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Aug 21 2005
Vonage Goes Wi-Fi
Today Vonage, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider, which serves both residential and small business customers, announced it would begin offering Wi-Fi service through an agreement with UTStarcom beginning this Spring.

While UTStarcom will provide the portable handset, Vonage will provide the broadband service so that users can have a portable phone service they can use at home, at the office or in a mobile capacity at Wi-Fi hotspots. This service would be a free add-on feature to current subscribers. Instead of plugging in a phone to their broadband line, subscribers can make the same calls on the mobile phone. (Subscribers would be required to purchase the handset, which is estimated to cost in the $100 range.) While this move impacts traditional telcos and now wireless carriers, it also continues to throw a wrench into directory players business plans. With super low prices (unlimited local and long distance calling plans for small businesses at $49.99 month and unlimited calling plans for consumers under $25), both small businesses and consumers are increasingly signing on to services such as Vonage, which allows users to have virtual phone numbers. Currently, Vonage claims to have 400,000 subscribers. This causes a problem for directory players in a) obtaining listings, and b) seeking out advertising dollars from those small businesses. Moreover, it exacerbates the declining usage issue that print players are encountering. While it seems like almost a non-issue at present due to fairly low penetration of VoIP, this will be an issue that will plague the directory industry over the next few years. How can it not be? With rock bottom prices for unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, small businesses have to look at this as an alternative.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Bobbi Loy Luster at  08:45 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jul 28 2005
Study: 1.5 Million Americans Supplement Income with eBay

In the first half of 2005, eBayers sold approximately US$10.6 billion worth of goods through the online auction service. Check out the eBay press release here. Some things to consider: - The average sales per eBayer (all 1.5 million) in the first half of 2005 was US$7,067. - Over half of eBay members use the online auction as a primary or secondary source of income. - Less than 1 percent of U.S. Internet users are eBay members. - eBay members outnumber Wal-Mart employees in the U.S. by 200,000 people. Interesting things to ponder�� How many of these eBay members are not using traditional local media (newspaper classifieds, for instance) to advertise their products because they heavily depend on eBay? How many new businesses have formed to support eBay members or wannabees �� such as drop-off auction houses, shipping product distributors, eBay educators, etc.?
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Bobbi Loy Luster at  09:20 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Apr 7 2005
Go Pages Left with No Where to Go
Canadian publisher Advertising Directory Solutions (ADS) announced it has discontinued its Go Pages directories. The mobile directories for Calgary, Edmonton and the ��Lower Mainland�� of British Columbia have all been discontinued effective immediately. The publisher��s Vancouver Island Go Pages book will publish as scheduled in June 2005.

The Go Pages were mobile directories, meaning a smaller-size directory meant to be stored in one��s vehicle, that offered select headings, guides, maps and coupons. The magazine-style book offered no White Pages.

BAPCO, SBC and Dex have all dabbled with ��on-the-go"-type mobile directories for a few years, and BAPCO and Dex have recently implemented changes to re-brand and re-position these types of directories. Meanwhile, other publishers, including independents Hagadone and MacGregor, are claiming success with their mobile directories. DataNational has tested a ��visor-sized�� mobile directory in Northern Virginia. Europeans such as Findexa and PagesJaunes also offer mobile or mini-directories in select markets.

It is probable that with the pending YPG purchase of ADS that ADS is discontinuing its non-performing products. However, it is an interesting product to be discontinuing as mini-directories, also known as midis, have been ��all the rage�� in the U.S. and in select European countries in recent years. An increasing number of publishers are looking at midis as one of their biggest opportunities for growth in the core product moving forward.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Bobbi Loy Luster at  09:06 | permalink | comments [2] | trackbacks [0]

Feb 2 2005
Find YP��s eRates and Data to Compete with YPA
Recently, start-up Find YP launched a competitive product to the Yellow Pages Association��s (YPA) IRIS Rates & Data product called eRates and Data.

eRates and Data is a Web-based database that provides the same data as YPA��s product as well as color maps of directory distribution areas, full lists of headings available in each directory, CPM calculations for each ad type, as well as other general demographic data by market. Another key difference is that electronic publishers can participate to provide data on their geo-targeted ads and keyword pricing for local search products.

For smaller publishers, Find YP seems to offer a chance to participate in a rates and data product that is not cost prohibitive -- as some view the YPA��s offering. Moreover, it gives those same smaller publishers exposure to the CMR community and thus national ad dollars; hence, the backing of the product by the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP). Also, from an ease of use standpoint, Find YP��s Web-based concept seems like a winner in theory. Currently YPA requires members to purchase CD-ROMs or monthly comma-delimited file uploads.

While the product is likely to gain traction in the independent publisher community, it is difficult to say if larger publishers will change the way they provide data to the industry or if they��d be willing to participate in both products. If CMRs use both products, then we know that the larger publishers probably would participate.

Find YP president is Phil Wojcik. Could this be the same Phil Wojcik that was the former Webmaster of the YPA?

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Bobbi Loy Luster at  11:07 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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