Video: Future of Phone Books w/ Verizon YP’s Ex CMO Sandra Crawford Williamson, Yellow Pages Opt Out Info

March 4, 2011

http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/special_report/future-of-phonebooks-030111

Future of Phonebooks?: MyFoxDC.com

We don’t want to “stop an institution.” We won’t to stop waste. For those that do not use your product, they should not have to opt out. Why do yellow pages companies choose not to evolve and ignore the sentiment of people who state they no longer want to receive the product.
The comment from the D.C. area reporter about the SuperGuarantee was wrong as well, she stated that “you won’t find that deal on the internet,” actually she should have done her homework. The first company to offer a $500 dollar guarantee was ServiceMagic.com with the ServiceGuarantee. ServiceMagic is owned by IAC, which includes CitySearch.com and many other sites (see below). The former CitySearch CEO Briggs Ferguson, who later became the Internet President of SuperMedia and SuperPages.com, copied the idea for the SuperGuarantee from ServiceMagic.

I appreciate the comment about them not following opt out. I recently received a book at my home from a few publishers after also opting out. Too bad the gal didn’t speak English when she came to my home the next day to pick up the book after my complaint. I apologized for her trouble, but I really wanted to opt out so I wouldn’t get the waste. I no longer have a green recycle-bin at my home.

IAC owns several companies and websites, among these are:

Ask.com
Bloglines
Chemistry.com
Citysearch
BustedTees
CollegeHumor
The Daily Beast
Excite
GarageGames
Insider Pages
InstantAction
iWon
Life123
Match.com
MyWay Searchbar
Okcupid
Pronto.com
Reference.com
ServiceMagic
Shoebuy.com
Urbanspoon
Very Short List
Vimeo
Zwinky

http://www.myfoxdc.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=7885

Future of Phonebooks?: MyFoxDC.com


Another prediction about yellow pages….

June 7, 2010

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?”


Why a Google future is so important to small business owners vs yellow pages ads. Search/Mobile/TV?

March 20, 2010

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?

Read the rest of this entry »


Poll: Tax for the Cost of Yellow Pages Disposal? | via The Deets

December 17, 2009

Should Yellow Pages publisher’s pay a tax for the cost of disposal of the waste the industry creates? What impact could future government legislation have on the print yellow pages business? What are local rules regarding distribution and solicitation of unwanted waste?

Millions of Americans want phone books. Millions of other Americans don’t want phone books. Should phone book companies and publishers pay for the costs municipalities pay in order to deal with the solid waste created by the publishers? 

Large Dallas Law Firm Office does not want phone books

McKinney Ave Law Office in Dallas Tx elevator sign regarding phone book delivery

Great discussion. I see an industry that is very susceptible to government regulation. I am sure the industry had lobbyists working with legislature now to protect the future of “saturation distribution” 

Image 

Here is a great discussion by Ed Kohler of TheDeets.com 

Tax for the Cost of Yellow Pages Disposal | The Deets 

Posted using ShareThis


Crony Capitalism vs Main Street Capitalism, Duopolies of Economics and the future of Yellow Pages Advertising.

November 17, 2009

Our American economy, politics, and consumer spending market have all become a duopoly.

A true duopoly is a specific type of oligopoly where only two producers exist in one market. In reality, this definition is generally used where only two firms have dominant control over a market.

The most commonly cited duopoly is that between Visa and MasterCard, who between them control a large proportion of the electronic payment processing market. In 2000 they were the defendants in a US Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit.[1][2] An appeal was upheld in 2004.[3]

Examples where two companies control a large proportion of a market are:

What is most common in all these examples is the fear of competition by the capitalists at the top of these companies.  Regular Americans are not afraid of competition. Competition creates better jobs, better, economics, and better political policy. Competition creates innovation. Google is essentially afraid of it’s competition from Microsoft, Yahoo, and the next greatest internet fad or brand. It is what keeps Google on it’s toes and innovating.

