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Why not Yellow it? Let me count the ways

Why not Yellow it? Let me count the ways

Yellow is trying to hold its own customers to ransom over their website. What were they thinking?

I have a lovely client, with distributors nationwide, who has advertised in the Yellow books for years. Now that Yellow has finally started to sort its website out so that it actually works (sort of) it is finding ways to milk customers for every penny. Including my clients.

Now, before I really get into this, let's have a little chat about what Yellow is. Yellow is a directory. It is a whole lot of business listings. That is all. Yellow has something of a monopoly on this game.

So what's got my back up?

Unlike Google, which obviously separates organic from paid results, Yellow has set up a system where the user is ONLY delivered paid search results – at least for the first few pages. But it doesn't differentiate in a way that is obvious to the consumer.

When asked what user feedback there had been around this priority ranking, there was no real answer, just, "I'm sure we have that kind of information somewhere". 

Gold, Silver and Bronze listings are where Yellow is at. If you have a free listing, you can end up on the third or fourth page of results depending on the category. Then there are category sponsorship opportunities – three listings that sit above the gold listing.

So, advertisers have to pay to have a gold listing and THEN fork out more to sponsor the category or they'll be pushed down the results even further.

Because my client has a 'free' listing (they spend bucketloads on the books and not online) this means their DIRECT competitors have the ability to advertise on THEIR listing unless they upgrade their listing.

Are you kidding me? Talk about holding their own customers to ransom.

When I had a gripe on Twitter about this, I had a number of responses also voicing their displeasure with Yellow. 

Now, I'm yet to see their ratecard, but I am incredibly unimpressed anyway. I know I don't give Yellow a lot of love, but in real life, my clients do.

* Trying to teach agency people what 'SEO' means

* Giving less than 2 days notice to turn material around

* Incorrect listings under wrong titles

*Updating free listings over the phone and 'up-selling' to include a URL but neglecting to mention that website inclusion comes with a $120 pricetag (in this instance)

* Their "insanely over-priced ratecard

When I told the rep I wasn't feeling the love, I was told I could use my client's Yellow 'rewards' – interestingly, these hadn't come up earlier – to reduce the cost of the print so I could shift that budget to online (I can't use my rewards online, only in print). My rep was also very quick to point out that online commission is 20 percent while the book's is only 10.5 percent.

Are you for reals?

I would talk about why Yellow is revenue gathering to get out of its $1.05 billion debt, that perhaps it should just pull back on its awful advertising campaigns instead and that its business is becoming more and more redundant so it doesn't surprise me that they're scrambling for money – but I don't have the energy.

Use your head, people. Yellow gives search results based purely on dollars . It is not delivering the best result for you or your potential customers. Don't give Yellow money for online; spend it on Adwords and improving the SEO on your websites. This makes more sense. When was the last time you heard someone say "why don't you Yellow it?"