Tag Archives: hibu

Yellow Page News Briefs – March

This regular monthly article provides a snapshot of recent Yellow Page industry news you may have missed……

Industry Recycling News:

YP.com and The Swashbucklers of SouthWest Louisiana
The 2013 telephone directory recycling campaign kicked off in Southwest Louisiana at the opening season game for the indoor football Louisiana Swashbucklers recently. The game was dedicated to “Team Green of Southwest Louisiana” and sponsored by YP – The Real Yellow Pages. It marked the official launch of the recycling campaign which began with the delivery of the 2013 yellow page telephone books. The 2013 cover of the edition of the YP Real Yellow pages features the Louisiana Swashbucklers and local fan favorite, wide receiver Sammy Knight.

The Swashbucklers game was dedicated to the promoting and creating awareness of the importance of recycling and the protection of the environment and Southwest Louisiana natural resources. “The Louisiana Swashbucklers are proud to be associated with Team Green of Southwest Louisiana and YP “The real yellow pages” stated Chris Meaux President and General Manager of the team. We encourage all of our fans to recycle their old phone books when they receive their 2013 copy of the Real Yellow Pages”.

This was the second annual season opener dedicated to Team Green. (Source)

Farmington Recycling Program Expands
Yellow Pages recycling for those residents not on the Town’s trash/recycle pickup is now located at the Staple House parking lot (next to the Main Library) in a small dumpster. It will no longer be at the ATT Building on Main Street (Route 10). (Source)

Elementary Schools kick off Phone Book Recycling Event
ALBANY, GA: New phone books are starting to show up and that means it’s time to toss out the old ones.

Today kicks off a competition between Dougherty County Elementary Schools to collect the most books to recycle. (Source)

Yellow Pages Group Reminds Winnipeg Residents of Directory Opt-Out Program
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA: As Yellow Pages Group (YPG), a leading multimedia and marketing solutions company, continues to expand and grow its digital media offerings, the company is committed to providing people with choice around its traditional print directory offerings. Winnipeg residents who prefer not to receive the print directory can remove their address from the delivery list by completing the form at ypg.com/delivery or by calling 1 800 268-5637. (Source)

Phone books recycling – City of Fargo
Fargo residents are encouraged to recycle old phone books by taking them to recycling drop off sites. Phone book recycling containers are in place at several locations and will remain available through April 26, 2013. Only phone books with glued bindings will be accepted…. (Source)

Industry Conferences:

EADP conference in June
The European Association of Directory Publishers (EADP) in cooperation with the European and German Search, Directory and Database association and will have its next conference in Berlin on June 10-11, 2013. You can now register on the EASDP Conference site.

This year’s conference will have a theme of “Using the creative chaos of speed and innovation”. All information, program, exhibitors, speakers, and online registration are available on the EADP site. (Source)

Yellow Pages in the News

Dex One fighting delisting
Dex One Corporation (NYSE: DEXO) has received notice from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) that it was not in compliance with the NYSE listing standard in Section 802.01B of the Listed Company Manual which requires the company to maintain an average global market capitalization over a consecutive 30 trading day period of not less than $100 million.

The company notified the Exchange that it will appeal the decision and file a formal request shortly. During the appeal process, the company anticipates DEXO shares will continue to trade on the NYSE. Until a determination is made the company’s trading symbol will bear the “BC” indicator until it is either delisted or is compliant with the NYSE’s listing standards.

Publishers Dex One and SuperMedia File for Bankruptcy
Publishers Dex One Corp and SuperMedia have both filed for bankruptcy in a pre-packaged effort following the approval from a majority of the company’s senior secured lenders to change a credit agreement, clearing the way for their planned merger. Dex One and SuperMedia agreed last year to combine their businesses, with Dex One shareholders expected to own about 60 percent and SuperMedia shareholders the rest of the combined company (Source)

The deck chairs get shuffled at Hibu
Yellow Pages publisher Hibu it had fired its two top US senior managers over speculation that they were plotting a buyout of the US based operation. Hibu chief executive, Mike Pocock  told staff members that Jim McCusker, US president, and Mark Cairns, chief publishing officer, had been “dismissed” after “a thorough investigation into conduct by them that the company considered to be disloyal and against the interests of its employees and other stakeholders”. (Source)

Changing of the Guard at Yellow Media
Marc Tellier, the CEO of Yellow Media, is leaving as the company battles thru weak print revenues and a slow acceptance to the company’s digital products. Yellow Media Ltd. (TSX:Y) announced it is looking for a replacement for Marc Tellier, who has been president and chief executive of the company and its predecessors since October 2001.

