Tag Archives: NO PROBLEM

Going Beyond Just Pay per Call – It’s Simply NO PROBLEM

When a publisher considers working with any new technology and a new supplier, there is an expected checklist the supplier needs to navigate through before a relationship can begin.  The checklist has the usual key items of:   is this a product that will help us grow the business (aka – make money), is it something we can implement seamlessly within our business, will the supplier be able to support it, can our sales people sell, will users use it, etc. etc.  During the recent YPA industry conference, we came across a new Pay-Per-Action provider that passes all of those tests and a whole lot more, appropriately named NO PROBLEM.

You can follow NO PROBLEM several ways: 

First, a short primer on Pay-Per-Action.  As the Yellow Page industry has introduced a range of new digital products, to help speed adaptation an equally wide range of unique revenue models are being used which go beyond traditional fixed pricing.   As a result, there are several different methods of pay for action
available in the market today.

The first variation to come to market is where the consumer types their phone number in an online or mobile request bubble, and the system provides that phone number to a service provider, via text, fax or email, so that they can call the consumer back.

There is also Click to Call, which a consumer clicks on an advertisers phone number and their computer will then phone that number to make the connection between the consumer’s computer and the service provider’s phone.

Now there is the NO PROBLEM Pay-Per-Action model, which encompasses all of the above and so much more.  NO PROBLEM offers a full end-to-end platform, which makes it unique to start.  It’s not just a one product offering company, such as click to call, call tracking and reporting or pay per call.  NO PROBLEM offers them all, built into a unique platform that offers both a publisher and advertiser portal in which to manage, monitor and track all activity.   And, the NO PROBLEM platform offers a very unique feature which enables consumers to:

  • Request that multiple service providers call them for their specific
    service need (rather than having to dial multiple sources and hope to find someone who can do the type of job they are in need of).
  • Then, the system initiates calls out to all available advertisers (who
    have indicated the type of jobs they are willing to do, the geographic region they’ll work, the hours there are ready to work, and when they are available to speak on the phone) – and
  • When the advertiser answers, the system relays to them (by converting the consumer’s text to speech) what the job requires, and requests that they place a bid in order to win the right to speak to the consumer.
  • Depending on how many service providers the consumer requested, that number of advertisers will sequentially be called back, congratulated that they won, and be told to press 1 to be connected to the consumer.
  • While this happens, the consumers’ computer screen will flash with the names and information about the service providers who are about to call them, and gives the consumer an opportunity to search the advertisers’ mini website to learn more.

Another important component to Pay per Call is the ability for software to track,
record and bill for the calls.  In addition to providing this, NO PROBLEM also offers analytics that enables both the publishers and advertisers to understand their ROIs and systems to prevent advertisers from having to pay for bad calls.
For online directories, Pay-Per-Call is now really NO PROBLEM.

To get an even deeper understand of this new product we talked with Daniel Shaked, the CEO of NO PROBLEM:

***********************

YPT:  The Pay-for-Performance model is not a new one to the Yellow Pages industry in North America.  Why is NO PROBLEM’s different??

DANIEL SHAKED:  First, NO PROBLEM was started over 5 years
ago in Israel to verify that a 100% pay per call on-line directory
provider/publisher model does work.  As an on-line directory, it has been working for 5+ years with great success. The average revenue per unique visitor is running $3 to $5.  It’s actually been so successful that we recently completed a deal with Golden Pages to basically have them take over our site in Israel, and implement as their own.

Second, we feel some others out there have some of our services, but they don’t have the complete end-to-end package like we do.     Some offer just call tracking and monitoring, another provides virtual numbers and some even have click to call, but we offer a comprehension solution with all the back office and with all these features plus the ability for the advertisers to self onboard the publishers portal.  As a result we’ve had great success all over the world and are now talking with publishers in North America.

And lastly our technology is a cloud based, SAS platform – a full end to end
platform.  That’s what really makes us unique.

We’re not just call tracking, we’re not just a quick to call feature – you name it we do it.  It’s everything from call tracking, to billing, to monitoring, to recording, to providing a monitoring, to providing all of the analytics.  And it’s
priced as a truly per-action product.

YPT:  That would make NO PROBLEM a publisher, which
has now transformed itself to a technology company working with (selling) to other publishers?

