Archive for the ‘Yellow Pages’ Category

Google Maps Spam Innovation?

August 26, 2009

Today I was searching for a local french drain systems specialist to get a quote to install a drainage system in my backyard to handle the inordinate amounts of rain we have been having lately.

It seems like we have been having more than our fair share of 50 and 100 year downpours this summer.

On top of these once in a lifetime downpours we also had a reported 1 1/2 inches of rain fall in less than 30 minutes at the beginning of August when its typically dry as a bone.

Combined the two types of rain have created problems I didn’t have before because I haven’t owned my house for 50 years nor was was it built 100 years ago.

To save the time and hassle of cracking open one of the five yellow pages directories I receive annually, I thought I would see what information Google’s search results would provide.

To get straight to their local search results more quickly, I searched Google for “Oklahoma French Drain Systems”.

Google Maps Spam Innovation

Google Maps Spam Innovation

As expected, Google quickly delivered a set of three local business listings I could look over and then consider clicking or calling.

Nothing new there.

Since the top two listings shared the same great relevant domain – – I excitedly clicked through thinking I would soon be viewing the website of a great French Drain Systems company who could then help me solve my drainage problem.


Clicking through to both of the top two results landed me on the same parked page.

Having seen a variety of spoofs occur on Google Maps particularly within the user content sections of business listings, I assumed this was the case here too.


Looks like a local company – although not one in the French Drain Systems business – owns

Apparently, they claimed their listing with either a previous website and then elected to display the parked page or the claimed their listing while using a parked page.

Either way, whether this was an innocent attempt at claiming some local search real estate with a parked domain or not, I don’t think the search results are what Google Maps had intended for its users to find.


RIP Yellow Pages Industry?

November 17, 2008

Will the Yellow Pages industry be the next business category to suffer its demise at the hands of the internet?

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting overview of the state of the Yellow Pages industry.

My take on the Yellow Pages industry:

Will the Yellow Pages go away anytime soon?


Will 50% or more of the existing Yellow Pages advertising supply disappear in this economic cycle?


Will the Yellow Pages industry as a whole ever experience the semi-monopolistic product and pricing power it once enjoyed?


The most interesting figure to come from today’s Wall Street Journal article about the Yellow Pages industry is the graph showing the internet audience size of the top providers – MapQuest / AOL, / Idearc, / AT&T, Whitepages and Yahoo Local / Yahoo.

Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages

Collectively the group has less than 150 million unique visitors monthly.

How many more unique monthly visitors would the Yellow Pages industry need to become competitive?

Will the industry have time to amass a large enough internet audience to offset the losses occurring from a contraction in buyers and the continued erosion in their print audience?

The Yellow Pages industry could do what the auto industry does when its products and cost structures no longer generate profits – turn to Washington.

2009 Ad Spending Forecast and Media Attention Deficit (MAD)

October 14, 2008

Predicted growth in advertising spend per media for 2009 from Wachovia via the Wall Street Journal:

Growth of total U.S. advertising -0.8%

Internet +10%

Yellow Pages +6.3%

Cable TV +4.0%

Billboards +3.0%

Magazines -2.0%

Broadcast TV – 2.7%

Cable -4.0%

Radio -4.8%

Newspapers -9.8%

Don’t these ad growth – or lack thereof – predictions represent each specific media’s ability to reach, target and hold its audience’s attention?

When the overall economy contracts, aren’t general media those who first experience a contraction in their audience’s attention?

When media loses it’s ability to hold its audience’s attention doesn’t it soon thereafter lose advertiser support as well?

