As a brief introduction for those outside of New Zealand, just over a year ago Telecom NZ sold it’s cash cow directory operations to a private equity consortium.
That consortium announced its expansion plans this morning and, not surprisingly, they heavily rely on development of the online directory part of the business.
I’m a little sceptical of traditional Yellow Pages. I believe that more and more people are looking for more from a directory than simple undifferentiated listings – people are seeking to replace word-pf-mouth recommendations and trust ratings – standard directory does none of this (how can it when its very model relies on achieving a mass sign up to it services – what chance qualitative differentiation).
Interesting to read then the comments of the Group CEO of Yellow who says that;
there was particular potential for the Yellow Pages to be developed from their present role directing people to information, towards “booking and buying”
I’m not sure if he knows quite how difficult it will be to execute on this. Users are unlikely to “book and buy” from an undifferentiated source, while advertisers are likely to balk at the thoughts of a change to a differentiated directory platform.
I can help but think that traditional directories are in something of a bind – unable to move one way or the other.