Saturday, June 23, 2007

This makes me feel better

If you're having a tough day, just watch this.

Bad Day..It Could Be Worse - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Goog in the Hood

Google LatLong: Neighborhood Search Capability

Google's targeting has recently been expanded to include neighborhood search in 50 cities around the US. (Sorry Canada).

In a few years, this will be so standard, that we'll reminisce about our quaint blog posts on the subject.

All politics is local. More importantly, all plumbing is local.

The easier it is for consumers to find local information online or via mobile devices, the greater jeopardy faces traditional media.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This Blog Has Moved

please update your settings.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This Blog Has Moved

I've moved this blog to a new blog account.

You can get it at

Friday, December 29, 2006

Verizon (oops, I mean Idearc) Strong Book Growth?

I received the following email today from a contact back east. Can anyone with inside information shed some light on this?

Hi Dick,

When I heard your webcast the other month about the growing internet "yellow" pages I thought for sure the next Verizon book would be thinner than last years. It sure seemed like everyone was piking the end of the yellow pages in the mp3. To my surprise the Verizon book 49% larger...that's right 49% larger than last years.

Last year's yellow pages (Verizon in Lancaster, PA) was 509 pages. This year's yellow pages are 757 pages! Whoa! (The book arrived on my door step today.)

I can't believe how many advertisers upped their full page ads to 2 full pages. I also can't believe how many lawyers grabbed 4 full page ads (instead of 2 pages).

Since you're an industry insider did Verizon run some kind of special to get all these companies to buy bigger ads? Or is Lancaster, PA just 10 years behind the times (I used to live in L.A. and when i moved here a few years sure felt like I've moved back in time) and don't know any better...that they should be putting all their bucks into internet advertising? Searching for a plumber online locally is a fruitless effort.

Wishing you the best of health.

Vic K

Saturday, December 02, 2006

10 Secrets to Turbo-Charge your Yellow Pages Advertising

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Pacific Standard Time

Join author, Jeffrey Hauser in a Small Business Commandos exclusive online seminar.

Jeff is the author of "Inside the Yellow Pages", a brand new "tell-all" book that rips open the Yellow Pages publishers' veil of secrecy so that advertisers can have take full advantage of the Yellow Pages benefits.

In this totally free presentation, he will reveal 10 Insider Secrets for the first time ever.

Most Yellow Pages sales reps follow the "strategy du jour" without necessarily putting the advertiser's interest first. (This is a generalization, I'm sure there are some sales reps that put the advertiser's needs first. You can spot those reps, because they're on skateboards because their cars have been repossessed.)

Jeff will reveal . . .

  • When should you decrease your ad size and put the money into color?

  • How can you know exactly how well you ad is performing and use that information to negotiate a better rate?

  • What is the single most important element in a Yellow Pages ad? (blow this, and kiss your customers good-bye.)

Plus, we'll analyze 3 ads sent in by readers and identify the fatal flaws that are costing the business owner big bucks.

There is no charge for this on-line seminar. Register here:

If you want to get the most out of this webinar, buy Jeff's eBook. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lessons from The "Real Numbers of Local Search" Webinar

(clockwise from upper left: Jeremy Owens, Miramar
Automotive; Steve Dennen, comScore; Peter
Krasilovsky, Krasilovsky Consulting; Dick Larkin,
Small Business Commandos)

There were some important lessons in the Real
Numbers of Local Search Webinar that I'd like to share.

Lesson 1: Don't give up your print Yellow Pages

When Internet measurement guru
, Steve Dennen
recommended that local advertisers not abandon their
print Yellow Pages, you could have knocked me over
with a bucket of linguine.

That is assuming of course, that
you were
holding a bucket of linguine, in which case I probably
wouldn't have been standing close enough for you to
hit me with it.
Still, 60% of local
occur in the print world (for now).

While the shift to Internet is dramatic,
print is still viable in many markets.

Don't wait too long to advertise online,

because all indications show local web search
surpassing print as early as next year and being
totally dominant in three short years.

