Yet more bad news for the Yellow Pages was announced today when Hibu, the parent company of Yellow Pages, was placed in administration by Deloitte. The company has been struggling with debt into the billions for years.
Although this is sad news, it is hardly surprising. In a statement they said that all employees, customer, partners and suppliers would not be affected. However I can’t see this lasting long if a buyer for the company cannot be found.
Hibu and the Yellow Pages have suffered in recent years due to the rise in internet search. Though I have to be very harsh here and say that they did so poorly in transitioning themselves to an online business. For years it was so obvious that the popularity of telephone books was declining and yet Yell, then Hibu, did such a poor job in trying to establish yell.com as hub for business search. I don’t know of anyone who really uses yell.com as a genuine search engine when Google and Bing have business search down so well.
Hibu employs 12,00 employees and of course we all hope that a positive outcome is found for the business. But when the internet has taken away so much core Yellow Pages business, I just cannot see anyone seeing the company as an attractive purchase. If I was offered the company, I would shut down the book part of the business straight away and focus online. I would move all resources into forming a brand new, top notch business based internet search engine. But even this is such a massive task given the amount of established search engines out there that I think that even this would fail to cause an impact at all.
The lesson to be learnt here, as with previous high street stores that failed to adapt, is that if businesses don’t change to suit the current economic conditions, you will fail. Being honest, I think we have had less than ten leads all year from yell.com or the Yellow Pages, therefore totally justifying us not being in it anymore. They failed to adapt and are now paying the price.
On a wider note, other telephone directories should be worried. Namely Thomson Local. They too are very much a similar business to Yellow Pages and will be experiencing the same problems. They must look at their business, understand that almost all purchases now are subject to internet searches first and try and stave off something which is almost inevitable.
Do you still use the phone books? Are you totally online? All comments welcome in the section below.