Another prediction about yellow pages….

If the yellow pages publishers don’t consider migrating from a saturation distribution to an opt-in business model, they will no longer be viable for the future.

Consumer’s hate junk mail. They hate waste. They think recycling is cool. They also don’t like spam, pop-ups, or other annoying things… like DIRECT MAIL!

Opt in and privacy is the thing of the future. Just think about what a fuss folks are making about Facebook privacy policies.

The best business models have always been those that embraced and then succeeded via creating an authoritative subscription base. What do you think made folks loyal to newspapers in the old days? What made folks loyal to yellow pages? Well, if you think about it, yellowpages companies used to have subscribers. Folks that ordered a phone and expected to get a book.

Yellow pages companies are all in agreement that 1 in 9 folks actually WANT to get (or OPT IN TO) getting the residential white pages.

SuperMedia Dallas Gallup Usage Study

Now the funny thing is they are trying to make folks think that people actually see white from yellow or yellow from white. To tell you the truth, they think White Pages is Yellow Pages and vice-versa. They don’t distinguish the difference.

The real problem is that they are no longer having to publish (in the case of SuperMedia and AT&T they are actually doing it aggressively to cut costs) white pages in many areas, but are doing nothing to lower advertising rates for the savings to clients.

Keep cutting costs by shipping jobs overseas while customer service goes to shit, saturating folks with books they don’t want, and lying to Wall Street and shareholders….. while having the audacity to pad your own pockets in the process, and watch a company disappear.

Here is to hoping the magazine industry buys the yellow pages. Maybe some sales jobs might be left, vs automating a system to buy ads online, which is the longterm plan for some ***cough/ SuperMedia /cough*** yellow pages companies.

Video killed the Radio Star…. What killed the Yellow Pages? Opt Out Will Kill The Yellow Pages!

Magazines understand the value of mailing something to a SUBSCRIBER cheaper than paying an illegal immigrant $100.00 per day to deliver. They also understand the concept of creating offers and pricing folks WANT to OPT-IN TO.  I never understood why yellow pages companies list things A-Z or why they create a separate category for COUPONS. Shouldn’t COUPONS be with the ADS? I mean, you don’t have the same room as you do with a website. Seriously….

GET A CLUE! Keep drinking the Kool-Aid. I would love to have a debate with Scott Klein, Bill Brewer, Sherry Taylor or the other folks that I “worked for” at Idearc/SuperMedia, obviously they don’t have a clue what clients and consumers think, nor do any of them care.

I am sure you can afford to buy a clue. Considering that they all can afford to go on corporate incentive trips.

Just a suggestion, there are many folks that know how to fix the problem vs putting lipstick on a pig and hoping to sell before the bacon is spoiled! You don’t need to buy a clue to understand this. Expecting to fix a broken company with people that continue to see everything the same way is essentially the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”

Oh, and hey….. “10 Brownie Points” to the first person that can remind me “How many people research online prior to making a purchase?”

4 Responses to Another prediction about yellow pages….

  1. ASSFACE KLEIN says:

    100% of people research online before making a purchase. 0% use the yellowpages.

  2. Mike Stewart says:

    by the way….. have I said it before? Yellow Pages no longer have the controlled access to data…. so Google is eating them up… it is true. Don’t pretend it isn’t. Find more cheese, your cheese was moved.

  3. Don says:

    Dude… your post about Klein’s bonus was very intersting, but then I stumbled on this one…. and it was a waste of my time.

    In this economy people are looking for compelling offers and coupons…. their looking at their mail…. yes, people look at direct mail and the more you send out direct mail the better it works.

    I happen to know it works and my contact at SuperMedia does a terriffic job at helping me set up my campaigns.

    My Verizon Yellow Page advertising does provide a good ROI. No, it’s not as strong as it use to be, but it still works and I get plenty of calls from it (I have a call tracking line so I know exactly how many calls I get). These calls are people that are ready to buy for the most part.

    Fact: The Yellow Pages were reference 12 billion times last year. Its not going away yet! Yellow Page advertising is cheap!!! Compare it to radio, tv, magazines, newspapers, billboards…. Most of which just build brand awareness, and name recognition. It targets someone that knows what they want… they have money in one hand and the phone in the other. Who goes into the yellow pages for fun? Oh right, probably you…

    Why are you such a hater on SuperMedia anyways? I mean you were there for 10 years!!! What took you so long to leave? Cough… fired?

    FYI… the Yellow Pages does not provide a coupon section anymore… (You would think someone that has a dedicated blog about the industry would know what the hell they were talking about) and the reason your not allowed to attach a coupon with your ad is because it would not be fair to the advertiser on the other side of the page paying for space in the book.

