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Eniro is a very progressive directory organization operating in several very progressive markets (including Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland) as well as some developing markets like Poland and Russia. It is probably fair to say that the company made too early a transition from a print company with an Internet business to an Internet company with a print business, particularly in Sweden, its largest market. Eniro has paid for this with a dramatic drop in Swedish print revenues.

New CEO Tomas Franz©n (there for less than a year) quickly grasped the problem and went into full turnaround mode. The full results will not be known for another year, but he deserves credit at least for generating a lot of activity that appears pointed in the right direction. Eniro has redesigned its Yellow Pages product, retrained its sales force, adjusted compensation to stop motivating the wrong behavior, and it has attacked inefficient processes that led to sky high rejections rates on new contracts.

In some respects, Sweden, given its position as an early adopter of new technologies, is positioned to be a canary in the coalmine for the eventual erosion of printed revenues. But Eniro had proved a poor early warning system to date, since many of the declines were the result of self-inflicted wounds and came much earlier than necessary.

Now that Eniro is improving its operations and looks to be on the road to stabilizing its print revenues in Sweden, perhaps it can once again become a harbinger of the future course of printed directory usage and revenue. For now, the company deserves credit for attacking its problems aggressively and, it appears, with measures that are customer focused.

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