Summary: Dex Media unveiled a new version of its online Yellow Pages this week (www.dexonline.com). It goes beyond incremental improvement to embrace many elements long advocated by The Kelsey Group, including the extraction of keywords and content from display advertising. Dex has also changed its search interface to include a single search box, eliminating the distinction between category and business name searches. These changes make for a richer and better user experience and move the Dex product closer to the functionality of popular search engines, like Google.
Dex executives acknowledge that search engines have motivated them to transform Dex's online directory into something that does more than just provide local addresses and telephone numbers. The company has taken all of the 240,000 display ads in its 270 printed directories and included links to digital versions of these ads in the online listings. The new online directory takes the significant additional step of making the content of these ads searchable. This move creates a new and potentially powerful incentive for print display sales, which could ironically prove to be the biggest economic benefit to Dex of this online product enhancement.