    And magazines? Are you serious?????? Let me guess thats your new gig? Yeah sell that ROI buddy.

    Oooh Oooh do I get your brownie points???

    • Mike Stewart says:

      Looking in the mail? More you send out the better? 12 billion times a year… GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN SUPERREP!

      One would have thought THEY (yeah, I can magically read binary code and subnet internet protocol addys) would have had someone with more “insight” (another word for intelligent) make an argument.

      Seriously. Why are you comparing different advertising medias together? Do you understand the difference between creative branding, directional, etc…

      (one would think you would know since it is practically brainwashed in the lyrics like the “product to market overviews” of the past.

      People advertise to create and maintain a brand identity or image, add new sales for products and services, and share information on products and new services. Some folks use direct mail to create buzz about the company or change someone’s opinion about the companies value proposition. As you know, direct mail is a promotional based advertising method that attracts folks at a different state of the buying cycle. Stop comparing your direct mail to the failure of yellow pages (directional media) in an evolving marketplace. Direct mail works for certain companies very well, like Garage Organizing companies. Yellow Pages works for service businesses and things that don’t require as much information.

      Don’t ever think that the Yellow Pages has or ever will have a chance to take market share from other medias with the same approach.
      – Direct Mail offering is overpriced compared to competitors in many cases.
      – Direct Mail is a much much smaller profit margin vs print media.
      – Direct Mail is not equally measurable since you can’t measure brand impression from DM effectively without added cost factors.
      – YellowPages companies have never had a foot in the promotional market. They lost that to Val-Pak, MoneyMailer, Other Mail products, and now ONLINE COUPONS.
      – You don’t put coupons in books. You put promotions. You require clients to become as transparent as you should be with your advertising rates.
      – In order to generate a profit on postcards (considering that they have to offer 12 month financing and can’t get advertisers to pay in full like existing direct mail providers) it would be wise to have a printing press, next to a sorting room, and in the general vicinity of a talented art department. Wonder how well outsourcing ad design to India is going to do for response rates? Seriously!

      Small business owners have not traditionally advertised in radio due to the cost per “impression” and printed newspaper advertising has been declining earlier and even faster than YP. And I don’t have to remind you again that magazines are not directional media (again not taking share from YP.) And all of these are branding to begin with!

      – Phone books are still widely used in Rural Markets. The percentage of usage has not declined as rapidly as urban markets. Rural markets have less options. When you have 5 horses your town doesn’t need 2 blacksmiths. When your town has 500, it might be smart!

      Consumers, like society in general, have evolved. They use to ask the guy behind the counter at the General Store for a referral. Then along came the phone book. In the past phone book companies where essentially phone companies. They had all the data on listings. They were Google before Google existed. They also had a great monopoly on targeting shoppers at the closest point of purchase, ready to call and making a choice of who. Then along comes fragmentation and independent yellow pages publishers. Darn. Duopoly. Time to put your gloves on and fight. Let’s sue about false usage claims. Lets say they suck, we are better. Let’s not work together. Let’s keep raising our rates and blaming it on distribution. Let’s keep allowing non paying clients and sales fraud to drive up the cost of advertising. Let’s muddy the water even more.

      The internet is going to kill print yellow pages because of mobile search. Just as sites like and are losing traffic to geo-targeted mobile browsers and improved local SERPs and relevancy. The reason the internet is better? Well, would you prefer to read a history book or learn history from the world wide web?

      Do you write with a pen or a feather? Do you think you can find out more about a companies employees (such as the folks you are allowing in your home,) from a page in a book or from a website? Which has more content? Which allows the consumer to do what they want, Make the best possible choice based on the most amount of information? If folks (mostly urban) spend so much time on the computer “searching,” (while giving up privacy I might add) do you think they are suddenly going to grab a book?

      Yellow Pages usage has declined 50-60% in most markets. Who did they lose? Educated buyers. Baby boomers are still using the book, but my Great Aunt Mary is now on Facebook. Rural Markets likely are around 40-60% print centric. Urban Markets are around 20-40%. Considering Yellow Pages used to be around 60-80% of directional media references, that is a huge drop. Only the last 7 years. What was the tipping point? In my opinion it was fragmentation, saturation distribution, “bogus” environmental bullying, computer usage increase, and most of all: UNIVERSAL SEARCH. Remember when Overture and Yahoo PPC didn’t have location based ad targeting? Well, that has changed. Remember when Google Maps didn’t show up in SERPS? Things evolve. So must Yellow Pages publishers.

