Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chicago Mayor accepts Yellow Pages Directory


Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley and his staff accept copies of the new AT&T Chicago Yellow Pages directory. AT&T distributed 1.2 million copies of the 2006 directory.

Hizzoner was overhear saying, "Well there are at least three Yellow Pages directories that won't be thrown in the Chicago River this year." Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 25, 2006 - Book Shows How to Use Yellow Pages for Firm Advertising - Book Shows How to Use Yellow Pages for Firm Advertising

Here is a review of the late Kerry Randall's second edition on Yellow pages advertising for Lawyers.

The American Bar Association invited me to write the review for the back cover of this book, so I take particular pride in seeing it released.

Kerry Randall, a friend and colleague, passed away from a heart ailment shortly before the book was published.

I like this review because it hones in on the final chapter, which discusses whether or not a lawyer should advertise in the yellow pages.

IF the lawyer decides to advertise in the YP, this book does an excellent job of walking through the process of creating ads that will generate highly qualified leads for the lawyer.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Job Opportunity: VP, Business Development at Voicestar, Inc.

LinkedIn: VP, Business Development at Voicestar, Inc.

Here's an exciting business development position at VoiceStar, a company that has some exciting new technologies in the call measurement, Pay-per-call, and performance based advertising.

If anyone wants to talk turkey about this company, give me a buzz at 760-579-1005.

Dick Larkin

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

MediaPost Publications - Teens Shy Away From Yellow Pages - 03/21/2006

Here's an interesting snippet from Kelsey Group study in advance of their upcoming conference in San Jose.

There is plenty of life in the print directories, but as more information on local businesses is made immediately available online, the major shift will continue.

I understand that retention of Yellow Pages directories (meaning how many households don't pitch the books out) has dropped substantially in the last few years.

Also, an average of five new directories are launched every single month, which further dissects the market for local ad dollars.

As the recent reports from syndicated YP use come out, it is abundantly clear that usage of directories is split between incumbent telco directories and independent directories.

That spells trouble for the paper directories down the road. Declining usage, declining retention, increasing competitors, and the "Internet Menace."

Oh, My!

MediaPost Publications - Teens Shy Away From Yellow Pages - 03/21/2006: "Teens Shy Away From Yellow Pages
by Shankar Gupta, Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 6:00 AM EST
WHEN IT COMES TO FINDING local listings, Baby Boomers and older Gen-Xers still prefer print Yellow Pages to other media, according to data that the Kelsey Group is expected to release next week.

Overall, more than six in 10 consumers--61 percent--of 1,000 adults and 500 teens surveyed last month said they turn to the phone book first when looking for local listings. Just 12.5 percent of that overall group went to search engines first, while 11.8 percent said they turned to directory assistance, and 7 percent reported using online Yellow Pages. But the survey revealed a major divide between younger and older consumers--with just 44 percent of respondents between the ages 18 and 34 favoring print Yellow Pages, compared to 72 percent of respondents between 45 and 54, and 85 percent between 55 and 64. At the same time, only 28 percent of teens said they would turn to print Yellow Pages first, while 47 percent said their first choice would be search engines.

'There's a very clear age factor,' said Kelsey Group analyst Neal Polachek. He added that younger Web users' propensity toward online sources heralds a sea change in the way businesses will be prioritizing their local ad spends in the next several years.

Polachek said that as consumers who are most accustomed to using the Web begin to enter their 30s, when they have more disposable income and are making bigger purchases, so too will businesses in their local advertising. 'All of a sudden, you're looking for schools, you own a house, you're looking for mortgages--big purchase decisions. Those people will never have had the built-in habit of picking up the print Yellow Pages.'"

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fingers do the walking Chicago Sun Times

Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun Times did his annual analysis of the AT&T Yellow Pages which began distribution this week.

Fingers do the walking

So you're digging a pool in the backyard and, darn it, you uncover the ruins of an ancient Mayan temple. What to do? You might phone up Archaeological Research Inc. at 4147 Ravenswood, and ask them to send somebody over with a whisk broom.

You don't have much of a choice -- it's the only company listed under "Archaeologists" in the 2006 AT&T Yellow Pages. The new edition isn't officially out for another couple weeks, but in honor of my Fifth Biennial Review of the Yellow Pages -- time flies, doesn't it? -- they sent me an advance copy.

I suppose the phone book itself is something of an artifact, if not a relic -- you can look up any phone number you need online. But you have to know what you're looking for to find a number online; there isn't the joy of discovery, of wandering through the book's tissuey corn-colored pages.

For instance. Who knew birds were such a problem? But they must be -- nine companies listed under "Bird Barriers, Repellents and Controls," including ABC Advanced Bird Control and Bird-X.