What has contributed to making the above companies successful is creating a duopoly. Duopolies can be very profitable for category leaders. The only thing better for a large company is a monopoly. Take a moment and think of the yellow page advertising industry. For many years the local phone company was the only game in town for local advertisers to reach out to local consumers, essentially a monopoly. In 1984 the AT&T Telephone company was broken up. This essentially created healthy competition in an industry that really did not have competition. It was good for consumers since very few options existed at the time other than printed yellow page phone books, thus creating a duopoly.

Fast forward to the Telecom Act of 1996: It opened up competition and gave consumers more choice. Over the next few years  we saw an increased amount of competition among incumbant and CLEC phone companies in the yellow page advertising industry. No longer did the “phone companies” have a duopoly on the yellow page market. GTE Yellow Pages competed with Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages in the Dallas area market. Then all of a sudden we  saw a few independent phone books pop-up (mostly due to employees of the phone companies leaving and starting yellow page publishing companies with investors who saw the huge profit margins in yellow page advertising sales) over the next few years.

So what really happened to the yellow pages? The birth of the INTERNET. Google. Yahoo. MSN. etc., but most of all……” a huge change in the manner in which consumers find information.” Consider this, the internet has only been around for “Local Search” online since about 1999-2000, that is  just about four years post telecom deregulation.  I can tell you that from 2002-2009 the industry has done very little to compete with Google. While losing business to other forms of advertising media (such as Google and direct mail growth.)

The Yellow Page Duopoly in Media is Over

I witnessed the following questionable practices by executives of major yellow page publishers in order to create new revenues:

  • Dave Bethea at Idearc

and last but not least, what I witnessed first hand:

  • Sporting and Concert Tickets to friends and family vs Clients

Competition is good for all businesses (and in politics.) Competition creates innovation. Competition always offers a better value to consumers in the long run. Competition is bad for Crony Capitalists. Competition could have been good for the yellow pages, but since the Industry apparently disregards the feelings of its end-users by inundating homeowners with yellow page waste, It will eventually become a smaller factor in Local Search. Local search online will continue to outpace printed yellow pages. This is a FACT. The problem for Yellow Pages publishers is that they are not Google. They are not Yahoo. They are not MSN. They are FAR from innovative. They don’t ask the right questions. They do not care about the opinions of those that sale to clients. I was told this first hand.

I would love to conduct a poll among yellow page advertising sales reps about the usage of yellow pages. The company never asked for the information the entire time I was an employee? Why you ask? They don’t want me or 80% of the other 6,000 employees to let them know that we do not use the phone book. This is a fact. I have discussed this very subject with folks in the office while at Idearc Media in Dallas Tx.

Now there is the possibility that I am wrong. Considering that the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has always been the #1 Market for Yellow Pages in the country, I have a feeling that I am correct on my opinions. After almost 10 years at Verizon/Idearc I have come to realize that my employers did not value my opinion or the opinion of sales. Chalk it up to crony capitalism!

Google is currently still a Monopoly in local Search

By the way, be sure to check out the national CMR agency TMP., the largest client for yellow pages companies in the country, on what is happening with phone book usage, advertising rates, and the true value of print yellow pages. You can follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TMPDM. They are doing a great job of distributing “syndicated” research on the trends of Local Search Marketing. Don’t ever rely on the statistics from the industry. Don’t ever trust a “sales rep” who is not accountable for achieving your results.

So what is the real future?

Cheers,

Mike Stewart

POST SCRIPT:

Great video (very long…….) on Duopoly, Capitalism, and Politics…….


EveryCarListed.com from Idearc has my thumbs up. The only future for Idearc..

November 11, 2009

Here is a recent press release many may have missed regarding changes happening at Bankrupt Yellow Pages company Idearc Media.

Before I offer it to you, if you are looking for the latest reviews on Yellow Pages advertising companies visit www.YellowCrooks.com …..