DANIEL SHAKEDYes and no.  At our core, we are a best-in-class technology company with a management team that comes from the software industry and has worked with many innovative high tech companies. Our management team
has over 110 years combined of business experience across a wide range of
technology companies such as AMDOCs, Dassault Systems, Xerox, and Proctor & Gamble.  Most have engineering degrees.

We became a publisher of sorts when we moved our concept into a beta site to
experience firsthand what publishers needed and wanted.  Now with that 5 years of actual experience we have as an online publisher, we have a development
team that understands this business and is bringing some very creative
opportunities to publishers in North America

YPT:  Other than Israel, where else do you have this capability running?

DANIEL SHAKED:  We are currently operational in Poland with
Zumi, with the application embedded in their IYP for about a month now.   Telelistas in Brazil has gone live.  In the middle of May, we’re going live with
Heist and Sutter, 2 big German publishers, and MTT in Hungary.  Also the Baltics have just implemented and should be live shortly.  We are about to
go live in Canada in May with Go2 Pages.

The race now is to see which publisher in the US wants to be the first one.

YPT:  So now for a publisher to be able to implement the full capabilities, this requires space on the Publisher IYP
Page?  Talk about the footprint required.

DANIEL SHAKED:  It’s very simple and straight forward.  And I don’t want to get too technical but publishers need to know the only potential real constraint could be in the telephony used (in developing countries only), not our technology.

YPT:  What other areas are most publishers asking for additional support in?

DANIEL SHAKED:  Mostly it’s been in how their sales team
should sell this product to their advertisers.   We are in the process right now of developing a sample sales script.  We don’t think it’s actually a hard sell
because the advertiser gets to choose how much they want to pay, when they want to receive leads, what types of leads they receive, etc….  And, from the advertisers perspective, until they start to receive real leads for their business it’s not costing them anything.  What business wouldn’t want to pay for real leads?

YPT: What do you recommend that publishers do to promote this new feature to users?

DANIEL SHAKED:  We suggest they post the widget with a small
text box on the screen to indicate “this is new, have Plumbers (or whatever
service provider you’re wanting) call you!”  The big thing the publishers need to communicate with users is “stop having to dial around” in hopes of finding the service available when you want them, for the job you want, in the area you are located.  Instead, just type your phone number in and we’ll have the number of service providers that you wish to hear from call you.  Only those companies that are ready and prepared to do the kind of job you want them to do, when you want them to do it, in the area you want them to do it will contact you.  It’s a huge benefit to consumers.

YPT: Take me through how a typical Pay-Per-Action transaction works for the advertiser?

DANIEL SHAKED:  Initially the advertiser gets to decide how much they want to pay for a call, when they want to receive calls, what type of jobs they are prepared to accept.  So, the who, what, when, where and why is all determined by the advertiser.   If they’re not available or not interested in certain types of service requests, they won’t get the calls.

Next, the advertiser has to decide how much they are willing to pay to get calls.  From our experience, we know an advertiser will pay on average about 5% of the perceived value of the job to accept the call.  As an example, if the job is worth
about $1000, they’ll usually bid about $50.   If the job is worth $100, they’ll will usually bid $5.  We know that because an advertiser is willing to spend on average about 15% of their profit on marketing and they will win the business on average 1 out of every 3 calls.

Here is a link to a short video describing the process:

YPT:  So if the consumer wants to hear from three businesses, do you stagger the calls or is it possible that all 3 advertisers could call the consumer at the same time?

DANIEL SHAKED:  No, it’s one after the other.  The highest bidder would be called first.  When that phone call is finished, the second one will then be called when the consumer hits “1” to be connected to the second advertiser, and so on with the third advertiser when the second call is finished.  The three winners are being notified simultaneously, but they are still called one at a time.

YPT:  Does this new product require a lot of additional support on the publishers end?

DANIEL SHAKED:  Once it’s fully implemented, it shouldn’t.  It does take a couple of days to implement, with our team working directly with the publisher team.  But after that, we found in our Israel based publishing experience that we needed only one additional person to help advertisers get themselves on boarded, and to then handle advertiser customer support  issues (e.g. rebates, concerns, etc.).  Depending on the size of the publishers’ support staff, these items could even be handled in their customer service team.

