As the stock market keeps punishing directory publishers’ stock worldwide, we’re starting to see more articles about “how no one uses the print Yellow Pages” anymore (see Boston.com, CNBC, or WickedLocal.com). People in the industry know it’s not true, the Yellow Pages Association (and individual publishers as well) have data to back it up but I fear we’re letting public opinion run loose with that preconceived notion.
The whole industry needs to work on this. I’m afraid we’re getting close to a perfect storm where the stock value drop is associated with usage drop permanently. As I suggested in the Kelsey Group blog yesterday, “One way to re-join the conversation would be for directory publishers to start blogging. They all have very smart CEOs and VPs, who usually have a lot to say, but we only communicate behind closed doors or in industry conferences. It’s time for the industry to get back its share of voice and I think it would help to address the media bashing that’s currently happening.”
The good news is that people are reacting. Dave Swanson, CEO of R.H. Donnelley Corp. appeared on CNBC’s Fast Money to counter the argument that “Yellow Pages are dead”. He did a great job. We need more of that.
(click here to listen to his interview)