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Call measurement pioneer Telmetrics last week named Bill Dinan president. Dinan takes over from Richard Zurawski, who will stay on the company’s board and, in an unusual move, remain on the management team as CFO.

I chatted with Dinan about his new role and developments in the Yellow Pages industry, which is reeling from a cascade of bad earnings reports, equally bad press coverage (which bad earnings reports don’t make better), and the bankruptcy of one of the industry’s biggest players.

One of Dinan’s observations was that he believes the industry isn’t going to let this crisis go to waste (a cliché we’ve heard a lot in the debate over economic policy). Spurred on by defections to more flexible and transparent “pulse” media like direct mail and search, publishers are increasing their commitment to call measurement (and the new business models this enables).

“The publishers are stepping up this year,” Dinan says. And Dinan says he is preparing for the day the phone rings and a customer asks for “a million lines next month.” The industry is changing so much that a request of that magnitude no longer seems so outlandish.

In particular, Dinan sees a very aggressive push toward performance-based pricing as evidence directory publishers are serious about changing the dynamic of SMB defections to other media, or to no media spending at all.

Dinan has done two tours at the Toronto-based company. He originally joined in 1998 and then left for a year in 2006 to work in the venture capital space. He returned in 2007 and now takes the reins during an “interesting” time in the business.

A related note and a disclosure. I will be moderating a national advertiser panel Monday at the Yellow Pages Association conference that was organized by Telmetrics.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I agree with Bill that Yellow Page publishers need to step up the tracking. In fact, I’d go one step further and say they should be tracking all advertising. An advertiser paying a fixed monthly fee still cares about how well their advertising performs. In general, we should separate the need to measure (increasingly an imperative) from the way someone is charged.

  2. Thanks for the comments Eric. Advertisers may have mixed feelings about whether they pay per call, but most if not all want believable data on how their ads perform. So yes, I think we are moving toward an environment where all or most ads (above a certain value) are measured.

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