Before I share the most recent press release of Idearc Media’s newly purchased acquisition of EveryCarListed.com.  I ask that you take a second and offer your thoughts on the site from a consumer’s perspective. I am a huge believer in the  “Field of Dreams” quote “You Build It, They Will Come.” The same applies to verticals.  Unfortunately, the antiquated yellow pages industry has been slow to create new verticals but I am already digging what they are doing with video and cars down in Tyler Texas at EveryCarListed.com, a company that Idearc Media (the creators of Superpages.com) has included in its business mix. I hope they leverage the remaining years of revenue from 90% of the company’s business, print yellow pages, and fund more verticals such as EveryCarListed.com. Although I must admit, I do recall the company making the purchase at the time of spin-off from Verizon in the same manner it purchaEven a Blind Squirrel finds a nut once in a while by Dallas Google Guru Mike Stewart on Idearc Mediased Inceptor.com. Timing was great on the purchase and an excellent move by Scott Klein’s team in my opinion. The all video car shopping site is very innovative and forward thinking. I am digging the way the site hunts down pictures and converts the still images into a video. Very cool. Although the video work is terrible to say the least. I would prefer to watch videos if they were live vs just video picture montages.

Let’s see if http://www.EveryCarListed.com catches with consumers!  And then we will soon see if it catches with advertisers. (if the price from what I’ve been told is only $ from $1400.00 per month it might be a great alternative to spending money in printed newspapers for dealerships which has been proven to be a horrible return on investment lately for Car Dealers.

A few weeks prior to leaving the company I had a meeting scheduled with Dave Bethea one of Idearc’s Executive Vice Presidents regarding a few ideas. My Regional Vice President at the time, Janet Bro,  suggested that I meet with him to discuss my ideas on new verticals for the company and some inherent issues with the companies internet product mix. I was unfortunate to have Strep Throat and had to cancel my meeting. Never rescheduled it since my manager at the time expressed his opinion and results from meetings with the executive team at Idearc.

I am crossing my fingers that they take a step towards additional new .com verticals and transition to focusing on a client service .com model vs the sales model the company focuses on. Until you put the right talent in front of your top tier advertisers you will continue to experience churn.

So without further adieu………………..

via  Lisa Vilfordi, Idearc Media, lisa.vilfordi@idearc.com, 972-453-3916

EveryCarListed.comSM, Powered by Superpages.com, Becomes the Only All-Video Car Listing Site and One of the Only Car Listing Sites Providing Free Videos.  Superpages.com launches a new “Cars” tab housing all listings from idearclogo1

EveryCarListed.com

DALLAS – July 21, 2009 – Idearc Media LLC, home to Superpages.com® and publisher of the
Verizon® Yellow Pages, today announced that its Internet site EveryCarListed.com SM has
launched one million vehicle videos on its free automobile listing site. The videos are provided
to each listing for free and by year end, EveryCarListed.com will launch videos to the remaining listings creating the only all-video vehicle listing site in the nation.
The vehicle videos simulate a trip to the dealer by providing consumers a “walk around”
experience while a voice-over describes the car features. View this video of a 2007 Hummer H2. According to comScore, in  November 2008, 146 million Americans viewed 12.7 billion online videos. “Online videos are becoming part of the buying process,” said Briggs Ferguson, Internet President at Idearc Media. “Videos touch consumers’ senses and enhance the buying experience, which in turn provides dealers and for sale by owner listings more quality leads from EveryCarListed.com.”
EveryCarListed.com, which launched in August 2008 and was acquired by Idearc Media in February 2009, has more than 2 million dealership and “For Sale by Owner” listings. Vehicle listings on the site are current and updated daily through EveryCarListed.com’s agreements with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). When inventory changes at local dealerships, the OEM relationship ensures the most up-to-date vehicle information is posted to EveryCarListed.com. Superpages.com features a new “Cars” destination tab at the top of the home page, allowing consumers to shop for vehicles within the site. According to comScore, the Superpages.com network has more than 27 million unique visitors a month and ranks 27th in the top 50 U.S. Web properties.
“With Superpages.com’s traffic and EveryCarListed.com’s content, we are creating a powerful automobile sales arena,” said Ferguson. “These sites will provide a venue for dealers to take advantage of exclusive advertising opportunities that will bring more consumers to their dealerships.” On the EveryCarListed.com site, consumers can search listings by make, model, fuel economy
and many additional preferences. Automobile dealer inventories are listed at a basic service 2 level at no charge to the dealer. The site also offers new vehicles from franchised dealers, and “For Sale by Owner” listings free of charge. The EveryCarListed.com video technology, provided through Digital Motorworks, Inc., is the Liquidus Video Platform. Liquidus offers a unique real-time video capability that ensures vehicle information is always fresh and up-to-the-minute for every dealer and every vehicle.

