A number of people I know have been deciding not to renew their AT&T Yellow Pages.com online advertising contracts. I’ve consistently heard two reasons:
1) They are really expensive
2) They do not get significant traffic or leads from the service.
I also have personal experience with AT&T online advertising. I was once a customer myself.
When Bing launched, I immediately went to their local business center and signed up for a listing. By the second week in June I had verified my mailing address. By the second week in August, my listing was still pending review.
I have a web design business located in Pleasanton California, so I think it would be appropriate for my listing to show up as a local listing on Bing for the search “Pleasanton Web Design.” It does in the top 4 slots of both Google and Yahoo.
Unfortunately Bing’s results for the same search contain not one listing of a business located in Pleasanton. In fact, only one of the four has the same area code as Pleasanton:
Why? Well, lets say I was a searcher looking for a local Pleasanton Web Design company, and all I see in Bing’s local listings are businesses out of the area. Might I be more likely to click on the “more listings” link? I think so.
Once I click on the “more listings” link, I am immediately presented with 3 sponsored links from YellowPages.com, then 10 listings, none of which are located in Pleasanton, then 3 more YellowPages.com ads.
In fact, if you can believe this blogger “the traffic to Yellowpages.com coming from Microsoft’s search engine more than doubled since the Bing launch.” That’s good news for Yellowpages.com. Many of their customers are ready to jump ship. In this tight economy, they are finally asking the question: “Why am I paying so much money for so few clicks, when I can go to Adwords and get much better bang for my buck?” Well, maybe if the YellowPages.com sales people can show some decent traffic to their customers through this partnership with Bing, they can retain more of them. How long can they, or will they keep this up? Your guess is as good as mine.
This partnership is also good news for Bing, who is probably getting a pretty penny for those Yellowpages.com clicks. Certainly more than they would get if someone were to click on my Bing Local Business listing. If it existed, that is.