Yellow Book Pounces on New Usage Data

Yellow Book issued a press release yesterday citing new results from the Yellow Pages Market Reporter that showed it has a usage leadership position in Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Northern Virginia. The release also noted that Yellow Book has moved into the No. 2 spot in the Manhattan market. The latter is important because the first wave of results put Yellow Book in the No. 3 spot in Manhattan, behind rival Ambassador Yellow Pages.

You can check out the press release for more details. These results, and we are only seeing Yellow Book’s representation of them, reinforce the fact that the U.S. directory market is evolving into one in which the advantages of incumbency are waning.

A well-funded, aggressive publisher willing to promote the brand can move into a close second or even a leadership position in a competitive market. Yellow Book makes much of the fact that its absolute rates are lower, which combined with a leading or competitive usage position, works out to a more efficient buy. This is a powerful platform, and incumbents need to figure out how to counter it if they do not wish to give up more share.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Pat

    One obvious correction is required. The YB press release only shows the usage share in Chicago (45.5% for YB, 45.1% for RHD). These statistics DO NOT support a claim of superior usage. The error band is probably in the +/-2%-3% range. Thus, it can only be said that the competitors have the same usage share.

  2. Charles Laughlin

    Fair point, Pat. It still remains that independents being at parity or nominally in the lead or in a close second position in some key markets reflects a much different environment from when I began covering the directory industry more than a decade ago.

  3. Pat

    You are correct of course that the industry dynamics have markedly changed in the last decade. I would suggest though that the phenomenon of independents reaching usage parity with the telco related publishers is not so much about the independents as it is about YB. They have invested in building their brand and have been very aggressive competitors (some might say too aggressive). However, there are very few instances where other independents have fared as well.

    What YB has to concern itself with is not making claims that the syndicated usage research does not support, such as their claim of superior usage in Chicago. It not only reflects badly on their company’s integrity, but also has the potential to co-opt the notion that the research is fair and unbiased.

  4. Ken Lakin

    The fact is though, Charles, that in many markets, indy’s like YB are gaining a favorable mark with consumers and with business owners over the utility. For the most part the rates are also as much as half as much which makes the cost per lead much more attractive. There is a shift taking place out there and it is nice to see. Everyone wins! Well, except for the utility directories, of course.

  5. Charles Laughlin

    Pat, as I say above, "A well-funded, aggressive publisher willing to promote the brand can move into a close second or even a leadership position in a competitive market." So Yellow Book in some regards is in a category of its own. As to your point about the importance of being precise with research data, couldn’t agree more.

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