Yellow Pages Advertising Closing Soon

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Now for all of you that must have a great big Yellow Pages Advertisement, here are a few tips from Uncle Peter.

Make sure you take out a bigger advertisement than your competitor. I am sure your local representative will let you know how big you must go.

If you really want to flex your marketing muscles take out a yellow pages online advertisement. I have a client that took out a premium online advertisement with Yellow Pages and I am happy to report they have received 37 link visits for the year (Source Google Analytics). Wow what value!

For those enlightened agents, lets see what you can get for the $10,000 you save by just taking out a little line advertisement in Yellow Pages instead of wasting your money on a big colourful advert that very few people looking to buy and sell real estate read.

* A Yearly Subscription to both and MyHome or,
* 30,000 visitors to your website through a Google Adwords Campaign or,
* 3 of your Cars Fully Branded with an AutoSkin (yes my brother in law owns this company) or
* A Website Upgrade or
* $10,000 extra in your bank account!

So it pays to think about where you spend your marketing money these days. You want value for money and I am afraid (in my opinion) the Yellow Pages is just so yesterday.

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  • Paul D
    Posted July 23, 2007 at 10:35 am 0Likes

    Hi Peter,
    From past experience, I couldn’t agree more. Yellow pages is really becoming a dinosaur. there are SO many agents who think that the full page ad in Yellow Pages will make the public think they are successful just because of the size of the ad. The thing is, that people go to the Yellow Pages (the few that still do) to get a number – that’s all – a number. They couldn’t care less about the size of the ad, or the colours, or the brilliant artwork. They just want a number. Yellow Pages on line is just the same. We had an ad there a couple of years ago. People DON”T go to the Yellow Pages to look for real estate. I think we had a dozen or so enquiries for the year. There’s many more cost effective ways to spend your money !!

  • Paul Krayven
    Posted July 23, 2007 at 6:30 pm 0Likes

    I agree wholeheartedly. I think it’s more of a competitive thing nowadays with other agencies rather than being there to generate enquiry.

  • Glenn
    Posted July 23, 2007 at 7:27 pm 0Likes

    I had the Sensis rep come and see me months ago spruiking that the yellow pages were as strong as ever now that they had the huge yellowpages online working combination. I nearly fell off my chair.

    I showed him all of our directories still in the cupboard and still shrink wrapped from about 10 months before.

    So he then wanted us to signup to this lead generation tool they were running (sorry forgotten the name). Flat rate per month and we would get every real estate lead generated for our suburb… Now there is no way in hell we would sign up for this, but I thought I would collect a bit of info first so I said:-

    Great!! just a few questions first though!

    Do you guarantee a minimum amount of leads? Nope

    How many people currently enquire for Real Estate in our Area ? Dont Know.

    What suburbs have you got in Queensland that you have statistics for? None

    Do you have anyway to justify the investment with this? I think somebody back in the office has statistics for an area in NSW.

    You will get me those through tomorrow? Yep certainly

    As you might guess, I have never heard a thing since except from their people conducting a survey.. But that’s another story and another promised call never returned.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted July 24, 2007 at 8:52 am 0Likes

    Good Morning,

    I have to confess to having a quarter page in the Yellow Pages along with an entry online.

    After reading Peters blog I looked at the latest lead referer information, and there appear to be no leads coming from the Yellow Pages at all.

    Yesterday afternoon I took a stroll down the street and popped in to the other businesses in the street to see what their levels of success have been with the Yellow Pages. It was a mixed bag with about 40% not using it at all, through to those who swear by Yellow Pages online. No one it seems gave the printed yellow pages much credit.

    So it appears it is not just our industry, but most industries who are not finding the printed yellow pages to be effective.


  • Peter
    Posted July 24, 2007 at 9:18 am 0Likes

    Hi Elizabeth, I agree, I am sure some areas such as restaurants and plumbers etc probably get business from the pages but real estate agents – definitely not.

    The advertising campaigns are all about you getting more business, or your business in trouble if you do not advertise – but I think these times have passed. I am sure it has a few years left in it, but it is a high cost model and the pricing is simple too steep for most businesses these days.

    I give it 5 years as a business model and then bye bye!

  • Flat Fee Realty Louisville
    Posted July 24, 2007 at 5:27 pm 0Likes

    I agree with PaulD. Everything is digital these days! Approximately 3/4 of business is gained through search engines now, so it really isn’t surprising!

  • Karen
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 4:27 pm 0Likes

    Happy to declare upfront that I work for Sensis, which includes the Yellow directories (print and online).

    We know that customers need to see a return on their investment. The reality for us is that if our advertisers are winning from advertising in Yellow then so are we.

    We also know that some people like to search for businesse in the print directory and others prefer online — and some use both. The idea is that different industries and advertisers will find value in one or the other or both. And Yes – the onus is on us to demonstrate the return on investment in Yellow.

    One of the things we are proud of is that Yellow tends to deliver customers to businesses that are “buyers not browsers” – they are serious about purchasing. One of our customers recently told us that they spent the same amount with Sensis and Google and the result was thousands of clicks on their website from the Google Ad but twice as many calls to their business from the Yellow directory ad – and they need calls not clicks.

    National research says that more than 90% of people who search for businesses using Yellow, contact a business, and more than 70% of those go on to make a purchase from that business.

  • Peter
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 4:34 pm 0Likes

    Great to see you on the site Karen and thank you for your input. Hope to hear more from Sensis and you in the future.

    I agree with you that if a user picks up the Yellow Pages print directory they are indeed looking to purchase a service or product. I however do not think they do it to look for real estate agents or their services.

    Might seem harsh, but if I used Yellow Pages (print – which I do not) I would be more inclined to look for a plumber, removalist, etc…

    Something that is not easily found online. Agents are a dopple to find online, go to REA or Domain and search an area and bingo!

    This is the struggle as more and more people each year find it easier to search online and most do it during business hours.

  • Paul D
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 5:13 pm 0Likes

    Hi Karen. I bet the customer who had twice as many calls from the Yellow Pages wasn’t a real estate agent. The thing is, people looking for real estate, don’t look for the agent first – they look for the property, and then by default, they contact the agent. Yellow Pages (with respect) is useless in that scenario. On the other hand, if for example you are a tyre retailer, people look for “Tyres – Retail” and then phone asking for the particular tyre they want. A Toyo tyre is the same quality at every outlet, the only thing that varies is the location of the retailer and possibly a small variation in the price. Yellow pages is excellent in that case.

  • GB
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 9:25 pm 0Likes

    There’s some interesting food for thought here, and as one investing in YP I’m happy to share that my motivation for doing so is not to be found by the average Joe looking to buy a property, but the potential vendor looking to find an agent – ie. the one who’s paying me!

    I’m hooked on the principle that, although we all know the REA’s in our area and their reputations, your typical vendor does not – they might sell a house once every seven years, they have no loyalty to a particular Agency, and they want to be provided with advice and service.

    Therefore I’m sold (hey, we’re all in sales) on the concept that a seller either walks down the street and into every agent in town, or they pull out the one book they can use to find everything – Yellow Pages – and they let their fingers do the walking. And when they do, I want to make sure I’m the one they find.

    Whilst I agree (or hope!) that it’s not all about colour and pictures, I want to provide more than just a number – hopefully I get the calls from the potential vendor because of the information I present in my ad.

    Agreed it’s disappointing that I don’t know exactly how many leads I get from my print ad, but I also know if I’m not there, I won’t get any!

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 9:37 pm 0Likes

    Good Evening,

    Another excellent use for the Yellow Pages in our industry is to use as a Monitor stand to raise the monitors height.

    Karen, I am very interested in this ‘research’ you talk about.

    The internet lets everyone research products, articles, holidays, hair styles, grocery items …etc… so what you may consider a tyre kicker, is perhaps someone who is first expressing interest in a product.

    Now with the Yellow Book, all we have to use for research is a line entry, or if a lass such as yourself has her way, a quarter or half page advertisement. Not much room to provide information now is it?

    What do people do with no ability to research a product? they call the advertiser.

    Now it is the ratio of calls to sales here which would be of value.

    Please also provide a link (that is for the internet), of where we can see this National Research you are talking about.


  • Peter Ricci
    Posted August 18, 2007 at 10:43 am 0Likes

    GB, Please refer to our Terms and Conditions of posting comments on this site. Pretending to be someone else is not permitted and we ‘OUT’ people who contravene these terms.

    Regards Peter Ricci –

    PS: No Guessing Where you Work 🙂 Your IP Address gives you away 🙂

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 18, 2007 at 12:47 pm 0Likes

    Perhaps GB can get back to me with the information I asked Karen to provide?

    I have to say that Karens lack of response to my question typifies the amount of enquiry/response one can expect from a Yellow Pages advertisement.


  • Peter
    Posted August 18, 2007 at 3:31 pm 0Likes

    GB, Just a quick note RE: Privacy. Many people on this site wish to remain anomonous and I respect that 100%, however remaining anomonous is one thing, pretending to be somebody else and writing from that standpoint will not be tolerated.

