My feeling about this week’s DDC2007 conference is that everyone was able to come away with what they wanted to hear. For instance, we heard that usage is declining, but Paul Gordon of Catalyst Paper said that demand for Yellow Pages paper is up 25 percent in the past few years primarily because of new books. We heard that there is no consumer revolt against the number of Yellow Pages being produced and delivered, but that the PSI is trying to “give people the choice” of opting out of receiving directories mainly to lower the governmental cost of recycling. (However, phone books account for 0.37 percent of total recycled material.) Stuart McKelvey of TMP wants to see the industry begin using the walking fingers as the industry standard once again, but most consumers and a great many advertisers cannot/do not differentiate between print directory products.
We heard that print is losing market share to Internet Yellow Pages and to local search but that local will take Google three to five years to master. We heard Warren Kay of Yahoo! tell the audience that the Yellow Pages industry has a six- to 18-month lead in selling online over Web-only firms and aggregators, but that the industry needs to get on the offensive and make commitments to electronic delivery. We heard that the hot topics in two years will be the impact of younger demographics and the need for a new user interface that is more effective than point and click, but some speakers were quick to point to the fact that every age group going through major life events uses the Yellow Pages.
The last comment on the last panel was the ADP‘s Larry Angove who said that he wants to see a nomenclature change. “Our core product is our exceptional content.” He believes, and I agree, that it’s important for the industry to start measurement from a positive base, which we can do if we combine PYP, IYP and local search.