Yellow Pages Environmental Forum

Industry Giant – Andy McKelvey Dies

Posted in Uncategorized by Ken C on November 30, 2008
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Last week the industry lost one of it’s founding giants as Andrew (Andy) J. McKelvey, died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 74.

In the early 1960s, McKelvey decided that advertising was a promising growth industry of the future, and he returned to New York where in 1963, he got a job as an account manager at a Madison Avenue ad agency, handling consumer products like Vaseline Hair Tonic.

In 1967 he borrowed $18,000, some office space, and with one part-time assistant started the Yellow Pages ad agency, called Telephone Marketing Programs (later became known as TMP Worldwide). Through a steady stream of acquisitions the agency became the nation’s largest Yellow Pages national advertising agency with thousands of workers handling nearly a third of the national Yellow Pages ad business.

McKelvey has served as a Member of the Board of Directors of Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association. He served as Directors of the Yellow Pages Publishers Association and the Association of Directory Marketing from 1994 through September 1996.

McKelvey was best known for transforming a fledgling Web site, the Monster Board, into one of the leading online jobsites. McKelvey was skeptical at first that the Web was going to be the future of job searches, but he eventually became convinced, bought Adion in 1995, and the Online Career Center (Monster’s larger rival at the timep) while invested heavily including buying Super Bowl ads that helped make the popular first choice in the growing online job search world.

We’ll have more in an upcoming YP Talk article later this week.  But our condolences go out to his four children and six grandchildren.


18th Annual Phone Book Recycle Program Underway

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on November 25, 2008
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From Reno, NV:

The 18th annual Phone Book Recycling program runs through December 31. Phone books can be recycled at local Scolari’s, Sak ‘N Save and AT&T offices.

For more, go here:

Journalism is what is really becoming extinct

Posted in Editor Picks by Ken C on November 18, 2008
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The Wall Street Journal has long been known for some pretty incisive, well researched articles. Which is why Emily Steel’s “Extinction Threatens Yellow-Pages Publishers” (Media & Marketing, Nov. 17 – subscription may be required) article was such a huge disappointment.

Usually the concept of “journalism” is to research both sides, gather all the facts, and then try to present a somewhat balanced presentation so readers can appreciate both sides and draw their own conclusions. Note that nowhere in that process do you see the concept of injecting your own bias into the article. Ms. Steel apparent missed that day during her reporter training.

Why can I make this claim? In her preliminary efforts Ms. Steel had free access to many of the industry leaders and even went as far as to spend time with them on the phone in gathering her facts for this article. Yet in her one-sided assessment of the overall health of the Yellow Pages industry nowhere do you see any of their comments presented. Instead it’s a simple one way conclusion that print is useless, faces extinction, and the publishers online efforts are for naught.

Since Ms. Steel conveniently skipped the facts, let’s be sure you at least know them.

“The yellow-pages industry is running out of lifelines.” – A great opening designed to sell papers but a conclusion that has no basis for truth. In fact, how is it that she can make the claim that publisher IYP efforts are floundering but then put up a graph which shows substantial growth in the major ones ( and who have seen 46% and 9% growth in unique site visitors in the last year ???

“In recent years, as its customers migrated to the Web — flocking to sites like Google — the telephone-directory business followed, hoping the Internet would be its salvation.” – I can only assume that she missed the fact that no other advertising medium generates new and qualified sales leads as effectively as the Yellow pages.  In 2007, print and online Yellow pages generated over 17 billion look-ups.  But more importantly 90% of those references came from consumers ready to buy goods and services. Not people just browsing, but buyers. Never mind that almost half of those buyers were new customers to the business they chose from those very Yellow Pages products!!!!  Which other medium does Ms. Steel suggest that would produce such a volume of high quality leads??

“Print and online ad spending on yellow pages will plummet 6.3% next year, more than double the rate of decline expected for broadcast TV, according to forecasts by Wachovia analyst John Janedis.” — Heaven forbid I challenge a respected analyst, but in a rapidly slowing economy one of the first moves small businesses will make is to pull back on their advertising spending whether it makes sense or not. Both reporter and analyst ignore the research which shows that Yellow Pages offer an average sales ROI of 33:1 for national advertisers, and nearly 14:1 for local advertisers.  And of course those 3+ million local and national advertisers that do rely on the Yellow Pages to connect with consumers must be ignorant. Why would any business advertise in a media which actually makes the phone ring??

