Hot off last August's announcement that R.H. Donnelley (No. 3 Yellow Pages publisher in the US) had begun selling ad placements in Yahoo! Local, comes today's news that Canada's Yellow Pages Group will begin reselling Google AdWords advertisements.
Its agreement with Google allows Yellow Pages approximately 425,000 advertisers to appear alongside Google search results. Previously, Google Local or 'Maps' would display only names and addresses of Yellow Pages' businesses next to results from searches on local information.
Yellow Pages Group has been working with Google since 2004, when they struck an agreement granting the Internet giant access to its databases and, quietly I may add, began embedding Google AdWords on its websites earlier this year.
According to Info-Tech Research Group senior analyst George Goodall, "Google is all about making information convenient to find; Yellow Pages in many ways is about making local information easy to find," he said. "So the combination of the two makes a lot of sense."
Despite analysts concern that YPG risks devaluing its core print and online directory products by reselling third-party pay-per-click solutions directly to advertisers, they've cleverly bundling their core print products and methodically leveraged their sales force and direct relationships with Canada's SME segment. According to Paul Noad, Canada's #1 Yellow Pages Sales Rep in both print and online products, "my clients value our relationships and have expectations that we can guide them as consultants in all facets of advertising".
To all those "experts" who believe the Yellow Pages industry is dying, this is yet another example of its metamorphic change from stagnant print publisher to relevant local player. In the end, he who controls the SME relationship, will always be at the table. Even the mighty Google knows that!