“We thank Marc for his leadership and many years of devoted service to Yellow Pages Group and his agreement to remain in order to assist in effecting a smooth transition,” board chairman Robert MacLellan said in a company statement. (Source)

Oops. Wrong cover on South Bend phone book
SOUTH BEND, Ind.: Residents in the South Bend area got quite a surprise when they picked up the newest edition of the Yellowbook. The cover is completely wrong. “I opened it up and I looked at the cover and I realized that’s not our county.” (Source)

Other news:

Ohio, Minn. governors float advertising tax proposals
It isn’t the first time we’ve seen this act before, but two U.S. governors are proposing state taxes on business services, including advertising, threatening revenue streams for local broadcasters, publishers and outdoor-display owners. Both Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, and Gov. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., are considering as part of their budgets for 2014 plans to reduce state sales taxes. “It’s still early in the process, but anytime these issues show up, we have to take it seriously,” says Keith Scarborough, the Association of National Advertisers’ senior vice president for government relations. (Source)

Some humor from France – Paper is Not Dead? 

Not Yellow Pages specific, but even if you don’t speak French, I think you’ll get the point of the paper/paperless humor: http://vimeo.com/61275290

People – March

It has been a while since we updated our regular blog sponsored by Hawthorne Executive Search .   It is all about people in the Yellow Pages industry. If you have news you want to share about someone that is involved in the Yellow Pages industry (including retirees) that we should all know about, drop us a line and tell us how they are doing. Send your submissions to ken@yptalk.com.

Cindi Aldrich

The Association of Directory Publishers (ADP) Board has announced that Cindi Aldrich, has been named President-elect of the 115 year-old trade association, effective immediately.

Aldrich will succeed Larry Angove, who has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association since 1997. Angove will officially retire on June 30 of this year.

Angove will continue in his current position through the conclusion of the 2013 – ADP Annual Convention and Partners Trade Show in St. Augustine, Florida on May 2.  The following day, Aldrich will assume full executive responsibility for the operations of the Association. Angove will continue to assist the leadership transition as President Emeritus until he retires.

President-elect Aldrich may be contacted at cindi.aldrich@adp.org or 248.705 4770.

Jim McCusker & Mark Cairns:

Hibu has announced that Jim McCusker,US president, and Mark Cairns, chief publishing officer, had been “dismissed” after “a thorough investigation into conduct by them that the company considered to be disloyal and against the interests of its employees and other stakeholders”.

Hibu has declined all public comment on reports that McCusker and Cairns were trying to buy out the US business from the struggling publisher.

Tyler Best:

YP.com has recently named Tyler Best as its first Chief Information Officer.

Best was  recently was chief technology officer at Ally Financial. Prior, he was CIO at Vanguard Car Rental.

“Tyler’s leadership is important to ensure we have the infrastructure to support YP’s rapidly growing digital and mobile advertising business that relies on technology as a key enabler of the company,” said YP CEO David Krantz, said in a company issued statement. “As we accelerate our effort in helping local businesses and communities grow, it is critical that we, as a new company, build a solid technology foundation to support our team and everything they do.”

David Hawthorne:

It is with great sadness that SuperMedia reported the passing of David E. Hawthorne, a member of the company’s Board of Directors since 2009, on Friday, January 18, at the age of 62.

Board Chairman Doug Wheat commented that “David was a colleague and friend to many of us.  He was a valued member of the Board of Directors, and we will miss his spirit and insights.”

Hawthorne had served on several committees of the SuperMedia board, including the Compensation Committee and Audit Committee. He had led Hawthorne Management LLC since 2005, a firm that develops, owns, and operates commercial real estate in central Florida. He previously served as a consultant to Friedman’s Inc., assisting the jewelry retailer in investigating operating and financial issues. From 2001 to 2003, Hawthorne was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lodgian, Inc., an independent hotel owner and operator.

Hawthorne was a consultant for FTI Consulting, Inc. from 2000 to 2001, during which time he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Restructuring Officer of Tower Records, Inc. Hawthorne also served as the acting Chief Executive Officer of Premier Cruise Lines, the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Alliance Entertainment Corporation, and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Servico Hotels and Resorts, Inc.

 

Mike Fordyce

Mike Fordyce joined JiWire, San Francisco, as chief executive, assuming duties from David Staas, who had served as interim president and chief executive since March; Mr. Staas, who had been senior vice president for marketing, has now been promoted to president. Mr. Fordyce had most recently been senior vice president for business development, publisher products and strategic partnership management at YP.com.

Craig Swanson

We are also sorry to report that Craig Swanson passed away unexpectedly on November 7th at the age of 47.  Craig was senior vice president at KDA Group.  Prior to KDA, he held senior-level positions at Wahlstrom.

Dex One and SuperMedia to Merge

Well, the long rumored merger of Dex One and SuperMedia is now real as plans to merge were formally released this morning.  The combined entity will be called “Dex Media” and will have approximately $3.1 billion in revenue (based on 2011 results).

Peter McDonald, the current CEO of SuperMedia will lead the merged operation.  Dex One CEO Alfred Mockett will step down at the completion of the merger, which is expected in the fourth quarter.

