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The Kelsey Report® White Paper

Independent Yellow Pages Publishers: Options for E-Commerce
Charles Laughlin , 10/1/2000


The independent Yellow Pages community has recently been transformed to the point where many now question how meaningful the terms "utility" (affiliated with an incumbent telephone company) and "independent" (unaffiliated with a telecommunications concern) remain.

Arthur Christoffersen, group vice president of McLeodUSA Publishing, chided The Kelsey Report in a recent conversation for clinging to the utility/independent distinction, which he argues has become meaningless.

He has a point. His own company is a division of a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC). Yellow Book USA, wholly owned by British Telecommunications, is another publisher that is really no longer "independent." As the independent publishing community consolidates, the consolidators are attracting capital and expanding into major markets, a development path that puts strain on the old David and Goliath metaphor.

The real distinction today is between "growth" and "defensive" publishers. Growth publishers are seeing high single-digit to low double-digit growth rates and higher rates when account acquisitions and new directories are considered. These publishers - McLeod, TransWestern, White Directory, Yellow Book USA, and a few others - all used to be known as "independents."

"Defensive" publishers are those with sizable market share and high EBITDA margins that are doing little expansion with the printed product. Instead, these companies, typically affiliated with incumbent local carriers, are trying to defend their market against encroaching "growth" publishers.

The tables are turned when it comes to online development. "Growth" publishers, with some exceptions, have been very conservative in their approach to developing online directory products. The incumbent "defensive" publishers have been more aggressive online, though not always successful.

This White Paper takes a look at the state of the independent - or "growth" - publishing community, with particular emphasis on independents' approach to migrating their products and services to the Internet.

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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