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Yellow Pages

Good Value Online?

     
10:42 pm on Feb 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I enquired about possible ad space on Yell.com recently.

A sales bloke rang back, hoping to make the sale there and then! But I declined, cos they are overpriced and inflexible as to what they are prepared to do for you.

They said it would be £335 for 12 months. And that I would get an enhanced listing, but when I checked these enhanced entries, they aren't really all that special plus you find yourself amongst 20 or 30 others.

Pointless really. I know they are Yellow Pages - but Googles got to be cheaper.

They are very persistent and use Indian call centres to check entry details. One call centre person even got my company name wrong - how bad is that!

Any thoughts on this anyone

10:44 pm on Feb 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Any thoughts on this anyone

If you aren't happy with the company, don't use them. Dunno what else you're expecting anyone to say.

11:23 pm on Feb 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I was expecting an intelligent answer involving some kind of feedback regarding Yellow Pages.

I haven't seen many posts about Yells quality of service, and decided to get a discussion going.

That is the purpose of a forum right?

11:33 pm on Feb 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]

That is the purpose of a forum right?

It didn't seem like a request for information. It just seemed like a big complaint. People seem to be forgetting TOS #12 all of the time, lately.

Open-ended questions tend to be perceived as open-ended time sinks. The people most likely to be able to give you a useful answer are also the busiest people (if only because they take on the most work themselves). People like that are allergic to open-ended time sinks, thus they tend to be allergic to open-ended questions.

You are more likely to get a useful response if you are explicit about what you want respondents to do (provide pointers, send code, check your patch, whatever). This will focus their effort and implicitly put an upper bound on the time and energy a respondent has to put in to helping you. This is good.

To understand the world the experts live in, think of expertise as an abundant resource and time to respond as a scarce one. The less of a time commitment you implicitly ask for, the more likely you are to get an answer from someone really good and really busy.

[catb.org...]

11:43 pm on Feb 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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bakedjake sums up alot of the attitude towards the offline players trying to make it in the online marketplace - 'Devout cynicism'.?Just because Yellow Pages can charge £600 (or more) a year for their listings doesn't mean that Yell.com can - at present Yellow Pages adverts drive traffic to a company (pardon using online terminology in an offline situation) and as such bring in a good ROI - unfortunately this ROI does not translate to their online listings which bring in less traffic than many other online players who charge less.

My way of looking at things is that I can get Overture/Google/ESpotting/Mirago traffic at £0.10 per click so at that rate for £335.00 Yell.com needs to bring me 3350 visitors per year. Which as everyone can work out is approx 280 visitors per month. The best I have yet got out of Yell.com is 30/month which means that the Yell.com ROI is 1/9th that of the major PPC providers. I'm going to stick with PPC until Yell.com can show a considerable traffic increase or they lower their prices to about £30/year.

Call it brutal but offline ad providers need to understand the online marketplace before they set their pricing - most of the online ad buyers can work out the cost per visitor and the revenue per visitor to the nearest penny/cent and place ads accordingly.

12:02 am on Feb 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks very much for the prompt replies people.

I can't see Yellow.com reducing their ad fees to £30

I guess we can pray though lol. I reckon they could use some improved design work to their site - that combined with lowering fees might work in their favour.

12:04 am on Feb 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Ian. The Offline world has a long way to go to catch up with CPC, even CPM providers.

Maybe if they spent some resource on search functionality they might do better. I have tried these yellow pages type searches before and got awful returns.

But it's always a useful discussion because I never really see any drastic improvements. I did notice however that Thomson local appeared on Yahoo.co.uk and I am still trying to find someone that has tried this out. May be I will and report back!

Personally I feel that your post was a fair one, and I wish people would not be so harsh here sometimes, it completely stemns creativity to the point that people are scared to post.

12:29 am on Feb 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your support on this. Offline world does need to redress their pricing structure.

This is an important topic, I feel, as I imagine many have been stung by the offline paper directories.

They could get away with it, before the web, but I suppose as long as people do pay them, they are going to continue.

I see yell & yellow pages as more of a consumer 2 business directory, rather than B2b.

These guys obviously are a name, but as I've explained to thousands of people that just cos you are big - this doesn't mean you can provide good service.

Yet Yell are using the name to milk cash from Anyone!

I think the net has proven that point. Sometimes Big is not always best.

1:41 am on Feb 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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They could get away with it, before the web, but I suppose as long as people do pay them, they are going to continue.

I am not saying that Yellow Pages (offline version) does not provide good ROI for its customers. From my experience it is one of the best offline advertising outlets in the UK for ROI, with numerous sources supporting its efficacy.

I see yell & yellow pages as more of a consumer 2 business directory, rather than B2b.

