I have trouble understanding how a top business publication like BusinessWeek can say, €œBelieve it or not, among the hottest media bets is the $15 billion a year U.S. Yellow Pages market.€ Why has it taken so long to recognize that a bet on Yellow Pages is a rare example of having your cake and eating it too? Some Yellow Pages publishers are generating EBITDA in excess of 50 percent. How many legal businesses can claim those margins?
At the same time, the ubiquitous YP sales force is providing small businesses the one thing they sorely lack to take advantage of the growth of online business: education. Our research shows that SMEs are slower to adopt e-commerce and other Internet services than the consumer. That will change when this holiday season is over and businesses evaluate how they did and what they could do better.
The Yellow Pages will be there just as they always have been. Publishers will offer print and online solutions, including pay-per-click and pay-per-phone-call. Google offers a great product, as do Yahoo! and other companies in the local search business. But Yellow Pages is the modern Yellow Pages.