    You are not the first to be caught out and you will not be the last!

  • Adrian
    Posted August 23, 2007 at 4:53 pm 0Likes

    As another proud Sensis employee and a firm believer in the Printed version of the Yellow Directory, I would like to add some comments here.
    I have been involved with Yellow, in both a Print and Online capacity for almost 3 years and worked for Leader Newspapers for 4 years prior to that as well as having sold advertising for both supermarket docket and cinema before that, spanning almost a decade in the Advertising game.
    Can I just say firstly how happy I am to hear such passion regarding the desire to understand the all important “Return on Investment”.

    If you do not have any joy in getting Real Estate specific research from your Yellow Account Executive, I am happy to supply this basic data to the powers that be on this Blog for you! What you will find though, is the Roy Morgan and TNS research covers any search within the Real Estate Agents industry, and doesn’t segment this data into Real Estate Buyers and Real Estate Vendors.
    There are ways to get postcode specific (online Yellowpages) data, but that is part of Sensis Market Intelligence, not Yellow and attracts subscription fees (same as Roy Morgan will not undertake specific research for free, neither does Sensis!, but again, I am happy to direct anyone to the Market Intelligence Division)

    Please do not fail to see the forest for the trees- whichever way you look at it, as much as we live in an Online era, most Australians prefer to “let their fingers do the walking” when it comes to looking for products and services- “Print” whether we are talking directories or newspapers have increased their readership, usage and circulation in this country- not decreased! These are not Sensis figures either! The online component of same has enhanced the experience but frankly, if a purely online way of doing business worked as well as so many think it does, why would Google be buying ad space in magazines overseas to on-sell to their AdWord customers?

    One very salient point that I think is missed by all concerned here except the “mysterious” and subsequently ostracised “GB” is that other than being a point of contact, Yellow is best used as a tool to generate Vendor interest- not Property Buyer interest- because, as much as you may like to think and promote yourself otherwise, it is the Property itself that will attract the buyer/renter- not the Agent charged with the management of the property!!For this purpose, the various real estate websites are brilliant, but then so are the property sections of the suburban newspapers and various weekly magazines too.

    Am I saying that Yellow is the pre-eminent way for REA to advertise? Not at all. But, from a VENDOR ACQUISTION perspective, compared to what many REA spend on junk mail, TV and Radio, a CORRECTLY designed Yellow ad will blow any of those out of the water, when you compare dollar for dollar what you spend on reaching an audience who are actively looking to contact a Real Estate Agent for Vendor purposes.

    As a rough-as-guts example, if you say work on your Agent’s commission of what is it? 3% of the sale price? The current median house price in Melbourne according is currently $420,000 so,the REVENUE generated per successful sale for a vendor who can be attributed to have been acquired from whatever medium is approximately $12,600.

    Now, based upon actual site searches specifically on in the Melbourne metropolitan area from June 06-May 07, there were 161,985 searches online and conservatively, 404,962 searches in the hard copy edition for the same period. According to Roy Morgan/TNS data, on average, about 90% result in a business being contacted and 67% then result in a business transaction occurring. (Compared to an expected 1% return on junk mail and negligible return on Broadcast media for the same purpose)
    Let us further deflate this by say even half to be actually potential vendors looking to find an agent to represent them, then that was 170,934 new vendors. Not sure what the industry rate is of selling the properties, but even if it was as low as one in three, then that equates to 56,978 x $12,600 equals= $717,922,800.00 in revenue generated purely from leads coming directly from all Yellow Products for the Real Estate industry in Melbourne alone.

    Sound too good to be true? Even if those calculations are out by 75%, that is still $17 million in revenue- BUT and here is the big but! It isn’t evenly distributed. The good old 80/20 rule applies here- that’s right, 80% of all revenue generated by Yellow leads is split amongst only 20% of the advertisers! Which percentage do you want to be in? Remember,there are two ways to advertise in the Yellow Pages- you can say “I do exactly the same thing as everyone else on this page- here is my number, if I am lucky you might call me and if I am even luckier you might do business with me” OR you can shout out “You are going to make the best decision of your life by choosing to deal with me to sell your home and here are the reasons why…!” People buy Detail in Yellow and that will make all the difference.

    To further enhance this, Yellow is committed to an expanded Metered Ad program (The more modern approach to the old Survey Phone)over the next few years to accurately measure the number, origin and duration of calls generated from individual Yellow Print directory ads, as well as looking at factually proven ways to make Yellow ads more Effective from a design perspective, regardless of the classification- just ask your Account Executive.

    In a nutshell, while no-one would be stupid enough to suggest that only Yellow be a suitable marketing ploy for the Real Estate Industry, USED PROPERLY it will be a simply INVALUABLE marketing tool.
    When my customers ask me why they should advertise with Yellow, I say to them- “Get Excited! You will make a lot of money and you will have a lot of fun doing it!”
    I look forward to your feedback!

  • Peter
    Posted August 23, 2007 at 6:08 pm 0Likes

    Adrian: I just wanted to say welcome and thank you for such a wonderful comment. I know it would have taken some time to put this together. Look forward to hearing more from Sensis in the future.

    Whilst you know where I do stand on Yellow Pages, I think it is important that we receive such quality feedback.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 23, 2007 at 8:27 pm 0Likes

    Good evening,

    Adrain, I hope you took several deep breaths when compiling that reponse.

    I have to admit that I do not believe one word of what you are saying.

    As I walk down the local business district, business have old Yellow Pages books still in the plastic wrapping. Similarly with the homes of my family and friends. That is those who have not thrown them out.

    But the main reason I do not believe your comments, is my own research. About 12 months ago we talked about measuring where leads come from. I can tell you that the vast majority of my leads come from the internet these days, and does not rate there. The second point of enquiry at first appears to be Walk By’s, but when I delve deeper, I discover these people have seen some of my advertisements in the local press.

    Never once as any one of my potential vendors told me that they found me in the Yellow Pages.

    I appreciate your enthusiasm, however, simply the Yellow Pages has not contributed to my business, and I am not going to continue advertising any further.


  • Adrian
    Posted August 23, 2007 at 9:25 pm 0Likes

    Who is in need of taking some deep breaths Elizabeth? Hahaha!
    You do not agree with any part of my post? That is sad to hear, however, as a wise person once said:
    “Some Will, Some Won’t, So What? Who’s Next?”

    Despite your misgivings, I do know what I am talking about and I do have a number of customers in the Real Estate industry who do get “results” for their Yellow advertising, so I will gladly stand by my convictions.

    Yellow hasn’t worked for you, I take that on board and respect that. If you would, however like the benefit of Free no-obligation Market Appraisal of your previous Yellow advertisng please let me know!

    That is a genuine offer by the way Elizabeth.

  • snoop
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 7:54 am 0Likes

    I live in an apartment block of 50 units.
    Most of this years white an yellow pages ended up still in plastic in a big pile in the rubbish room.
    As elizabeth says computer screen stands and doorstops.
    The little small local directories are more suitable to apt living.
    And if you have the internet welll…

  • snoop
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 7:56 am 0Likes

    Actualy a bit like the weekly mcgraths very expensively produced book of property dreams that ends up in the same place.
    Time these guys stopped wasting trees.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 8:47 am 0Likes

    Glad to see I have stirred up debate here.

    Again, I think that a lot of you are missing the point here- making sweeping statements like “Nobody uses the phone book anymore” (which, by the way,has been the number one objection in my game for at least the last 40 years and probably will still be in another 40 years too!), is about as true as me stating that it a total waste of time and money for anybody to be employing a real estate agent to sell their property for them- because it can be done better and cheaper by the vendor themselves. I.E- that is simply not true!

    Now, sure, there will be some who manage to do that, but the vast majority will receive a much better result by using an Agent- exactly the same is of the good old Yellow!

    I invite any of you to spend a year in my shoes and learn first-hand exactly how much business is generated by this so-called dinosaur!

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 9:45 am 0Likes

    Adrian. Where my problem lies is in value for money. You quote astounding figures and you also state that the better (and bigger) the advertisement the more opportunities you have for success.

    I agree that Yellow Pages still has a place, albeit an ever shrinking place in the market, but I doubt that real estate agents get any real value, compared to what other options are available.

    This is where your stance does not equate for me. Lets say it costs $20,000 for a full page in the Sydney Yellow Pages.

    Now Agents today have a real choice with advertising. 12 years ago you had the newspaper and yellow pages and you did not really have a marketing choice. If for 40 years you have had that objection – then I would say the last 5 it would be more and more prevalent.(since the Internet has matured)

    Today you can advertise your agency business on any of the major portals, online through Google or other search engine campaigns and even popular local websites.

    Looking for an Agent in Byron Bay?
    Contact Dennis Realty
    0438 391 397

    Now that $20,000 at 0.20 cents a click through would represent around 100,000 click throughs. The client also only pays if someone clicks on the ad. The advertising campaign can be measured effectively.

