Google has about 65% of the internet search volume currently, followed by Yahoo! at 15% and Bing at around 9%. Print directories have declined in usage by over 50% in the last 7 years. Consider that the local search “s-curve” began in the late 1990’s. Phone books started getting impacted by internet usage before 2003. The biggest problem with the phone book business was fragmentation or too many options. It took many years for yellow pages companies to experience real competition in small business advertising. The fragmentation that impacted print yellowpages happened much sooner for the internet, and Google quickly put distance on competitors, something telco-based (or spin-off) yellow pages publishers have not been able to do. They are all the same. (Even the SuperGimmick that Superpages copied from ServiceMagic.com was too late.) They are a team of horses pulling in the opposite direction. The yellow page industry has very little direction. Day late and a buck short, if you ask me. Maybe the horses might consider getting back on the same team?
Yellow Pages advertising companies are “real” competition. The yellow pages sales pitch has always been a very cut-throat “I am better than they are sales pitch“.
Internet marketing has more of a “share the knowledge” and wealth approach thanks to affiliates, shared network, shared content, success etc….
What is next for traditional print?