Thursday, December 16, 2004 - Yellow Pages wins directory war

It looks like the folks at Superpages have realized just how difficult it is to be an independent publisher in the face of serious competition.

I know Roger Abbiss, who runs the Toronto Red Pages, and he's a very scrappy entrepreneur who kept Verizon from establishing the independent foothold.

The bottom line is that if you can't offer a clearly articulated superior value proposition to potential advertisers and users, you can't build a directory business.

I also know the folks from Yellow Pages Group in Canada, and in my opinion, they are some of the sharpest directory publishers. I don't think that Verizon had a prayer against these two.

- Yellow Pages wins directory war
: "Yellow Pages wins directory war
Competitor SuperPages retreats to its western birthplace
500 jobs face axe as company abandons national strategy


SuperPages Canada, publisher of phone directories for Telus Corp., confirmed plans yesterday to abandon its national expansion strategy and close down operations from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia.

The dramatic retreat, which re-establishes a monopoly for rival directory Yellow Pages in Ontario and most of Quebec, will leave 500 people on the cutting board less than two weeks before Christmas.

As reported yesterday in the Star, SuperPages Canada had been struggling to make headway in eastern markets currently dominated by Yellow Pages.

The company said yesterday it will continue to provide a national online directory but will discontinue publication of 32 telephone directories, including phone books for Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Regina, Halifax and Moncton. It will be left with about 95 directories, predominately in B.C. and Alberta.

In southern Ontario alone, SuperPages will be cancelled in 18 cities or regions. In a news release, company president John Millar said the focus now is on core markets in western Canada, as well as eastern Quebec.

The Star attempted to get more explanation of the timing and reasoning behind the restructuring, particularly so close to the holiday season, but Millar refused an interview.

Between 150 and 200 people in the company's Ontario operation, headquartered in Mississauga, were herded into a room yesterday at noon and divisional managers from outside the region broke the news.

In total, the company is axing 38 per cent of its workforce. 'You're talking about a company that really ran without a game plan,' said Dan Perdue, one of those who lost their jobs in the sales department for the Toronto "


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