    Yellow Pages statistics are very rough indeed. You deliver books to every home, but in my experience more than half just sit there. Then from the ones that people actually take inside how many are used?

    It is easy to quote amazing figures but remember agents have been advertising in your book for decades and if your results were true, then why would so many be considering leaving it?

    This is the long term problem for Yellow Pages, it is an old and expensive way of advertising.

    If you can answer these questions for me….

    Do you have figures on the percentage of people that do not use your guide from the ones delivered?

    Considering the amount of competition you have – has Yellow Pages advertising costs declined since 2000 on a quarter page, half page and full page basis?

    The Internet has given agents a choice to advertise and companies such as Yellow Pages have to prove their value in this market. Simply stating that one successful vendor will pay for the advertisement does not wash anymore. Agents have an annual marketing budget and most spend around $20,000 per year on their website and portal advertising.

    Yellow Pages has to PROVE their worth in a market today. I am not saying that Yellow does not still have a place for certain services, but the future is going to be a tough sell against mobile phone advertising, the Internet and Google Small Business (Yahoo and MSN as well)

  • Paul D
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 11:36 am 0Likes

    We manage many rental properties, and most (i.e. more than 50%) of the tenants don’t bother to even get the phone connected anymore, especially the x-gen working people. We probably have a larger portion of students in our mix, and that may skew the result, but that’s the way it is. They have mobile phones and wireless connection via their laptops. So you don’t need a yellow pages in any case. Five years ago I would have said that would never happen. It has, and the pace is quickening.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 3:00 pm 0Likes

    Peter, Paul, Elizabeth, Snoop and anyone else, thank you!
    I am absolutely LOVING this! No sarcasm involved either!
    While I think much of this thread would be suited to a vigourous conversation with a few bottles of wine thrown in, I am happy to continue this way haha!
    Peter- to address some of your concerns:
    Where have I ever said “take a bigger ad”? I said design your adverts better. Now, a full page advert in Sydney which for a full year costs less than many larger Agencies would spend with Cumberland in a week, but then again, they have two very different target demographics here so I will leave that alone.

    My whole mission here is to get you thinking from the perspective of your Customer- Effective ad design does not necessarily mean taking a larger advert. Think of the user of Yellow pages, whether in a printed or electronic form- there is no other reason to go there unless you wish to contact a business. And those figures I quoted yesterday were actual searches for people looking expressly to contact Real Estate Agents- not “window shop”. Nobody reads the Yellow Pages because they like to (well, I know one guy who does, but his a PhD in Effective Yellow Page Adverts, and he reads YP for leisure now- and people reckon I have no life LOL!)They read it because they have made the decision they want to contact a business with the purpose of transacting.

    I agree that the online portals are a sensational way to promote yourself as an agency. I do however question the “value for money” of “pay per click”- and Sensis does actually offer this service to arrange fixed price “pay per click” Search Engine Marketing” on Google, Yahoo and with a limited inventory of guaranteed clicks to your website. You might spend $20000 on “clicks” but when you consider that according to Google’s own figures, in Australia only around 7% or all Google searches are commercial in nature, I see even less liklihood of getting value from that program. Just because they are looking at your website it doesn’t mean they want to spend any money with you.

    The single greatest source currentl;y, according to TNS research data in the Capital cities, for people looking for Real Estate Agents are: the supplier or corporate websites combined at 27%, Suburban & Daily newspapers combined at 24%, Search engines AND portals combined at 21% and then Yellow Pages (Print) at 14%.
    Now this information is freely available and was current as of July 2006.

    In answering some of your other questions Peter: Obviously we don’t measure how many people DON”T use the Yellow Pages, but, our CAB audited distribution and Roy Morgan sourced user searches in Yellow Pages
    data for Sydney metro is : Circulation 1,537,000 and 3,600,000 plus searches per month out of a population of 3,339,000. (1.1 mil searches on per month in Sydney)

    The price of Full, half and quarter pages ads did decrease this year for Yellow Pages, but in response to feedback from advertisers that if we did more people would take up these size ads- now I don’t know what is happening in Sydney, but here in Melbourne we are looking at our most successful year in over 5 years, with the price of all YP print either staying the same as last year or decreasing slightly, so you tell me what that means!

    Yes, we are in a competitive market, yes, real estate agents do have more choices as to where to spend their marketing budgets and yes, they have been pulling out of Yellow Pages in an ever increasing number- however, I put it to you that this is jointly because for a while we at Sensis forgot how to properly position and use our own major product and because too many Real Estate Agents tried to do the type of adverting in Yellow that just frankly, doesn’t work effectively- Sensis and Yellow have redsicovered their joie de vivre and that is exactly the reason I joined the company in the first place- despite have been offered jobs by I think 3 of the dozen or so Real Estate Agents I have had dealings with since I started at Yellow!

    Google, Yahoo and MSN and Yellow all share content these days- Yahoo and MSN actually derive significant portions of their local search from Sensis, Yellow and CitySearch Mobile was launched in January and is already starting to have some effect.
    Is the future going to be easy? No, of course not, but when you consider that a primarily print-focused business of Yellow Pages New Zealand was sold earlier this year for 75 times their EBIT receipts, the future is not being seen by smart business investors as being all ones and zeros!

  • Glenn
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 4:42 pm 0Likes

    The printed Yellow Pages is a dinosaur and unless they dramatically reduce their prices they will fade away to be a bit player in the advertising world for small businesses.

    Its a bit like trying to hold back the tide with your hands.

    No doubt some green lobby group will champion the cause and petition Telstra to make the White Pages as request only, rather than cutting down all those trees, and with it the Yellow Pages will also come under fire.

    For years the prices for Yellow Pages ads were ramped up with the justification that the yellow pages was bringing you more business. Why then when it delivers only a fraction of what it use to have prices not plummeted? Because the sales execs would not get their overseas trips and the corporate execs their million dollar bonuses. Their print version is failing to adapt and they think their online version justifies the print cost.

    Yellow Pages Print version is dead… they just dont know it yet!!

    Why don’t agents trust the Yellow Pages ??? because to squeeze every dollar out of us (and similar industries) they created endless amounts of sub categories and locality guides and insisted we needed to be in each one so as not to miss out.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 6:58 pm 0Likes

    Glenn, Glenn, Glenn,
    Reading comments such as yours makes me sincerely hope that you have a greater understanding of real estate than you do of where Australians search for products and services.

    I mean, I know that is a totally foreign concept to the real estate industry to pay big bonuses and incentivise their top performers.

    This “dinosaur”, for the $1.1 billion in revenue ALL metropolitan and regional directories made last year, generated over $61 billion dollars in sales for the businesses that advertised just in the Metropolitan directories only- that represents around 3.5% of this country’s GDP. Pretty impressive return for such a small investment, wouldn’t you agree?

    As I have said to other people on this blog- if it hasn’t worked for you, then I am sorry to hear that. But please do think that your lack of success extends to every business in this country

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 9:13 pm 0Likes

    Good evening,

    Adrian, you also need to recognise that the Yellow Pages does not work FOR every business, nor industry in Australia.

    It was interesting that you provided statistical information that was from July 2006. We are well into 2007. You do need to provide up to date information to prove your case. In the last 12 months alone the enquiry I have recieved from Online has grown substantially. From about 40% when your research was last published, to be pushing 70% or slightly higher.

    But this perhaps proves the point. That Yellow needs to conduct big research projects to come up with figures. With the internet, I just log into realestate or domain and find out this information instantly.

    Adrian, what are your thoughts on repeat business, and marketing from databases. How does the Yellow Pages impact here?

    How do your page flippers search the real estate market?

    Perhaps their fingers have done the walking, over to the mouse attached to the computer.

    What is very interesting to realise is that Sensis a very close business to Yellow Pages, had to call in domain to run Justlisted, as it never really took off as a lead provider.

    So if we are all telling you that we get the majority of our leads from the internet, for a much cheaper rate than your Yellow Pages, and on the other hand, the company you work for could not make a go of online marketing and outsourced it, but have you sent here to sell Yellow Pages Print… I wonder just who is one who is not understanding?

    Perhaps it is the entire company you work for which does not understand our industry?


  • Nick Hopkins
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 11:07 am 0Likes

    This one’s easy.

    Want to buy/rent a house…REA or Domain
    Want a take away….Greasy pile of flyers on top of the fridge
    Boiler explodes/tree falls on house – rare & unusual stuff…YP
    Absolutely everything else….Google

    Doesn’t everyone live by these rules?

  • Chris
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 11:50 am 0Likes

    To say that the yelloew pages is not useful is both innacurate (in my opinion) and misleading.

    We use the yellow pages a lot and couldn’t live without it. My son has his computer monitor proppoed up on the A-K and I use the L-Z to hold the back door open when I am sweeping the floor.

    As for taking the plastic off and looking inside? Sorry, doesn’t happen in this house.

