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New Business for the Yellow Pages?

Watching tv the other day, a new Yellow Book ad caught my eye. It's the one starring David Carradine as the Yellow Pages Guru (or genie or something like that). Anyway in this ad three guys are complaining that they need more customers for their business, when *poof* the aforementioned guru pops up to tell them to buy a Yellow pages ad. Eventually, the three guys ask them about online ads and search engines and the guru replies that YellowBook will make sure their businesses are "listed in powerful search engines."

Hmmmm. So what exactly is the "pwereful search engine" listing this ad is referring to? SEO or SEM? If SEM, does that mean that YellowBook.com entered into a relationship with Google/ Y! to sell Ad-Words for them? While this is something I advocated in the past , I kind of doubt it. For lots of reasons (pricing, over-lap, future upsell, customer retention , etc.) that's a pretty complicated partnership - and unless I missed it - would've deserved some sort of announcement.

So that must mean the ad is referring to SEO and, on many levels, I find this interesting. On one hand, SEO is a competitive field - and as a brand, I don't think of Yellowbook as having any expertise in that area. On the other hand, directory listings seem to do well with Page Rank, and given that Google is the starting spot for access to the internet, if you have a high page rank it is an asset that needs to be leveraged. I'm guessing that's why InfoSpace managed to sell switchboard.com for $225 million - that site likely has zero organic traffic, but lots of SEO referral.

In any event, I find it fascinating that the Yellow Pages are now in the SEO business and make that a part of the marketing/ UVP. Shows you how far the online world has gone in overtaking some of even the most traditional offline businesses. But like any SEO play, let's hope for their sake that the Yellow Pages Guru has the magic to keep Google from changing its algorithm....

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 20, 2007 11:46 AM.

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