These guys obviously are a name, but as I've explained to thousands of people that just cos you are big - this doesn't mean you can provide good service.

IMHO they are providing good service to offline advertisers at the moment as above, the mistake most people make is to confuse a Yellow Pages advert and a Yell.com listing the two are seperate entities and should be treated as such.

I have heard recently that some people are getting very good deals on their Yell.com listing because of their Yellow Pages ad spend.

Online Yell.com needs to be compared with the PPC providers, if you can pick up traffic at £0.10 per click then the value of a directory listing can be directly compared to PPC spend and if it doesn't measure up it is not going to be considered by advertisers who are closely monitoring their ROI.

2:25 am on Feb 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Speaking from actual experience, I placed a small box ad, I think it cost around £500ish. I expected superb exposure for that investment, the sales pitch was delivered to me with such expertise, I went ahead with it.

Oh boy - I should have saved my cash. Er basically, they took my money and ran!

I suppose I got about 30ish enquiries, and made 3 sales, so was still out of pocket by about £300.

Don't forget that people will use it primarily to phone in enquiries, obtain quotes, and harvest contact info - more than actually purchase.

That is fact. Directories hold contact info. This is what telesales staff use, when they plan sales calls.

Yell pages are an excellent resource - if you need a plumber, but they aren't a B2B type of thing.

Business Pages would be better. I think they r a bit pricey overall, even with the brand name.

But that's been my experience anyway.

Chris

11:52 am on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The online version is simply trying to run a system which is not going to work with everyone.

In the offline world the printed directory is the king. In the online world, it follows so many other good services which are significantly lower in cost.

They are trying to get everyone to go for a fairly high cost per entry. There will probably be the exception but, i'm convinced it won't work for the majority.

For sure, the cost needs to come into line with their online competitors or people will try it an find it doesn't give payback.

I checked their figures for a few popular searches and was quite dissappointed with the numbers. When coupled with their rotation of the ads they are reducing the opportunity for the advert's appearance.

No, it's not something I can recommend at the moment.

1:03 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think what engine said says it all. The rotation of ads though is pretty much the norm, and is done to 'save' users from scrolling down a page too much.

I've noticed MSN rotates it's banners, and I think it rotates other style ads too.

But Yell, will target anybody they feel they can flogg a £340 listing to, which somehow suggests to me that they 'know' their media won't help most Businesses - because their directory is set up for a Consumer 2 Business area!

Okay - they have Business Pages, but both are still offline - meant for an offline Readership, and I feel that lot's of advertisers are lacking results, yet still pumping loads of cash into re-advertising with Yell every year.

Insane! From a ROI point of view.

I think Yell know what they want to do - generate large amounts of cash.

But think it appears to Users/consumers that they are having trouble deciding what to target.

Consumer Market (Yell Pages) or B2B Market (Business Pages)

Surely, it would be better, and less expensive from a Costs point of view - if they combined both directories offline.

They could still target both markets - while reducing distribution costs!

The costs could then be passed on as savings to Customers/advertisers online.

What a good idea.

7:05 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The banners are not even working right now, "Page Not Found" .

I think Yell have a hell of a lot to answer for, they convince small business that they have all the solutions for getting a business online in the best possible way. They should look at there own position first before they try to advice others. There only advantage is that they have a very large tele-canvass operation already in place. The problem is that once a business has wasted money with Yell they then feel that the internet is a waste of money because Yell had promised so much.

One good thing about Yell, if you need a map when visiting a business they very good at delivering that and offer a printable version. Maybe they will start charging for that next, say £25 a map.

7:45 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The mind boggles. Yell is nice looking - but you need a portal that gives results, and from my experience it just doesn't.

It would get you started I guess, but very very slowly.

It's just too pricey. Maybe if they charged £100. If they did that they would get more customers.

Yep, their telesales dept is massive, lot's of cold calls, follow ups and even more hassle once you stop using their services. They will keep calling once the 12 month contract is up.

Also, once your ad is set - you can't modify it!

<snip>

[edited by: IanTurner at 8:36 pm (utc) on Feb. 9, 2004]
[edit reason] <See Sticky> [/edit]

9:02 pm on Feb 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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with yell and you get phone calls as well as clicks, so its not just about cost-per-click.
9:25 pm on Feb 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Agreed and if you sell £5,000 widgets or services then you don't need many phone calls to make a yell listing work, on the other hand if you sell £20 widgets or services it takes a lot of phone calls to make it work.

What most web marketers are doing is looking at measurable conversion. You can't do measurable conversions so easily with telephone enquiries, without spending considerably more money.

9:46 pm on Feb 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yell.com's site gives slightly better exposure than their book directories, but it's not great. I'm using Google adwords now, much better, gives a higher rate of clicks compared to Yellow Pages, but not brilliant or anything - I would say fair.

