By Mark Ruthenberg, Advantage Tech Inc. and TransCanada FoundLocally Inc. Many folks misunderstand LinkedIn and…
The Globe and Mail ran a story “Hanging up on the phone book” Monday, about the Yellow Pages stopping its white pages residential directory in most major Canadian communities [Globe and Mail story] The company is realizing that consumers are rapidly moving to online information sources, and the cost of printing distributing and recycling the directory is no longer cost-effective.
Interestingly, they are still prniting the multi-billion dollar Yellow Pages ad directory, since they need to continue to sell square inches of paper at ever-higher prices, while they are still trying to figure out a viable intenet advertising revenue model, where they are being squeezed on one end by Google with its free search engine, and by FoundLocally’s directory with free categories. Some follow-up comments on the GM website indicated support for Yellow Pages since they are a Canadian company (so are we!)
We applaud the previous writer on wishing to support a Canadian business, as opposed to an even-larger US-based media giant. There are many other online directories in Canada –including ours, FoundLocally.com– that offer business listings presented in different manners. Our site even has adirectory of directories to support other more-focused directories in each community.
The largest problem Yellow Pages has is, that their business model is predicated on being a monopoly in the print directory business (and they are, since they recently bought CanPages, subject only to regulatory approval), and are trying to protect their billion dollar business, but trying to do so at internet ad pricing levels.
This field is highly competitive, both inside Canada and internationally, and they no longer have a monopoly. Though, Yellow Pages continues to treat small businesses in Canada as if they do, pricing their services accordingly.
Yellow Pages is in trouble because sites like FoundLocally.com (and many others) do not charge extra for every category in their directory, and sites like Google provide search results not ranking by how many square inches of ad the business bought.
Combine that with the fact that many of the sites are either free or charge much less than Yellow Pages does, and we see a revolution in the way small businesses advertise, and in the way consumers find businesses to patronize.
Yellow Pages is being squeezed from both ends, and as much as their investors may be saddened, every small business person in Canada is rejoicing.