Yellow Pages United has a new Blog.

July 16, 2012

Yellow Pages United

We have created a new blog for Yellow Pages United and will be retiring this blog as a result.  Our new blog site has many more features and integrates better with our main site.  Not only will we continue to blog about the latest news about Yellow Pages United but we will be featuring relevant articles from around the blogosphere that we feel will provide value to our clients.  Stay up to date on the Yellow Pages Industry and the exciting field of Local Search.

Please stop by and tell us what you think – Yellow Pages United Blog

Yellow Pages United – Bizyellow.com Video 3

June 5, 2012

Learn how to review and answer your messages in your Bizyellow.com webpage dashboard.

Yellow Pages United – Bizyellow Video 2

June 5, 2012

Learn how to navigate your Bizyellow Dashboard and take advantage of all the powerful tools at your fingertips.

Yellow Page United – Bizyellow Video 1

June 5, 2012

Learn how to claim and take ownership of your Bizyellow business webpages.

YPU How To: Avoid Costly Credit Card Terminals

December 20, 2011

There is no denying that digital transactions are becoming the “go-to” payment option for consumers. Less people carry cash on them and businesses these days are all but forced to accept credit or debit cards in fear of missing out on potential customers. While more convenient for the customer, traditional credit card machines come with a fair share of costly overhead, which usually includes rental fees, transaction fees, lengthy contracts and even the cost for the paper rolls that generate the receipt.

For most businesses, these “machine fees” are generally covered by the sheer amount of business they can accept just by having the machine as a payment option. The monthly rental fees get lost in the mix of profit and are seen as just another required expense. But what about businesses that are seasonal, or ones that don’t make daily transactions? For these types of businesses, traditional credit card machines can quickly become a leech, sucking precious capital each month, especially when the machine is not being used.

Independent businesses in this scenario are left with a tough decision. Getting rid of the machine would save overhead, but would also severely limit the amount of business that could be done.

Until recently, small or seasonal style businesses were sometimes stuck with lengthy contracts on expensive machines that were used just enough to warrant their necessity; oftentimes just making enough sales with the machine to cover it’s monthly cost.

I’m happy to report that those days are officially over.

Square Credit Card Reader Logo

Enter Square:

Square is on track to revolutionize the way small businesses handle digital transactions. In addition to no contracts, no recurring monthly fees, no monthly minimums and no overhead, Square only makes money when you make money. Using their free card reader (which plugs into your smartphone), Square only charges a modest 2.75% per swipe so you no longer have to cover “machine rental fees” during your down months.

Handy Features:

Size

For starters, Square is one of the most portable card readers in existence. It’s a little bit bigger than a postage stamp, and travels easily in a briefcase, purse, or even your pocket. That means no more lugging around a bulky card machine for remote business transactions.

Power

Most traditional card machines have rechargeable batteries, but battery life can be unpredictable (especially if you forget to charge the machine the night before you need it). This used to force small businesses-on-the-go to setup their operations close to power outlets, and usually away from high foot traffic areas. The beauty of the Square is that it plugs right into your smartphone, so you can literally conduct business anywhere. Whether in the middle of the trade-show floor, or in the parking lot, the Square is ready to collect payment wherever you happen to find a potential client.

Easy Bank Account Linking

Getting money from the Square into your chosen bank account could not be any easier. During your initial setup, Square will ask for your bank account information and deposit a small amount of money into that account (similar to the way PayPal or other digital transaction services verify your information). Once you see that the deposit has occurred, simply login to your Square account and enter the amount that was deposited to verify that you have linked the correct bank account. This ensures that transactions made with the Square go to your account, and your account only.

No Paper

Square is about as simple as it gets when it comes to digital transactions. Using a completely digitized receipt system, Square allows consumers to choose whether they would like a receipt emailed to them, or sent via text to their phone. This eliminates the hassle of keeping up with paper receipt supplies, waiting for the receipt to print, or having to change a receipt roll in the middle of a transaction.

Easy User Interface

With the ability to customize your display logo and create custom messages for each transaction, Square makes it easy for businesses to brand their transactions with customers. Using a slick, and easy to navigate interface, businesses can update their information directly from Square’s free phone app, or from a home computer.

Free Reader

In case you missed it above, the actual reader is absolutely Free! As soon as you sign up with Square, they will mail you a free card reader, which is yours to keep. After spending years paying monthly “equipment rental fees” for old clunky machines, the notion of a free reader is an incredible breath of fresh air.

Cost Effective

Whether is was a bad month for business, or you simply decided to take a vacation, you don’t have to worry about forking over money for a card machine that is not being used. In fact, Square only gets paid when you get paid, and there are no monthly fees for using the service. That means if you decide to join the Peace Corps for 3 months, Square won’t drain money from your business while you are gone for ancillary fees, and will be waiting with open arms when you return.

