TKG's Seventh Annual
New Technologies for Directory Publishers conference, which took place
March 1-3 in San Antonio, was an eye-opener on many levels. The surge
in attendance - in particular the large contingent of both international
publishers and dot-com businesses - was a pleasant surprise, as well
as a key indicator that printed directory is not withering on the vine
as so many believe.
The concept of a
Yellow Pages directory remains a powerful organizing principal on the
Internet, especially as business models are increasingly localized and
transactional. In opening remarks to the conference, TKG President John
Kelsey gave long shrift to the enduring power of the big yellow book
- in its physical form and its increasingly critical role as the prevailing
metaphor for local networking.
at the real world, cyberspace and mobile space, we see a number of directory-based
businesses emerging, not just Yellow Pages and White Pages. Listings
get augmented and packaged in a variety of different forms. On the Internet,
they are embedded in search engines and portals. For mobile companies,
enhanced listings are provided through directory assistance services.
All of these make things easier for shoppers, but make the business
of directory publishing far more complex than it used to be."
In addition, as
TKG found, in conjunction with our research partner ConStat Inc., publishers
may not be the beneficiaries of the Internet community's love affair
with the Yellow Pages metaphor. LCM Wave II results portray local businesses
taking a holistic view of the Internet. They see the Net as more than
a mere marketing and promotions vehicle. They are ready to make it the
foundation of their business infrastructure.
Threats and opportunities
are on all sides. Search engines (not IYPs) dominate online lookups.
Wireless DA is likely to overtake print Yellow Pages in query volume
by 2006. This means that publishers may have to do some radical rethinking
of how they organize the sales force to capture the online spending
of their key customers.