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.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

4 Comments
  • No!!! Keep Yellowpages boring and static! that’s it’s strength!
    For goodness sake, don’t attempt to turn Yellowpages into a Book and Buy site! Bring back the simplicity of it!

    Otherwise, all Yellowpages will be is another Amazon tryhard.

    Julian.

  • You know where i stand on this, a good recommendation system would be invaluable… incidently check this out by Nick Carr
    http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2008/06/was_ebay_a_fad.php

    but i do think that there is a bunch of laggards who haven’t even thought this thru… YP is “trusted”

  • Falafulu Fisi |

    UM said…
    a good recommendation system would be invaluable…

    I did informally discuss that idea with the head of marketing at Yellow Pages, last year, which if they agreed, I would have developed the engine (API) for their developers to use but I think they decided that they would implement that functionality at a time of their own choosing.

  • ” thanks for the idea but we know better”

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