Natural Search Blog


Book Review: Getting The Most From Your Yellow Pages Advertising

Last year, I criticised a press release promoting a book by Barry Maher titled “Getting the Most from Your Yellow Pages Advertising, saying the press release was self-serving and irresponsible. I disparaged Maher, referring to him as a “so-called expert” and calling the press release “self-serving”. Maher’s press release touted advertising in print yellow pages and questioned the value of advertising online in comparison, so I was highly critical of it since I believe there’s significant value in advertising online. At the time, I thought I was justified in my criticism, since I felt he was promoting his book at the expense of bad advice to small businesses.

However, others pointed out some irony in my criticism — after all, self-promotion is by nature supposed to be beneficial to one’s self, and it’s not at all unusual to emphasize a bit of controversy to make press releases more interesting to readers. Further, Maher’s responses and comments to my blog posting were well-written, wonderfully mild, and professional — leaving me to wonder if I’d been unreasonable in my attack of the press release.

Getting the Most from Your Yellow Pages AdvertisingSo, I bought the book before Christmas from Amazon and have now finished reading it. I find that I agree with Maher’s book far more often than not, and I feel I should now apologize for my attack. While I believe in the value of online advertising and still will defend its viability, Maher’s book doesn’t attack it in an unqualified manner, and my attack on the man versus his ideas or statements was unjustified and just low. I prefer debating ideas in a logical manner, and I can’t understand why I also stooped to attacking the person in my post. I’m sorry about that, Barry!

As for the book itself, I found it to be very valuable for small businesses, particularly newbies who’ve never done yellow pages advertising before. Even the business owner who thinks they already know it all ought to read this and check some of their assumptions. Read on for a further review of the book.

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So-called Expert Claims Internet Yellow Pages “Overrated”

In the title of a transparently self-serving press release, Barry Maher claims that “online yellow pages advertising (is) often overrated”. Maher says in the release, “It may be the wave of the future, but the dull, old-fashioned, low-tech print directories are still the wave of the present. Businesses do need to be online. Just not at the expense of what’s driving in the dollars today.”

He goes on to say that “For most local companies, there’s still far, far more potential business in the print directories than in anything they might do online.”

(Before I go further, I should disclose that I work for arguably the biggest combined print and online yellow pages company in the US. My comments on this matter are merely my own opinion, though, and not any sort of official stance from my company.)

It seems to me that the headline title of the PR was intended to be controversy-provoking in order to attract more attention than an announcement about the publication of a book on how to advertise in yellow pages would otherwise be (yawn!). The intention was to promote Maher’s book on optimizing print YP ads, So, I really hesitated about rewarding this sort of thing with yet more attention than it merits. Yet, I believe that this claim is pretty irresponsible, so I’m going to address it. I don’t think that Maher can possibly understand IYP nor general internet advertising or he could not have said that “there’s… more potential business in the print directories… than… online” (paraphrased).

Read on and I’ll explain why I think this was not reasonable.

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