Yellow unveils upgrade, two years in the making

Yellow digital media director Peter Crowe
Suburb-specific results are now listed first (click to enlarge).

Yellow Pages Group has unveiled a remodelled Yellow.co.nz, two years in the making.

Previously the site was infamous for its sprawling results (as Yellow marketing director Kellie Nathan told The Ad Show’s Hazel Phillips in July last year:  “People actually race up to me on the street and say, ‘Do you know your product doesn’t work?’ And it’s like stating the obvious, really.”)

Now, as search for “pizza, Mt Eden” deliveries eateries in the suburb first, followed by wider results.

Yellow’s director of digital media Peter Crowe called the concept “geo-expansion”.

The site has also been given a more modern look, and back-ends systems have been upgraded for better speed and accuracy.

The upgrade went live yesterday following a planned outage over the weekend.

The overall look is much cleaner, and the site has definitely become more useful. But some teething issues remain. Accessing the site via Chrome, NBR received Google API error messages after a number of searches, presumably related to the Google Maps that are embedded in results. There was also a more permanent annoyance: only the first half of a phone number is displayed in grouped search results, forcing you to click through to businesses page.

Mr Crowe said Yellow’s system was two years old when he arrived at the company two years ago. The upgrade was overdue. Interim CEO Scott Pomeroy said it was like a long put-off visit to the dentist.

Changes for Yellow Local
Ironically, a second Yellow property, Yellow Local, is in for would could be seen as the reverse of geo-expansion.

Mr Crowe conceded that Yellow had sliced Auckland too thinly by breaking Yellow Local into 205 suburb-by-suburb micro-sites. The digital director used himself as an example. He lived in Grey Lynn, but was also interested in cafes and other businesses in Ponsonby and other surrounding areas.

The beta site’s next major upgrade would likely see content and search results delivered for groups of suburbs (and approach that would bring it closer to the “super suburb” paradigm used by Yellow Local rival Localist, owned by NZ Post).

Mr Crowe said iPhone and Android apps were also on the way for Yellow Local (Localist recently upgraded its mobile apps to support a check-in function).

A central aim is to deliver suburb-specific or citywide results depending on the context of a person’s search.

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13 Comments & Questions

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About time someone did something about Yellow - never been right since it was sold.

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they have this guy has been fired!

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This is too late. Yellow have been too slow to respond

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why not combine the search and location into one field "kebabs near ponsonby" rather than "kebabs" "ponsonby"

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Sorry, still doesn't work. for example, yellow still have search set up against titles rather than by category. still poor. anyway who uses the yellow pages (physical or otherwise) anymore, Google is a giant search, companies without websites don't deserve to have any business. smart up people, Yellow was a waste of money.

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Yellow?

It's irrelevant - haven't used the interface in years, it's awkward, unhelpful and I've moved on - as I have with 018 which is something I used to use extensively but I've binned since the crap experience with the operators consistently had no idea about geography or using common place names.

nice marketing - pity about the customer experience... too slow to adapt and looking more like a dodo each day.

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surprisingly unpolished for a two year project, at least from a front end point of view

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mello yello - and getting weaker every month...

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just tried "plumbers" in "Palmerston North". #5 in the results was NZ Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. That's still a failed result in my book. I look at the that and there is no point going on, I just can't trust the results. In Google, it was page 2 before an odd result. They're so poor, that I block their site in Google search as they have good SEO, but poor fulfilment.

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I use Yellow extensively for business searches. I have found the new site much more effective with the Geo-Search functionality and find the iPhone and iPad applications work well when on the road.

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from a business owner point of view Yellow has always brought more customers than google. paying for SEO and adwords can be costly. This new site was well overdue tho!

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Just tried the Yellow apps on my ipad. Wow, this is great. Well done Yellow, am loving your new site, especially the apps.

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Their website is still a load of cr#p. Pages take too long to load. I can understand why parts of phone numbers are blanked out until you click them (to stop people simply taking the number they want straight from google search results) but the fact remains the yellow pages are going down the toilet.

another issue - if I've searched for a specific individual, why do I have to look at a whole lot of irrelevant stuff - e.g. I google a barrister I use often. I get his yellow entry top of google's results, when I click on his entry I get ads and links to "find barristers in ..." too much distracting text.

Do agree however that finally linking results to geographical area is long overdue.

Then there's the marketing tactics they use - scaring customers who get no business from their paid ads to continue listing with them as its good to pay thousands of dollars a year for no business...

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