There are also, coincidentally, nine dairies, but only three philosophers.

Oddities abound, like Irene's Unisex at 4425 S. Archer Ave., which is listed under "Bullet-Resistant Equip." Maybe they use a lot of hairspray.

Cantor Fitzgerald is listed 66 times under "Clergy" with 66 different phone numbers. I phoned the first dozen, hoping to find out if it was the investment firm or a rare rabbinic singer with an Irish last name -- but all were disconnected.

The Yellow Pages continue shrinking
-- 1,661 pages this year, not counting all the pages of coupons and maps and assorted froufrou. That's down from 1,750 in 2004 and 1,870 in 2002.

But don't blame lawyers -- they're holding their own: 145 pages of lawyers, down from 167 pages four years ago (for some reason, I ignored lawyers two years ago and didn't count them).

Ignoring them must have taken some doing because a good many of the law ads are the graphic version of standing on a chair and shouting. "NO FEE UNTIL WE WIN" Lane & Lane announces confidently. "We Have Collected Millions of $$$'s For Our Clients" says Charles J. Gale.

Lawyers tend to run lists of the types of woes they represent -- "Dog Bites," "Hit & Run" and the like, and some display a certain cunning. "SKI ACCIDENTS," Cirignani Heller & Harman shouts. "Collisions. Lift Injuries. Equipment Failure. Improper Slope Design."

Improper slope design?

The Yellow Pages can never figure out where to stash its prostitutes: nine pages' worth are under "ESCORTS," but some are hanging around street lamps under "MASSAGE" and "ENTERTAINMENT." They go for vague ads -- the service is, after all, illegal, but with names such as "Dorm Girls" and "Satin Seductions," it isn't difficult to figure out what's going on. Allure Female Escorts shows which credit cards it accepts and promises "Discreet Billing," but I can't imagine that working very well in the average household: "What, honey? This $800 charge for 'services'? That was, umm, the chiropractor."

Most businesses limit themselves to a single ad, but for some reason, the Jade Dragon Tattoo parlor on Belmont Avenue has seven full pages of ads -- more than any other establishment. The tattoo business must be booming.

There's a strange bit of graphic business on the front of the new edition that I want to draw attention to, for cultural historians. On the lower right side, there is a faux computer desktop offering "MAPS" "LINKS" "NEWS" and a little tilted arrow, as if you could click on something. The area is plugging, which I imagine will someday do away with the need for distributing bulky directories.

But not yet. The phone book people claimed that they have been busily updating the book, but I was pleased to see it retain some of its charming anachronisms. Music stores are not listed under "COMPACT DISCS" -- they're listed under "RECORDS." The Berghoff is still at 17 W. Adams in the new book, and I was pleased to find an even more mysterious phantom: a ghost F.W. Woolworth's listed under "VARIETY STORES" at 1134 W. Bryn Mawr. The number rings and rings.

Monday, March 13, 2006

As Local Paid Search Grows, Local Media to Battle Big Search Engines

As Local Paid Search Grows, Local Media to Battle Big Search Engines

This is a nice recap of the Borrell report on Local Search and what 400 experts predict will occur.

It's interesting to note that real estate and mortgage companies currently dominate local search spending. I might point out that those two categories are not particularly large printed YP advertisers. They tend to advertise in media that has much more flexibility.

A while back, I ran through the economics of a real estate professional advertising in the printed YP.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The "verticalization" of Search - Sometimes, a man comes in handy

This article from the Toronto Star discusses several new services that provide pre-screened handyman services.

A company that focuses on a single vertical market can provide much more depth and resource information than a traditional Yellow Pages.

Because they offer better information, the consumers use them heavily.

Because the information is unique and valuable, the search engines rank the sites highly, thus driving more qualified search traffic.

More usage from highly qualified consumers makes these sites highly desirable for advertisers. Dollars shift from the print YP into the vertical directory.

The YP industry must improve the quality and depth of information if it is to succeed in the online world. It is no longer acceptable to be a mile wide and an inch deep.

From personal experience with my wife's vacation rental business, the vertical directories focusing on our target market have been incredible investments.

Our dollars in YP and IYP generated very little in the way of response and nothing that converted into a closed sale.

SES New York 2006 Coverage Recap

SES New York 2006 Coverage Recap

Here is a comprehensive recap of Search Engine Strategies conference that just concluded in NYC.

If you've never been to an SES, it's like drinking from a Firehose of Geek Speak. They pour forth an enormous amount of great information. It's almost worth staying sober. Nah.

Look, search will eventually replace the printed YP as they exist today. Learning how to market your business on the search engines may be the smartest marketing move you ever make.

Better Business Bureau Trademark Violations

BBB Trademark Violations

The Better business Bureau maintains a page showing violations of its trademark.