“Facing the real prospect of extinction, the publishers, many of which have considerable debt, have been slashing jobs, scrapping dividends and exiting unprofitable markets.” I guess this reporter hasn’t looked around much because there aren’t many businesses that aren’t doing the same things in this down economy. Let’s deal with the real elephant in the room – because Idearc (IAR) and RH Donnelley (RHD) have received notice from the NYSE about potentially being delisted from the exchange because their stock price is below $1 per share, the assumption that immediately flows is that these companies are about to close their doors, as well as all the other publishers in the industry even if they aren’t publicly traded. The fact is delisting doesn’t necessarily mean that a company is going to go bankrupt. There are plenty of private companies that survive without the benefit of a stock market thank you, and it is not unusual for a company to be delisted and still be profitable. Ironically there are three newspaper stocks that have been delisted by the NYSE this year — GateHouse Media Inc. (one of the nation’s largest publishers of community newspapers), Sun-Times Media Group, and the Journal Register Co., but they still seem to be around.

The NYSE lists 53 companies on its Web site that don’t comply with listing standards, including Rite Aid, Six Flags (amusement park operator), Westwood One Inc., the syndicator of programs to radio stations, and Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, a radio broadcasting company. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, by my quick count some 265 or so companies closed below $1 yesterday, compared with 53 at the end of last year. Nasdaq stocks under $1 yesterday included Sirius XM Radio Inc. and Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc.. Do we think either of these companies is about to become “extinct”???

What you didn’t see in the article is that without question the Yellow Pages industry has succeeded in migrating to a true multi-platform product set which includes print, online, search optimization, mobile, and even direct mail and billboards, to provide an optimal one-stop advertising program for any business. It’s also clear that this conversion has come faster and more effectively than any other media players.  This is evident in the fact that most local search engines get a bulk of their search data from those various publishers that are approaching “extinction”.

Next time Ms. Steel, could we please get all sides of the discussion in your articles?

Print Yellow Pages As a Source for Recycling Info

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on November 13, 2008
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From Yellow Pages Association press release:

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ, Nov 10, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) — Nov. 15 may be America Recycles Day, but recycling stays top of mind for many Americans each day of the year, with more than 10 million references for “Recycling Centers” in the Yellow Pages annually.
Aluminum claims the top spot of materials people want to recycle. Yellow Pages data shows that 21 percent of total calls are from users looking for information about where to recycle aluminum(1). “For many, aluminum cans are the starting point for recycling,” said Amy Healy, director of public policy for the Yellow Pages Association (YPA). “Most people know that aluminum should be recycled, and oftentimes, recycling aluminum puts some extra money in your pocket.”
What else are Americans recycling? According to the YPA, bulky items such as auto parts, computers, VCRs, and refrigerators account for 20 percent of the references(1). Six years ago, bulky items didn’t even register as a reference for local searches. Other top searches include:
--  Copper and scrap metal (16 percent)
--  Paper and newspapers (13 percent)
--  Glass, bottles, and plastic (7 percent)(1)
“Americans have long been aware of the importance of recycling paper and aluminum products,” said Healy, “but now we’re seeing increased awareness of the need to recycle home appliances, TVs, and cell phones — items that can have a more detrimental impact on the environment if not recycled properly.”
Young Adults Lead Recycling Efforts
In addition to what people are looking to recycle, Yellow Pages data shows who references recycling the most and where they live.
“Directionally, the data shows that users of the ‘Recycling Centers’ heading in Yellow Pages are more likely to be between the ages of 25 and 34, have an income between $25,000 and $60,000, reside in a household with three or more persons, and reside at their current address for less than a year,” said Larry Small, director of research for the YPA.
“Geographically, the ‘Recycling Centers’ heading is referenced most in smaller metropolitan areas across the Midwest and West census regions.”
Finding a Recycling Facility
To find a local recycling facility, Small recommends searching the Yellow Pages for “Recycling Centers,” as well as “Landfills-Sanitary,” “Waste Disposal Reduction & Recycling,” and “Environment & Ecological Services.”
In addition to offering a source for people to find information about recycling, the Yellow Pages industry is committed to ensuring that old phone directories are recycled. Consumers can reference the front or back of their local Yellow Pages or visit for information on how and where to recycle Yellow Pages directories.
(1) Knowledge Networks/SRI, May 2008