      You don’t evolve with the same management. The same marketing teams. And the same approach.

      My comment about them being purchased by a magazine publisher? Sure. Opt in distribution, cost per action (like pay per click) vs the PAY and PRAY method of advertising in the yellow pages, and measurable marketing will be the future for directional search. It is not flipping pages for limited information, or complaining about getting things at your home or business that you didn’t ask for. If you shrink the book into a hyper-local targeted product with an incentive for subscription (don’t think the SuperGimmick is enough to warrant subscribing to, it takes 6-10 weeks just to get reimbursed on a claim after validation, if not the FRAUD claims would be through the roof and who wants to wait that long?)

      I remember a smart guy that ran the National Direct Response program for Idearc. Needless to say Mr. YellowCrook Klein didn’t feel like this guy was worth the bucks. The guy left and went to AT&T to create a direct response program for them. Great move buddy!

      Have you seen the Entertainment Book? Consider that kind of content, magazine style, with many incentives, and CPA for the client! If you don’t pay for the calls, you don’t get calls. “To Be Connected to This Advertiser Press or Say One” should be the new slogan for YP! Businesses love the value proposition and fairness of CPA (cost per action.) What must they do to transition? Well, the current commission based vs service based sales model wouldn’t work. “Yellow Pages Magazines” would have a shelf life like magazines. Is this good or bad? Well, considering getting a new book (fragmentation) every other month is already training folks to dispose of outdated “books,” it wouldn’t be too tough to transition.

      Is this a bit extreme? Well, it is only logical to think that folks don’t use feathers to write. Keyboards work better. Keyboards and pens don’t make for decent calligraphy. Everything has a purpose. Some people prefer holding a paper vs clicking a mouse. And like fountain pens have replaced a feather and ink, hyper-local thin directories will replace bulky phone books. Otherwise, publishers will have the same fate of tube television companies and Polaroid. Who would have thought folks would want better quality digital pictures? Why wouldn’t you expect people to want more information than a thin piece of paper.

      Fact: Mobile search will revolutionize the accessibility of web browsers. Android, Safari, etc…. Mobile search will own 40% of the total search share. Search is growing. Yellow Pages searches are declining. Not so much in rural as urban.

      btw, People will never use the Yellow Pages for coupons, but they will use magazines and direct mail. Money in one hand. My phone and computer in the other. And even better than that, my phone as a computer! Wow….

      US has the highest internet penetration at 76% of population, ahead of Australia 60%, Europe 53%, than Latin America 31%. Middle East 28%, Asia 20%, and Africa 9%. The World Average is around 26% and growing. Mobile will be the breakthrough. Much less expensive. Smart phones will be as cheap as iPods sooner or later. We can afford it in the US. That is why Vodafone stock is a good buy, they invest in the growing cell phone markets of developing countries. In the year 1990, 12.4 million people worldwide had cellular phones. By 2009, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide reached approximately 4.6 billion. In 2000, 38% of American’s had cell phones, 69% in 2005, and in 2009 the number was 91% of the total U.S. population. Mobile search will change the way we think about phones. No longer are they just communication devices, now they are organizers, planners, information resources, safety devices, garage door openers, cameras, video recorders, televisions, video game devices, and much more.

      Get a clue. The yellow pages, like Bill Gates said a few years back, will be dead in a few years.


      No brownie points for you “Don.” Sorry.

      But I should get one for typing out such a long reply.

      Mike Stewart

      P.S. Working at SuperMedia was a dead end career. Unless I wanted to relocate. My GSM was let go. My boss was termed (he didn’t agree with Klein’s terrible decisions.) My new boss was then riffed. And I made 192 phone calls vs 200, and Bill “Know No Peace” Brewer decided quit sending out the call logs. My job was to make 60 phone calls per day. It wasn’t to help small business owners with print and online marketing. The companies products no longer match the needs to the marketplace. I provide better PPC management for clients than SuperMedia. I have attended more advance training courses for PPC management, conversion optimization, and contextual advertising than 95% of the campaign managers at SuperMedia. I have also studied search engine optimization since around 2002. I started VIS just 2 months out of High School. I was very successful at Idearc as well. When you become embarrassed of your employer (mostly because I did not agree with the decisions of my Texas Sales management team) and your clients no longer receive the value proposition of old, it means is time to leave.

      I understand supply and demand. I also have a great business sense. I also earned 3 President’s Awards while at Verizon/Idearc. I was almost always at the top of the division rankings.

      Now you ask why do I keep beating a dead horse? To keep Scott Klein and his crony executive team from robbing investors and employees with bogus bonuses and fraud. Visit for more info!

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