  • Proud to be Aussie
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 1:10 pm 0Likes

    Firstly I would like to say hi to everyone. This is one of my favourtie sites and enjoy everyones comments.

    I would just like to add that YP has had it’s place in the market however, (smaller now so be it – I agree the “hard copy” is not as significant as the “live internet” copy) I find that YP do not look to the future in a couple of important ways. For example emerging new businesses/sectors are not being recognised by YP and when a business does advertise with YP – the same advert is not automatically put online to corresponde with the print ad, you have to pay extra. (I personally do not see the logic in this and if I’m wrong please forgive my ignorance)

    For example, I have been a professional real estate photograhper for 5 years. This is an emerging business sector due to demand and even franchise options are now available. I have requested numerous times for a heading: real estate photographers but I have been ignored. (Currently, if you care to look, the headings are advertising/fashion, Aerial (which is confusing because now we have real estate photographers who have tripods of 17 metres high and don’t fly in planes necessarily), wedding, commercial/industrial, general, marine, portrait/wedding) As many agents know, there is definately a lot of real estate photographers in the market providing a number of services such as stills, virtual tours, video and “aerial” photography because the importance of imagery has been recognised for all kinds of marketing/advertising – especially on the internet etc etc.

    My point is business in all sectors are changing rapidly due to new technolog and my personal experience is YP is not moving with the times.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 3:34 pm 0Likes

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Thank you for your reply- you have taken a more measured approach to your response this time and I appreciate that.

    Just so you know-
    Nobody has “sent me here” to sell Yellow Pages print or anything else for that matter. And believe me, if our PR people knew I was doing this they would probably have a heart attack because my comments have not been vetted by a team of legal experts! I am rank and file Elizabeth, rank and file.
    I came across this blog purely randomly while surfing the net, as I do from time time to time and I was not going to take unadulterated abuse of a product that I personally believe and know to be everything that you believe it is not.
    Let me be the first to admit that yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly that Yellow Pages is not the be all and end all to each and every business. I also know that not everyone uses the Yellow Pages, but I also know that not everybody uses the internet- if there was a guaranteed method of successful advertising,that absolutely everybody used you and I would not be having this discussion.
    What I have been trying to suggest here is that the reason the majority of REA who do not see a tangible result from Yellow is that they have used the product incorrectly. That said, no-one is forcing you to advertise in the directory and if you don’t believe it represents value for money for your agency, then goodbye and good luck.

    I have, however, been dealing with REA both in a professional capacity as an Advertising consultant and in a personal one as a buyer, seller and renter for probably 15 years now and I have formed my own opinions of that industry and the egos and arrogance therein of certain individuals, balanced by very genuine and agreeable persons as well- i.e- I don’t tar the entire Real Estate Industry with the same amount of contempt that you seem to feel free to do to mine based on your personal experience and those within your circle of influence.

    In regards to the research I quoted, I don’t know if you have ever tried to undertake a market research sample of your own accord to the volumes which Sensis does annually with Roy Morgan and TNS and the like- from speaking with people I have met who work in Market Research, (the data I quoted to you granted has been around since this February), it takes some time to collate all the data as I am sure you realise- even the Commonwealth Government Census data, which I know the the various Real Estate Institutes, as well as Governments, Reserve Bank Governers etc take their analysis from is similarly that far out of date by the time it is released to the public too.

    In relation to repeat business, marketing to existing databases etc- every business regardless of size should be doing this anyway- it doesn’t take a genius to realise that it is going to be easier and cheaper to sell again to someone who you already have an existing relationship with than to what it will cost you to attact each new customer (From memory, current stats seem to suggest that for every dollar you spend on getting a current or former customer to come back, you will spend around $8 to attract every new customer). Yellow Pages does obviously give you a ready access to the contact details of someone you may have forgotten or referred to, or, if you know the name of that business, White Pages.
    (an interesting exercise to try to confirm how much repeat of word-of-mouth searching is done even on the internet, is to go to Google Trends and compare the searches of,, and you can answer that for yourself)
    Frankly, if you are having to rely on Yellow to market to your existing customers, you are definitely doing something wrong- use Yellow as a new customer generating tool, as part of your marketing mix to top up your repeat customer/customer database pool every year- there is a natural attrition rate of around 10% per year on average for all businesses in this country and depending on what sort of real estate you specialise in and in what geographic and socio-economic demographic you operate in, the length of time it takes between repeat customer visits/transactions will vary greatly, won’t it?

    Not being involved with, I was not aware of that, but Sensis obviously decided it was in the best interests of both Sensis and their customers to let a real estate website professional take over the day to day operation of that, in the same way as msn and Yahoo local search decided it was more practical and more profitable to let Sensis take over supplying the content for their local business directory sites for the exactly the same reasons.

    In case you were not aware of the relationship between Sensis and Yellow, Sensis, being a wholly owned subsidiary of Telstra, owns and operates WhitePages, Yellow, Citysearch, GoStay, Trading Post, Whereis,UBD/Gregory’s,Invizage, LinkMe, Sensis 1234 and

  • Tom R
    Posted August 25, 2007 at 8:46 pm 0Likes

    As an Executive with one of Australia’s Leading Franchise groups I often read this website for technology news and information.

    For Yellow Pages, yes we still do use it, although personally it is more about being where our competitors are rather than actually generating any business. Yellow Pages has gone from being a must have advertising platform to a may as well part of our marketing mix in less than a decade.

    I do not trust Research done in house and paid for in house as it usually reflects what the paying customer wants to hear or announce. I prefer to trust for accuracy my gut sense and what my customers are saying and very few use the Yellow Pages anymore.

    The year is coming closer where we will no longer advertise at all in YP (well maybe just a few lines) and I agree with most of what everyone here about the demise of the YP in the agency advertising mix.

    Keep up the great work Peter as this has become a great resource for real estate professionals in Australia and last week we sent out a notification to all of our offices that business2 be a must read!

    Regards Tom

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 26, 2007 at 9:58 am 0Likes

    Good Morning,

    Tom R, it is great to have someone in your position contributing here.

    So you do advise your franchisees to place an advertisement in the Yellow Pages?

    Where else do you advise your franchisees to advertise? Domain, realestate, myhome, AFR, local broadsheets?

    As a franchisor, how do you balance the effectiveness of advertising to drive business to your franchisees, over the need for the franchisor to ensure its brand is top of mind and appears to have market saturation? therein driving demand for the uptake of Franchise Outlets?

    Are you able to arrange special rates with the Yellow Pages for your Franchisees in the Yellow Pages?

    Finally, on a subject dear to my heart, recently we discovered that L.J Hooker lost its last remaining senior female executive. What are your thoughts on the challenges facing women in the real estate industry, in relation to attaining and retaining senior positions?

    Many thanks in anticipation.


  • Tom R
    Posted August 26, 2007 at 10:47 am 0Likes

    Good morning Elizabeth.

    Thanks for the questions…My wife is always saying we should have someone in a more senior position in our company. However we have many women in senior positions but unfortunately not so many in the upper echelons.

    Most of our senior senior positions are filled internally, so it is only a matter of time before we get some at the top.

    As for Yellow Pages, well I don’t like having to advertise in there at all, but it is more about our competitors still doing it. I do not believe we get value at all from this medium. But this is not my decision, we have budgets and this is still in our budget mix. Maybe all of us should get together and save ourselves hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    We do send reports on internal research to all of our partners and they then act accordingly, yes we do get special rates, but I have found most offices have now shrunk their commitment to YP and this is reflected in our Internal research.

    On our partners, we need to provide better value for money and we are doing this, but this is sensitive information so I will not (cannot) share this here with you. We have had to make substantial changes to keep on top of things and more of these are being rolled out each month.

    I think we still have a major role to play in the market, but we have to be more mobile, and provide the infrastructure and support and services to our partners so they continue their involvement with us.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted August 26, 2007 at 11:07 am 0Likes

    Hi Tom

    Great to see you here and thanks for some great posts, hope to see more of you and your company.

    Regards Peter Ricci

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 26, 2007 at 5:42 pm 0Likes

    Good Afternoon,

    TomR, thank you for getting back to me.

    Everything you say makes sense to me, even though I often see things in black and white.

    Now I will have to put my thinking visor on and attempt to figure out which group you work for.

    My many thanks


  • Glenn
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 2:53 pm 0Likes


    Even though the stats you quote are old I would love to see a link to it as I cant wait to see how sensis found out that it was responsible for $61 Billion dollars worth of sales in just the major cities. Just a plain old guess, dart boards, or some other method… just how was it done? Maybe a handful of companies were surveyed as a sample size and then that was interpolated out to represent the whole country?. That’s real accurate!!!

    They sound like stats that come out of your creativity department rather than reality as I doubt anybody could give you accurate figures on that no matter the manpower you throw at it and thats because people do not ask clients/customers where their business comes from. So if they dont know how can you.

