In 1997, The Kelsey
Group delivered a presentation entitled "Six Trends that Will Shape
the Industry in the Year 2010." One of the most controversial statements
we made at that time was, "There will be nothing more than listings
in five top headings within print directories."
As a reminder, those
headings are Real Estate, Restaurants, Auto Dealers-New, Travel and
Computers. In this White Paper, TKG discusses how each of these headings
is under assault by both b-to-b and b-to-c oriented dot-com companies
entering the market with e-commerce solutions that have the potential
to accelerate the decline of these top business categories.
We still have good
reason to feel confident in our forecast. Business patterns are changing,
as are the adoption of new technologies. Every day, examples emerge
of business models that threaten key Yellow Pages headings. Take the
dot-com offering of PurpleTie.com. It plans to transform the dry-cleaning
business, enabling consumers to arrange pickup and delivery online,
using PurpleTie's centralized, automated dry-cleaning centers.
This approach, a
kind of Webvan of dry cleaning, may not work. However, it illustrates
what is happening heading by heading, niche by niche, day by day. In
many categories, the convenience and efficiencies brought by Web-based
services will either kill off fragmented local businesses or replace
their methods of customer acquisition with something more efficient
for shoppers and less expensive for advertisers. In either case, it's
bad news for the printed Yellow Pages.
Threats from IP-
and wireless-based alternatives will expand beyond the categories given
up for dead - travel agents being the most visible. Core service headings
- where people with names on their shirts sign contracts on the hoods
of pickup trucks in between pager beeps - are also in the cross hairs.
In this White Paper,
TKG observes key Yellow Pages categories to illustrate the different
reasons they are threatened. We also suggest tactics for managing the
migration from print in ways that benefit publishers.