News is that SuperMedia, the company that prints the Verizon Yellow Pages, is planning to discontinue publishing the Greater Dallas Yellow Pages after 2012. The reason for doing so is declined usage and very high costs to print and distribute.
The decline of yellow pages is not news to consumers, but tell that to the folks buying and selling the ads and you will get mixed opinions.
The companies are laying off headcount to save expenses, while investors are seeing -20% year over year decline in ad sales and little results since Google moved Marissa Mayer to Local Search User Experence years ago.
The big companies that are buying the big ads want you the smaller business to think that it generates a nice profit.
It only helps them squeeze you more, just like big PPC bids.
One of my clients actually said that he believes he breaks even on his ads but hoped they made his competitors keep spending to keep up.
For most small companies generating a profit is a challenge. The smallest margin is significant. Money wasted on ads that do not perform have a bigger impact on the smaller operations than the companies with the double double truck plus size ads.
So, how much has usage if the yellow pages really declined?
More than 55%. The costs of the ads just took a little bit longer to come down the same. They still haven’t.
Might be why big banks and hedge fund guys like Paulson own stake in them, shorting the stock and playing the same game they did with home mortgages and derivatives.
The decrease in print distribution has even taken longer. In urban areas less than 20% of people will use the yellow pages for a local search. Mobile search via Google is the new phone book. You will see less and less big bulky books soon. SuperMedia and AT&T will begin focusing on rural market books once again. Day late if you ask me.
I expect SuperMedia to discontinue publishing other Metro area books as well as decrease distribution.
I do not expect them to share these new distribution or opt out of delivery numbers any time soon.
Btw, we are offering mobile sites that include a nice commission for my former media consultant coworkers.
Hammerle Finley used to spend big bucks on phone book ads. They are the small town general practice firm who made others spend big bucks. Hammerle probably doesn’t feel the same about what became of GTE Yellow Pages from the 90’s.
They are David to Goliath if you ask me.