More Leadership Shuffles in YP World

Two signficant leadership changes have occurred in the global Yellow Pages industry over the past few days. In Canada, Yellow Media CFO Christian Paupe has resigned to "pursue other interests." His departure is effective immediately. Yellow Media, a leading print…

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New LSA Data Show Search in the Lead, but YP Still Matters

Yellow Pages has yielded the top spot for local business lookups to search engines like Google and Bing, but it still holds a significant spot in the local search hierarchy, according to new data released today by the Local Search Association.

The latest “Local Media Tracking Study” shows that search engines rank higher than Yellow Pages (print and digital combined) in monthly reach (67 percent vs. 62 percent), while combined Yellow Pages still has the edge over search in annual reach (84 percent vs. 76 percent). Print Yellow Pages alone, however, has fallen behind search in both annual (78 percent to 74 percent) and monthly (67 percent to 49 percent) reach.

LSA President Neg Norton said in a briefing last week that the study reflects the new direction of the association, which earlier this year changed its name from the Yellow Pages Association.

“This is an example of how the association is changing,” he said. “This is not a Yellow Pages study. It is a more holistic look at the local landscape.”

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San Francisco Opt-In Ordinance Passes

Yesterday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the opt-in ordinance that the Yellow Pages industry had vigorously opposed. Immediately following the vote, the Local Search Association (formerly the Yellow Pages Association) called on San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee to veto the ordinance. The ordinance passed 10-1 but formal passage must wait until a routine “second reading” next week, which is likely to be a rubber stamp.

The ordinance is the first opt-in (where consumers must proactively choose to receive a print directory) measure to pass in the United States. While the industry sees opt-out (where consumers can choose not to receive a book) as a serious challenge, it has viewed opt-in as a lethal threat. Opt-in could decimate reach, increase costs and drive secondary operators out of business.

Proponents argue that in an era of declining usage, ubiquitous distribution is incredibly wasteful. if someone wants a book, no one is stopping him or her from requesting one under an opt-in plan.

The San Francisco ordinance is positioned as a “three-year pilot program” that will commence in 2012. The ordinance was proposed based on environmental concerns as well as concerns over the cost of disposing of unwanted phone books.

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AT&T Next to Launch Daily Deal Site

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that AT&T Interactive will join the growing list of directory companies to launch a daily deal site. AT&T Interactive CEO David Krantz told The Journal that he believes AT&T could be "fast followers"…

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Guarantee at Center of New Dex Strategy

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Following a discussion of its 2010 full-year results, Dex One’s leadership team outlined a new strategy today that it says will restore the company to positive revenue growth by the second half of 2012, with print stabilizing to single-digit declines.

One of the key elements will be the Dex Guaranteed Actions, a performance-based model tested beginning last year in Phoenix and recently launched in Seattle and Minneapolis, with a gradual rollout in other markets. The program essentially guarantees advertisers a predetermined number of business leads.

Dex leaders say the program succeeded in changing the sales conversation from price to performance, and is seen as a key element in the company’s efforts to stability print revenue declines from their current high double digits to mid-single digits within two years.

CEO Alfred Mockett and his team outlined a number of key objectives and supporting initiatives, among them:

* The company projects it will move from 10 percent digital to 30 percent digital revenues by 2012.

* DexOne is planning to convert its 2.2 million free business listings into paid. Mockett describes free listings as an “historical anachronism.” Converting to paid will generate revenues and also direct more leads to paid advertisers, Mockett said.

* The company is investing in its sales force, arming it with iPads and launching the Dex One Sales Academy to improve both initial and ongoing sales training.

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