Yellow Pages Environmental Forum

Let the market decide

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on June 27, 2008
Tags: , ,

One of the arguments that the industry makes to the anti-print Yellow Pages crowd who get so twisted that they receive 6, 7, or more directories a year at their doorstep, is that the marketplace will ultimately decided which products survive and prosper, and which exit the business.

With the unprecedented growth in book publishing over the past few years, outside of a few very small, somewhat dubious publishers, there really haven’t been many cases we could definitively point to where that was true, until yesterday.

Reports from various sources (Kelsey Group, others) indicate that Idearc will cease production of some 28 independent directory titles which amounts to some 7.6 million copies (or about 6% of their total distribution). This will also result in about 200 people being laid-off and several offices being closed.

What brought this about? Current economic conditions certainly where a contributor but the growing volume of Yellow Pages in some markets will just not support the level of small business leads needed to provide the ROI required by advertisers. In effect, too much competition diluted what every publisher could offer to its advertisers.

As a result, the marketplace decided which products should continue and which should leave.


2 Responses to 'Let the market decide'

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  1. Ben said,

    Every time they deliver print yellow pages books in my neighborhood, they sit on the curb until the garbage company collects them. It’s pathetic. We get 2-3 different books. All of them stink and so far I’m just speaking from a consumer’s perspective.

    My company tracks yellow page advertising for about 200 different small to medium sized businesses in markets across the country. In all but the most rural markets, the return on investment is less-than-ideal to horrible. The volume of leads is dropping and the cost per lead is sky rocketing.

    If you own a small business and you’re still using the print YP books or the online variations, make sure you are tracking your results – either on your own or with a company like ours. Don’t use the YP internal tracking methods – those might be “free” but they are heavily biased (duh).


    • KenC said,


      I’m curious on a couple of points:

      1) What is your definition of “less-than-ideal” ROI? Advertisers wouldn’t still be investing in this media if it wasn’t yielding them the results they expect. But are we talking apples or oranges here?

      2) And the poor cost per lead you are claiming, compared to what??

      3) Also not sure what you mean by “YP internal tracking”. Most publisher use dedicated RCF lines where the reports are provided by a third party telecom group.

      Yours claims are are not new ones. But the track record of supposed monitoring companies like yours and their efforts to discredit the results that the Yellow Page industry consistently brings year after year after year for the advertisers, while also “free” are equally biased (duh), especially when you peel back the onion a little see how and what they are supposedly measuring…..

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