Saturday, February 14, 2004

Portsmouth Herald Business News: Phone book advertising big business

Here's an interesting article about a plumber and his experience in the Yellow Pages.

He focuses mostly on Verizon and The Talking Phone Book.

[note: I have the highest respect for White Directories, publishers of The Talking Phone Book because of their devotion to quality. Also, I was VP of Sales and Marketing of one of the companies that became Verizon through a merger. They are a fine outfit as well.]

Here's a cut of the article . . .

"I spend about $9,000 a month on Yellow Page advertising," says Benedict, estimating that up to 80 percent of his advertising budget goes for prominent placement in seven phone books. "But it’s absolutely necessary. In our (local service and repair) industry, we’d be out of business without (Yellow Page ads)."

Still, Benedict admits, it’s not easy keeping track, with the proliferation of such books - put out by traditional telephone companies, such as Verizon, as well as independent publishers.

For example, in the Portsmouth region, there are two major players vying for consumers’ attention. Benedict pays $2,000 monthly for a ¾-page ad in the Verizon SuperPages and $1,000 for a full-page placement in The Talking Phone Book.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Makers of Yellow Pages need to get out more

This article about our industry's idiotic headings structure is classic. Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun Times points out that we need to keep up with the times.

Once again, a good Internet Yellow Pages keeps fine tuning it's synonym engine so that searchers may more readily find what they want.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

So let me get this straight. First these guys create KaZaA, the software that brought the music industry to its knees by allowing people to share music across the internet.

Then they decide, Hmmm. What if telephone calls were free? That'd be pretty cool, huh?

So they designed software that allows people to have high quality voice conversations over the internet anywhere in the world for free.

Jiminy Crickets, it seems like the only big LOSERS in this deal would be the telephone companies. How about that?

So what does this have to do with the Yellow Pages you ask.

Let me explain it thusly . . .

Big telco spends billions laying fiber optics all over the world, because hey, the data is where all the money is, right?

Well, selling high speed internet access nets big telco (or big cable company) exactly $25 per month for unlimited use. (not exactly paying for those fat pipes)

Smarty pants software developers figure out how John Q. Public can spend 99% less on long distance charges by using SKYPE instead of reaching out and touching someone.

Mr. Aggressive Cable Company and Mr. CLEC offer local telephone service further whacking big telco in the knees (or parts slightly north).

So where does big telco make up all that lost money? Who could they possibly squeeze big rate increases from?

Gee, let your fingers do the walking and figure this one out yourself.


Once again, you heard it here first.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Verizon has announced (FINALLY!) that they are cleaning up some of the clutter in their Superpages Internet Yellow Pages.

My understanding is that they are moving toward a pay-per-click model so that they can better maximize their traffic.

The economics of such a move may be very exciting for Verizon management, but difficult for the rank and file salespeople to sell.

In fact, it may make much of the sales force unnecessary after reaching critical mass.

Here's why . . .

In any geography, there are a finite number of searches in any particular category. The placement at the top of those searches is extremely valuable. For example . . . on Overture (Yahoo!), a DUI attorney is willing to pay $33.90 PER CLICK to come up at the top of the list for a search for "Attorney San Diego". He is actually paying "only" $15.21 which is 1 cent more than the second highest bidder.

The market sets the value of the leads, and it's up to Verizon to communicate this to the field. This changes the dynamic of the sales call, because the field force is now selling moving targets as opposed to the static world of print YP.

This should get interesting.

Verizon to launch local ad strategy