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The Kelsey Report® White Paper

Tracking Key Verticals: Anatomy of a Meltdown
Charles Laughlin , 4/1/2000


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 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.

Copyright � 2005 The Kelsey Group. All Rights Reserved.
This published material is for internal client use only. It may not be duplicated or distributed in any manner not permitted by contract. Any unauthorized distribution could result in termination of the client relationship, fines and other civil or criminal penalties under Federal law. The Kelsey Group disclaims all warranties regarding the accuracy of the information herein and similarly disclaims any liability for direct, indirect or consequential damages that may result from the use or interpretation of this information.

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Copyright© 2006 The Kelsey Group. All Rights Reserved.