Conversation with the YPA’s Neg Norton

YP logoNeg Norton, head of the YPA, and I had a quick chat to clarify some issues arising from my earlier post about the industry’s “PR problem.” Norton said that the YPA presented a “multiplatform” (print, Internet, mobile) story and the reporter essentially didn’t reflect that in the quotes and copy. I believe that given some of my experiences.

He also said that he often encounters skepticism among some reporters when they discuss print usage numbers because especially younger reporters in major metros generalize their own Internet-centric experiences to the entire US population. (The terrible irony here is that the print newspapers for which these reporters often write are in a tougher position than print yellow pages.)

This “bias” is shared by many of the bankers and brokers on Wall Street now making decisions about yellow pages stocks.

In the end I think the YP industry is going to have to pump data continuously into the marketplace to overcome the skepticism above.

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Related: National advertisers express frustration with yellow pages.

10 Responses to “Conversation with the YPA’s Neg Norton”

  1. troy Says:

    Mutliplatform? What does that mean? This is the industry’s best definition and spin of what we are about. This reinforces my earlier post of the failure of thought leadership in the yellowpages industry by executives of companies and YPA.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    If you were running YPA what would you do? That’s a genuine question.

  3. pm98345 Says:

    Multiplatform speaks to the solution necessary for the problem facing small business today… and that is the fragmentation of local media. Small business owners may have only a few hours a month to spend on marketing. They need an affordable turnkey solution that allows them to be in the many places a local consumer may use to get information prior to making a purchase.

  4. troy Says:

    If I were running YPA. The first thing I would do is to get all the heads of the major YP companies to seat down together and talk about the survial of the industry and not their individual companies. They need to reinvent and redefine the value propositions of YP for the users first and NOT the advertisers. Why should people use YP instead of Search Engines or other medium? Why should I keep the print book or go to the online sites? Look at other industries that have gone through declines but were able to reinvent itself like the bicycle industry with mountain bikes and hybrid bikes or dare I say the cigarette industry. The common tread is that all the companies banded together to save the industry.

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    Norton spoke about doing something like this but said he faced resistance from the individual YP brands competing with one another. But you’re right that collective action is called for. It’s a question of whether the heads of the separate publishers can put their limited self interests aside and come together. Perhaps the hardest one to “get to the table” is AT&T, which is insulated to some degree from the pressures that the others are facing as stand-alone companies.

  6. troy Says:

    So, just what is the role of the YPA when the industry is in peril? Why are they being paid the big bucks? Don’t u see the irony in an industry/lobby group that cannot bring its members together and from an earlier post of the YPA claiming that they tried to counter the negative sentiments with PR but nobody was listening. Anyways, it does not matter that much because the reality is, yellowpages will not be replaced by other mediums at the rate of some other businesses/technology like 35mm film. The power of the Internet tends to magnifies issues that are in reality not that big or wide spend like mad cow disease. Many middle Americans use yellowpages and have never heard of Yelp or own an Iphone. Businesses/industries do not disappear until there is a clear and compelling superior replacement or subsitution. Low to no growth, yes. Disappear in the next 10 years- no way.

  7. AhmedF Says:

    Hrmm – I will agree with Troy that low to no growth yes. But in the next 10 years? Just remember how the internet was in 1998 … YP *could* be essentially wiped out in 10 years.

  8. Nagaraju Says:

    Interesting, I was driving home this evening and heard an ad on the radio which was all about print advertising from a YP company and barely a mention of online ( and here in the SF Bay Area). The analogy that comes closest is AOL which didn’t want to cannibalize it’s dial up market and was never aggressive enough to upsell broadband. It’s logical that the YP companies would preserve their existing revenue streams but new and upcoming companies which have nothing loose would aggressively go after them.

  9. Greg Sterling Says:

    On some level that’s what’s happening with companies like ReachLocal, Yodle and Weblistic

  10. Weekly Local Wrap Up | LocalPoint - Perspectives on the Local Internet Says:

    […] Conversation with the YPA’s Neg Norton […]

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