Businesses see red over Yellow
At least two Nelson businesses are upset that their advertising in Yellow Pages has been reduced, with no warning or explanation.
The 2012 Yellow directories, delivered over the weekend, are 10 per cent smaller than last year.
Andrew Meffan, who owns Dental Care in Nelson and Richmond, said he had spent about $12,000 in advertising with Yellow and was surprised the books were smaller.
"Our adverts are not only to promote business, but they're also a health promotion too."
There was no mention from his Yellow advertising representative that the books, and therefore the adverts, would be 10 per cent smaller this year, he said.
"There's nothing really you can do, but I feel like not paying the bill. I got something that's not what I paid for.
"It would have been nice to know in advance."
Diane Chandler, from Nayland Physiotherapy in Stoke, also said she was annoyed there had been no forewarning.
They had paid $1575 for an one-eighth-page advert, the same as last year, but the advert this year was smaller, she said.
"In all the emails we were sent, the proofs, nowhere did it say the book would be smaller.
"We've paid the same for a lesser service, and we were never made aware."
Ms Chandler emailed Yellow and received a response from the sales executive who said the advert still covered the same book space, one-eighth of a page.
"My apologies for not informing you earlier [about the changes]," it added.
A follow-up email from the disputes team explained why the books had been made smaller, but failed to address the issue of informing advertisers.
"You failed to consider the advertisers' cost and advising them that they are getting a lesser product. It is great you are cutting your costs by a reduction in the amount of paper and other materials.
"However, this cost-cutting has not been passed onto the advertisers," Ms Chandler wrote back.
Head of communications for Yellow, Maja Lee, said in an email to the Nelson Mail that the changes had been made in a bid to make the format more user-friendly.
One of those changes included reducing the book by 10 per cent, making it "easier to use, handle and store".
The new books had been tested in Auckland before being rolled out to the rest of the country, she said.
"Auckland showed that 55 per cent of people asked found it easier to use, 40 per cent found it no different and only 5 per cent claimed it to be harder to find what they were looking for."
Of the 800,000 directories delivered, only a very small number of people had commented negatively, she said.
Another issue with the new directories was the smaller font size, Dr Meffan said.
"One of our ads is about dentures. A lot of people who wear dentures are in the older age group and a number of them are not going to be able to read that advert.
"If downsizing font was economically viable, we would have seen newspapers do the same thing, but they don't."
Ms Lee said people in their focus groups said whilst they would have liked the font size to remain at its original size, they were happy to trade off the slightly smaller font for a book that was easier to use and store.
Those people who had trouble could ring the customer assist team to request a magnifying sheet.
"This is nothing new though, we have had these available for people for years given everyone has a different vision capability."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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