    Is Yellow Pages dead and buried?? Certainly not.. but as you can see from everyone here its reach is only a fraction of what it use to be. and unless there is a huge change its days are numbered as a force in Australian advertising.

    IMHO companies like the Aussie directory Hotfrog have a far better business model for an online directory. Free base listings and they get paid by Adsense adverts on their site. They dont need to justify huge listings fees to replace lost revenue from their more traditional media. We see this a lot In this industry especially.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 3:40 pm 0Likes

    Hi Glenn,

    If you wish to dispute those figures, then that is your perogative.
    I didn’t pull them out of thin air, but have quoted verbatim some of a seminar I attended earlier this year by Dr Dennis Fromholzer PhD, who is the world’s leading expert on directory advertising, from his preliminary analysis of the Australian Yellow Pages landscape. Type his name into the search engine of your choice and see what you come up with.

    All I wanted to hear from you, and I thank you for doing so, is a retraction of the statement you made earlier in regards the overall effectiveness of Yellow in every industry, which you have done.

    Having the benefit of an insiders information, and with the experience that I have in the advertising industry in general, I would have to say that for all of their faults, Yellow in particular and Sensis in general, is one of the most progressive media companies in Australia today, fully aware of the challenges ahead and changing to meet those head on. And for what it is worth, our rates are comparable with all other traditional media and always have been and always will.

    To quote something else I read earlier on today in relation (and this was on an Australian web-design company’s website- “A table does not stand on one leg and so it is with your marketing- if Yellow Pages is a part of that mix, worry more about how to get better results from it than what it costs”

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 3:59 pm 0Likes

    Adrian. I think what we are all talking about is cost vs effectiveness. 10 Years ago there were only a few effective forms of advertising available to agents. (I am only talking about real estate agents here) and Yellow Pages was one of them. Today it is just such a different landscape, most people who would be looking for an agent to sell their property would simply:

    – look online on REA or Domain and see who is selling what
    – look at an agents website and see how up to date they are
    – speak to friends and associates

    Yes I am sure some would still use Yellow Pages, but it is the cost of this form of advertising VS the options that are available today that were not available 10 years ago. I have to say that Google (or Yahoo MSN) advertising is a far better option in my opinion than Yellow Pages and far far more effective. I just do not see people picking up a yellow pages and being able to make an informed decision on a simple (or pretty) print ad.

  • Glenn
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 5:05 pm 0Likes


    What are you going on about.. I didnt retract anything… nor did I ever say anything “regards the overall effectiveness of Yellow in every industry” or anything like that. Where did you pull that from?

    I said Yellow Pages Print was dead, I said it was a dinosaur. I said the prices for Yellow Pages ads were ramped up. I said that Real Estate and other similar industries were squeezed with the creation of endless sub categories and locality guides that we had to have a presense in. You could have had a go at me about any of that, but you didnt… you have a go at me about something I did not even say and then claim I retracted it.. Interesting discussion style you have going.

    But just so we are clear… I DO believe that the Yellow pages has a fraction of the reach they have previously held in every industry… and therefore their effectiveness has reduced dramatically. Certainly some industries will have reduced more than others, but when you talk to consumers and they have not even taken the plastic off their yellow pages you can understand why.

    So just to make you happy I have now said it …. Crystal?

    As to your stats…I cant believe you are quoting stats you got off a powerpoint slide that was conducted only as a preliminary analysis. I take it you have not got a source to prove these figures then?? You quote a name of some professor and expect us to believe it without any form of proof?

    And you wonder why corporations dont let anybody on their payroll prattle on with their statistics. I would love to dispute your figures, but you have to provide some sort of proof they were not just made up on the spot to boost your arguement first. Do you play poker? You called a straight flush.. I am just asking you to show your hand…. or are you just bluffing hoping not to be called out?

    As to Sensis being progressive, how do you come to that conclusion. What major products do they have that has been particularly progressive in the past 2-3 years. I believe that the general consensus here, and in most places in Australia is that Sensis is far from progressive.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 8:21 pm 0Likes

    this is the last time I will waste any more of my valuable time trying to have any sort of discussion with you.
    I can see that no matter what I bring to the table you will not believe it because you don’t believe in the product and (obviously) any data I can provide you will scream is biased because it is coming from a Sensis perspective.

    To make something ABSLOUTLEY crystal clear to you, in relation to the
    “endless sub-categories and locality guides etc”, there is not one thing that goes into the Yellow Pages, in either a print or online capacity that has not been requested first by either and advertiser or consumer and been subjected to market research to see if it would be of benefit to both.
    The prices of Yellow Page advertisng has kept step with all other forms of media and was not “simply ramped up” to cover lost revenue.

    As for my professor, well,I gave you his name for you to research yourself, as you obviously will not be prepared to acknowledge any data I give regardless of the source.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 8:32 pm 0Likes

    I understand perfectly well what you are saying, and on a dollar for dollar cost v effectiveness level, the same argument you put here applies equally, in my opinion to Billboards, Junk Mail flyers, Radio and Television advertising for REA too.

    I would be interested to hear some comment on your opinion of those too, beacause, from vendor acquistion/ chest-thumping/branding perspective, Yellow is certainly on a cost per 1000 calculation, much, much cheaper and targeted only at those who actually want to contact REA.

    When I discuss “well designed” Yellow Pages ads, I don’t mean “pretty” ads- “pretty” does not mean “effective, well designed!”

    I would like to thank you personally, Peter, for the opportunity to contribute to this debate, but I am certainly not going to find many in this forum prepared to listen to anything I have had to offer, with the exception of yourself! Good luck with your future endeavours in fighting the good fight and just watch my “dinosaur” over the next few years- you may be surprised!

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 8:45 pm 0Likes


    This site for me is about my thoughts and it is 100% for real estate agents. I value your contribution. But considering the alternatives I think you have a tough sell. Yellow Pages the book really has no long term future. Every year it would get more expensive to produce, every year it would cost more for something that in my opinion is less effective in today’s market, you just have too many nimble and cost effective competitors.

    On the website – I know the site has been through many changes but if Yellow were to survive then it has to become completely user friendly in a Google kind of way and doing away with banner ads etc.

    As for other Media, I have written about many of these, TV is out of reach for agents and will be until maybe digital/IPTV allows local ads to be shown on commercial networks (although these are finished also long term), radio has to deal with fragmentation (gone long term) and billboards are out of reach for most agents. As for Junk Mail, I do not get it, everyone goes in my bin, although some are quite nice.

    Agents have to concentrate on what they currently do – and do it better!

    As for your dinosaur, I have been proven wrong many times, but I think you would find these industries shrinking – cars, jobs and houses and the last one is what I concern myself with here.

    YP will struggle with any industry that finds itself in bulk online.

    Good to hear from you again Adrian.

  • Karl
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 8:46 pm 0Likes

    What an interesting discussion I have stumbled across here. In 2005 when I left Sensis they were predicting declining growth for a minimum of 6 years in their print directories revenues.

    Move forward 2 years and please read the comments made by Mr Stanhope the CFO of Telstra when pushed by Michael Sainsbury on the question of Yellow Pages Print revenues. Mr Sanhope replied “Print was slighlty negative.” (

    From my calculations this is 4 years ahead of schedule.

    Yellow Pages usage is sliding massively (in my opinion). Google has the number 1 website in Australia by a country mile an people now are typing in “Plumber Ballarat” an getting results. Not great yet but getting better because local advertisers are only just catching on to a performance based advertising metric versus a paid inclusion model. We are rapidly approaching the tipping point.

    It’s only a matter of time for this old dinosaur:)

  • Glenn
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 12:59 am 0Likes


    Lets be honest, I cant scream your data is Sensis biased, because you havn’t even provided any evidence to support it.

    The name of some professor does not make your claims accurate or provable. If wanted to I could pick some fictitious name of some professor and quote some slide I seen of his at some seminar that stated that anybody with the name Adrian just makes stuff up.. Seems I have a better chance of being proved right.

    You statistics do not seem to be provable, nor do they seem to be even realistically researchable without huge, and I mean HUGE interpolation. You claimed nearly a 1/25th share of Australia’s GDP was generated directly out of just the Metro editions of the Yellow Pages.

    Since you refuse to support your stats in anyway I take it you were trying to bluff everyone with your numbers without once shred of credible evidence.

    You make stuff up that people said and then claim fairytale retractions when there wasn’t any. When asked to prove your claims you cant.. What do you expect me to do? Just believe everything some guy called Adrian who claims to work at Sensis says. Be realistic.

    You put that foot in your own mouth, dont blame me that you seem to have a taste for it. You came in like a white knight trying to rescue little ol Sensis and when you couldn’t you make stuff up and then claim we are not giving you a fair go. You made the bed, you lie in it.

