Monthly Archives: October 2010

People Are Good Story, My Experience Last Night

Last night landed in Toronto. Went to the car rental place and grabbed a Buick. Realized I did not want the Buick, so switched to a Ford. Left airport for a dinner meeting at The Keg. Get to the restaurant, realize my wallet is not with me. Then it hits me, I left it on the passenger seat in the Buick.

Now I am f%&ked – id, credit cards, etc. gone. If I can’t get back, how do I check into the hotel. How do I get back on a flight to Calgary. Lots of questions, all my answers in my wallet.

Go back to the Airport Car Rental, hoping the car is still there. It is not. It was rented. National Rent a Car calls the customer – turns out he is staying at a hotel close to the Airport and has my wallet. He was a Canada Post employee. He is going to drive it back to the Airport Car Rental place and return to me.

Wallet comes back. Tried to give the guy money for his trouble, he refuses (tells me to donate the money to charity). We chuckle about the fact that we are both Super Elite, Starwood Platinum, AMEX cardholders, National Elite, etc. Apparently we are very similar. National Rent-A-Car pays one night of his car rental for helping me out. That is pretty cool.

Morale of the story – when you pick a car, stick with it.

Health Benefits of the iPad

I was having a good discussion last week with @sebprovencher and during this discussion we ended up spending a few minutes talking about the iPad and the future of tablet computing. During this conversation I was explaining my personal usage of my iPad and how, since I have started using one, my desktop/laptop usage has declined dramatically. This decrease in usage has lessened the soreness in my wrists and forearms. The iPad is making me use my computer less and this seems to be helping.

iPad 3G

I have been using a computer since 1981 and if I do some back of the napkin math, I have probably spent upwards of 50K hours in front of a computer. Although I have never developed carpal tunnel, there is no doubt that my computer usage has caused soreness. A person tries to do all the right things, ergonomic keyboards, mice, proper posture, right chair, right desk, etc. but still soreness develops.

Carpal Tunnel

I have always contested that the keyboard and mouse (although revolutionary) are not the best interfaces and not the most user friendly devices for novices getting into the computing. I think touch is more human friendly.

Since getting my iPad, I try to do as much as possible using this interface. In doing so, I have probably decreased by keyboard usage upwards of 40% which is helping my wrists and forearms. Here are the top 5 things that I use my iPad for;

1) Ingestion of News – A lot of my work revolves around spotting trends, therefore I ingest a lot of news on a daily basis from a variety of sources
2) Email – Outlook Exchange access gives me direct access to my corporate and personal email
3) Social – Big part of my usage is related to social media, twitter, facebook, etc. in which the iPad is my primary window into those worlds
4) Presentation – My iPad is becoming my defacto tool for presentations (display of files to other people) as well as my main tool for watching presentations (Goto or WebEx)
5) Entertainment – Music, Video and some gaming for sure

Although I could never replace my laptops (I use 3 on a daily basis for different purposes), I am glad that I am getting a health benefit from using my iPad; my wrists and forearms are thanking me.

What do you think?

Yellow Pages Group is Canada’s Largest Canadian Internet Company! Is It True? Yes, Here’s Why [Part 1]

Full disclosure; I am the head of business development for Yellow Pages Group in Canada, check out my LinkedIn profile. What I will share with you below is public information that I felt was time to compile into one post. With the recent announcement of the SMB Targeted Campaign by YPG and with prominant bloggers like Greg Sterling posting, “YPG Aims New Brand Campaign at SMBs” the question will be raised – is it true? Is Yellow Pages Group Canada really the largest Canadian Internet company?

I get asked a lot about YPG in networking events, from former colleagues and friends as to what exactly is YPG doing in the online space. Many people wrongly assume that we simply print books and that we are irrelevant to SMBs when it comes to the web. When explained to them how active YPG is online, what properties we own, and our mission to put our advertisers in the “path of ready to buy consumers”, they usually start to see the full picture of how RELEVANT YPG actually is in the Canadian Internet Landscape and why I am as passionate as I am about this business.

To start with, here is the print ad that is running across the country and here is a link to the Radio Ads:

Yellow Pages Group - Let Us ReIntroduce Ourselves as Canada's Largest Internet Company

I will break this post into the following 3 parts to explain the rationale regarding this claim of Canada’s Largest Internet Company:

1) Reach
2) Content
3) Revenue

#1) Let’s Talk Reach and Distribution

When I talk reach, I like to use a third party company to measure relative reach. Therefore, below I will use ComScore Media Metrix as the benchmark to speak about reach. There are other methods to track reach, a) internal logs, b) alexa, c) compete, etc. but in the Canadian Media Landscape – Comscore is still a standard when it comes to companies making decisions about spending on digital ad budgets as well as completely independent, therefore I use them as the benchmark.

Let’s start by looking at the September 2010 ComScore Numbers for the top 20 Properties used by Canadians. Here is the list:

September 2010 ComScore Top 20 Web Properties in Canada

If you re-sort this list based to only Canadian Owned Companies, or majority owned by Canadians, the top 20 list breaks down to only 6 companies.

