In an admittedly self-serving e-mail, InsiderPages VP Andrew Shotland pointed me to Alexa traffic data that show basically that YellowBook.com and the newer online-only site are neck and neck.
YellowBook has been running a TV campaign during the Olympics, whereas InsiderPages relies on SEO/SEM, syndication and word of mouth. If the Alexa data are to be believed (and they’re not as credible as some sources), then TV is delivering very limited value to YellowBook vs. other more "grassroots" techniques being used by InsiderPages.
But this may also go to the product itself. Take, for example, a query for "contractors, Chicago":
In many ways these products are comparable, although there are no "decision support" filters, reviews or other tools to help users choose between contractors on the YellowBook site, and InsiderPages has many fewer listings. While it’s true that users can click "view ad" and see the print ad, which some argue does offer decision support, YellowBook.com is now essentially a White Pages product with some additional/enhanced features. In other words, I’ve got a "name in mind" and I’m looking for contact details.
Take a look at "contractor, Chicago" on Yahoo! Local. One can argue the data are incomplete here. But I’m focused right now on Yahoo! Local’s filtering/drill down features (left column) as being examples of "decision support." They offer me several ways as a user narrow down the universe of potential choices.
The InsiderPages results have fewer of these features, but they do offer reviews (though sparse in this particular geography and category). Assuming no fraud, they offer insight and information about the business and thus help me decide which one(s) to contact.
This is not to say that reviews are mandatory to compete, but there need to be filters, sort features or other ways for people to get from the 100 or 50 or 20 listings to the three or the one.