Today I received a phone call from Yellow Pages, telling me that I should have a presence in their directory. Yellow pages is a big brand, so it doesn’t sound too far fetched that they have a deal with Google.
Google clarified that in fact Yellow Pages does not have any partnership with Google, that gives them priority rankings in search. In addition, the Yellow Pages website is search engine optimised which provides additional benefits to Yellow Pages advertisers through seeking to improve organic listings.
As you have noted, Yellow Pages is an authorised Google Adwords re-seller meaning that Yellow Pages advertisers can purchase Google based search engine marketing (ie. I see the Optus thing a little differently, as they do actually have an agreement with Google to resell Google Apps. There are still pallet loads of Yellow pages books from last year rotting in the basement of a number of office buildings in Perth. A small business client of mine had been contacted by a Sensis sales rep about finalising her advertising for the upcoming Yellow Pages book.
I mentioned that we weren’t interested in a priority listing as we were more focused on Google search results. Ah more yellowpages goodness, several of our clients have had similar experiences with YP even bagging our SEO services in one instance as YP could do a better job at it.
It seems that Yellowpages sales people run with complete lies until they get called out and then its fobbed off as a simple mistake. Quality post, and something I’m seeing out in the market place at the moment as well.
Yellow Pages are not the only brand participating in this practice at present, but certainly the biggest. With annual reveunes down considerably over the past 2 years I guess they will do what is necessasry to keep the doors open. I am a Sensis (Yellow Pages) employee and thought I should follow up on what Damian Glass has already posted. Under the agreement it was essentially in the Google seven-pack area, in places  as to which the Sensis information was utilized.
As you said, I am sure that there are knowledgeable people at Yellow Pages, but from the experience I had, and the experience I have since heard from other small business owners, this sales tactic is common.
Business owners could use the thousands of dollars they spend each year on Yellow Pages and put that money into a content rich website, social media presence, free online directories, professional photography & video, and they would still be spending less than what they do with Yellow Pages. Well said Josh, a timely reminder that when it comes to anything SEO there is a massive amount of misinformation and con-artistry.
Hi Josh, coming from an SEO company Social Media Expert, I must say….KUDOS and CONGRATS Brotherrrr!
At Man and His Van we have reduced our yellow pages advertising form about $150,000 pa to about $4,000. It appear Sensis have moved from being unscrupulous to unconscionable and out right deceptive behaviour.
Well it looks like the days where a business doesn’t have to worry about having a minimum promotional presence. Just to keep everything in perspective, we are on an Internet blog page with people bagging out yellow pages. I suggest, before too many people start bagging that yellow pages telephone directories are dinosaurs filling up basements or only used for computer monitor stands, actually google Bureau of Statistics and look up their local area and see the number of households actually connected to the Internet. Just because you don’t use a phone book, doesnt mean everyone else doesn’t either!! Just had the same exact conversation with yellow pages rep and they swear that only 12 companies world wide are partners with google and they in fact are one of the 12!!!
The Yellowpages team are known to be agressive in selling their adwords packages by combining them with regular Yellowpages ads. Businesses have to be careful when they are offered freebies in yellowpages in return for their commitment to expensive contracts. If I want to make any changes, I’d have 3 days to call him, otherwise the renewal would go through after 3 days. Part of me wants to just let them send me a bill and then I’ll fight it out with them, but I really want to get to the bottom of this and find out if this reverse billing is really something they think they can get away with. Just upgraded our yellow pages book and online advertising for this year as we check where our customers find us and had a ton of new customers over the last year from it, turned down the google advertising as there is far too many people just browsing and not buying on google from our past experiences, those who don’t advertise with yellow pages have a perception that nobody uses it, but actually our older more profitable customers prefer sticking to their traditional methods, and in the computer repair business if your computer is broke and you need it fixed you may not be able to access google. To me is the real story is that paying money to Yellow Pages does work in helping with your organic Google listing, but just not in the way that some YP employees allegedly say and that has been mocked here. Google should give serious thought to the weight they give to YP listings in its organic search algorithm given that they are the result of commercial payments (and one to a commercial partner of Google). Should you still be considering using any YP product I recommend you spend a small percent of it and install your own new line so you can monitor any ROI.

