Category Archives: Yellow Pages

New at ILM West: Google, Facebook, SoLoMo Day +++

ILM West is shaping up to be one of the great ones. Taking place Dec. 12-14 in downtown San Francisco, ILM West really reflects a sea change in local marketing from advertising to the new hybrid model of advertising and commerce (i.e. prepaid deals, reputation management, mobile app sales etc.).

We’ve made some big additions since our last update, starting with Google and Facebook. These add to the existing lineup, including our “rock stars” (Clear Channel CEO and industry legend Bob Pittman AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, Media News Group/Journal Register CEO John Paton and Deseret Media and former Harvard Business School Professor Clark Gilbert), and major sessions on deals, offers, verticals and the whole spectrum of local trends.

We will pursue three unique angles on Google at ILM West:

1- The local efforts, under Marissa Mayer’s local team. Jeff Aguero, head of local marketing, will present on everything local, from Zagat, to Google Places, to the Big G’s new “Get Online” program for SMBs. These strategies have really developed since this summer.

2- The global reseller effort. Global Channels head Todd Rowe will engage in an in-depth conversation with BIA/Kelsey President Neal Polachek on all his efforts.

3- Google Mobile. Mobile and Local Search exec Surojit Chatterjee will provide insights into this critical area for Google as part of our All SoLoMo morning on Day 3.

We’re also going deep with Facebook at ILM West. Facebook’s new local leader Matt Idema is our afternoon keynote on Day 2, with a lot of new details and a progress report on the local and vertical strategies. On Day 1, we are also taking a special look at working with Facebook’s platform with execs from Trada, Oodle and Kenshoo Local/Social weighing in. Eager but not sure how to play with Facebook? You will be when ILM West is done.

The SoLoMo event on Day 3 itself is going to be quite the cornerstone for ILM West. Curated by the research teams from our Social Local Media and Mobile Local Media programs, SoLoMo features top line data; and indepth and fresh looks at SoLoMo implementations from leaders at Google, AT&T Interactive, Zaarly, PayPal, XAd, JiWire and AppStack (Steve Espinosa’s new project.)

You can see the full agenda here. And register here.

Remember: We are making a donation to the SF/Marin County Food Bank for all registrations that come in by Thanksgiving.

NeuStar Buys TargusInfo, Parent of Localeze, for $650 Million

TargusInfo, a major direct marketing tools provider and the parent company of Localeze, a “Big 3″ provider of business listings, will be acquired by NeuStar for $650 Million in cash. The deal enhances NeuStar’s positioning as a leader in authentication services across the Internet and voice networks, whether fixed-line, cable, or mobile. Authentication is expected to dramatically grow with the boom in digital services such as movie downloads. Both companies are based in Northern Virginia.

Localeze’s listings business is not the biggest factor in the acquisition, but the division’s focus on enhanced SMB and franchise profiles will likely fit into the mix. TargusInfo is perhaps best known in the direct marketing world for its lead gen scoring techniques which evaluate the likelihood that a lead will turn into a sale. TargusInfo is also well known for its Caller ID verification service, among other real time, on demand information and analytics services. It helps process more than 100 billion annual transactions around the world.

TargusInfo posted $149 million in revenues for the year ending September 30. Combined, the two companies earned $732 million.

“The people who know both of us understand that billions of times every day Neustar and TARGUSinfo flawlessly help people find each other, connect to one another and share.,” notes Neustar CEO Lisa Hook in a blog post. “By combining TARGUSinfo’s leadership in Caller ID and online information services, such as lead verification and scoring, with Neustar’s strengths in network information services, including address inventory management, network security, and marketing analytics, we will be able to greatly extend Neustar’s ability to provide its customers services based on unique, non-replicable datasets.”

Localeze President Jeff Beard told us that “at the end of the day, it is all about providing real time intelligence about identity. The vast majority of that is consumer identity,” he says. Beard adds that Neustar’s interest in TargusInfo is on several levels, including local search. Major tech companies such as IBM, Intel and others are all getting more involved in local search as part of their broader activity, he notes.

DMS ’11 Takeways: Consolidate and Verticalize

We’re over it by now. Yellow Pages aren’t universally used anymore, or as frequently used; and that there is a lot of competition for driving small business sales.

But at BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’11 Summit last week in Denver, one walked away with a real appreciation of the foundational role that Yellow Pages still play in the SMB ecosystem; the role they may potentially play – perhaps in partnership with other media ; and the robustness of SMB ad channels in general.

As YellowBook CEO Joe Walsh noted, while the industry is definitely “in the beginnings of a shakeout or consolidation, “usage is way stronger than the perception of usage. We have to work around that perception. Yellow Pages will be around for a while. They provide a terrific ROI for advertisers.”

Walsh went so far as to lobby for intra-industry mergers, something that brought some rolled eyes from audience members , some still tied to the old wars of the phone company originated utility books versus the independent books, which originally came on the scene underpricing the utility books by 50 percent or more. Now, however, they often have common financial investors.

“Over the next couple of years, you will see coming together a lot of competitive factions within the business,” says Walsh. The advantages will include “price stability, the doubling of usage for surviving products, a higher ROI to advertisers, product stability and extended life, and a business model that can survive and grow.”