The lesson here
is to advertise where you get
results regardless of the medium. That may be
common sense, but it sure ain't common practice.

Lesson 2: Local Search leads directly to offline

ComScore found that most
people made contact and
purchased from local merchants after searching for
local information online. Does this surprise
Restaurants are one of the top
local web
searches, and last time I checked, restaurants
generally require you to show up in order to get food.

However, I recently ate
a pizza that
tasted suspiciously like it had been emailed to me.
That's a topic for another newsletter.

Lesson 3: Internet Yellow Pages have the best

This makes me smile because
I spent nearly a
decade building Internet Yellow Pages. IYPs have
better customers that the search engines because
they have richer local information (and the person
searching an IYP has already searched Google or
Yahoo and is searching deeper).

Here, real life matched
comScore's research.
Jeremy Owens of Miramar Automotive said that the
customers coming from Internet Yellow Pages spend
more than customers coming from other advertising
sources. People searching on an Internet Yellow
Pages are further along the buying cycle.

The downside is that
the traffic on IYPs is a
fraction of the major search engines. You gotta do
both to get quantity and quality.

Lesson 4: Local markets vary widely.

ComScore found that there
were significant
regional differences in local search traffic. To
advertise effectively, ask your customers where they
search online. The local Yellow Pages publishers'
sites are strongest where they have print directories.

Peter Krasilovsky reminded
advertisers to
consider their local newspaper sites. Those sites
often have the highest local traffic and they have
very loyal customer bases.
Missed the Webinar? Listen again, and again, and again

Ringing Up Book
Lots of folks asked for the recording, and
this is the only way to get it. Plus, you'll have a
permanent recording of the audio and video of the entire

When you order the DVD, I'll throw in an MP3
download of the audio file so that you can listen in
your hot tub. I'll even include the slides for your
viewing and bathing pleasure.

If you order before November 15, you'll save
$20 Sorry, no extensions.
Order the DVD and MP3 and save $20

Monday, October 09, 2006

Internet Yellow Pages experiencing strong growth

Here's an interesting article regarding the growth of Internet Yellow Pages sites.

I am often asked about the importance of advertising on the IYPs.

Here are my basic rules for IYP advertising.

1. Make sure you are at the top of the list for your primary search terms in your service area. Internet Yellow Pages are linear in nature, meaning that users start at the top and work their way down. They also tend to be much more structured than typical one box search engines.

If you can't afford to be in the top 3 search results, don't waste your money.

2. Users of IYP sites tend to be further along the buying cycle. So a click or an impression on an IYP is inherently more valuable than that of typical web search.

Pay more, get more.

Here's the article from Clickz

Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) searches grew 46 percent in the past year, which means a 43 percent local search increase across the Web. A two-part series on local search from comScore Networks details local search behavior as well usage of Internet Yellow Pages and directory listings.

In July, 68 million Internet users in the U.S. conducted searches at IYP sites. These searchs represent a 46 percent increase over the same month last year. Yahoo sites grabbed 23.9 percent of directory searches; Verizon SuperPages served 20.1 percent; and Google Sites held 12.5 percent.

Top Eight Internet Yellow Page Searches by Site, July 2006
SiteTotal Yellow Pages Searches (%)
Total Internet100.0
Yahoo Sites23.9
Verizon SuperPages20.1
Google Sites12.5
Time Warner Network7.7
InfoSpace Network5.1
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: comScore, 2006

Across the Web, about 109 million U.S. Internet users conducted local searches in July. That's about 63 percent of the U.S. online population. Local search, including searches conducted on sites serving local interests and also IYP sites, saw a 43 percent increase over July of 2005.

Google sites garnered 29.8 percent of U.S. searches; Yahoo sites served 29.2 percent; Microsoft sites saw 12.3 percent of local searches; and Time Warner properties, including AOL, got 7.1 percent of search traffic.

Forty-one percent of local searches were conducted for users' home area. Of those searches, 59 percent were to locate a restaurant or an entertainment-related establishment such as a theater, theme park or sightseeing attraction. Just over half (52 percent) searched for a phone number or address. Forty-one percent searched for a local service in their home area like a car rental office, dry cleaner, or lawyer.

