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|YELLOW PAGES from book to the click of a button!|
|Wednesday, 03 March 2010 10:27|
In recent years Yellow Pages has started to move to various digital mediums that promise to bring some of the best local information at the push of a button.. After many years of being a staple in many older generation’s business premises, Yellow Pages has now reappeared in some very exciting forms. ADOI speaks to Nasaruddin Mohd Zaini, CEO of Yellow Pages about the new platforms of Yellow Pages and why he thinks the advertising industry should put Yellow Pages on the top of their media planning list.
The brand Yellow Pages is currently the biggest business directory in the Malaysian market with 60% market share in the print and online category and over a million in circulation including digital downloads. Even with their current number one position and being double the size of their second closest competitor, they envision becoming the dominant directory locally. With their strength lying in their base of listing coming from Telekom Malaysia, the parent company, and add to that a global brand name, Yellow Pages has a strong footing.
In 1883 the name and concept of “Yellow Pages” was born, when a printer in Cheyenne, Wyoming working on a regular telephone directory ran out of white paper and used yellow paper instead. Three years later the first official Yellow Pages directory was created by Reuben H Donnelley for Chicago.
Yellow Pages came to Malaysia in 1990 when Telekom Publications printed its first local edition. The Malaysia Tourist Pages was first published in 1994 and inserted and bound together with the Yellow Pages Directory. Neighbourhood Directory was launched in 1998, a compact size directory which is today known as Mini Yellow Pages, for residents in particular areas. 2003 niche directories were introduced for industries; namely Halal Pages, Corporate Agricultural Directory and Malaysia Oil & Gas Directory, now known as Malaysia Energy Guide. The year 2004 saw Yellow Pages strengthen its website search engine. Yellow Pages TV was launched in 2008, in addition to the introduction of e-Yellow Pages. Last year they launched e-Halal, e-Holiday and e-Dining. The latest addition to the family is Yellow Pages Mobile launched in late 2009 during the GO MobileExpo at KL convention Centre. There have been other directories introduced across the years for various industries.
Yellow Pages Multi platform solutions
Till today 95% of Yellow Pages’ revenue comes from print, which proves their book is still highly relevant in today’s digital environment. Yellow Pages however is not content resting on their laurels. They are aware, that to continue to be the number one directory in the country, they have to be where their users are – the digital space. In recent years Yellow Pages has started to move to various digital mediums that promise to bring some of the best local information at the push of a button.
Online. Almost the complete Yellow Pages listing can be found online at their very own web portal. According to Nasar, online is a growing trend worldwide for the brand. “For the online portal, advertisers are growing, in turn our traffic is growing and so is our ranking in Alexa.”
The official Yellow Pages Malaysia can be found at http://www.yellowpages.com.my/ greeting one with a search facility that breaks down the hunt for a local contact into business type/company name and location. The website also offers the listing according to category which helps users navigate with ease and find precise and relevant information. There’s also a listing of all government bodies, e-magazines covering topic categories such as agriculture, dining, energy, halal and holiday, e-catalogues of various companies and a myriad of business opportunities with Yellow Pages.
Mobile and GPS. Yellow Pages has also moved to handphones, providing the similar listing to selected mobile phone brands. “We have launched our mobile platform recently but only a selected set of data.” The Yellow Pages mobile consists, firstly, of the basic WAP service, where the user can browse www.yellowpages.com.my to search our listing. The advanced Yellow Pages mobile is also an applet in the device, either a handphone or GPS. It offers search and navigation services, thus if a user wants to look for a tyre shop while driving in Kajang, they make a search and a listing of tyre shops will appear with location details, and also obtain navigation to the shop. “We have launched this last November and the take up is still slow but I think it has the potential to grow big.
Yellow Pages on GPS however is more than just navigation. The brand has plans to offer merchants some very exciting visibility. At the moment GPS systems have maps that navigate users from point A to point B. Yellow Pages hopes to offer merchants added prominence on the GPS system when users are looking for specific needs. “Let’s say as a user is “driving” along the map. We want to allow merchants to pop up along the route of the map to attract the attention of the driver. These merchants however will be limited to a small number of essential merchants, such as petrol stations, food outlets, convenience store and of course not forgetting our parent company, Telekom Sales & Services’s Sdn Bhd (TSSSB) or TM points. We advise this service to companies that have many outlets, so they can gain more mileage on their investment.
