National advertising dollars remain mostly elusive for independent Yellow Pages publishers. They get just 5 percent of total revenues from national, as opposed to 14 percent for incumbent publishers.
But working to change the situation is the CMR Gateway, an effort placing national advertising from Certified Marketing Rep firms such as TMP, Wahlstrom and others across a network of independent Yellow Pages Web sites. The network consists not only of Internet Yellow Pages solutions, but also mobile YP and sponsored directory assistance.
The CMR Gateway came about because the Association of Directory Publishers wanted a “media entry point” so its independent Yellow Pages members would garner a larger portion of national dollars. Up to now, there haven’t been central online locations that consolidated all the information CMRs need to make a recommended buy in print.
“Before the Gateway, CMRs had to jump from indie Web site to indie Web site to get this print data, which made them less likely to recommend indies as a buy to their clients,” says Gateway founder Taylor Treese, who is developing the concept along with his father, Roger Treese, and their Miami-based MediaTraks call tracking firm. ADP is providing some angel funding for the project.
Treese says another issue is that slotting banner ads into the best positions (i.e., at the top and bottom of the page) is hard — in fact, many independents don’t really have a banner business on the Web. Moreover, the independents rarely had enough traffic to justify the CMRs’ involvement. “By centralizing the online buying process and giving them a performance model, they are more likely to at least test the waters,” he says.
The key to the concept is that all keyword searches on an independent IYP affiliate are automatically and instantaneously sent to the IYP Ad Network servers, which in turn serves back a contextually relevant geotargeted ad. Unlike other behavioral targeting solutions or other ad networks of content-based sites, “you don’t need tricky algorithms, you don’t need cookies,” says Treese.
Treese thinks the CMR Gateway represents a major turnaround for independents with IYP. Previously, “They’ve gone about (IYP) in the wrong way. They’ve had no concept of performance, or cost per impression,” he says. “Hopefully, with this network, there won’t be a need any more for yearlong fixed rate display ad offerings.”
The effort has initially concentrated on involvement from a target base of 65 independent IYPs. Treese says it has held talks with a number of search engines as well.