RH Donnelley’s purchase of Dex Media could clear the way for the merged company to take part in the YellowPages.com supersite on more equal terms with SBC, which currently owns 66 percent, and BellSouth, which owns 34 percent. Dex had previously resisted being a junior partner in the effort. It also could clear the way […]
Yellow Book has clawed its way to a prominent role in the Yellow Pages industry, and has grabbed 50 percent of the market for Independent Yellow Pages publishers. Now it is rumored to be in takeover talks with Google.
Would Google go for it? To be sure, Yellow Book is compelling in a number of ways. It has a national footprint, increasing market share, strong leadership, a scrappy, non-union sales force – and hardly any preconceived Internet strategies.
Google could certainly leverage Yellow Book’s sales force. It is conceivable that the search company may soon hit a plateau with the number of advertisers willing to self-provision their own ads over the Web. Yellow Book’s feet-on-the- street would conceivably boost penetration, while upselling advertisers on a number of fronts.
Yellow Book CEO Joe Walsh is happy to fan the flames of such rumors. Speaking at Kelsey’s Directory Driven Commerce conference in Denver, Walsh noted that “in a lot of ways, a good Yellow Pages business complements a geo- and- search business. I’d be shocked if you don’t see partnerships happening. It just makes so much sense.”
IAC/Interactive Corp. Chairman Barry Diller generally downplays CitySearch during analyst calls, preferring to focus on brighter stories among IAC’s portfolio of companies, such as TicketMaster, Lending Tree and until recently, Expedia.
But at a Goldman Sachs’ investor conference on Sept. 22, Diller surprisingly devoted more time to CitySearch than IAC’s other companies. He noted that CitySearch is now operating in the black, and has seen a rise in monthly unique users from eight million in 2003 to 23 million today.
Diller’s positive comments reinforce outward confidence in the division by IAC, including its recent move to the new IAC west coast headquarters in West Hollywood, and its recruitment of high level executives to work under CEO Briggs Ferguson.
Planet Discover’s addition of Gannett and Scripps titles suggests that it is increasingly poised to breakout in the newspaper search space. The potential for newspaper search remains fairly good, as newspapers begin to compete more seriously against the Yellow Pages for search-oriented shopping and small business advertising.
For Planet Discover, the Scripps tie is especially interesting, as the parent company looks for ways to localize its new Shopzilla acquisition. Up to now, Scripps executives have solely focused on Shopzilla’s synergies with the conglomerate’s non-local cable properties, such as HGTV, The Food network and DIY.