• http://CopelandSearchMarketing.com Mike Mueller

    I totally agree with you, Chris, although I’m a little less optimistic than you that YPs can get their act together. I worked for one of the big ones as a search engine marketing manager in my home state. Simply put—their focus is on cutting costs, not innovation. Of course, they will tell you differently, but there is widespread panic behind closed doors. The print product acted as a cash cow and helped float the rest of the company. Breaking up is hard to do.

    The other challenge is the sales force. The company can innovate all it wants, but a traditional, print-oriented (and unionized) sales force that doesn’t embrace the internet spells trouble for any YP that’s trying to turn the corner.

  • http://corp.lawgical.com Trent Carlyle

    They YP’s seem to have already been relegated to B player at best when it comes to online. They are one of those other places where you should be if you want a complete online local presence. Superpages is doing some interesting things with their marketing and branding and content, but no real innovation. I’d love to see someone from this space step up, but for now Google, Yelp and the niche directories are the future. If the yellow pages call, I’m hanging up but now I have Yelp and Google calling and I want to hear more. Wonder how many people at the YPs remember the good ol days?

  • OscarSMarques

    The actual YP culture is the problem. We should embrace change, re-train our sales force, launch new online, mobile and print (still alive and kicking in some markets!) products that better serve our customers but never only act as a commissioner for other companies’ products such as Google. If we chose this path, our margins will be eroded and we will disappear or be sold in multiple pieces in less than 2 years.

  • LostInNewYork

    OscarSMarques, above, is dead on right… I completely agree.

    Mr. Mueller, on the other hand, is obviously totally out of the loop and has no clue what he’s talking about…

    “The other challenge is the sales force. The company can innovate all it wants, but a traditional, print-oriented (and unionized) sales force that doesn’t embrace the internet spells trouble for any YP that’s trying to turn the corner.”

    Where do I start with this? First of all, “unionized”? Really? Do you have any idea of the policies that are enfored on sales reps in some YP companies today? Policies that the so-called union is powerless to stop? I am in YP sales, and let me tell you, the union is useless to stop any of the nonsense currently going on. I mean, a sales force union? Ridiculous. Second, the sales reps are hardly the biggest “challenge” facing the YP industry today. They are in fact the best thing YP has going for them. By a lot. It’s the YP companies inability or refusal to care one iota about the reps and their concerns, nor the customers on the street, that is driving the industry to ruin.

    How dare you blame YP problems on the sales force? Why are the most ignorant people always the first to speak about things they know nothing about?

  • http://www.tyloon.com/ tylooner

    ‘the future of the yellow pages’ was discussed back in 2006, http://www.kelseygroup.com/ddc2006/index.asp, at that event I’ve share my opinion with many attendees from many companies. the yps jumped from the printed version to the online version, but then what? I’ve told them they were sitting in a goldmine, database! turn that database into SEO, add a website builder, add multilingual features (including the SEO), add tools (shopping cart, invoice system, business card system, w/site templates, etc.)…2 b continue…(I’m working, b back)