    Oh yeah just so it is CLEAR, the reason I know your figures are WRONG is that Australia’s GDP for 2006 was official estimated at $645.3 billion. That means your claim that Yellow pages generated $61 billion would mean that you are really claiming a tad under $9.5% of Australia’s GDP… or nearly $1 in every $10 spent in Australia was generated by the Yellow Pages. Love to see you try and prove that one!!! with or without some professor.

    Oh yeah.. just in case your wondering.. I can give you at least 390 links to prove my stats thanks to good old google….

  • Adrian
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 9:04 am 0Likes

    I don’t know what previous bad experience you had with Yellow Pages to make you so bitter and anti-Sensis- maybe you are just naturally an angry person with an axe to grind.

    I am not a scientist, nor am I a data analyst, I am not trying to bluff anyone. Nor am I trying to convert anyone here to spend all of their money in Yellow Pages.

    Whichever way you want to skew it, Sensis is a very profitable organisation not because they create endless sub-categories and locality guides and ramp up prices to compensate for lost revenue elsewhere, Sensis is a profitable organisation because they offer advertsing products that consumers use to buy stuff and that generates revenue hand over fist for a lot of the businesses who choose to advertise there.
    Does it work out that well for everyone? Of course not. Has it lost its full effect for some industries? Sure it has. Will Google provide amazing results for every business who chooses to advertise there too? Of course not either.

    What I have taken offence from you at is your incorrect assumption that “Yellow Pages is Dead”, which is about as true in a broad sense as saying that “All Real Estate Agents are grubby, lying, money-hungry prats”, or “All Catholic priests are paeodphiles”, or “All Muslims are terrorists”.

  • Adam
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 9:12 am 0Likes


    Some people here have opinions that you will never change. I know lots of people who still type full website addresses into Google thinking its their browser. It will be a very long time before the Yellow Pages is ‘dead’… its only been dead in certain industries for years, but people who I know work for YP already acknowledge that. None of the reps I know fear for their jobs.

  • Glenn
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 12:13 pm 0Likes


    So you have made up quotes, claimed false retractions and offered incorrect statistics… and I have an “axe to grind”!

    You have not apologised or retracted any of that. Instead you throw out accusations and attacks. But I am the bad guy for pointing out that your story has more holes than swiss cheese. You can get personal all you want and claim that I am picking on you but only you are responsible for your actions.

    My opinions are open to change when new information and facts are provided that warrant it but you have not done that. I have asked and asked you to back up your claims.

    You seem to have a lot invested in Sensis to be simply a rank and file that just happened past this forum as you claimed. What’s the real story? Will we ever know?

    To requore myself – “The printed Yellow Pages is a dinosaur and UNLESS they dramatically reduce their prices they WILL fade away to be a bit player in the advertising world for small businesses.”

    This will not happen overnight… but it will happen if they dont evolve. That’s my opinion. You have a different one which I respect, just dont lie to support your opinion. Is that really too much to ask?

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 9:50 pm 0Likes

    Good evening,

    This conversation reminds me of a fable about the Emperors New Clothes.

    All the world could see he was naked, but he believed he was wearing the finest thread.

    If all industry participants on this site are saying they get little to no response from Yellow Pages, are we incorrect to call Yellow a Dinosour?

    It is a new game. The internet provides all the results. Sensis tried it with Justlisted and failed. Now they are pushing the old Yellow Pages.

    The trouble is that all the evidence that Adrian provides appears to be misleading, or more to the point, highlights that Yellow Pages sales staff do not care about their clients.

    For if it is true, that Adrian and his fellow sales people can devise a better advertisement in Yellow which will yeild better results, why is he only telling us now? After many years of paying money.

    Adrian, it is too late to tempt us.

    My fingers walk to my mouse these days as most of my clients are. That is where I will be spending my former Yellow Pages Budget.


  • Yellow Page Advertising
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 3:33 am 0Likes

    Real Estate may have reigned over the yellow pages at one time but according to the National Yellow Pages Association the Real Estate heading slides in at last place among the top Yellow Pages headings referenced in 2006. For the record the Real Estate heading tied with Roofing Contractors for 31st place with 69.0 million references. I would be willing to bet most of those were in the so called “hot” Real Estate markets as well and not spread homogeneously across the nation.

  • Glenn
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 11:59 am 0Likes

    Hmm.. your a long way from home!

    The National Yellow Pages Association and your website are both american. Are the statistics you quoted amercian as well? If not, I wonder how well that research crosses over to Australia? I would have thought we have pretty similiar markets but obviously those numbers would be a lot lower.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 2:49 pm 0Likes

    Interesting point you make and you left Sensis the year I began there.
    The Sensis culture of early 2005 to the one where I now find myself in 2007 are like chalk and cheese.

    Like any large organisation, the wheels of change turn very slowly, but they turn nonetheless and before change can or will be noticed externally then it has to change from within.

    Let me let you all in on a little secret- when I joined Sensis from News Ltd, it was to join the Yellow Online only sales force, because, although I was joining what was a print-centric business, I too believed that an online-only future was the way to go. For the first few months, I dealt only with brand new to Yellow customers or disgruntled former print customers and I leveraged off the same argument that print media of any description might be on the way out. Then, I was promoted to work as as an Online Specialist for existing Print Yellow advertisers and that is when I began to realise exactly how much power those big yellow door-stops and monitor stands still gave to the success of so many businesses.

    Like any business who has predicted that the road ahead is rocky and that a downward slope is potentially steep, you have a choice to make- either just keep doing exactly what you have been doing and wind-down until you are extinct, or you look at other ways to remain fresh and relevant and reinvent yourself.
    Sensis is in the process of reinventing- clearing out both the mentality and personnel who were (and in some cases still are)of a Public Service Organisation, which, essentially, it still is- public servants=bureaucray=red tape etc etc etc.
    Rather than focus on all the that is a problematic, focus on what is still great about the products that the company offers and go from there- such as removing the number crunchers with no people skills from running the ship and putting in very customer-focused individuals who believe (and have proven in similar positions that they have held elsewhere) that if you look after the customers then the bottom line will look after itself, Using the results of ten years worth of (and continuing) analysis of extensive Metered Ad studies to determine what design of advert proves to be the most effective in different classifications, amending, adding or deleting classifications as deemed necessary by the usage patterns derived from these and yellow Online serach results.

    I for one am proud to be part of this generational change.

    I am not, however, saying to anybody in the Real Estate field that Yellow Pages changing will instantly or even at all change what has happened to how people search for property.I am just asking for you
    to be aware that the dinosaur is getting rebuilt from within and is embracing the changes in the media landscape, rather than trying to ignore them, as again, in my opinion, it was doing 5 years- even 3 years ago.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 3:10 pm 0Likes

    I will forget for a moment that you feel that neither I, my sales colleagues or Sensis do not care about our customers, because nothing could be further from the truth.
    I am not giving anybody misleading information- granted, I may have got my sums mixed up at a grand level, but the information I gave you regarding actual searches for Real Estate agents in Melbourne was exact from the webserver records and I gave a very conservative estimate of approximate searches in the hard copy based upon the information I have available to me comapring the use of the hard copy and internet Yellow Pages in this city (and as such, as I have been at pains to explain) readliy available from your Account Exec, but seeing as how you have voted with your mouse to not spend money with Sensis anymore, then I don’t expect you to check.
    The various advertising medium precentages of searches for Real Estate agents again, are the most up-to-date we have and once more can be sourced for free from your Yellow Account Exec or purchaed from TNS Research.

    As for being able to design more effective adverts, for the first time in our history, there is scientifically based and proven data on how to design adverts that work more effectively than if you do not follow these concepts- (and by the way, there is nothing particularly new here, just forgotten by Yellow Pages staff, business owners and Advertising Agencies alike),and every single individual Sensis salesperson, customer service consultant and graphic designer in Australia, has been versed in this now, rather than the older way of doing things which was to take a “best guess” .
    It may never get you back Elizabeth, but just know that we are trying, with every fibre of our being to generate tangible results for our customers- sometimes we will fail, but often we succeed.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 7:21 pm 0Likes

    Good afternoon

    Adrian, tell me how getting statistics off equates to real figures relevent to Yellow Print?


  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 7:24 pm 0Likes

    Good afternoon,

    In an interesting twist.

    Domain appears to be broken this afternoon, I have not been able to check my stock. Nor have the agencies in my area.

    However, domain listings on Justlisted appear to be fine. Just not my listings.

    Is this the curse of Yellow?


  • Glenn
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 8:13 pm 0Likes

    Yellow Fever perhaps…?!

    Perhaps the Horsey Flu got them!

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 8:29 pm 0Likes

    Yellow Dengy Fever

  • Adrian
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 8:49 pm 0Likes

    By the available research that I have, in the Melbourne metropolitan area, there are 1.1 million searches per month (Yellow TM Online webserver records) and 3.8 million searches in the Melbourne Yellow Directory (Roy Morgan Single Source Australia) per month.
    Bearing in mind that it differs from classification to classification, I take the ACTUAL recorded searches for a heading from Online Server records and multiply it by a little over a factor of 2,to give a rough estimate only, of compatible total hard copy directory searches for the same classification, not by the factor of 3.45 that 3.8 mill divided by 1.1 mill delivers.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 9:17 pm 0Likes

    Please indulge me while I digest this – Yellow Pages uses the same company which domain uses, Roy Morgan.