Often business advertisers will fraudulently include a BBB logo in their Yellow Pages ad layout. Publishers are fairly diligent about verifying this information, but sometimes the BBB revokes membership after the directory has published.

The contest I ran last year to create the best Yellow Pages ad was won by virtue of a designer who included the logo (with my permission) even though it was not part of the original specifications.

Several voters commented that the BBB logo inspired trust in the advertiser.

Moral of the story. If you are relying on the BBB logo in choosing a vendor, check their BBB status before sealing the deal.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Local Onliner » Local Onliner View: AT&T/BellSouth RollUp

The Local Onliner » Local Onliner View: AT&T/BellSouth RollUp

Peter Krasilovsky weighs in with his usual insights into the impac of the AT&T / Bell South roll up.

Is this the end of the YPA? What's Yahoo! to do?

Need a Lawyer?

Need a lawyer
Here's a cute Yellow Pages commercial.

Non-Yellow Pages Marketing


I read this book about a million years ago, and was amazed at Joe Girard's success in sales. Recently, I came across a way to automate Joe's "secret" of contacting everyone he knows at least 13 times each year. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 05, 2006

AT&T Is Said to Be Near Deal for BellSouth - New York Times

AT&T Is Said to Be Near Deal for BellSouth - New York Times

AT&T (the RBOC former known as SBC)is set to purchase BellSouth.

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is a question I poised from the floor of the Kelsey conference when the purchase was announced. Elmer Smith of BellSouth and Denny Payne of SBC congratulated each other on their business acumen.

To the panel on local advertising, I asked this question.

"$100 million for Too much, too little or just about right?"

Most panelists danced around the issue, but Suhkinder Singh Cassidy, who was managing Google's local initiative said that she thought that it was the prelude to the two companies merging.

You Go Girl!

Now, the second thing that comes to mind.

How will this impact the local advertisers?

Gee, assuming that this purchase was not made for the directory business's long-term growth prospects (that's sarcasm, in case you missed it), it should be a matter of months before the combined company announces that they are seeking "Strategic Alternatives" for the directory business.

In other words, they're going to sell off their Yellow Pages business and use the cash to pay down debt.

Since Verizon is also selling their directory business, this could become very interesting indeed.

The acquirers will likely be investment bankers who will take a flamethrower to the company's overhead.

This could be good for advertisers, as the directory publisher must become more competitive to survive.

This will very ugly to folks who may be considered expendable when the cuts come.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

How I created my Link Directory

Zeus Internet Marketing Robot

I lot of people have been asking about my link directory. Well, I can tell you that it has been simply incredible at generating organic web traffic to the YP commando web site.

On average, I receive between 250 and 400 unique visitors EVERY SINGLE DAY as a result of the link directory. Those are leads that I don't pay a nickel to receive.

The software engine that created the directory is incredibly powerful, but it does take some time.

Zeus Internet Marketing Robot

The company that created the software just launched a service that will totally create links directories for sites. They charge $399 which is an absolute steal.

If you need free traffic, Use Zeus. If you don't have the time or inclination to do it yourself, $399 is a fabulous investment in building long term sustainable web site traffic.

How long before the GooglePages are delivered to your door? : When the fingers switch to clicking: "e"

This is an interesting article regarding YPG, the Canadian Yellow Pages giant. CEO Marc Tellier has achieved near rock-star status guiding the directory company to higher levels of growth and profitability.

One line in the article quotes my friend Jean-Pascal Lion, YPG's vice-president of electronic directories in an exchange with Google's founder about purchasing YPG.

A search engine purchasing a Yellow Pages directory company makes so much sense, that it WILL happen. My only question is WHO and WHEN.

Certainly Google and Yahoo will need local sales forces to crack the lucrative market of small business marketing. But don't count out Barry Diller, either. His company IAC already owns a pseudo-directory company in Entertainment Publications, the company that produces those thick "buy one - get one free" coupon books. He also owns CitySearch and

But who is a candidate on the print side? Nearly everyone. The print directories throw off so much cash, that the purchase nearly pays for itself over a few years.

Yellow Pages companies know how to sell local advertising. Search engines know how to distribute local ads to increasing numbers of consumers.

The purchase now of a directory company could spark a directory company buying war between Google and Yahoo as they vie to dominate the local market with sales people.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Boost Yahoo Local Search Results for free

dentist in fremont, ca - Yahoo! Search Results

Here's a quick and easy tip to boost your local business's ranking in Yahoo.

Get some customers to post reviews about your business.

It's that easy. When you have reviews, you get stars next to your business' name, and you appear higher in the local search results.

It's also important to completely fill out your business profile (also free).

To do this, just search for your business in Yahoo Local and follow the links.