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If you just read the headline from each of the companies reporting on the new national syndication research results, you could be excused if you thought that a lot of companies are the most used Yellow Pages directories. Some companies are taking the results from a few cities and seem to be implying that they are the national leaders. We are concerned that this is a slippery slope.

Who is No. 1 among cola beverages? If you ask that question in Texas, the answer would be Dr. Pepper. If you exclude fountain sales, Pepsi sells the most nationwide. But overall, Coke is the leader. Frankly, I don’t really care. I drink the cola beverage that I prefer.

In the automotive category, General Motors says Chevrolet was the top-selling brand in the U.S. last year, but Ford disagrees. Ford bases its leadership claim on third-party data compiled by auto research firm R.L. Polk. Unlike Coke and Pepsi, which combined have over 90 percent of the cola market share, Ford and Chevrolet face a significant challenger in Toyota, whose brand is closing the gap, particularly when bulk sales of vehicles to fleets aren’t counted.

A medium is a different animal than a beverage or a car, but the ability to show your publication as the leader in a particular market, especially on a cost-per-use basis, can be a valuable tool. If syndicated research is here to stay, and The Kelsey Group hopes it will be because it supports our ROI story, we need to have standards that everyone who participates agrees to.

If the Yellow Pages industry wants the credibility that syndicated research gives it, headlines and claims must be reasonable. I am not suggesting that any company has not told the truth in its press releases, but it is most important that the perception by advertisers reflect reality in the particular markets in which they are trying to reach their users. Otherwise, syndicated research won’t be taken seriously.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. While John makes a valid point with his post, what many people may fail to realize or understand is that up until the release of the first 10 syndicated research studies, there was no proof as to who had what share of the markets.

    I remember very distinctly Verizon saying that they had 70% of the Philadelphia market. According to the study, that is not the case. They have less than half.

    What the studies do, on top of adding credibility to the Yellow Pages, is add validity to the independent publisher market. Here is the proof that they do exist, and that people do use their directories.

    If the independent publishers are sharing the market almost use for use with the incumbent publishers, then the big question it raises in my mind, is why the national channel is so lop-sided when it comes to the total amount of national dollars spent between independent and incumbent?

    If we take the studies at face value, from a pure usage standpoint, then the national advertisers are being underserved.

    I can make this statement due to the fact that I have spoken to many CMRs in the national space that told me point blank: "We do not do business with the independents."

    So who is #1, the advertisers are.

  2. John, could you recommend a yellow pages provider (that offers an affiliate program) for a website that targest the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area? I’m aware of the affiliate programs offered by and Also, do these two companies have the largest market share in The Southland. Thanks in advance!!!

  3. Could the years of quotas and LEC Publisher comp. plans have held the client’s revenue hostage, preventing a CMR from balancing the scales? I think so.

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