YPT:  How do you support the publishers in the sales training segment?

DANIEL SHAKED:  We are going to be adding a “business implementation” person, not a technology person for the North American markets.  This is someone that will work initially with the publishers at kick-off’s and sales events, helping support the sales process until the publishers are comfortable with the whole on boarding process.

YPT:  Do you have thoughts on how the publishers should position this product in their mix? 

DANIEL SHAKED:   It could be done several ways.  You can have an advertiser that is already purchasing advertising at a certain level, and add pay per action as an add-on feature to their existing program.  If they get calls off their virtual numbers or they participate in the multiple call back bidding process, they would then pay additionally for those calls.  This also makes a great
standalone product for those who are not presently buying print advertising.  Once again, they would just be paying for it on a pay per call basis.   It could be a great introductory product for non-advertisers – there is no risk or cost until they receive a call so they have complete control over how much they will be paying for any job leads.

YPT:  Are you getting any interest from the national channel here in North America, CMR’s that have franchise clients?

DANIEL SHAKED:  Yes we’ve been talking to CMR’s and we’re finding huge interest because they’ve got advertisers already who are keen to do pay-per-call and are looking for more publishers who will provide that type of product.  They love what we have to offer because they like to see their customers be able to take advantage of the technology.  The only issue is the online widget needs to be installed on the publishers IYP site, which is not something they control.

YPT:  Tell us how the revenues are split with the publisher.  Say a bid of $50 has been won by an advertiser – how does that work?

DANIEL SHAKED:  The pay-per-call result is billed to the
advertiser by the publisher, and then they pay us a revenue  share.

YPT:  How can publishers reach you to find out more?

DANIEL SHAKED:  They can call our Sales Team.  In North America,
contact Julius Meaux at (214)284-4228 or email at julius@noproblemppc.com.  Outside North America, contact Yosh Sagie at 972-54-643-2613 or email at yoshs@noproblemppc.com.   Of course, they can also go to our website
to find out more – www.noproblemppc.com.

YPA Conference Summary

At a time when a significant number of the industry’s top publishers are struggling financially, a slew of municipalities are pushing required opt-on/opt-out legislation for the printed products, and a substantial economic downturn/weak recovery has small businesses keeping a tight grip on their advertising expenditures, one would expect the annual industry conference from the Yellow Pages Association to be a somber gathering with lots of doom and gloom.  Yet, that wasn’t the case at the April 15th – 19th event held in Las Vegas.  It was certainly not an overly exuberant crowd of about 375 attendees, but one that overall was more optimistic than those who attended last year’s event.

Association Name Change

First, the association has made a bold move to rebrand itself as the “Local Search Association,” Association President Neg Norton indicated that the name change has been under consideration for some time and that “no one on the board [of Directors] thought we should keep doing what we are doing.” The association’s press release noted that:

The Local Search Association represents the best local search marketers in the world. We will continue to serve our long-time Yellow Pages members as well as the ever-expanding universe of companies that connect local buyers and sellers through digital advertising, social networking and mobile platforms.  

The obvious question is whether the name change is purely cosmetic, or does it truly represent a real shift in the association’s mission, and why.  The association is rumored to be after some name players such as Microsoft and Google.  The association’s press release provided some other insights on the name change: 

In the past decade, our industry has evolved from a coalition of companies that publish print directories into a collective group of integrated local search hubs – both in print and online. Because we’re expanding on our original mission of serving Yellow Pages publishers, the Local Search Association is pleased to have these new members – CityGrid, MerchEngine, Kudzu, Telnic Limited, Kenshoo, Thrive Analytics, deCarta, dotMobi, VendAsta Technologies and NO PROBLEM, because they face many of the same opportunities and challenges as our traditional member base.

Given that recent association research indicated that while nearly 70% of US adults still use the printed version of the Yellow Pages directories on a regular basis, the Internet and fast growing mobile web are certainly drawing increased usage. As a result, the association thought the time had come for a re-focusing of sorts that presents the Yellow Pages as more than just print and a readily available online local search tool.

Joe Walsh, the President/CEO of Yellow Book, and now the new association board chairman (who would have thought that would have happened just 5 years ago) commented that “our new brand reflects the transformation of Yellow Pages companies into integrated marketing and local search solutions providers, and better positions us to attract new members.”

