The Internet Yellow Pages business model has largely refocused on hosting small-business websites, and upselling from that position. At least, it has for Yellowbook.
Yellowbook Chief New Media Officer Pat Marshall, speaking at the recent Borrell conference in New York, said “it used to be about listings. Now it is websites.” Marshall noted that Yellowbook will be hosting 210,000 SMB websites by the end of the month.
The websites act as a foundation for a variety of other bundled offerings, including search engine optimization and social media. Marshall said that one business went from being on the 316th page in his category to page six to page one using Yellowbook SEO.
All this has transformed Yellowbook’s positioning with customers. Ultimately, it is about “trust, simplicity and performance,” said Marshall. “We see ourselves as more of a mutual fund than a pure play.”
As for Facebook, “our job is to tell [advertisers] the dos and don’ts. It is not to tell them to do it. Whether companies actively work with Facebook “is a demographic thing, not a geo thing,” said Marshall.