Yellow Pages’ future plans for mobile revolve around mobile advertising. “Basically what we want to start doing is mobile coupons. For example, a person who registers to be a user of this service, when they are in thee vicinity of a shopping mall like KLCC, will automatically be sent promotions and coupons from vendors and merchants located in KLCC. Alternatively, the user can also control the information they want to receive and select merchants according to their preference.”
Currently their mobile services are available with Samsung, Nokia, the GPS system iRiver. They are also working towards being uploaded to App Store, where the application will provide 1Malaysia emergency numbers, ministries and other government bodies contact information; strictly non-merchant numbers. Most services that have been implemented are functioning on a small scale. “At the moment the demand is lacking thus I think it is our job to create the demand, to create that lifestyle.”
Yellow Pages TV (YPTV). YPTV has been installed in all the waiting areas of TM Point’s 105 outlets, and is used as an advertising platform. “This is a good advertising medium because it grabs the viewers attention when they are idle and looking to be entertained, especially when they are waiting to be attended to.” YPTVs are also installed at Bank Islam and Bank Rakyat and inside KTM Komuter trains. The medium is also very popular as an advertising platform among government bodies such as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia and Ministry of Science and Technology to promote their events. Moving forward, TM as a group is implementing HSBB and one of the key application is going to be IPTV.
e-Yellow Pages. This is an electronic directory that is available on CD or can be downloaded from the Yellow Pages website. When a client advertises in the print version of Yellow Pages, they get a free advertisement in the electronic version. This is added benefit Yellow Pages offer to its advertisers as the electronic version increases distribution hence hitting a larger readership. The beauty of the e-version is the e-book software produces a directory akin to the real thing. Unlike regular e-books, the book is displayed in full view, negating the need to scroll up and down, instead the book turns just like a tangible copy, has zero distortion between turns andits file size is 10 to 15 times smaller than pdf. It also carries links to the merchants email and webpage making the page more versatile. Yellow Pages Malaysia are the sole license owner in Malaysia of the e-book software.
Yellow Pages also uses the software to produce digital corporate information such as ‘1Malaysia’ booklet and MDeC corporate information. “As government bodies print documents in large quantities, and their annual reports can run into hundreds of pages, we have suggested our services to them which can help them to reduce usage of paper and print and save cost. To date government bodies such as MAMPU and Dewan Bahasa have used our e-book services. Not only does the digital version look almost like print but it can be updated from time to time and can be widely distributed through the Internet. Even advertising agencies can use our service to simplify their annual reports task for themselves and their clients.”
The Future of Yellow Pages
Yellow Pages has definitely set its sights on the virtual space. However even with Yellow Pages’ up-to-date directory listing of almost every single business in the country, they may face competition from Internet search engines, which have been hailed as the answer to almost everything. Nasar on the contrary has his confidence in his product saying, Yellow Pages offers precise local listing for almost any category of product and service with a variety of options to choose from.
“If one is looking for articles or information, then search engines are of course the best option. The problem for us is, search engines have attracted so much traffic, and created the perception that anything can be ‘googled’. The strength of Yellow Pages on the other hand is the local listing of half a million businesses.”
Yellow Pages is now faced with the challenge of changing the perception of Malaysians so Yellow Pages will become a top-of-mind brand in directory listings. To kick-start their awareness programme, Yellow Pages will be organising two treasure hunts this year. “In March is the big one, from KL to Penang, and we hope to get 60 cars, that’s 240 people. We are also looking into doing two smaller scale hunts within a university campus. The treasure hunts aim to inform the participants on how Yellow Pages can help one search for things.”
Yellow Pages also wants to change the perception of the advertising industry that Yellow Pages today is more than a big old yellow book. “We want to promote our services to ad agencies and media representatives to widen our sales channel. Take for instance a brand like, McDonald’s. Currently they do not see the need to advertise with Yellow Pages, but with our new YP Mobile they can use this to communicate directly to their customers the moment their customers are searching, perhaps while navigating on the highway looking for a food stop during their five-hour journey.” He adds that the effectiveness of the product has been proven in a 2008 survey by TNS saying that 88% of Yellow Pages users found required information, 87% made contact with the suppliers and a total of 53% of users made transactions. Yellow Pages now is definitely more than the book.