has always been inextricably linked to core communications carrier services.
That's because stock in trade of both utility-based and independent
publishers is the database of telephone numbers that relate to names
and addresses of both business and residential customers.
First the Internet
came along to revolutionize global telecommunications (and to introduce
a plethora of new "addresses" for the directory database). Then personal
communications services (with millions of wireless devices and largely
unlisted numbers) further disrupted the near static world of printed
The advent of Internet
Protocol and wireless technology forces U.S. utility-based directory
publishers to rethink their relationships with other units within parent
telcos. The Yellow Pages concept (meaning a directory through which
buyers find sellers) plays well in print, online and over the air. However,
it is difficult for publishers to forge relationships with the operator
services, wireless or Internet service provider divisions of the parent
Yellow Pages sales
organizations stand out as an ideal contact point for delivering a complete
services bundle encompassing much more that hot links to cookie-cutter
Web sites. However, this calls for a level of telco-pubco convergence
that is largely unseen in the U.S.
In Europe, Australia
and elsewhere abroad, directory publishers are willing to reach across
boundaries between the pubco, the telco, the wireless carrier and the
ISP. For instance, Telecom Italia is in the process of merging its ISP,
Tin.it, with SEAT Pagine Gialle, the Yellow Pages publisher. That merger
would create an entity combining print and online Yellow Pages directories,
DA and Internet access, plus the Italian Internet portal Virgillio.
entities like these - with a foundation in Yellow Pages but a mandate
to leverage new technologies even if the print directory is ultimately
left behind - are a compelling framework for carrying the directory
businesses into the new century.