Walsh bragged that Yellowbook is still “outperforming others by six or seven times. But we are still shrinking,” even with digital growth at 18 percent or more in some heartland markets. “My advice to you is to suck it up.”

Yellow Pages can also do more than suck it up, of course. Specifically, they can verticalize their offerings. Golden Pages CEO Nir Lampert told the DMS audience how Golden Pages, which is Israel’s largest Yellow Pages company, has used online verticals focused on medical recommendations and price comparisons to remake itself into a growing company. Without the verticals, “we’d otherwise decline,” he said.

In 2010, online made up seventy percent of revenues, or $75 million. It will be 80 percent in 2011.

Lampert said that vertical development has focused on five consumer needs: Reliability, necessity, affordability, emotional involvement and specialty. “We built products that support decisions in vertical segments,” said Lampert. A lot of it is based on shared services with print and other verticals. “We realized that shifting to online is, in itself, insufficient.”

How We Are Thinking About DMS ’11: The SMB Summit

Our DMS 11 conference is taking place in downtown Denver Sept 20-22. It’s a Yellow Pages conference, and in fact, has been the industry standard for many years.

But this year, it is also a local search conference; a coupon and promotions conference; a local mobile conference; and a social media conference. The connector isn’t the Yellow Pages industry-in-a-vacuum anymore. It’s really the much broader, SMB customer base.

At DMS ‘11, we’ve invited a “who who” of important executives and thought leaders transforming SMB marketing. People like; Facebook’s Rita Fabi; Where’s Dan Gilmartin; InfoGroup’s Clare Hart; Microsoft’s Pay Hayes. AT&T Interactive’s William Hsu. Trulia’s Paul Levine; Trada’s Neil Robertson; JoinHere’s Justin Sanger; UrbanSpoon’s Fred Dimsa; and Closely’s Perry Evans.

You’ve known a number of these executives over the years — some have been at several companies by now. They’re taking that experience and moved it into the next generation of SMB marketing.

There are many, many interesting, valuable speakers participating in this event. And the attendee list is equally distinguished. Shall we see you in Denver? The cheap hotel rate has been extended. You can register here.

New U.K. Platform Launches for ‘Real Time’ SMB Hires

There are some occasions when you need to hire someone right away. At least, that’s the hypothesis of Ginjex: The availability engine,” a new ad-supported U.K. directory that focuses on real time hiring.

Launched by Mark Riley, a former exec with BT Tradespace, an SMB storefront provider, Ginjex may be considered the flip side of scheduling companies. It zeroes in on “all distressed inventory in any vertical,” says Riley. “It could also become a location based deals aggregator.

Are there that many categories that need to be hired right away? “The most applicable categories will be the ones which are the most flexible, local and over supplied or with distressed inventory,” says Riley. Casual, low-skilled labor such as car washers, house cleaners and landscapers come to mind. Categories that require “man and van” are especially urgent, he adds.

At the other end of the scale are “highly paid professionals for whom cancellations can be extremely costly if staff and space are booked. For example beauticians and dentists. If they can immediately flag up cancelled slots (ie spare capacity) then they can win back that time. Time is money, as my grandfather always said.”

MerchantCircle Adds Request for Quote

MerchantCircle last week quietly added free Request for Quote services for its large base of 1.6 million local merchants, immediately sending out more than 180,000 quotes. The quotes are based on category and locale.

Logistically, consumers that ask for quotes are asked for more information, if needed. They are then routed to merchants. The MerchantCircle system automatically creates a profile for each consumer that allows them to track which vendors have received their request, manage their responses and also go back and rate the vendors they’ve worked with.

On the merchant side, merchants receive leads in their inbox, where they can engage with the prospect or pass along the lead to other merchants in their network. Each lead is pre-qualified through the MerchantCircle system to help prevent junk and spam and to ensure quality.

MerchantCircle also announced that it will be deploying the leads feature to the CityGrid Media network. As part of the agreement, MerchantCircle will provide CityGrid with a feed of advertisers for distribution on the CityGrid network; each advertiser profile will include a clickable button that launches a lead submission form. CityGrid is an investor in MerchantCircle.

YellowBook’s Pat Marshall: Website Hosting is Core Offering, Not Listings

The Internet Yellow Pages business model has largely re-focused on hosting small business websites, and upselling from that position. At least, it has for Yellow Book.

YellowBook Chief New Media Officer Pat Marshall, speaking at the recent Borrell conference in New York, said “it used to be about listings. Now it is Websites.” Marshall noted that YellowBook will be hosting 210,000 SMB websites by the end of the month.

The websites act as a foundation for a variety of other bundled offerings, including search engine optimization and social media. Marshall said that one business went from being on the 316th page in his category to page six to page one using Yellow Book SEO.

All this has transformed YellowBook’s positioning with customers. Ultimately, It is about “trust, simplicity and performance,” said Marshall. “We see ourselves as more of a mutual fund than a pure play.”

As for Facebook, “our job is to tell (advertisers) the dos and don’ts. It is not to tell them to do it. Whether companies actively work with Facebook “is a demographic thing, not a geo thing,” said Marshall.