ComScore data are taken from a global panel of more than 2 million consumers. The research firm obtains explicit permission to confidentially capture the browsing and transaction behavior, including on- and offline purchasing.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Zig vs. Zag

At the Kelsey Group's Directory Driven Commerce 2006 conference this week in Los Angeles, Seig Fisher, CEO and founder of Valley Yellow Pages articulated his company's strategy to the chagrin of the technorati in the audience.

See, Seig is old school. When I say old school, I mean one-room school house with a stern school marm teaching the three R's using a coal-oil lamp.

Valley Yellow Pages (which is one of the largest independent Yellow Pages publishers in the US) has a unique Internet strategy. They ignore the Internet and focus solely on their print directory business.

When every other publisher has tried at least one internet product set, Valley sticks ink on dead trees.

AT&T, Valley's largest competitor, paid roughly $100 million for the domain name Meanwhile, Valley's print books grow year after year and the profits roll in.

While I don't find this strategy particularly exciting or leading edge, it makes money. Loads of money.

The print strategy will probably not carry Seig for the next two decades, but by that time, a company with an Internet strategy will have paid through the nose for the deep market penetration that Valley has achieved.

See, it's all about picking a strategy and sticking to it.

That is one of the toughest business strategies of all.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

33 Random Observations About Business

This has nothing to do with local online advertising or Yellow Pages. However, when I received my friend, Matt Michel's Comanche Newsletter, I felt that this was something worth passing on to you.

Matt has compiled 33 observations on business. There is an awful lot of truth in this list.

Make it a wonderful day.

1. More businesses close from a lack of cash than a lack of profits. Cash is king.

2. Sales covers up a lot of inefficiencies. Strong sales buys time to fix most problems.

3. Most hiring mistakes are mistakes of rushing to fill immediate need. Be slow to hire.

4. Conflict is inevitable. Politics is not. Someone with time for politics does not have enough to do.

5. People usually live up to your expectations. Do you expect a little or a lot?

6. The lowest bidder is usually the bidder with the most oversights.

7. Overnight success takes years to achieve.

8. The more successful you become, the more you will be copied and criticized. No one resents a failure.

9. If you think everyone is out to get you and act like it, they soon will be.

10. People usually charge what they believe they’re worth. Service contractors need more self esteem.

11. Simple is superior.

12. The worst thing a company can do to its customers is fail to survive.

13. The second worst thing a company can do to its customers fail to charge enough to serve customers well.

14. Some people are simply not employable. They’re called small business owners.

15. The workload always expands to fill the office staff’s available hours. Focus on what’s important.

16. Act fast. Think faster… Think first.

17. Don’t fix your weaknesses. Hire people who are strong where you’re weak. Play to your strengths.

18. The only person you can safely make fun of, is yourself.

19. When a willing buyer agrees to a price asked by a willing seller, the price is perfect.

20. Your integrity can never be taken from you. People don’t “lose” their integrity, they give it away.

21. Some things are black and white. Some things are right and wrong. Some people do not care. Avoid them.

22. When someone goes out of his way proclaiming his honesty, wonder why.

23. Salespeople put the company first by putting the customer first.

24. Managers put the customer first by putting employees first. It’s impossible for front line employees to treat customers better than management treats them.

25. Good coaches accept blame for losses, while refusing credit for victories. Credit goes to the team.

26. The purpose of a businesses is to increase owner wealth. Businesses accomplish this by getting and keeping customers.

27. Success begins with the first step. Get moving.

28. Incompetence and indifference are bigger problems than corruption.

29. Mistakes are the tuition of experience from the school of hard knocks. Avoid remedial education.

30. The customer is not always right, but is always the customer. Treat the customer like he’s right, even when he’s wrong.

31. A company’s self inflicted damage usually exceeds the impact of competition.

32. Customers care about their problems, not yours. Focus on theirs and keep yours to yourself.

33. Implementation is everything.

© 2006 Matt Michel