The environmental movement has churned up massive difficulty for yellow page publishers. Seattle, one of the leading metro markets, faces new legislation requiring publishers to pay hefty fees, which will amount to close to three quarters of a million dollars. Court battles from leading yellow page publishers contesting the ordinance are also driving up costs, the report finds.
“Publishers are reinforcing their online offerings in metro markets because the whole environmental issue is a threat to the bottom line in every market,” says David Goddard, senior analyst and lead author of the study.
The report finds that other issues are also driving online growth, including the challenge of delivery to high-rise apartment buildings, which are now mostly wired for internet access.
“The top metro markets have always been the cash cows of the yellow pages world, topping $2 billion in early 2008 or 11.7% of total revenue; that was the high point for metro markets, as they look to settle around 10% of total revenue by 2012,” said Goddard. “Online revenue is likely to offset the print decline in three to five years when the markets will become stable.”
The strength of the yellow pages industry has always been in linking buyers and sellers at the time of purchase through the information in its databank. Search giants are now partnering with yellow page publishers to gain access to that databank, as it increases the relevancy and accuracy of search results.
“Search giants, such as Google and Yahoo! lack the capability and the desire to have a team on the ground, adjusting search results for the bakery or dentist that just closed shop,” remarked Goddard. “The yellow page companies in these metropolitan markets have always tracked these changes and will continue to be the key holders of that vital information.”
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