Is this the beginnings of the death rattle for the Yellow Pages? The advertising giant of the 70s to the 90s is quickly becoming more frail in its later years as businesses large and small, are turning more of their advertising dollars towards the internet. Yellow Pages themselves have had their hand in selling online ad space, with the idea in mind that it would help boost their shrinking print media, but with little success. Is it time to start writing the eulogy? The answer, while slowly becoming clearer, is a resounding.. maybe.
While their use by both advertisers and people who actually use their books has dropped, there are still people out there who use the yellow pages print books. They’re still there, but as a business owner you need to make a decision as to whether or not your advertising dollars are worth spending there. There is also the added allusion that having a yellow pages ad lends your business some credibility to the 45+ business consumer. It’s a dated model of advertising, but a great deal of the business world does still depend on who you know, not necessarily what you know.
You need to have a look as well at the market that the yellow pages book is being delivered too. Is it a major city with millions of people and thousands of businesses to bury your ad? Or is it being compiled and delivered to a city of only a couple hundred thousand, a small local brand where you still have the chance to stand out for a modest price. Yellow Pages do still show higher than larger center averages of use in small towns. Also bear in mind your business, and the type of consumer you’re interested in attracting. If you’re a highly motivated emerging tech company you’ll probably want to be more concerned with online branding and marketing as opposed to making sure you choose the right font for a Yellow Pages ad. If you’re in the vacation business, you’ll probably want to seriously think about placing an ad, as visitors may not have an internet connection at their finger tips to find what they want.
While the value, both real and potential, has dropped and continues to drop with Yellow Pages advertisements, they’re not quite dead yet. They’ve been making money saving efforts for the last few years, and are continuing to ramp those efforts up, but for the moment they’re still here with us. For how much longer however, is yet to be seen.
So the big day has come and gone, Facebook talked about it’s new messaging service, and the web has been a cacophony of “Gmail killer” and other wild statements to that effect. And one of the funniest points I picked from all of the coverage of the day, was that Schmidt and Zuckerberg were almost playing nice, to a point. With their statements coming out generally like Schmidts “I’m glad they’re launching a service” And Zuckerbergs “Gmail and Gchat is an amazing service”, it’s almost like an unofficial truce of sorts.
I did however, come across a post detailing the top reasons why the new Facebook service will be “Facebook E-Mail Is Google`s Biggest Threat” and I had a really hard time making it past the second item on their list. I’m only going to share the headings of the points they’ve come up with, as the text that followed was almost uncomfortable to read. So headfirst we go:
Gmail means a lot – Okay great, Gmail means a lot. The text which followed that they used to back up their claim, was based on the idea that without Gmail, people wouldn’t use Google. And when I hit that sentance, I had to stop.
Search capabilities are there – And then unfortunately, I came to their second point. I had a hard time trying to wrap my mind around their claim that while Facebook’s search features are “primitive”; non-existant is a more accurate term, to think that they could come close, in the game that Google essentially owns, was ludicrous to read for me.
It’s where the users are – Granted now, Facebook is starting with a userbase of 500 million, definitely not a small number. But, if all you want to count are users, then if you want to include actual numbers, you’d need to include the average user base of Google to compare the two services. The point that made me chuckle here, was the assertion thatusers “spend over 700 billion minutes per month” on Facebook. That’s a whole lot of Farmville! And Googles aim? Speed up the web and it’s usage, not tie you in place.
Video – 500 million users, compared to Youtubes userbase, and the point was Facebook between June and July, Facebook saw unique viewers increase by three million, and total videos watched by 22 million. Funny thing is, all the videos I happened to see were hosted on Youtube..
Ads, ads, ads – I honestly can’t even go here.
The world, and especially the web are constantly growing and changing. It’s when things stay the same that they lose their appeal and die. Schmidt even made the point that it’s not that Google and Facebook have ever openly competed, but the media loves to drum it up that when any company launches any service, they’re competing with someone. When in fact what really ends up happening, is we all get the better end of the deal, new services, new ideas and most importantly, a choice as to which you’ll use. Me, I’ll stick with my Google and my Gmail.