The owners of Yellow pages used to turn over Billions now they are in massive debt & struggling (see this article from the telegraph) Why has a household name with such market dominance found it’s self in so much trouble? Well in short the story goes like this…. back in 2002 when the general public where starting to get to grips with the internet the google maps listings used to be provided by Yell and link back to businesses on Yell.com. Yell were having significant success through yell.com and 10’s of millions of visitors via Google every month, in their opinion the paper based directory would never die and they where to be kings of the internet, this isn’t quite how it happened.
After a significant period of time Google attempted to
negotiate a deal where Yell would start to pay a small fee to keep the listings in the prominent position, however Yell refused as at this stage they felt that they were doing Google the favour suggesting even that Google should pay them. Google being Google understood that they themselves could source the same data being supplied by Yell, so the two giants of marketing parted company and as expected the traffic to yell.com dropped significantly.
What followed within Yell was pandemonium when advertisers noticed the drop in enquiries from their Yell.com ad and renewal rates dropped (what it’s important to understand is yells business model was built on monthly payments from advertisers.) Top executives left (after paying themselves handsome bonuses) and wave after wave of staff redundancies were announced.
The directory went from replicating a giant A4 advertising Bible to a more modest A5 advertising pamphlet, sales dropped as did sales staff moral, and smaller companies emerged taking a large chunk of Yells market share.
Internet Nerds & Computer Boffins
During the time of turmoil a prominent Yell executive stated to staff he wouldn’t be beaten by quote “a load of internet nerds & computer boffins!” but after this executive taking a redundancy package and Yell being sold to & re-branding to Hibu, it looks like the nerds won.
I know this because I was there, I witnessed the highs and a share price of almost £7.00 and watched it drop to £0.02p, I saw the culls of staff and witnessed and was in a “victim” of the manage them out mentality of management who were being forced to offload less effective and outspoken staff. Many of these “less effective” staff went on to achieve great things and have been replaced by lower paid consultants.
Should you continue to advertise with Yell?
The answer in my opinion is due to the company’s historic dominance in the directive marketing industry you definitely should have some sort of presence because consumers of a certain generation will still find comfort in the walking fingers, however! What Yell are trying to achieve for their own website is appear on the first page of Google, which is what you should be trying to achieve independently for your own website.
Should I get Yell to build my website?
If you don’t mind it looking like 100’s of other websites around the web and paying for it forever! Yell websites are rented not bought & most Yell websites are built on a handful of templates, so you will notice a similarity between may of their customers sites layouts and sometimes even content.
Your website should be unique to your business and reflect your brand. Talk to us about web design and we will tailor a layout that is exactly whats in your mind’s eye. Yell’s mid range site or what they call “Advantage Website Plus” templated site costs £360 to set up & £45 a month for a minimum term of 12 months, so in your first year the site will cost you £900, if you stop paying at this stage your site disappears so then you will need to continue to pay £45 a month. So after 3 years a bog standard website that looks like everybody elses will cost you £1,800 plus the VAT.
The alternative web design & internet marketing options
Our midrange sites cost £750 and once complete belong to you, the only thing you’ll ever pay for again is your hosting & domain name renewals. If you want to move the website to a new host we will facilitate this for you at no extra charge.
Google wants to offer a range of high quality websites from a range of business owners so what you should do is produce or get someone to design you a website that speaks in-depth about your business and industry, speak to us or another SEO professional and optimise your web site and web presence around your service in the area.
Yell is one of many online directories most of which offer free listings which is all you need as nowadays Google verifies your information with these directories and wants to offer your details in the maps area of the page, up-to-date information will also help with your websites SEO. We will list the best directories to get your business listed with shortly.