Top 10 Internet Yellow Pages Searches

August 27, 2008

From the Yellow Pages Association:

According to research firm Knowledge Networks/SRI, the Top 10 category searches among 2007’s 3.8 billion total IYP (online) searches were:

1. Restaurants
2. Physicians & Surgeons
3. Hotels
4. Auto Repairing & Service
5. Florists-Retail
6. Auto Dealers-New & Used
7. Dentists
8. Auto Parts & Supplies – New & Used
9. Beauty Salons (tie)
10. Hospitals (tie)

According to Larry Small, research director at YPA: “It may come as a surprise to some but the top 10 IYP headings mirror the top 10 print Yellow Pages headings — typically because these headings drive so many on and offline queries. These differences can be attributed to differences in consumer’s local search needs for product vs. service-oriented information and long-term vs. short-term purchase plans.”

Their research profile of IYP users shows that:

— 63% are female
— 89% are aged 25-64
— 54% are college graduates
— 42% have lived at the same address for 10+ years

The top (Offline) 20 Yellow Pages Headings for 2007 in numeric order followed by their number of references were:
Rank / Heading / Classification (millions)

1. Restaurants-Fast Food-Other & Non Specific 1,288.4
2. Physician & Surgeons-Specialist & Non Specific 1,122.7
3. Automobile Parts-New & Used 485.2
Automobile Parts-New 312.2
Automobile Parts-Used 173.0
4. Automobile Repairing & Service 411.9
5. Pizza 317.7
6. Automobile Dealers-New & Used 266.0
Automobile Dealers-New 189.7
Automobile Dealers-Used 76.2
7. Attorneys/Lawyers 260.6
8. Dentists 246.7
9. Plumbing Contractors 228.6
10. Beauty Salons 203.7
11. Hospitals 199.8
12. Department Stores 195.5
13. Insurance 183.8
14. Veterinarians 171.4
15. Hardware-Retail 145.7
16. Tire Dealers 142.4
17. Pharmacies or Drug Stores 130.8
18. Theaters 126.2
19. Florists-Retail 120.5
20. Banks 115.5

Google Local Business Results and the Last Mile: Search Takes Two Steps Closer to Bridging the Gap Between Web and Foot Traffic

January 28, 2008

Google’s First Step…

As reported and since confirmed by Greg Sterling, Google is now showing up to 10 local business results for geographic specific queries.

Google told Greg the reason it’s showing more links is because usability testing revealed that many people didn’t realize there was additional local content available beyond the three listings, despite the “more results . . .” prompt. Accordingly, Google said that with the 10 links it is hoping to signal people that there is much more local content a click away.

Google also said that it wouldn’t always show 10 results; it might still show three sometimes or one if the query is very specific.

As Mike Blumenthal has noted, it has been nearly a year since Google last upgraded their Local OneBox. At the time it led to a significant increase in Google Maps usage.

It will be interesting to see if and how Google’s worldwide roll out of their new Local OneBox increases Google Maps usage like it did after implementing their last Local Business OneBox changes.

In my previous post about Google’s local business results being expanded, I wrote about how the listings appeared locally and some of the factors I thought contributed to the listings.

Sterling reported the ten results are based on a range of factors, including the “query, proximity, availability of ratings/reviews and their quality and several other variables.”

Since Google doesn’t publish exactly what factors influence their list, all we can do is study what they publish and draw our own conclusions as to which variables may matter the most.

The following are examples of searches I have ran, Google’s Local OneBox business results and my analysis of what variables I think generated the list.

Google Local Business Results: Internet Marketing Oklahoma City –

Google Local Internet Marketing Oklahoma City

This query for a service (internet marketing) followed by the location (Oklahoma City) produced a “top of page” 10 listings OneBox result. I also found some Google Adwords ads displaying the recently discovered business address on the fourth line of the Adwords ad.

Google Local Business Results: Oklahoma City Internet Marketing –

Google Local Oklahoma City Internet Marketing

Searching for the same terms in a different order; placing the location first (Oklahoma City) and the service (internet marketing) last, produced a OneBox result with only three business listings. Some local Adwords advertisements still appeared with their specific address on the fourth line, which as mentioned previously only displayed a city or state.

