Kicks Off Busy Fall Conference Schedule

We are entering a busy industry conference season starting next week with the BIA/Kelsey SMB Digital Marketing 2012 conference, which takes place Sept. 17-19, in Chicago.
 Time is running short to join the digital marketing community, which is gathering to discuss the incredible SMB marketing opportunity for media, commerce, and engagement solutions. As of this point BIA/Kelsey has assembled an impressive lineup of nearly 50 speakers from across the SMB digital marketing space, including keynoters from Demandforce/Intuit, Constant Contact, Dex One, Facebook, Groupon and ReachLocal and featured speakers from Google/Wildfire, Deluxe, Yelp, Angie’s List, Belly, and many more.

YP Talk is looking forward to a conference program which is designed to provide valuable takeaways with topics that include local sales strategies, merchant outreach, SMB engagement/promotions, local search, social media and mobile strategies.   This conference historically offers the rare opportunity to meet with leaders in the SMB digital marketing solutions space.  Organizers are expecting more than 400 senior executives from over 150 companies at the conference.  To see the current list of companies attending go to: http://www.biakelsey.com/SMBDigital/companies.asp.

Save some money:  LinkedIn members who are also BIA/Kelsey group members can receive an additional $200 off the registration price by using the promo code SMBIN when registering.

SIGN UP TODAY. The registration price increases Sept. 17. Register today with promo code SMBIN at for greatest savings.

For a more international flavor, consider attending the 2012 ADPAI Annual Conference in Bangkok on November 5-6, 2012.  This event being run by the Asian Local Search and Media Association (ADPAI) will have major players in the local search and media space for the

The agenda is focused on the regional opportunities arising from the explosive growth that the social, local and mobile spaces have been experiencing in Asia.  We can verify there is a lot of action in Asia as we found in our interview with ADPAI Chairman – Oscar Sousa Marques, the CEO of Directel Macau yellow pages (full interview here).

Session discussions will also include how to re-train and reorganize your sales force so to effectively sell digital media, how to identify and make the most of opportunities that lie in mobile advertising, how regional companies can use social media as a tool for acquiring and maintaining customers, and much more.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Neal Polachek
  • James Sanders, Google
  • Charles Laughlin, BIA/Kelsey
  • Peter Buxton, Yellow Search Today
  • Mattias Wedar, Eniro, Sweden
  • Trevor Nadeau, Turkey Yellow Pages
  • Pavel Dolezal, SEO/SEM/SMM Specialist, Czech Republic

All the information is available online at www.adpai.com including the registration form and the sponsorship packages.

The ADPAI event is then followed by the Yellow Search Today!  Annual Conference which will be held November 14-15, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany.  Peter Ch. Buxton of Buxton Independent Consulting and Jesper Simonsen of J.S. Consulting ApS, who combined more than 30 years of operational and practical experience in the directory markets of Europe, have changed the events focus somewhat to the broad market of operators offering online, digital and mobile advertising services to the small and medium–sized business.

This event will have a theme of how to drive revenue by effective customer segmentation:

  • Which products do we offer to which  segments?
  • How does segmentation increase the salesperson’s credibility?
  • How do we put segmentation into action?

It is also an event which provides attendees with a great opportunity to meet fellow industry colleagues and develop new relationships.