Beware Yell.com Video Pitch

I generally don’t seek to put down competition, but this is more a matter of warning consumers and alerting video producers.

A local marketing director recently invited me in to discuss a video for her business. Afterwards she sent me an email received from a Yell.com salesman trying to sell her their video production service for listing on their site. Two videos links were provided as samples along with a list of the benefits of having video content. The information was accurate and up-to-date –the very sort of things I tell business owners.

Yell.com is a UK on-line business directory and is a way to find local businesses as it is organized by business category rather than alphabetically. There are similar services in most countries around the world and they are all, of course, on-line versions of phone books, yellow pages traditionally being for business listings, white pages for non-business listings.

But buyer, beware the video pitch. Following is my response and critique of the Yell.com video service to the Marketing Director. I’ve updated it after some more research:

I looked at the video samples–and they are not bad, but not worth the price. Small print: “from £3750…” yet the brochure lists out added costs including “additional locations”. Both those videos had multiple locations.

But more importantly, (and my internet connection is pretty good), they take a while to load before they play, which is off-putting.

They say they upload them to YouTube, BUT they don’t put any info in the YouTube listing, nor any key words or key word titles. And they don’t link back to your site. They link back to Yell. And people don’t like going in circles trying to get to a site they’re looking for!

Worse yet, those two videos had 2 and 22 views respectively in the last year. And the only way I found them was typing in the company name in YouTube. (If you know the company name, you just go to their site, don’t you).

If you scan down the feed on their YouTube site (yell.com youtube) you will see dozens and dozens of videos that have been uploaded in the last two weeks alone. Most have had no views or one view in that time. One could say it’s too soon to tell, but couple that with the cherry-picked videos sent by the salesman to the marketing director (which got 24 views between them in one year) and I find it a bit heart-breaking.

Further, their YouTube site shows 885,000 views (rounded up) in just over 8 years. That would be about 2100/weeek, 300/day. Yet the salesman told the Marketing Director they’ve done over 10,000 videos. You can do the math.

For a comparison, 3 videos I did for an industrial client in a niche market (industrial conveyors) have gotten 6500 views in the last year on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/CILogistics?feature=watch) without any particular marketing effort (no pay-per-click ads, etc.). And the cost of the videos to the client for each video was far less than the “starting at £3750” Yell videos.

If you then google some questions like “how many people use Yell?” (400,000/day vs google’s 700,000/minute) and then look at reviews of Yell…Well, it’s not very pretty.

I think it’s an old business model trying its best to survive and frankly hard-selling people on expensive video as a way of staying afloat–video that helps them more than it does their clients.

6 responses

    • Well, there are various companies who offer this type of service–usually directory type companies, and the problem is that they’re just trying to capitalise on videos by out-sourcing the production and then adding a hefty fee of their own with all sorts of promises that are actually a bit hollow and false for the reasons I covered in the Yell video article. A video should link directly back to the person’s site. These instead link back to the directory who is seeking more business themselves (they are a dying breed because of the ease of using Google search). And no one likes being taken in circles when they want to buy something, so the actual return on investment is close to zilch when using these services. You could just start checking with local video production companies for their direct prices and you’ll generally find them much lower. The main difference is that the video production company will be working for the optimum needs of the original client, not a business directory. So to find out more, just google these various options (directories that offer video services and their costs–and where the videos link to, if the videos even have adequate descriptions of the content and source company, are correctly tagged, etc.–and video production companies who directly serve their clients–their costs, how they distribute the videos, how they title and tag them on YouTube, etc. Not that all video production companies even do all that. So it’s further a matter of finding ones that do all they can do to make the video a benefit to the client. And that’s where you want to put your money.

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  1. An informative comment left on a Linkedin posting of this article by JP (John) Allard:

    Excellent article. 2 years ago the Web Video Marketing Council published stats from US marketing directors saying production costs are the biggest barrier to video marketing – this back evidence that it still it. Plus you are absolutely right that SEO should be done far more effectively. I approached Yell 18 months ago to be a producer and we offer budget productions with Video SEO for sub £500, they buried our efforts to contact. Clear there are a lot of people out there they can still treat as mugs and we were far to disruptive. For less than £500 you can pack an awful lot of value, here’s one of our examples…http://youtu.be/IN0DlNGnTWk

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  2. Wow – when I first heard about the Yell service I approached them with the idea they should set up a regional “approved video supplier” network but they rejected the idea as they were determined to own the service (i.e. the profit) in-house hence I pretty much dismissed it. I would never recommend it to a client as its pretty much a static listing. Just adding the link back to an online store would enhance it greatly but it still fails on so many levels.
    You raise some good points here about how custom projects such as we provide address the important stuff like SEO and creative standards. One to watch.

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  3. I viewed about 10-15 of the yell videos. 90% were moving stills with a voice over. No HD and max resolution was 360p. Companies are paying close to $6000 or more for this service.
    Wow, I’m just at a loss here.
    I have to agree with Gary Greenwood about expecting some excellence in the videos.

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  4. I agree that this is more beneficial to Yell than to the client. If I was paying that kind of money for a promo video, I would expect a masterpiece of filming excellent and the film on Youtube, Yell, my own site and as a DVD/video file I could send to my own clients.

    Unfortunately some companies are so big that they think paying out thousands of pounds on a video is better than just spending a few hundred… This isn’t always the case. Researching the video company making the video first to see what kind of film they make is ALWAYS a good idea, perhaps rather than relying on big payouts for what you HOPE are going to be good results?

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