Certain statements included in this press release and the hyperlinked materials constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect Idearc management’s current views with respect to Idearc’s financial performance and future events with respect to its business and industry in general. Statements regarding Idearc’s exploration of alternatives related to its capital structure are forward-looking statements. Statements that include the words “believe,” “will,” “anticipate,” “foresee,” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Idearc
cautions you not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The following important factors could affect future results and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements: (i) that the bankruptcy filing and the related cases disrupt current plans and operations; (ii) risks that Idearc’s business could suffer
from the loss of key customers, suppliers or personnel during the pendency of the bankruptcy case; (iii) risks that Idearc’s plan of reorganization fails to obtain the requisite approval from the claim holders entitled to vote on the plan; (iv) risks that Idearc will be able to maintain sufficient liquidity for the pendency of the bankruptcy cases; (v) risk that the bankruptcy court rejects Idearc’s plan of reorganization; (vi) limitations on Idearc’s operating and strategic flexibility during the pendency of the bankruptcy cases; (vii) risks related to a long and protracted restructuring; (viii) risks related to Idearc’s declining print revenue, including a reduction in customer spending resulting from the current economic downturn; (ix) changes in Idearc’s competitive position due to the  competition from other yellow pages directories publishers and other traditional and new media and its ability to anticipate or respond to changes in technology and user preferences; (x) declining use of print yellow pages directories; (xi) changes in the availability and cost of paper and other raw materials used to print directories and reliance on third-party printers and distributors; (xii) increased credit risk associated with reliance on small- and medium-sized businesses, in particular in the current economic environment; (xiii) changes in operating performance; (xiv) Idearc’s ability to attract and retain qualified executives; (xv) Idearc’s ability to maintain good relations with its unionized employees; (xvi) changes in U.S. labor, business, political and/or economic
conditions; (xvii) changes in governmental regulations and policies and actions of regulatory bodies; and (xviii) risks associated with Idearc’s obligations under agreements entered into with Verizon in connection with the spin-off. For a discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, see Idearc Inc.’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which you may view at http://www.sec.gov, and in particular, Idearc Inc.’s Annual Report on Form 10-K.
###
About Idearc Media LLC
Idearc Media LLC, a subsidiary of Idearc Inc. (IDARQ.PK), delivers products on multiple
platforms to help consumers find the information they want, wherever they are. Idearc’s multiplatform
of advertising solutions include Verizon® Yellow Pages, Verizon® White Pages,
Verizon® Yellow Pages Companion Directories, FairPoint® Yellow Pages, FairPoint® Yellow
Pages Companion Directories, Superpages.com®, Switchboard.comSM, LocalSearch.comSM,
Superpages MobileSM and SuperpagesDirect™ direct mail products. For more information, visit
http://www.idearc.com.
3
IDAR-G
About EveryCarListed.com
EveryCarListed.com the nation’s largest all video free-listings Web site for automobiles,
designed to contain all new and used vehicles for sale in the U.S. Its business model is like that
of the Yellow Pages, which has a highly utilized model of free listings. Including all dealer
inventories at a basic service level free of charge and allowing all “For Sale by Owner” listings to
be placed for free, EveryCarListed.com creates a powerful automobile marketplace. Millions of
current vehicle listings, updated daily, and agreements with Original Equipment Manufacturers
(OEMs) as well as GM Certified Used Vehicles and other strategic partners, ensure that when
inventory changes at local dealerships, the most up-to-date vehicle information will be posted to
the Web site. For more information visit http://www.EveryCarListed.com/corp.

So what is your opinion of the site? Please give me your feedback and comments on the direction Idearc is taking.