by Chris Silver Smith
Over at Media Post, The Kelsey Group is quoted today saying that the erosion in usage of print yellow pages is likely to fall off at a higher rate this year — by 10% this year, compared with only 2% to 3% erosion in recent years.
They state that a combination of factors such as more users going to internet yellow pages and local search engines combined with a recession are propelling the rapid erosion. Concerningly, one can extrapolate that if print YP usage is dropping, advertiser dollars might also follow the herd.
As Greg Sterling points out, The Kelsey Group has historically been a very staunch defender of the print YP industry, so this article is a bit of a gut-punch to people in the legacy print business, even though anyone watching the trends over the last few years won’t find it all that surprising.
One thing the Media Post article doesn’t mention is how a number of smaller, regional print yellow pages companies have had surprising growth in ad sales over the past year, likely at the expense of the larger yellow pages directory sales. As Greg further points out, some of the smaller, nimble companies like ReachLocal (who are frenemies with the yellow pages industry) may be poised to take over the small business advertiser base as those companies’ agencies of choice if the yellow pages industry cannot retain them.