Upstate NY YP Co. Delays Publication by 4 months & Passes the Bill Along

I have never been a big fan of the traditional Yellow Page companies and their tactics. They often would use FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt) rather than ROI to convince small retailers in our rural area to take out more ads year over year. I suppose they were just doing what they needed to do make their sales numbers but they have over time received their just rewards. That doesn’t make this new tactic for revenue generation any more appealing.

According to a recent article in the Democrat & Chronicle, Frontier will delay the release of their new print directory until March of 2010 forcing business owners to pay for the extra four months of advertising. “The delay may also provide time for the economy to rebound in time for ad renewals” said their spokesperson.

The Frontier spokesperson characterized it as an effort to make the book more up to date for the season of heaviest usage and an opportunity to lock in last year’s “lower rates”. I would characterize it as an effort at extortion.

A small business owner, who had a half page add running that didn’t bring in enough customers to warrant his $860/month bill noted: “Unfortunately, the small business guy gets stuck with the burden in this case,” Spencer said. “I’m not trying to tear down the yellow pages, but I found that I want to try different avenues of advertising.”

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5 thoughts on “Upstate NY YP Co. Delays Publication by 4 months & Passes the Bill Along”

  1. That is quite fascinating. The YP sends out plenty of sales people in anticipation of its next publication to close the consistent advertisers and tie down those who might be advertising for the first time, let alone those who might change the scope of their advertising, such as the guy referenced who ran a 1/2 page ad for the first time.

    I strongly suspect sales must have looked dismal. Moving the date back 4 months is unprecedented in my experience. The arguments about “locking in lower rates for four months” –bah….I think its more about maintaining an income stream for 4 months.

    While this relates to the slow (maybe quickening) death of print YP’s, I suspect the recession is really ripping into this YP’s customers/the small businesses in the region.

    There were interesting comments by readers. A lot of unhappiness with that phone company.

    I got a very strong feeling…that particular print YP is not long for this world. Meanwhile….if I wanted to get out of a 1 year contract….man I’d be looking to sue in small claims court….and/or see about getting an attorney to develop a case with many complaintents. If the print YP is not working for me….I don’t want to have to pay an extra 4 months or an extra 1/3 for what I thought would be a 12 month/1 year contract.

  2. Yup, if I were a business owner there I wouldn’t bother to renew myself even if they gave me a half price deal….sounds a lot like this is the last addition of that YP. No problem to me, no more YP=progress!

  3. I have a small business florist shop in Cambridge MA for the last 20 so years the Verizon yellow page rep would come in and sign me up for another year. This past year they did not. However they decided to auto renew my listing. Needless to say I am not happy and don’t want to pay. They have yet to answer my letters and have placed me in collection.

  4. Great topics as usual, always so informative, thanks.
    Also in response to David, all I can say is welcome to the club, and good luck trying to get it fixed with Verizon. The way it works is that they change reps every season so no one ever has a clue about anything. What they actually did to us was forge our signature for two years on the advertising contract, added internet advertising without our permission, then charged us for both print and internet advertising. They collected the payments from us for both types of ads, but they phone company side never gave the money to the internet side. When we tried to find out where all the $10,000 in payments we had paid Verizon went and where they had been applied, we were told they had sold off that part of the company and they didn’t have access to the records. We of course refused to pay them until they could show us where the money we had paid was applied. They harassed us for about a year, and then they eventually gave up. I was clued in to their tactics by another business owner who warned me not to pay them until they gave me the proof. It turned out to be good advice. Make them give you the proof that you signed up for the advertising and do not agree to pay for something you did not agree to in the first place. As for the yellow pages I quit! I am in the flower business as well, and so long as they are going to solicit ads from order takers and order gathers I am not going to participate. I also do not like the way they pit each business against each other and try to get us to go bigger and better every year, only to sell a competitor an even bigger better placement ad. When you actually figure the cost of each order that is generated from the cost of that ad, it’s one incredible cost per order.

  5. @Dave

    Frontier has a long history of abusing those that it does business with. They also have a ready band of lawyers to do their bidding as an intimidation factor. They have a fairly successful phone business with both local and long distance and at one point were the primary cell provider in the area until they sold to Verizon. But it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit, if they closed up shop.

    @David & Brittany
    I am so glad to not have to deal with those folks any more….I guess though size is no predictor of honest behavior. I am with Brittany: If they don’t offer up proof of participation on your part then let them sue you.

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