Friday, April 29, 2005

Yahoo! Courts Small Business Advertisers With Contest

ClickZ Internet Advertising News: "Yahoo! Courts Small Business Advertisers With Contest"

In an attempt to bring attention to several of its new tools for small businesses, Yahoo! is running a "Think Big" contest.

If you have an innovative business mindset, go check it out. Winner gets buckets of ads on the Yahoo! network.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Find YP to Introduce Yellow Pages Order Delivery System

For those not involved in the YP industry, this is a pretty big deal.

All national yellow pages advertisers must currently place their orders through a tightly controlled system operated by the YPA. It works pretty well, but like anything else, competition is good for fostering innovation and driving costs down.

Hey, would any CMRs like to make some comments? You're the ones being affected most.

YPODS to be integrated with eRates and Data system, providing a cost-effective
national order system for Yellow Pages advertising sales.

VERNON, NJ (April 26, 2005) - Find YP, a provider of innovative solutions for the Yellow Pages industry, today announced plans to launch YPODS, its new Yellow Pages Order Delivery System, later this year.

YPODS will be fully integrated with Find YP’s eRates and Data system, to provide a single point of access to directory rates, information and ordering for Yellow Pages advertising sales.

Find YP recently previewed the system to independent Yellow Pages publishers at the Association of Directory Publishers’ Annual Convention & Partners Trade Show, in Austin, Texas, receiving widespread interest and support.

“The response to our recent launch of eRates and Data has been tremendous,” said Philip Wojcik, president of Find YP. “With the integration of YPODS later this year, CMRs and publishers will finally have a powerful and cost-effective option for directory advertising order management.”

With a built-in smart ordering interface, the system will handle the layout and formatting of orders for certified marketing representatives (CMRs). YPODS is also being designed to handle national orders, for those companies that already have systems in place, exactly as they are now, so that these companies do not need to change the way they do business.

Find YP anticipates releasing a beta version of YPODS this summer for testing and feedback by the publisher and CMR users, with full release planned for Q4 2005.

The pricing model for YPODS that is being implemented, is a flat rate charge based upon number of directories or clients. The pricing structure is expected to reduce annual expenditures for transmission and receipt of national orders by the CMR and publisher communities by a minimum of 50 percent.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Internet Yellow Pages beat search engines

An independent survey conducted by comscore indicated that users of Internet Yellow Pages were much farther along the buying process than users of search engines.

In brief, a lead from an IYP is far more likely to convert to a sale than a lead from a search engine. My personal experiences marketing my wife's business certainly hold that to be true.

The problem facing IYPs is that they all need to increase the amount of traffic they receive.

Search engines have traffic, but it's a much lower quality than the IYP.

In all, this reinforces what I've held all along. Search engines are for searching. IYPs are for buying.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Caution sign for Yellow Pages . . . or isolated blip?

Caution sign for yellow pages: "A new survey shows that more consumers are going to Internet search engines for local shopping information rather than their phone books…"

This survey shows a major drop off in references to the Yellow Pages from October 2003 to February 2005.

The results of this survey are really inconsistent with what we're seeing in the field. We're finding that our advertiser renewal rates are climbing steadily, and YP ads with metered telephone numbers are incredibly strong. It's not scientific, but when business people vote with their dollars, it's a pretty darned good indicator.

It's also important to note that the indications of this survey are inconsistent with various studies by the major publishers and the industry trade associations.

I've been hearing that the sky is falling since 1999, and that the internet would replace the print directories, but that simply hasn't happened.

With the continued improvement in local search and the ever increasing content of local businesses online, it's inevitable that some usage will shift from print to online.

Thirty years ago, the Yellow Pages were filled with retailers such as hardware stores, appliance dealers, and pharmacies. Today, you find very few retailers, but many more service based businesses. Oh, and the print industry is stronger than ever.

I believe that electronic and print directories will coexist for many, many years. They'll evolve, but it's important not to take an isolated study out of context as indicative of an overall direction.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sleeping with the Enemy, or benefiting Advertisers and Users?

Yell cuts local listings deal with Google Messenger | Yahoo! Finance-

Yell, the UK publisher of British Telecom's telephone directories (as well as the owner of Yellowbook USA) agreed to provide telephone directory data for Google's UK local search.

In striking this deal, Yell probably considered the potential cannibalization of its own directory traffic, but then decided it would be better to be part of the new world order than to be fighting it.

It's definitely a boost for Yell's advertisers as they will undoubtedly receive better visibility via Google. The wording of the release indicates that the Yell content is not guaranteed positioning on Google.

All in all, I believe it's a smart move for Yell, Google and Yell's advertisers.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Is Verizon demoting their "SuperPages" brand? - Kelsey

The Kelsey Group

This is a very interesting post by John Kelsey about Verizon branding their new directories as "Verizon Yellow Pages" instead of "Verizon SuperPages."

It's an indication that the consumers really never grasped the concept that there are multiple publishers of telephone directories.

Friday, April 15, 2005

AOL Rolls Out Pay-Per-Call Advertising

AOL Search results for "hotel in san diego"

OK, It's live!

AOL now features Pay-Per-Call advertising from the Ingenio network in it's web search.

It's the first time a major search company has displayed this type of advertising, and personally I'm encouraged by the potential.

I like several thing about it, but most importantly, it allows a business to bypass the fear of "click fraud" because they only pay when their someone calls the specially metered toll free number.

It opens a new measurable advertising medium for small and large businesses around the country.

To read my in-depth article about Pay-Per-Call, go here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

AOL Rolls Out Pay-Per-Call Advertising

MediaPost Publications Home of MediaDailyNews, MEDIA and OMMA Magazines

It's been in the works for a while, but AOL will launch pay-per-call advertising later this week.

