Yahoo! lives in a Yellow submarine

Yellow has won plenty of awards for its advertising. But it’s still in dire financial straights and it’s not faring so well against its rather powerful directories adversary Google. One of the big reasons for that is its poor user interface and search platform. But Yellow New Zealand has announced a new partnership with Yahoo!7, one of Australia and New Zealand’s leading online media companies, and will use its digital resources to “power and bring to life Yellow’s search and content experiences”—and, in return, Yahoo users will have access to Yellow pages business data.

“The Yellow/Yahoo!7 partnership is another step in our $40 million investment in the business”, says Yellow chief executive Bruce Cotterill. “In addition to recruiting one hundred new sales staff, we’ll be continuing to roll out new digital enhancements like this one. Yellow has a 90 percent market share in New Zealand and we are often the first and only stop for small businesses’ marketing needs. This provides us with an enormous amount of information and reach, and Yahoo!Xtra users will get the benefit of this.”

The deal marks something of a rekindling of old flames, because Yahoo!Xtra is 49 percent owned by Telecom and 51 percent owned by Yahoo7. Yellow was separated from Telecom and then sold in 2007 for $2.24 billion, but, according to the NBR, Cotterill said Yellow was now worth between $800 million and $1 billion less than its original purchase price.

Yellow’s digital director Peter Crowe says the new deal is part of a multi- pronged strategy to deliver innovation to consumers searching for local businesses and services. Given the fact that these figures from Experian Hitwise show that Yahoo search products were used for just 2.36 percent of all internet searches in New Zealand, with Google accounting for 94.5 percent of the total, there’s plenty of catching up to do. On the plus side, however, the Yahoo!Xtra homepage received over five million unique browsers in August, a 34 percent increase on July, which makes its homepage audience 35 percent larger than any other New Zealand website.

“Our partnership with Yahoo!7 will enable us to bring innovation to New Zealand very quickly. For example, everyone who searches on Yahoo!Xtra will find Yellow pages business data. We know that currently users’ search experience on Yellow Pages is not optimal, but this partnership will take it above and beyond the basic search and do so much more. It’s all about getting back to the basics and investing in our core processes and building the platform to deliver real innovation to our advertisers and [2.4 million Kiwi] users.”

Yellow’s press release says it has over 300,000 business listings and more than one million total listings, including residential. And with the network of products including Yellow print, online, mobile and 018, it says advertisers can reach customers wherever they go.

“Consumers will notice some big changes over time and there will be even more benefits for advertisers. As part of the agreement, Yellow pages NZ will become the exclusive provider of local business data for Yahoo!Xtra, New Zealand’s largest online portal. The Yahoo!Xtra distribution agreement will lift usage of Yellow pages business data and as a result give advertisers a bigger return on their investment.”

In other Yellow news, “New Zealand’s largest provider of media agnostic, directory style advertising”, has signed up for the delivery of an ERP advertising and reporting solution from Miles 33.

The system will serve more than 500 staff and will provide Yellow with the functionality necessary to manage and deliver its customers’ advertising to various forms of digital and print media.

“Yellow started a long search for the right technology platforms, driven by a business need to build new media channels using internet and mobile devices”, says Ken Anderson, Director for Miles 33 in the Asia Pacific region.

And the system claims to support:

  • Customer acquisition and content management: including the handling of various inbound data for the purpose of identifying sales opportunity, campaign planning, contract to sales distribution and the various disciplines of customer, product and services management.
  • Production and ad tracking: Productivity tools for the creative process of building print and interactive ads for all of Yellow’s digital and print products.
  • Yellow, White and niche print pagination: to streamline the production of the millions of directories currently produced annually by Yellow.
  • Online customer self service: which will extend to trade advertisers and agencies allowing them to manage their own accounts and ad placements.
  • Billing and A/R: including the credit management for the purpose of risk management at the front end activity of sales.
  • Business Intelligence Reporting: tools that enable Yellow to monitor revenues, compare against targets and identify new areas of opportunity.

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