No Credit Check

Businesses no longer need to undergo a lengthy credit evaluation in order to qualify for machine rentals. With Square, anyone can use the service for their transaction needs. One caveat to this convenience is that Square limits limits large, un-swiped transactions, which could be problematic for merchants who regularly have these types of sales.

No Contracts

One of the best things about Square is that there is no contract (and more importantly, no fees associated with breaking a contract). Many credit card machine providers make the majority of their profit on businesses who can either no longer afford their machine rental, or are going out of business and no longer need the terminal. Terminating a contract with these providers before the agreed upon cancellation date usually comes with hefty cancellation fees. Thankfully, this is not the case with Square.

A Few Drawbacks:

Although we have not had reason to contact Square’s customer service department, it has been noted in other reviews that Support is in dire need of a revamp. Square-to-merchant correspondence seems to be done mostly via email, and any attempt to contact by phone leads to a voicemail prompt. Square was recently valued at over $1 billion so one would think there will be a dedicated, customer support team in the near future.

Another feature that causes some headaches for merchants is Square’s rolling seven day limit for typed-in transactions (non-swiped) that exceed $1,000. For businesses that regularly make large transactions, this limit can be frustrating. All other single transactions under $1,000 are usually applied to the merchants bank account within 24 hours.

Is Square Right For You?

Square is easily one of the most flexible payment options available to merchants today. They have essentially “bucked” the traditional card terminal system and made portable, digital transactions a tangible reality for any business.

What do you think? Does Square seem like the right fit for your business?

Feel free to comment below on your experiences with Square and how it has helped, or not helped your business.

For more information, please check out Square’s website.

YPU How To: Pick a Yellow Pages

November 4, 2011

Everywhere you look there seems to be a banner ad, TV spot, or a mail piece describing the wonderful ways in which a product can help your business. The possibilities seem endless, and most business owners get overwhelmed with the amount of options available for marketing their services.

But before you make any decisions, you should take it upon yourself to find out as much information as possible about the product or service being offered, and this series will hopefully aid in this arduous, yet critical process.

This week’s topic is something that we know a little something about: Yellow Pages advertising.

Yellow Pages – Know Your Types
Originally, there was only one “Yellow Pages”, the local printed phone book that was delivered to every home. Nowadays, the advertising environment has changed, and as there are about as many varieties of Yellow Pages directories as there are ice-cream flavors.

  • Printed Yellow Pages Directories (Local and National): This is the type of Yellow Pages advertising that started it all. Today, there are many Yellow Pages that are distributed by various, non-affiliated companies depending on what part of the country you are in. The most common variety of printed Yellow Pages is distributed locally, usually by your telephone provider but also by independent companies. There are also quite a few companies that offer printed directories that are distributed on a national level, most of which are niche directories or B2B types of directories. If your business is on a more national level, this is definitely an advertising option to consider, although most companies are doing away with antiquated print directories and moving forward with online versions of their services
  • Online Yellow Pages Directories: This is where the bulk of the Yellow Pages variety lives. There are many different companies that offer an online, easily searchable directory service and many business owners across the country use online directories as part of their marketing plan. With more and more printed Yellow Pages directories being used as booster seats and table levelers, it is clear that consumers are taking their search for goods online (2/3 of consumers according to eConsultancy 2010), forcing business owners, and Yellow Pages providers, to follow suit.
  • Printed and Online Yellow Pages: Many of the larger Yellow Pages distributors are afraid of abandoning their printed directory altogether, even though it is rapidly becoming obsolete in a technology-driven world. The result is a handful of distributors that offer a printed directory, as well as an online version of that directory. Don’t be surprised though if printed directories are phased out completely within the next few years in lieu of their online counterparts.
It’s NOT All In the Name
As mentioned before, the term “Yellow Pages” is used by many directory publishers across the entire planet as a part of their moniker. As a business owner, this is something to make note of when researching which type of Yellow Pages advertising you would like to participate in. Never assume that because a publisher’s name has the words “Yellow Pages” in its title, it’s a local publication. As noted above, it could very well be a local, national, or online-only directory.

Many companies also use the “walking fingers” symbol as it has become the official symbol of the Yellow Pages industry. Needless to say, this symbol is not a very good way to distinguish between the many different publishers in the marketplace. This symbol is not trademarked and can be used by any company, regardless of what type of service they offer.

The best way to distinguish between these companies is to look closely at their names. Each Yellow Pages publisher will have a different name, and no two Yellow Pages companies are affiliated. Following this one simple suggestion is an easy way to eliminate any possible confusion when it comes to choosing Yellow Pages advertising.

