YellowPages.com, which was purchased by BellSouth and SBC SmartPages for $98 million last winter, has been largely silent on what to expect when it finally unveils its “supersite” this fall. Some, but not many, hints as to its activities were provided by CEO Charles Stubbs during his keynote address at The Kelsey Group’s Directory Driven Commerce show in Denver.
Most of the keynote was a cautious rundown of its business plan. Stubbs, who had previously headed BellSouth Intelliventures, noted that YellowPages.com remains relatively low on the totem pole “as print has an incredible value story. Electronic is complementary.”
But Stubbs did reveal some of the efforts promotional and marketing plans. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. He noted, for instance, that “you have to have a destination site,” but that the site will depend on other sites for 30-50 percent of its traffic. It currently has deals with AOL, Switchboard and Yahoo! Search in place. Eventually, it hopes to have more “organic” traffic he said, especially with its extremely valuable, easy-to-remember URL, which he said “is a toolbar” in itself.
Stubbs also said that he has been tasked with promoting the site not only to the recipients of the owners’ 150 million Yellow Pages, but also with Cingular’s 50 million subscribers, and with their DSL and IPTV customers as well.
It will be interesting to see what they can do with those, if anything.
Between them, Stubbs noted the two owners have 2.5 million advertisers, which he called “mini-markets.” But he didn’t provide details on how they might be upsold.
Most of all, Stubbs begged for patience. Year one of the venture has been about IT. “We’re putting integration to bed this year. It has worn my patience,” he admitted. But Year Two will “be about sales and marketing.