Yell will sell these 'Enhanced listings' where you will get:

enhanced Listing
enhanced listing
enhanced listing
enhanced listing

it's exactly the same as their basic line entry

line entry
line entry
line entry

How are you going to stand out?

See, no advantage whatsoever. Now you imagine 100 enhanced listings per page on Yell!

It's the same thing, except they charge you £300 for the listing. Except you get a web link - Big Wow.

But this is what advertising is about. You are buying a section of THEIR webspace etc.

I think it again, boils down to their charges. Their also very inflexible regarding customer service, which makes things 10 time worse.

As I mentioned before, it's not the correct media for every business. When we consider ad targeted exposure, there are so many better and far cheaper ways of doing it.

It's all about advertising budget. These directories do slit their own throats -I feel, as I bet they will lose a lot of potentially good companies in the future.

You never know who a particular client knows!

10:33 pm on Feb 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The problem with the IYP as I see it is that there are just so many listings - around 2 million in the big ones, such as Yell.com. That means that there is often a lot more competition for each user eyeball. That is why advertisers are willing to pay for the upgrade. Better to be upgraded to the top 10 than languishing around the 50 mark.

It is very clever marketing from Yell; they have effectively made the upgraded listings a necessity in some categories, just like PPC listings cost a lot more for certain topics if you want any traffic. Anything that isn't upgraded can become just backfill.

12:29 am on Feb 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I used to work at Yell and still have lots of contacts within the company. First of all I need to say that some business types do very well from a yell.com listing. However, most of their customers are not getting a very good return on investment from their online listings. The thing is if you try Yell and find your not getting the visitor levels you need, then you should spend your money else where. But don’t try and get your money back as Yells customer service department will inform you that you have entered into a 12 month contract.

If your considering a template “Web Builder” site from yell and not just a link I would like to explain some of the problems you can experience. Firstly Yell.com does not want your site to be found outside of the Yell directory. Although the sales men assures you that your going to be found on all search engines, in fact yell do precious little to achieve this. More seriously is that the Yell web builder sites are dynamically generated and there are some problems with robots reading the sites. This means that most of yells template website customer can not be found on any of the search engines.

If your considering a banner campaign on Yell just take a look at their cpm. They are with out doubt the most expensive I have ever seen £50+ cpm.

If anyone wants to pick my brains about my time working at Yell I would be happy to answer any questions via sticky mail.

Cheers

1:40 am on Feb 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for that. Very helpful indeed. I can understand the 12 month contract - they keep you in directory, whilst giving themselves time to drive a little traffic, so to justify any fee!

Since you worked for them I was wondering, say a campaign isn't working out, (on Yell.com) not enough clickthrough - would they allow a client to cancel, then switch to banner ads or something? In other words change the ads cos they aren't working out.

11:21 am on Feb 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I used to work at the compliant department and I am telling you that the dispute resolution guidelines do not allow you to transfer from product to product. If you wish to try something new, you are expected to buy that at the full prince. If you do phone up and complain they are not going to offer any of your money back. They would rather offer you extra time on the Yell directory free of charge. Also if you look at the small print of their terms and conditions you will see that they have got it all stitched up in their favour.
2:49 pm on Feb 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Well, okay, they may allow extra time - but that's no good because the advert is amongst 100's of others.

The ad just has to stand out to attract attention.

And even the 'Enhanced listing' (which is representing a paid better service) quite clearly isn't doing the job.

Problem is that they are selling this as a benefit driven solution!

Clever in the beginning, but people are not idiots and will soon catch on in time.

There is no service in the UK anymore.

Sad for business in general me thinks.

1:56 pm on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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i agree that yell is overpriced but one thing that should be taken into consideration is the quality of the lead. hits are fine but if they don't convert to business they are worthless. would you not say that a yell lead is a more qualified lead than one from google?
i'd be interested in feedback as i am looking to promote our site at the moment and have posted comments about seek.net the offline/online guide. their pitch was very much about the fact they would bring business as opposed to just hits.
i will update on r.o.i. on this one as i have signed up
8:10 pm on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Qualified? If you mean 'Quality' then I would have to say nope.

They have a good advertising reach, but the click throughs weren't happening.

I've just started using Google.co.uk Adwords, and within 1 week, I've received over 9,000 impressions and 60 click throughs, of which 20 have converted to sales.

It took yellow pages one full year to provide 30 enquiries. I've reached that within 1 week with Google UK.

Not even Yell.com's site has driven 1 single visitor to my site! And they expect me to pay them?

Yet Yell are supposed to be established on the web aren't they?

As I said before, they are a Bus 2 Consumer directory trying to be everything to everybody - and you can't get away with that!

It confuses people. Do you want to be business? or Consumer?

8:38 pm on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all the comments.