    But you tell me that you do not trust Roy Morgan as it is not as accurate as using Log Servers.

    So the questions just seem to mount for me.

    Should you be using Roy Morgan at all?

    Why on earth is domain using roy morgan if roy morgan’s expertise is measuring print? And why use Roy Morgan at all if it is not as accurate as log servers?

    There appears to be an over-riding question of how companies measure eyeballs and potentially generate business.

    Peter? Glenn?


  • Peter
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 9:40 pm 0Likes

    Ok E, a Number of things. I don’t trust any of the Metrics firms especially when it comes to Print and TV. I think the whole measurement system is just so out of whack with what is going on in the offices, living rooms of Australia.

    I am really struggling with Adrian’s assessment. How many people are polled to get these figures? One thousand, two thousand? I know these are taken from a very very minute section (TV and Print) of the community.

    I prefer better judgement from people I know (family and business) to make calls on marketing for my company and TV, Print and Radio are simply not even close in the equation.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 29, 2007 at 11:20 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth, I did not say that I did not trust the Roy Morgan figures- I just deflate them somewhat to give a rough estimate- no different to how (I assume) you give a potential buyer or seller of a property an estimate of the selling price they can expect based upon the info you have at the time
    I can confirm absolutely that by the Yellow Online webserver records, there were 161,985 searches made in the Melbourne metropolitan area for Real Estate agents in the period May 06-June 07 (I do have June & July 07 stats available, I just haven’t downloaded them yet)

    If anyone cares, I am happy to enquire as to the sample sizes Sensis commission Roy Morgan and TNS to do- bearing in mind they commission these surveys for many classifications every year

    As I think Glenn made mention of in an earlier posting, the only true way to judge is to ask every single person who contacts you for any reason how /where they got your phone number, email address, URL,how they found your office if they are a walk-in etc. A lot of work for any business, sure but if you are as full on about demanding ROI from all media as you seem to be here, I don’t see why you would not try.
    A rudimentary yet relatively effective way to do this,is to attach a different phone number, email address or landing page on a website to each form of marketing used and track the traffic generated from each- if you have multiple phone lines/ email addresses or multiple pages to a website that is

  • Glenn
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 12:02 am 0Likes


    We know how good he is with Stats… Whats a billion or two !

    As has been stated on here many times by a few people and just reinforced by Peter again, do not believe any webstats out there from anyone. Sure some might be telling the truth but web stats are so easy to cheat. There there is the whole question of the validity of the statistics even if the data you are being quoted is accurate. Years ago webstats use to count hits… then page views..then visits..then unique visitors became popular, now session times is becoming trendy with Web 2 gaining momentum. What they all have in common is that none of them give the full story by themselves. There are methods to cheat everyone of those ranking methods and web administrators do what they can to maximise it. You will find more value in trends rather than the data.

    As an example a positive improvement to somebodies website traffic might see 30% less visitors but their average page views per visit is increased from 2.3 to 9 and their average session time has increased from 1 minutes to 6 minutes. Less people but far better quality and people are now looking around the site more. These sort of stats might have resulted from removing unrelated search terms in the sites keywords (xxx, porn, free, drugs, teen etc etc) plus an improvement in the navigation structure. Those keywords will bring you visitors but the type of people they attract wont buy a house off you and will soon leave when you have no teens filming porn for a xxx movie that they can download for free whilst taking drugs on your website!!!

    The only real accurate thing you can determine from any of it is trends on particular metrics and cross analysing them. For instance a site that has a high number of visitors but a low number of average pages views per visitor could mean its attracting a lot of visitors but they are not viewing much… so maybe its a crap site for instance…. but if that site was a Web 2.0 site using Ajax calls you would expect low pageviews because with web 2.0 the page rarely changes and the data on the page is updated without refreshing the page..

    Now lets for instance take just one figure of Adrians recent posts and that is the online searches for melbourne of 1.1million per month. At first glance that sounds impressive doesnt it.. but what about context.. What makes up that 1.1million searches figure. If somebody looks at 4 pages of results, does that count as 4 searches as it does on many other sites as technically clicking the next button or one of the page numbers just triggers a new search and tell it to view the next 10 or 20 responses. How many unique visitors are there…ie.What if the average Yellow pages users does 10 searches a month that reduces the reach down considerably. What if you combine just these two scenarios then your talking about just 26,000 or so people in Melbourne doing 10 searches a month and looking at 4 pages of results. Thats not a very large reach at all. There are plenty of other factors that could also be at play here. How many searchers went away without clicking on an individual advertisers details because their search results display is not very good.

    Just remember one thing..if they had a stack of unique visitors you would be hearing about it.. If they could tell you that 700,000 Melbournians used the Yellow Pages online every single month you would have heard about it… Instead they quote you how many searches occurred.

    Like much in life look for what is not said, more than what is.. I bet they will not provide click through rates on searches, unique visits, session times and a bunch of other stuff that can all be extracted out of their logs.

    Print and TV advertising (or tv ratings for that matter) is even worse. Just like political polls their figures are done by surveying a small sample size and then extrapolating that data to the larger population and coming up with a figure. This is never accurate when its done by third parties but when it is done by the company who benefits from the results the chances of it being really accurate is really slim. They just choose the right people to be in their sample and voila… Huge number at the end. For instance in the last election the polls showed Latham and Labour in with a chance…. and that was done by independent third parties utilising sample data. Look what happened to them!

  • Glenn
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 12:30 am 0Likes

    Conspiracy Theory Here..

    If you owned your own search engine plus had interests in other products would you build into the algorithm for it to highlight any “bad press” for the company or its products and forward that to your PR department so they can put out the fire?

    If you worked in the PR department of a big company and you were going to interact on a popular industry blog to put out such a fire would you claim to be just one of the loyal and honest workers rather than the spin doctor you are?

    Feasible? Damn yes.

    Corporations and PR departments have done much worse in the past. Peter has outed the staff of a number of big company’s on here trying to fake their identities her to give themselves good press or counter bad press. How many get away with it without us knowing?

    Why would somebody who works for Yellow pages just happen accross the site right when the topic of Yellow Pages is up for discussion and give us their name and give away that he works in sales on one hand and then on the other, say he would get into big trouble if their PR and Legal departments found out. It would not be too hard to find a Salesperson called Adrian especially now he has told us when he started and the departments he has worked in.

    His blind faith in his own statistics even when they were clearly and totally unrealistic is probably a good indicator he hasnt the nouse to be in PR.

    Just look at the spin doctor from REA who posts here. Slick and smooth. He glides through it all dropping off info, good news stories and stats like a pro. If it does not go his way or he doesnt want to answer something he just pretends he hasnt seen it even though he responds to posts directly above and below. If the problem gets worse ignore it and dont help it fester even more as it will all be over soon. I actually admire the way he does it… like a pro!

    Conspiracy…. Maybe, maybe not.. you be the judge.

  • Yellow Page Advertising
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 3:16 am 0Likes

    We actually have done a number of Yellow Page ads in Australia and i think i misspoke when i labeled the YPA the “National” Yellow Pages Association. They are now YPA and are definitely international. “The Association has members in 29 countries.” found here:

    The stats can be found here:

    On cursory inspection the don’t seem the mention national or international numbers…nice, I know.

    On the topic of search statistics being widely manipulated, when we do SEO for clients we try to bake in the fact that some terms that are even moderately competitive can have various search results data inflated simply by the fact that competitors are searching these terms repeditively to assess the results of their SEO efforts, thereby artificially inflating the perceived demand for such key words. whether malicious data skewing occurs is up for debate, but we are firm believers inflation does occur.

  • Adrian
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 7:56 am 0Likes

    You have confirmed the fact that regardless of what I say you will not believe what I have to say. You criticised me for not backing up my stats, and then, when I did, you criticised that too.
    Please let up on the personal attacks- you have an opinion and I have a different one and lets respect that shall we?

    Why do I have blind faith in the stats provided to me? Like Peter said, how he prefers to trust the judgement of family and friends in advertising effectiveness?
    I have this faith due to the results my customers tell me and prove to me Yellow delivers to them.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 8:10 am 0Likes

    Good Morning,

    My goodness there was some activity here last night.

    So if I could sum it all up concisely.

    Glen, believes the conspiracy theory, that we did not land on the moon.

    Adrian says that man DID land on the moon, a total of 1.1million times. But the method he used to count the landings did not involve observing the landings himself.

    So my next question is, Who Killed Dianna?

    Is Elvis still alive, and did he take the Subway diet?

    Will we ever see Michael Jackson black again?