All seo’s know that google would just love to dedicate the whole page to ppc(pay per click) if they could , but that wouldn’t work for them , because they are supposed to be a search engine right ? They go stuck for a while because they experienced a bit or a back lash from the organic community. So after that there was not much room for the seos to get an organic result that got a good position near the top.
I was at that stage still making good money from my suburb pages , just wondering how google were going to get me. Google has a meeting with yellow pages and offers them a deal to put their suburb pages in the top of the listing in such a way that people will never be able to accuse Google of taking yet another front page position yellow pages will do it for them and make the money and pay Google some money , Google drive results to them. Just advised my brother on this scam and then came across this, he currently has an advisor hassling him to sign before 2pm today. On the plus side had he have done this i’m a trainee solicitor so can advise him on contracts anddistance selling.
If they have managed to write themselves out of providing a service then this could be reported as an unfair contract term. I’m a small business owner and I too received a call from yellow pages offering the exact same package as your story above. When I advised that our website already comes up in google searches, the sales rep told me that in this package it would be guaranteed in the top results on the page! I was hesitant and asked for more info, he went on to say that before anything happens they would send me artwork of the listing to be approved. Then a few days later A call, what do you know it was the same sales rep from the first call.
When I question them on what the charges are for they tell me it’s for advertising renewals. However when I tell them I have no add as yet as I have not even been sent anything to approve of given them any details about my company they then put me on hold and ironically the call is terminated. Then day after day someone else calls and having no record of the previous calls from their colleges, we just go round in circles.
So I can assure everyone, that if they think they can just keep sending bills for nothing and get away with unwarranted debt collecting calls, well they have a court case or VCat hearing coming to them real fast. Thanks Marty, I was able to put an end to the contract but they( Sensis call center ) are very rude and pushy. The Yellow pages rep told me that I should definitely look into the online packages that Yellow Pages offered. All of a sudden, a once confident sales person from Yellow Pages, was unsure and asked me to hold the line. This allows Yellow Pages advertisers to be found on Google Places Pages but it is still up to Google to determine the ranking of its results.
Google had sent their own representatives from their head office to work with the SEO department at the Yellow Pages head office. When I was looking for the latest YP book, the first one I found was being used as a monitor stand!
I would like to contact you today to find out more information, is the number listed on your contact form the best phone number to reach you on?
If Yellowpages salespeople don’t know the difference between organic and paid search then they should not be selling online marketing products.
Google would have to be extremely careful with partnerships that would alter organic search.
This is not something that is taught, but interpreted… However, that disconnect can lead to a smear in the branding, a further misunderstanding of the products and a cloud over the leads to which the Yellow Pages is actually capable to produce. There is good reason why sales reps at Yellow Pages are trying to align Yellow Pages with Google.
I signed on with them for a website and ads in 2 local books and was told by the Representative I had a 10 day cooling off period. I signed up on the promises of the sales guy that they can manage my AdWords so much better and get more bang for my buck. The information provided by investigating consultant does not match the voice recording.  She appears not to have listened to the voice recording.
Investigating consultant claims she never received phone calls from me, and did not hear messages left.
Recently we challenged Sensis about this and about the unannounced reduction in yellow pages advertising size.
It seems the private sector think the best thing for the private sector is countless choice of promotional vehicles, none of which can be easily measured for value. Not saying younger people ont use the yellow pages, and not saying older people don’t google. Why are they trying to charge me more each year for a product that produces a deminishing result?

Latest is there ClickManager, and after 4 months and having under 5 connections, , its cost me $4000!
This is new and confusing to small businesses who do not understand that they are just paying for someone to manage their ads and nothing more.
He said that Google trust the quality of yellow pages and will rank their companies higher than competitors. As a web developer and SEO service provider I have unfortunately experienced the same conversation with many clients. That was a beautiful way they could get map entries from A – G almost taking up the entire page now. Well perhaps there are a few spots left , but they couldn”t possibly just go ahead and take the only remaining space on the first page , could they ? There was good value in all these suburb searches , were google just going to keep letting me have that success ? I always knew that Google would find a way to take them from me and its yellowpages that are there paying them. All the staff know that Google are driving results to them and they tell you that when they want you to sign up on a package.
Good job he trusts his little sis enough to ring me first to check that he’s not making a big mistake. I am putting in a complaint with ACCC as their sales person was charming but not 100% full with details. There was a little bit of sarcasm in my voice, the Yellow pages rep had just spent 30 seconds telling me why I NEED to be in Yellow Pages.
The conversation that you have outlined on your Blog is concerning for Yellow Pages as it is not the way the Yellow Pages relationship with Google should be described to our customers by Yellow Pages sales consultants. To what extent were the SEO people able to understand all the Google information would be interesting.
I just think that it is misleading for them to imply that they have some sort of partnership that will be give them priority ranking.
The big companies with massive budgets can pump big bucks into advertising, but to be highly ranked in search, you need to have good content that is relevant. Second one was the one we kept (after having it offerred to us by a travelling YP distributor) to see that our advertising was in it. You would agree though, that this ranking is made possible by your SEO (Large amount of pages, keywords, back links etc) and has nothing to do with any partnership between Yellow Pages and Google. Wording not as per any other previous advertisement in last years Yellow pages, – wording not as agreed, appearance not as portrayed, not as advertised or and not as agreed. She also claimed that she never received emails, even though these were also forwarded by Customer Care.
It turned out our rep switched positions the day after she sold us the thousands of dollars worth of services, and clearly she was just getting us sold telling us what ever we wanted to hear.
At least they could get people to start using the map places and get more money from driving people to that service.
If there is no paid digital entry for the category then it won’t appear on top on google. Sensis does not endorse any of the comments that are alleged to have been made by the consultant. And if you have worked out a way to beat the search engines, your tricks won’t last long as the algorithms are constantly updated to make sure no one is pulling a fast one on the system. I remember reading an article quoting a Google representative that specifically said that Google do NOT have partnerships that change organic search results. Paid organic search on Google is not part of any product offering Sensis provides to customers and it’s not the way we train our sales consultants to talk to customers about Yellow Pages’ relationship with Google. Tasmania was split with normal sized phone book going to Hobart but the rest of us were duped.
They seem confused then I add that we customers would normally need some kind of measurement of value. Apparently they have announced it will return to normal size next year and copped a lot of flack here. Regards Prospective Customer now never to be your customer because I can’t trust you. We made claims from the very start an no one seemed to care, it all came down to legalistic instead of client care.

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