Marc Tellier – YPG – “At the apex of transformation”

Among other notable presentations at the conference, one of particular interest was a discussion with Yellow Pages Group CEO Marc Tellier.  He said the “the next three years will bring more change for the Yellow Pages industry than the past three.”  Given the rocky performance of the industry during this extended economic downturn, such a predication was sure to make more than a few attendees uncomfortable.  Other comments from Tellier included:

  • That small/midsize businesses (SMB’s) are an “overwhelmed and underserved” group.
  • When he started some ten plus years ago, 51% of sales force contacts were premise/face to face. Today, that has increased to 76%
  • Based on the full suite of products YPG is selling, the potential market for YPG in Canada is four times that of just the traditional Yellow Pages market
  • The CMR segment needs to consolidate. Leading CMRs have “invested in research and product knowledge, while small CMR shops often do not.”  (The recent implosion of the largest CMR – TMP, was a hot topic in the hallways at the conference)
  • Investment is critical, that YPG has been more aggressive than other directory organizations. And bucking the trend of many publishers, that outsourcing is not his preferred route.

Neg Norton – Association President – A busy time at Association

In Norton’s presentation, he provided a number of compelling stats on changes in the local advertising marketplace:

  • Mobile advertising will grow from 15% of the online advertising market to more than 60% in 2015 (Borrell Associates).
  • Nearly half of SMBs report using Facebook for their business (BIA/Kelsey research), and another 19% use Twitter.
  • Social networking sites now account for more than one-third of all online display ad impressions according to Comscore.
  • More than a third of SMBs increased their use of links and ads on social media sites over the past year, and nearly half planned further increases over the next year
  • And when you add all of that up, of most importance to the industry — 56% of small businesses who will spend on search or social media advertising in 2011 will need help with some aspect of the campaigns (American Express)

No one can deny the statistics Norton covered on the growing use of mobile products:

  • GPS capable handsets grew 16% year over year and now represent 73% of total US mobile users.
  • Smart phones grew 54% and now reflect 28% of total US mobile users.
  • Nearly 70 million people in the U.S. owned smart phones in February 2011 an increase of 13% from the preceding 3 month period.

While these are alarming changes, Norton noted that all of these changes represent a tremendous growth opportunity for the industry.  Norton also provided a status on the usage of Yellow Pages:

  • In 2010, print and internet yellow pages together generated 16.6 billion searches versus 16.9 billion in 2009, a reduction of less than 2%  
  • Print Yellow Pages usage declined 8% from 12 to 11 billion in 2010
  • IYP searches increased 15% to 5.6 billion.
  • The average IYP searcher conducted 4.9 searches during December 2010, a 12% increase from a year earlier

New Board of Directors:

The conference also brought the election of a new board of directors for the Association.  Elected publisher representatives include:   

  • Peter McDonald, SuperMedia
  • Scott Brubaker, Berry
  • Jose Gutierrez, AT&T
  • Alfred Mockett, Dex One
  • Joe Walsh, Yellowbook.
  • Marc Tellier, Yellow Pages Group – International Director

CMR representatives are:

  • Chris Cummings, Marquette Group
  • Norm Hagarty, DAC Group
  • Sharon Sweeney, Fairway Group  
  • Kathleen Decaire-Aden, SMG Directory Marketing

Bill Dinan of Telmetrics is the Associates board representative.

Environment:

Environmental issues continue to be a big item on the Associations agenda.  Norton talked more about efforts in San Francisco, to stop new opt-in legislation.  The Association was joined in a unique coalition fighting effort by groups such as Valley Yellow Pages, AT&T, Seccion Amarilla, the IBEW labor union, The Utility Reform Network, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, ADP association, Chinese Yellow Pages, Rainbow Pages, and other local consumer advocate and business groups.

 Norton highlighted industry successes in recycling rates.  Last year, according to the EPA, directory recycling rates improved from 22% to 35%.   This represents a dramatic shift in both source reduction and recycling rates. 

In our next article, we will cover presentations from other speakers, what we found at the conference from the industry suppliers, and those companies recognized in the annual Industry Excellence Awards.  Stay tuned.