  • Peter Ricci
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 8:30 am 0Likes

    Dianna is alive and well and living in Camden.
    Elvis died last year in a freak yachting accident.
    Michael Jackson is black its just the camera flashes are way too bright.
    MyHome is the number one real estate portal in Australia.
    Paris Hilton has found Jesus and he will be appearing in her next online ‘film’.
    Beck Hewitt, just wants her privacy.
    Kevin Rudd has amazing charisma.
    Yellow Pages are going green and will save the environment by directly dumping all print versions in peoples paper only bins and saving them the trouble.
    John Howard looks good in a tracksuit.
    Hillsong Church members are cool and crazy people.
    REA is user friendly and cares about agents first.
    Adore Property has not been pushed aside and forgotten about.
    Just Listed is revolutionary.
    Macquarie Bank have got Executive Salaries ‘about right’.
    Real Estate Institutes will hold a press conference and WILL NOT say that a new boom is just around the corner.
    George Bush is doubting himself but just needs more time.
    CSI have promised not to expand their portfolio.
    Telstra are not desperate.

    and…………all new real estate sites to be released in the future will NOT call themselves the Google of Real Estate!

  • Glenn
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 1:06 pm 0Likes


    Actually I don’t believe the conspiracy theory, for the very reason I stated…. but the coincidences make it interesting don’t you think? We have all been subjected to PR stealth campaigns on here by some companies and the circumstances make you think about it, and I know I am not the only one.


    Get over yourself mate. The only things close to a personal attack was when I said

    “We know how good he is with Stats

  • Adrian
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 1:30 pm 0Likes

    One of the things about the purely written word is that one cannot often easily tell what the context of the text is beacause one cannot hear the tone in which it is delivered or see the eyes/face/body language of the writer.
    Peter’s list for example, is clearly a piss-take.
    Some of Glenn’s comments, well maybe it is just me, but the line seemed blurred!

    I can take the piss just fine Glenn. You and I will always agree to disagree on this matter and while yes, I admit I may be unable to absolutely prove some of the data presented I also cannot absolutely disprove any of it either.

    I defend Yellow pages (and Sensis) because of a passionate belief in the product in a general sense. Sure, for many industries it does not hold the same sway it did 10 years ago but you have never heard me say on here that I think it is THE perfect medium for all industry segments.

    And for all of their strange processes and rules, Sensis are a pretty good mob to work for- if they weren’t, well, I would probably try my hand selling real estate instead!

  • Paul D
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 3:45 pm 0Likes

    Well, Adrian, I have been watching and contributing occasionally to this blog for a couple of months. Firstly, I don’t know who Glenn is, but he seems to be a well informed agent who has an analytical mind. I know that may be an oxymoron for an agent and in 95% of cases it probably is. However all the things he says make sense and are backed up by reliable stats. I have a background that didn’t start in Real Estate but has been in real estate for the last couple of decades, and also come from an analytical background.

    One thing I am absolutely sure of, is that if you tried your hand in real estate, after you had wasted your money for the first year in the Yellow Pages you would see what Glenn is talking about, and spend it more wisely in the second year. You see it’s one thing to be quoting statistics that nobody believes anymore, and entirely another to put your money where your mouth is. The fact is, we have all done it, we are not talking from inexperience, we are talking from actual, get your hands dirty, spend your money and wonder when the phone is going to ring, try something else, succeed and look back experience.

    The public these days are far more educated, far more inclined to want to know all about a property before they see it, and less inclined to ring an agent and ask to be shown a whole swag of properties to confuse them. Once upon a time the agent was the starting point, these days the property is the starting point.

    Non specific advertising is a waste of money, and that’s not just my opinion, that’s a fact. It doesn’t matter how much you try to convince yourself that Yellow Pages is the bees knees in advertising– It just isn’t anymore. I am of course talking Real Estate advertising, I would never presume to make such absolute statements about any other industry, because I know very little about other industries. Is that a hint ??????

  • Adrian
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 4:08 pm 0Likes

    Thank you Paul D,
    I appreciate the sentiment- can you please let me know where I ever said that Yellow Pages is the “bees knees in advertising?” I am not naive enough to think that and beleieve me- I do not, especially when it comes to advertising in the Real Estate industry.
    I don’t pretend to know much about real estate nor have I ever disputed the changing face of how people search for property in the year 2007.
    If you can scrape away all the huffing and blowing that has been made and yes, much of it by me, my original bone of contention and the underlying thread of my whole conversation here was that there did seem to be an awful lot of absolute presumption about the Yellow Pages (as indeed there is and continues to be in relation to any form of Print Media, TV, Radio, Outdoor advertising too). In general terms, not specifically for Real Estate advertising.

    One thing that I do know that, and I look at my own buying habits for pretty much anything these days as a starting point, is thatmore and more, offline media influences my online search behaviour today whereas 5 years ago it did not, at least not to the same extent I see it doing now.

    In keeping with the jovial piss-taking theme of some recent posts was my tongue-in-cheek remark about selling real estate!

  • Mark G
    Posted October 16, 2007 at 7:52 am 0Likes

    Hi all,

    I read the comments from both sides with interest. I am in the IT industry, but have a lot of RE’s as clients and just about all have ditched anything other than a line or small box entry with the Yellow Pages why? cause like I’ve found out in the last 2 years, apart from a small group of industries the Yellow Pages is DEAD.

    In my own industry, for years clients have told me that they found me in the YP’s but now particularly in the last six month I have noticed just about all my clients except those who have lost their internet connection now go online and it’s not to YP’s online but to Google, Yahoo and Live etc. Even despite Sensis having a seach engine my website stats show that less than 1 in 200-300 hits on my site come from Sensis.

    I spent over $6000 last year on YP’s and almost $700 on Google clicks, yet google has brought in approx. 95% of new business and the work (Gross) that came in from YP’s hasn’t even paid for the ad. So thinking hard and fast with what to do when the YP’s rep turns up in the next 2 months, my decision is to have just a small box focusing on by contact details and getting the internet back on line and a bold small listing in the White Pages for those looking for my business by name.

    I’ll focus more on my web presence and focus more on my existing customer base (easier to keep existing customers than get new ones) and be around $5000 richer on the bottom line

  • larry
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 3:22 pm 0Likes

    More reasons why the Yellow Page print directories are becoming “dinosaurs”

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 9:15 pm 0Likes

    Its been a while since I seen this thread.. I wonder what happened to Adrian..

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  • Rent To Buy Houses
    Posted September 22, 2008 at 9:39 pm 0Likes

    I have often wondered how long it will take for the Yellow Pages to close its doors. It seems the educated consumers are getting more better at doing targeted searches in the search engines to find exactly what they want. This is especially true when it comes to consumers looking for specific product codes, but as you have already said, the printed directory could still be useful to find local trades and services, but the local papers offer that service too.

  • rajvir
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 10:03 am 0Likes

    could u plz tell me the exact cost of salon advertising in yellow pages????????

  • I Must Remain Anonymous
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:28 am 0Likes

    I know this is a very old thread but I just found it and thought I’d better clear up a few things. I am an ex-Sensis employee from Yellow Pages print and online sales in Sydney. I was fired because I wasn’t susceptible to their propoganda. Basically I wasn’t a good enough liar for the company. Albeit I was there for over 11 years. I thought I was pretty good and tried to be honest but in the end I had to rely on wearing mini-skirts to get most of my sales over the line. Sad but true I’m afraid!

    Anyway, my only point here, in special reference to the current employees who have chimed in to this debate (whom I know quite well – i.e. especially Adrian who I met many times at the year-beginning start ups):

    Please remember that Sensis spends an absolute fortune at the beginning of each and every year to brain-wash their sales teams into believing in Yellow Pages again. This is after spending an entire year on the road being told by ALMOST EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL THEY MEET that the book is useless now due to the internet.

    I think the term that often floats around the office about said brain-washed individuals is that they BLEED YELLOW – ew!

    Anyway, it is pointless trying to convince a brain-washed Yellow Pages sales rep that they are, in fact, selling useless adverts printed on yellow toilet paper (often with errors).

    And that’s my two yellow cents worth!

  • John
    Posted August 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm 0Likes

    Anyone got the same problem ?

    In 2007 Sensis offered to supply us with a metered phone for 2 ads as an inducement for us to participate in the yellow pages directory (which we had intended not to do as we had very little response from our Ad in the Yellow pages for some time previously, despite being listed in first position in our advertising category). The metered phone was pivotal in changing our minds about participation. We were devastated when the publication appeared without a metered phone in either ad, because we had so many times in the approval process advised them of the need for metered phones. As part of the investigation process, we contacted our Yellow pages Representative (the person who confirmed we would have a metered phone on both numbers if we participated in the publication) and she advised in March, 2008 that she had 10 clients who she promiced metered phones but Yellow pages reneged. She advised that as a company, Yellow Pages had “oversold” the availability of metered phones and that it was a management decision (which she had no input into) as to which clients would be culled from the program.

    I refused to pay the account and would like to hear from any onganisations that have similar experiences.

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