#1) Yellow Pages Group
#2) Sympatico.ca Property
#3) Canoe Network
#4) CTVglobemedia
#5) Postmedia Network (formerly, CanWest Interactive)
#6) The Weather Network Meteomedia

Based on this metric, it is clear that YPG is in fact Canada’s largest Canadian Owned Internet company.

One important aspect of the YPG network is its unique position of “ready to buy consumers” who have location intentions. The portfolio of properties that makes up Yellow Pages Group (see below) are a collection of sites that have intention to buy as a common element. This is a powerful as other leading web properties are focused on or have elements of research, education or entertainment. The leading search engine, Google, reports that 20% of their queries are location based as an example of how even major search engines are only partially used for the purposes of local.

In terms of the buying funnel it is very accurate to say that YPG Users are closer to the buying decision, which makes them highly qualified leads. If you disagree with this, I would like to hear your opinion why?

Here is a sample of the sites that make up the Yellow Pages Group network:

YellowPages.ca & PagesJaunes.ca
Canada411.ca
RedFlagDeals.com
Restaurantica.com
SuperPages.ca
AutoTrader.ca & AutoHebdo.net
LesPac.com
BuySell.com
HomeTrader.ca
CanPages.ca
ZipLocal.ca

On the Social Front – earlier this year I did a post on How Social is Yellow Pages Group in Canada – if you are interested, check out to see how active we are in Social Media.

On the distribution front, YPG is one of Canada’s most active companies that continually looks to distribute its content + its advertisers content throughout the web eco-system. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Search Engines – YPG listing data is distributed to Google, Yahoo and MSN. If your business is listed on YellowPages.ca, it will be listed on all major search engines in Canada. See attribution at the bottom of this sample from Google.

Google Maps Showing YellowPages.ca Attribution

YellowPages.ca Attribution on Google Maps

Major Portals – YellowPages.ca is integrated on all of Canada’s major portals, MSN, Sympatico, Yahoo, AOL, PostMedia Network, The Weather Network to name a few. Here are some example of doing a search for DENTISTS-TORONTO:

MSN – Dentists in Toronto
Yahoo – Dentists in Toronto
Sympatico – Dentists in Toronto
AOL – Dentists in Toronto
The Weather Network – Dentists in Toronto

PostMedia Including Sites Such as:
Canada.com – Dentists in Canada
Montreal Gazette – Dentists in Montreal
Calgary Herald – Dentists in Calgary
Vancouver Sun – Dentists in Vancouver
Edmonton Journal – Dentists in Edmonton
Ottawa Citizen – Dentists in Ottawa

Telcos – Distribution through major Telco websites including Bell.ca, MyTelus.com, MTS through MyWinnipeg.com, Bell Aliant, NorthernTel, TBay Tel.

At the end of September, YPG and Telus announced a first of its kind relationship in Canada to preload the YellowPages Mobile Application on Telus Blackberries.

Other VerticalsPraized Media, FindItInCanada, WhitePages Network, DuProPrio.com, ByTheOwner.com, Lozzal

Developer Community

Last month, YPG released an Open API called YellowAPI.com to the Development Community, read the press release here.

YellowAPI.com – The Yellow API allows ANYONE to build their own applications and mashups by providing dynamic local business data. We supply you the tools to encourage innovation and expand your audience reach to 33 million people. Read more about our data and opportunities in the Overview.

Mobile

In June, YPG debuted its iPad Application (see my post when this was the #1 app in iTunes) and according to the press release was approaching 1 Million Downloads of its mobile applications. As of today, this number is well over 1 Million.

Think about this for a second.

Over 1 Million Downloads of applications, for a 100% pure Canadian application that is not a game. There are many great Canadians Applications for SmartPhones, TheWeatherNetwork, GlobeandMail, Sportnet, etc. which all are incredible in their vertical, but YPG is the only one focused solely on connecting local buyers and consumers – that is pretty cool.

In terms of mobile development YPG Canada is also a leader, releasing a specific version for each major platform used by Canadians. Check out more at Yellow Pages Mobile.

Yellow Pages Group's Mobile Application for Major Mobile Platforms

Although there is no 3rd party that benchmarks applications, I can tell you personally that I have talked with many of the major players in Canada and the US and at over 1M downloads, YPG is not only a leader in Canada (all agree that we likely #1) but would be a leading application down south as well. When it comes to local mobile applications, there is little doubt that YPG would be #1.

So What Does This Mean For a Small Business

If your business relies on directive advertising as a source of leads, YPG still drives a significant number of leads. In my upcoming post on revenue and the SMB portfolio, I will explain how YPG has embraced other sources of lead management for SMBs, namely Search Engines, to continue to drive its mission of connecting buyers and sellers.

In the interim, I suggest you take a look at the following posts, some of these are a couple of years old but still very relevant for Small Business Owners.

Directive vs. Creative Advertising

Reverse Engineers the Local Media Mix – Who Gets Credit for the Sale

Why Really Smart Advertisers Look Beyond the Big Shiny Numbers

Hits, Page Views and Unique Visitors – Which Metric Should I Use?

What Do You Think of Part 1?