Pay-Per-Call is an advancement over the pay-per-click models that have been made popular by Yahoo's Overture and by Google. The major advancement is that it directly connects the shopper and merchant.

A few months back, I wrote an article titled "Why Pay-Per-Call Excites Me" Check it out at

Yahoo! offering free 5 page websites to lure SME advertisers

Web Hosting, Domains, Ecommerce, Email and Marketing Tools from Yahoo! Small Business

Yahoo! Small Business is offering a free 5 page web site to any business. It's the next step in the escalating war to capture the small business advertiser.

Yahoo will undoubtedly gain several new advertisers from the promotion, but I wonder what the quality of site will be.

In my experience, the SME needs to have their marketing / creative development done for them. Free web sites are really nothing new, but it will raise the bar for everyone else seeking advertising revenues from local businesses.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Many Faces of Local

Following is a very insightful article by David Berkowitz published in Media Post regarding IAC's acquisition of Ask Jeeves. Clearly, David understands where this could go for IAC.

LISTENING TO ADVERTISING GURU JACK Myers at an executive briefing event last week, my mind kept racing ahead. Myers gave an energizing presentation where he discussed technologies changing the television business, market opportunities, and the increasing demands for creativity. Before the presentation, someone asked me, "What was InterActiveCorp thinking when acquiring Ask Jeeves?" My first response was honest, but not all that insightful, as I yammered about the high growth potential for search. Then, during the Myers talk, I jotted down the real answer: "Ask Jeeves: Largest Local Search Engine." If IAC CEO Barry Diller makes good on his bet, $2 billion is a small price to pay for a local search powerhouse.

IAC listed four plans for Ask Jeeves in its press release. Three are no-brainers: bolstering with technology, marketing, and research resources; promoting on IAC properties; and integrating IAC properties into Ask Jeeves. Only the remaining bullet offers any sort of vision: "Making Ask Jeeves the search engine with the best local search, content, and merchant information on the Web."

Almost all of IAC's properties pivot around local angles, and those that don't should either be retooled or dropped. Local-focused properties include: Citysearch, Entertainment Publications (which produces the coupon books), Expedia,, HSN,,, and TicketMaster. ZeroDegrees, a struggling social networking site, could relaunch as a way to bring business professionals together. could tie in with the Evite social network to recommend popular gifts by people you're connected to in your area. The word "local" isn't in IAC's mission statement, nor is any synonym, but given IAC's expertise and its dreams for Ask Jeeves, that should change immediately. Barry, are you listening?

Jeeves, the beloved butler, could become the face of local search if Diller invests in it with the same type of fervor in which he bid for Ask Jeeves in the first place. Some readers will be skeptical; this columnist is too. Yet Diller has two assets to exploit: vision and opportunity.

Even if Jeeves does get a swelled head, he'll still be one of many faces in the local crowd. Scanning for the butler in this landscape may well require the same sharp eye one needs to find the titular character in the "Where's Waldo" books. You should get to know the many faces out there - they could be key partners, clients, agents, and distributors.

Now, meet the many faces of local:

Publishers: The Yellow Pages (YP) must be mentioned first. Local search will be standing on YP's shoulders for some time to come. Many Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) companies are positioning themselves as destinations in their own right. Meanwhile, the search engines obviously dominate the search space, so both sides justly command the spotlight.

A key difference between Yellow Pages companies and search engines is who they initially catered to. In simpler times, the Yellow Pages could take distribution for granted and reach out entirely to advertisers. The search engines instead focused on building a mass audience first; monetizing it was almost an afterthought. Many IYPs are adapting, providing more information about their listings so that they're a better resource for consumers. Just as IYPs now ask, "What can we do to provide the most value for consumers?" search engines are asking, "What can we do to provide the most value for advertisers?"

Consumers: There are different types of consumers using local search. There are people searching within their own cities, there are those conducting searches regarding cities they plan to go to, and then there are those on the road. This last group will be well served by developing options on the mobile front.

Advertisers: This includes: independent contractors, family-owned businesses, and businesses servicing very limited geographies; small businesses that process orders from wide areas, such as a florist that can accept national orders; small businesses operating entirely online, such as selling through eBay and paid search, that could benefit from targeting local demographics; mid-sized businesses servicing customers from a broad area, such as a hotel; related enterprises that are part of regional or national chains; and national chains and brands. That's the short version.

Facilitators: This broadest category features: technology players, such as wireless services and specialists in geo-targeting; data aggregators, providers, and verifiers; firms pioneering new advertising models such as pay-per-call; and advertising agencies, media planners and buyers, and search engine marketing agencies. Coming soon, this will expand to include interactive program guides (IPGs) and other TV-based technologies and services as local search becomes device-agnostic.

Thanks go to Tim Williams at Dex Media for looking over an early draft and offering some input. We'll examine some of the players below in greater depth in future editions.

David Berkowitz is director of marketing at icrossing, a search engine marketing agency. He can be reached at

Friday, April 01, 2005

Verizon Faces $5,000 Fine for Each Virginia Directory Error

iWon Money & Investing

Verizon, one of the largest and most respected telephone directory publishers is in hot water in Virginia for the quality of their directories.

This article from Dow Jones, publishers of the Wall Street Journal documents the details.

Isn't it ironic that Verizon recently quadrupled the price they charge for directory assistance at the same time that they're in trouble for publishing inaccurate directories which force callers to dial directory assistance more often?

So many people question the value of the printed telephone directories, but I wonder how they would react if their business was no longer listed in print.