Google Local Business Results: Business Marketing Oklahoma City –

Google Local Business Marketing Oklahoma City

A slightly different search for a similar business category yields a new clue to at least one of the factors Google uses to generate its OneBox 10 local business listings.

A search for the service (business marketing) and the location (Oklahoma City) produces a different yet seemingly innocuous list of businesses. However, in this particular query and in addition to the expected listing for my business “Advanced Marketing Consultants” appearing, “Cohn, Tim” also appears as one of the results.

Cohn, Tim is one of my business phone listings in my local Bell telephone directory. The phone company apparently can’t sort and digitally publish business listings with an individual’s name like they can an individual’s residential phone data.

A search in produces “Cohn, Tim” for my business phone number –

Yet, a search in Google for “Tim Cohn Oklahoma” produces both of my residential phone numbers and listings in correct order: Tim (first name) and then Cohn (last name) –

Tim Cohn Oklahoma

I haven’t investigated whether the phone company automatically reverses residential phone records before they are published to the web or whether Google reverses the data before they publish it.

Regardless, it looks like the business listing for “Tim Cohn” will remain forever memorialized in the vast telephone company data and its Internet counterpart as the business listing: “Cohn, Tim”.

Having accepted the fact that the telephone company seemed incapable of changing their listing results years ago, I decided to turn this particular piece of flawed data into my “control”.

When Cohn, Tim appears in print – whether online or off – its source is always local phone company data.

Thus at least a portion of this particular Google local OneBox list origins lies in business telephone directory data.

To its credit, Google has become proactive in allowing users to modify incorrect Google data as Barry Schwartz recently reported.

And unlike my attempts to get the phone company to correct how my business phone listing appears both in print and online, I am sure Google will let me append my business listing in their Google Local Business Center, but that will have to be the subject of another post.

Google Local Business Results: Chevy Oklahoma City –

Google Local Chevy Oklahoma City

Unlike with an old fashioned yellow pages search for listings with “Chevy Oklahoma City” keywords whether in the yellow pages or through directory assistance, Google can return results most likely relevant and matched to the searchers or callers intent.

Whereas, a yellow pages search or directory assistance call would take a couple of “passes” to yield the similarly accurate and desired result – businesses listings most likely to be known as “Chevy Oklahoma City”.


If the telephone company can’t arrange and organize my single business listing correctly in their digital directories, how will they ever be able to compete with Google’s ability to anticipate and even provide multiple possible answers to each searchers question?

Google Local Business Results: Double Glazers Chelsea London (England) –

Google Local London

Google’s local business results aren’t just appearing in the US. A search for “double glazers” in the Chelsea section of London produces a list of double glazers midway down the search engine results page. I am not sure why some OneBox results appear at the top of the page and why others appear in the middle of the page but I believe it too must be based on Google’s understanding of the searchers intent.

Google Local Business Results: Travel Agents Sydney (Australia) –

Google Local Sydney

This search in Sydney, Australia for travel agents also produces a OneBox result. Here the OneBox appears again at the top of the page above the organic results.

In my next post, I will show how Google’s local business results have taken a second step closer to bridging the gap between paid web search traffic and foot traffic…

September 7, 2006

David Carradine is appearing in commercials airing on national cable channels. I grew up in the 70’s watching Carradine as Kung Fu. Mr. Carradine attended a party at my now in-laws home in the early 1980’s where he sang and played the piano. I met his brother Keith Carradine backstage after one of his performances as Will Rogers in the Will Rogers Follies.

It appears Yellow Book has employed Carradine to reach and connect with baby boomer men like myself. My demographic theoritically has the decision making power within small to medium size businesses to make internet yellow pages buying decisions.

How many new internet yellow page advertisers does acquire for each $1,000 spent via cable television advertising? Can a internet yellow pages advertiser expect to get a higher or lower rate of return from their investment compared to what Yellow Book gets for each $1,000 it spends on cable advertising?