Natural Search Blog


SuperMedia + Dex One = SuperDex

I was recently speculating about a possible SuperMedia – Dex One merger which could be hinted-at by the two companies cross-distribution agreement. If the two companies do merge, what might be their combined product or company brand name? Here’s a portmanteau brandname logo I came up with:

SuperMedia + Dex One = SuperMedia + Dex One = SuperDex

Actually, I since discovered that “SuperDex” is the trademarked name of a chromatography product, so that potential brand name is in-use and not available!

Perhaps some other brand name could result from the theoretic union of yellow pages companies, like “SuperKnows” or “DexMedia”. Maybe even “DexPages” or “SuperOne”!

It would probably be ultimately least expensive to keep one dominant brand name — I think Superpages has more brand equity overall, so that’s what I would vote towards.

Local Store Inventories Might Help Yellow Pages SEO

In an article posted on Search Engine Land this morning, I outline how Google Maps are increasingly appearing for keyword searches, reducing referral traffic to internet yellow pages. In a brief companion piece, I also mention how embattled yellow pages should step-up their SEO game. If Google Trends is truly indicative of a sea-change that is hitting online yellow pages sites, then they must do something about it:

Top IYPs & Business Directory Sites
Natural Search Performance of Top Yellow Pages Sites in Google

(Click to enlarge) (more…)

Is Verizon Responsible for Idearc’s Bankruptcy?

Idearc's Bankruptcy Caused by Verizon?My op-ed piece, “Idearc’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Who’s Really Responsible?” published today on Search Engine Land, and in it I put forth my position that Verizon is responsible for spinning off the company with an unreasonably huge debt load, and the people ultimately paying the bill are the stockholders.

I describe in the article how Verizon spun off Idearc Media (division which publishes print phone books and operates Superpages.com among other online yellow pages), and set that company up to pay back some billions of dollars for its worth. Verizon then turned around and resold those debt instruments to other companies, fully divesting itself of ownership in the new, standalone company.

This sequence in of itself isn’t remarkable – it’s the normal process a company might go through when spinning-off part of itself to form a new company.

But, my contention is that it was done so in a highly irresponsible manner. Verizon had to know beforehand that print directory business was going into shrinkage mode, and that the debt repayment structure would simply be too much for the new company to be reasonably expected to be able to handle. If so, then this could be expected to be a form of fraudulent conveyance, and Verizon could be culpable.

Is my contention outrageous?

Well, even Idearc’s Chief Executive, Scott Klein, has been paraphrased by the Wall Street Journal as saying “Everyone was aware that ‘$9 billion was really more debt than this business could bear'”. So, Idearc was spun off with a majority of this debt from Verizon from the start – clearly set up to fail.

So far, I’ve seen maybe three different law firms filing class-action lawsuits against Idearc and its executives, based on the premise that the stock tanked due to them secretly changing policies, resulting in inflated-looking sales on the books for businesses with higher likelihoods of not paying for contracted advertising. But, I think the real culprit in all this is likely Verizon – they pushed off a part of the company with an untenable debt load, in large part to pay off debts incurred by Verizon FiOS (Verizon’s fiber optic network) expansion.

leptin

The Kelsey Group Puts Print Yellow Pages On Notice

Walking FingersOver at Media Post, The Kelsey Group is quoted today saying that the erosion in usage of print yellow pages is likely to fall off at a higher rate this year — by 10% this year, compared with only 2% to 3% erosion in recent years.

They state that a combination of factors such as more users going to internet yellow pages and local search engines combined with a recession are propelling the rapid erosion. Concerningly, one can extrapolate that if print YP usage is dropping, advertiser dollars might also follow the herd.

As Greg Sterling points out, The Kelsey Group has historically been a very staunch defender of the print YP industry, so this article is a bit of a gut-punch to people in the legacy print business, even though anyone watching the trends over the last few years won’t find it all that surprising.

One thing the Media Post article doesn’t mention is how (more…)

Superpages.com Adds More User-Generated Content to the Local Mix

About a week ago, Idearc announced that Superpages.com had introduced more user-content features.

Superpages adds Web 2.0 Features
(click to enlarge)

Previously, the primary component of user content on the site was limited to user ratings and reviews associated with business listings.

Some of the new features this recent upgrade added include allowing all users to enhance basic biz profile information, uploading pictures of organizations, wiki-like biz listing “blog” features which could allow simplistic blogging by businesses and/or could be used as a consumer comment or Q/A zone for each business since any user could submit info to them.

Of all the top online yellow pages and local search sites, I believe that Superpages may now have the distinction of having the greatest (more…)

ThinkLocal.com – Network Solutions’ Entry in Local Search

I noticed that Network Solutions has quietly added a play in the local search / IYP space – ThinkLocal.com. The site includes maps, weather, a yellow pages like search for businesses, and user review features.

ThinkLocal.com

I’ve thought for years that a site which allows people to search specifically for business websites would be a killer app, and Network Solutions has always had enough data to provide that very sort of thing through their status as a major domain name registrar. Unfortunately, I think no one site ever created a sufficiently broad directory of business websites, and Google, Yahoo! and MS Live have all evolved to fill that gap to some degree (it’d still be great to have the ability to only search for biz websites and not get unrelated content).

ThinkLocal doesn’t appear to be purely built from Network Solutions’ database, though. I found (more…)

Am I an SEO Dog? More On Toasting of Internet Yellow Pages

Donna Bogatin apparently disagreed with my article at SEL entitled “Google Trends: Yellow Pages Will Be Toast in Four Years“, posting a bit of a lurid headline herself: “Yellow Pages Trash Talking: The SEO Dog in the Google Local Fight“.

I didn’t really think that my article was quite “trash talk“, and I’m assuming from the article content that the “SEO Dog” referred to was perhaps myself, or perhaps the “dog” is my article conclusions, fighting for the ostensibly narrow viewpoint of all SEOs. Aside from the somewhat scathing disembowelment attempted, I thought it’d be informative for me to address some of the logic-faulty conclusions that were drawn.

(more…)

Search Engine Optimization through Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages & SEOThere’s an interesting thread that appeared on Greg Sterling’s blog on Using IYPs as an SEO Strategy.

Some of the commentators pointed out that yellow pages ads are pretty costly, compared with those of the search engines. So, is using yellow pages as part of a search marketing campaign worthwhile for traffic and good for ROI? My answer is: Yes, yellow pages can and should be used as a major component of local search optimization. Yellow pages can be used for SEO, and here’s some details on how to approach it.

(more…)

Yelp opens API for developers

Michael Arrington reported today how Yelp has released their API, allowing developers to dynamically query and display their yellow pages listings, reviews and content for display on any websites. The terms are fairly generous, allowing developers to have up to 10k of queries per day, and relatively few restrictions on display.

Yelp API for developers

This is a really cool thing for an IYP site to do…

(more…)

Stephen Colbert puts Internet Yellow Pages on notice?

I just saw this hilarious photoshopped illustration of Stephen Colbert, apparently making some commentary about online yellow pages and local search sites:

Stephen Colbert on Local Search

This was used to illustrate a blog article commenting on how Google Maps could now be poised to totally kill off other IYPs, now that they’ve added user reviews. (“Google Maps Puts Local Search Industry On Notice”)

The placard Colbert is holding up lists a number of the top online yellow pages and local search companies: Yellowpages, Superpages, Yelp, Yahoo! Local, Idearc, MSN Live, and Citysearch.

While I disagree — I don’t think the addition of user reviews is the tipping point for Google Maps — hat tip to Evan Roberts for a very clever and funny article illustration!

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