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Yellow Skype

March 16, 2009

Skype has partnered with Yellow Pages NZ to add all the Yellow listings into the Skype directory and, at least for the 3 month trial, allow free calls through Skype to any Yellow results.

It is an interesting promotion but I struggle to see the real value for Yellow.

  • The biggest benefit for me as a user is that now I could search the Yellow directory without having to look at their (often nasty) results pages.
  • The cost saving seems irrelevant as most people have free local calling already, even if that does mean the extra hassle of dialing a number instead of clicking a button, and we all know New Zealander’s are notoriously cheap.  
  • Yellow advertisers and non advertisers results look the same. Advertisers are at the top but will this really drive advertising revenue? (which must be sinking like a stone as the generations who uses printed directories fade away)

This partnership makes the Skype directory infinitely better as the last time I tried it months (a year?) ago the results were dismally useless. Well done Skype but maybe I miss the significance for Yellow.


Chris Keall writes in the NBR

Forget Skype and Finda. A major Google Maps alliance, especially with some nifty location-awareness built-in or, say, a Yellow layer pre-installed on Vodafone’s coming Magic Google phone, would be the sort of big-bang move Yellow needs to remind people it exists.

Wait, you mean something kinda like the Zenbu iPhone app that came out last August??


Blair Glubb, Director of Digital Media at Yellow, says in the NZ Herald

The future for us is actually taking the information we’ve got and pushing it out via a whole bunch of channels.

which is very similar to something I regularly say

Zenbu is about taking the information visible to you as you walk down the street and making it available to you whereever and whenever you need it.

but that’s about where the similarities end….

Yellow Pages. Staff 500+. Revenue $293,000,000. Listings 250,000 (my best guess). 

Zenbu. Staff 0.5 (plus a dedicated community!). Revenue $5,000. Listings 67,000 (and growing!)

Who are you gonna put your money on?

  1. Olivia permalink
    March 17, 2009 10:38 am

    Yellow legally should not have been allowed to buy Finda because their large market share in online paid search makes them a near monopoly and New Zealand antitrust laws should have prevented it.
    The antitrust laws should not allow for a Yellow and Google Maps deal either. The question is “does New Zealand have antitrust laws that apply to the online market?”
    New Zealand does not need a monopoly on the Internet like Telecom used to be for the phone and broadband market.

  2. March 17, 2009 11:14 am

    I actually don’t think the Yellow-Finda purchase is anti-competitive at all. There are so many entrants in the directory market (most of which are just pathetic or horrible) because the barrier to entry is so low now and the internet will decimate yellow pages revenue next just like it did classified advertising.

    Yellow Pages was a monopoly in the paper-publishing days, as the barrier to entry was so high. Now you could copy the entire Yellow database using phone-verification, as Finda did (completely legally), for less than a dollar a record.

    One interesting thing about the Yellow/Skype deal is that this never would have happened with Yellow under Telecom!

  3. Olivia permalink
    March 17, 2009 11:57 am

    I always wondered how Finda got all the data for the business listings in the first place. So Finda got all the business data from Yellow Pages site and then 2 years later Finda sells it back to Yellow for a profit. Not bad!

    Regarding the Yellow/Skype deal, I bet that Telecom are pretty upset right now as their bread and butter which is charging every household in NZ for the phone line and national calls will now be eaten up by Sype.

  4. March 17, 2009 12:13 pm

    Telecom won’t be too phased. The $40/month phone line rental for ‘free local calling’ won’t be touched by this – who is going to look up a non-local plumber? If anything it might reduce non-revenue producing usage of their circuits… hmmm, maybe they would have gone for it.

    Long term they will be hurt majorly by VOIP technology where you can get (close to) free local/national/international calling. All we really want is a big, fat, dumb pipe for our internet tubes.

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