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Feb 4 2005
The Bell No Longer Tolls
I joined the residential marketing group at AT&T; in 1978 because my Director convinced me that ��the Biggest Company on Earth�� was going to become a marketing driven company. I was young and naïve then, and I should have paid attention to President Charles Brown who said in a Times interview that changing AT&T;��s culture was like turning around the Queen Mary.

I tell people today I worked for AT&T; when it was the Bell System ( The corporation had $125 billion in assets and over a million employees who worked at Bell Labs, Western Electric, Long Lines and 22 Bell telephone companies. One of those was Southwestern Bell Corporation whose successor has now bought AT&T.; AT&T; wasn��t perfect before it was forced into divestiture in 1984, but the public switched telephone network worked exceedingly well. The company was driven by a philosophy of providing outstanding service, and every manager at every level was held accountable. The monopoly the government granted Theodore Vail and Walter Gifford in return for providing everyone universal local service was mostly benevolent. The Bell System reflected a simpler time in our society. Today the communication company must meet the changing needs of consumers who want multiple forms of audio/video simultaneously. AT&T; wasn��t up to the task anymore than Western Union was. The question for the local media corner of the world is whether SBC will help pay for AT&T; by selling off its SBCDO assets.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  John Kelsey at  08:46 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Feb 2 2005
My Wish for the YP Industry in 2005
My wish for the Yellow Pages industry in the new year is that the leaders of our business do a better job of communicating our value story to the outside world.

In Bambi Francisco's article she seems to assume that everyone is a writer on Internet issues and no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore. This just isn't true. Despite the tremendous increase in online usage throughout 2004 and especially during the holiday shopping season, references to Yellow Pages listings have remained steady. The Yellow Pages industry is finally working together on syndicated usage (the KN/SRI press release tells the tale), but it is going to take some time before we have enough usable data for the sales force to take into the field. Still, the industry has an impressive return on investment story. Let's not wait for the syndicated usage to get the message out.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  John Kelsey at  11:21 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Feb 2 2005
Will Next Week's Headline Be About Credit Cards?
While reading yesterday��s business section of the New York Times, I had the feeling I had somehow picked up a newspaper from 10 years ago. High Tech Isn��t Just for the Big Guys was the headline in an article about small business.

According to research The Kelsey Group conducted last June, 78 percent of small business advertisers have Web access. Over 50 percent of SMEs have broadband and a Web site. With headlines like the one above, it is no wonder that newspapers are losing their readership. Not only is the Times�� story not news today, it wasn��t even particularly news in 1988. That summer our family spent some time in Paris. One night we had dinner with a friend who owned a patisserie. Over dinner our friend told us how important his Minitel was to him. Minitel was introduced in 1983 by France Telecom as a way to save money on telephone directories. But it quickly became more than an online White and Yellow Pages as people discovered the benefits of e-mailing and shopping online.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  John Kelsey at  11:16 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Feb 2 2005
The Marshall Leaves Town
We learned earlier today that Pat Marshall has departed Verizon Information Services. Few people in the directory business have as much experience in the application of new technology as Pat does. Pat��s been on the leading edge of most new technology movements at traditional Yellow Pages publishers.

Pat has been actively involved in the earliest development of operator-assisted Yellow Pages, Internet service provision, and video on demand. But he is perhaps best known as the father of, the IYP/local search rabbit that everyone has been chasing since 1995.

As happens with most change agents, their days get numbered, and it comes time to move on. We'd expect Pat to show up as a major player in another market-leading organization. This Marshall understands the new frontier.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  John Kelsey at  11:07 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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