For the industry, this is the type of merger which had been expected for some time.  It really was only a matter of which companies, and who would finance the move.  As a result the U.S. Yellow Pages market will have three big players, YP Holdings (the old AT&T), the new combined Dex Media, and Yellowbook/now Hibu. Beyond these leaders, industry analysts such as BIA/Kelsey believe that further merger activity will coming from companies such as No. 4 sized Berry, as publishers look for the most efficient, sustainable platform in the rush to move from an all traditional print to a blended print/digital business.  It is a little like speed dating – better find your partner before the music stops.  Logic tells you that the pace of mergers should pick up now as others rush to find those partners.  The band is getting a little weary.

For the employees of the two merged companies, you would have to expect more layoffs in operations and staff positions after the merger is completed.

For the Local Search Association, this provides more challenges as they have lost a major dues paying member.

This merger should add some more excitement to the upcoming BIA/Kelsey – SMB Digital Marketing 2012 Conference which will be held 9/17-9/19 in Chicago (link to conference information).  Dex’s Mockett was scheduled to be one of the conferences keynote speakers.  Won’t that be an interesting presentation…..

On a lighter note, does this mean the new marketing campaign will have the Dex Knows nerd wearing a cape????

Can you “hibu”?

Yell/YellowBook has recently announced it will rebrand as “hibu”, (pending the approval of its shareholders in July) in an effort to be more identified as a service provider to SMBs that goes beyond just traditional print Yellow Pages.  A study using 165 cases of company rebranding  found that no matter whether a rebranding comes from a change in corporate strategy (e.g., M&A) or constitutes an actual marketing strategy (change the corporate reputation), the effort aims at enhancing, regaining, transferring, and/or repositioning the corporate brand equity.

Such a radical name change like this certainly raises the issue of whether Yellow Page publishers need new brands to attract (and retain) new users. Company rebranding is a tricky game – remember the “new” Coke?  Some other recent examples include the company we all love to hate; cable-television and Internet conglomerate Comcast, a name synonymous with poor customer service and overcharging which in February 2010, began marketing its Internet video services under the new name, Xfinity, leaving customers to wonder what exactly the name meant. As a writer for Time magazine quipped, “Will the name change work? Probably not, but at least it’ll sound a bit edgier when you’re put on hold … with Xfinity.”

Another example would be The Gap.  In October 2010, the clothing retailer Gap abandoned it’s long standing logo consisting of a blue box with “GAP” written in white inside, for a slightly altered new version described by Marka Hansen, Gap’s president for North America, as a “…journey to make Gap more relevant to our customers.” Apparently, the customers didn’t share his view, and following a tide wave of online criticism/outrage, the company did an about-face within a week.Unique company or product names, by themselves, may not have any actual meaing to begin with. But if backed by a strong, successful branding campaign, they can come to signify whatever the companies want them to mean.  Case in point — AFLAC, a large international insurer but hardly a household name until the last few years, is now well recognized using a duck as a key spokesperson and promoter.

The success of any rebranding is more tied to the level of advertising needed to create an image around the name.  “I don’t think the name of a company is hugely important in the long run,” suggests professor David Schmittlein. He adds that even fabricated names are “real names” in the sense that “they are pronounceable words. I think of them as largely empty vessels – reliable and durable empty vessels that can be filled up with positive associations.”

The Yellow Page industry is no different.  This name change for Yell follows several recent publisher branding changes, made in order to separate the company from the “baggage” of the print Yellow Pages label as they pursue new digital products. Hence, we’ve seen names like Idearc, ZipLocal, LocalEdge, Sensis, Truvo, and Eniro.

A primary case study could be made the creation of Verizon Communications, which was formed in June, 2000, following the merger of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp. The genesis of the unique company name came from the Latin word “veritas” meaning truth, combined with the word “horizon”, all to project something more forward-looking and visionary. The Verizon symbol was also selected because it uses the two letters of the Verizon logo that graphically portrayed speed.  (Source)

In making this change, Verizon, beyond having a huge advertising budget to promote the change, had several other branding advantages working in its favor:

  • A huge fleet of telephone company vehicles driving around the market each and every day (aka – rolling billboards)
  • As a public utility, numerous daily articles and stories in which the public was reminded of the name change  (as in free publicity)
  • A growing cellular presence which helped push the name even more quickly, even in areas where they were not the incumbent telephone provider.

Yell/Hibu is certainly handicapped in the transition without these supporting efforts.  The question for Yell/Hibu is whether its shift in branding, which accentuates its move to new digital products, can be accomplished in time.  Yell has been undergoing a radical transformation since its leadership changed in 2011 with the retirement of John Condron. Current CEO Mike Pocock is trying to shift the business from just a directory publisher to a provider of a complete range of local advertising and e-marketing services.

With a nagging debt load which contributed to a GBP 1.4 billion loss for the year and prompted the company to retain Goldman Sachs and Greenhill to help it build a new capital structure, can the company amass a big enough budget to truly promote and implement the name change?

Ironic isn’t it though that the funding for this name change for Yell Group is actually coming from the very core print products they seemed to be in such a hurray to distance themselves from (print is 71.3% of Yell revenue,  78.1% for YellowBook – per the newly renamed Goddard Report).

Certainly, the future isn’t what it use to be….