Research The Business
Once you have selected a few possible Yellow Pages candidates, it’s time to put on your monocle and engage in some healthy research. First, start with your potential Yellow Pages publishers website. Do they have an About Us page? Is there a customer service number listed? How many current subscribers do they have? What are the listing fees and contract terms of service?

These are all valid questions that should be answered prior to joining with any Yellow Pages provider.

Trustworthy companies are transparent about their business practices and easily accessible, so if you stumble upon a provider’s site that does not answer some of the questions listed above, you may want to think twice about advertising with them.

Seek Valid Sources of Information
In the research process, you will undoubtedly run across postings on blogs and other unknown websites which list complaints from customers of various Yellow Pages providers. Proceed with caution as you read these entries. More often than not, the postings are filled with inaccuracies and misinformation, most of the time involving multiple companies grouped together as one under the single describer of “the Yellow Pages” or worse, the ill actions of one publisher being blamed on another. Since there are no “fact police” on the Internet, these postings can continue to thrive and business owners may become tempted to accept someone else’s opinion as truth.

A better, unbiased resource for information on publishers is the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). Here, you will find empirical data on number of complaints, if and how they were resolved, and whether or not the Yellow Pages provider is accredited with the BBB. Using the BBB as a research tool is much more valid than reading comments or postings about companies that may or may not be accurate.

Determine the Value of Advertising
After completing your research, you should have a pretty good idea of the type of Yellow Pages service that is being offered. This is where you, as a business owner, must decide whether or not the service is right for your business. Are you a local business? If so, then you probably don’t want a printed directory that is distributed nationally, but you could definitely benefit from an online version of a Yellow Pages.

Some companies are even beginning to offer customizable websites included with your Yellow Pages listing. This is a giant step beyond the basic searchable, online directory of the past. Before, customers would have to go to the actual publishers website to search for a business in their database, but now they can search right from Google and discover the business via its Yellow Pages-provided website. This is a great feature that many business owners are taking advantage of, so make sure that this service is provided if it seems beneficial to you.

Be Thorough and Check Back With Us
Overall, you owe it to yourself to research the products and services that could benefit your business before making a purchasing decision. Hopefully this guide will help. Just remember to always seek multiple sources of information and never accept someone else’s opinion as a fact.

Yellow Pages United: The Story You Need to Read

October 24, 2011

Last summer, Yellow Pages United was attacked by the federal government and falsely accused of several unsubstantiated misdeeds. The charges were dropped a month later after US attorneys realized that no crimes had ever been committed. The official press release and follow-up news story are included below.

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – United Directories, doing business as Yellow Pages United, has operated as a reputable Jacksonville company, employing many of our citizens, for the last 11 years. Unfortunately, the innocent conduct of this fine company and its officers was not properly investigated by the government – prior to the arrest of three of its officers.

After that arrest, with the full cooperation of the company, the government was able to comprehend that United Directories truly operates a legitimate company, delivering a valuable and honest product to its customers. Based on that further investigation, on August 6, 2010, the government filed a motion to dismiss all charges, and has agreed to return all the property and bank accounts that were seized in early July of that year.

What the government learned, based on our cooperation, and what led to the unusual step of the government dismissing all charges, included the following:

1. The solicitation form used by United Directories to invite businesses to consider placing an ad in their national directory is an honest form, without any misrepresentations, and has been vetted by multiple Attorney Generals around the country, including Florida, and is a form that has been in compliance with a Texas State Order (entered into in cooperation with the Texas Attorney General’s Office) for the last 7 years.

2. Not only is the solicitation form in compliance with that Texas order, but it is also in 100% compliance with Postal Service regulations themselves. Those regulations say we should put in one of two notices in our solicitation form. We put in both – a fact unfortunately omitted by the Postal Investigator who sought the arrest of our clients.

3. The directories published by United Directories are a fine quality product, delivered at a very economical price, that create business opportunities for its clients to expand their businesses, and recruit new business.

4. United Directories, for the last 7 years, retained one of the finest law firms in the nation to advise them as to the various laws and regulations that apply to such solicitations – and they followed that advice to the letter. The Postal Investigator failed to report that information in the arrest affidavit she filed, and failed to contact that law firm, even though that law firm previously had multiple contacts with Postal Inspectors – including a high ranking Postal Inspector in Atlanta (the office where these charges emanated) – to discuss with them the same solicitation form that was the improper subject of this prosecution, and to answer their questions. Those prior investigations, in both Jacksonville and Atlanta, were closed, in 2005 and 2007 – but that too was omitted from the affidavit filed to obtain the arrest of our clients.

5. The Postal Investigator failed to properly read bank statements, and incorrectly reported that United Directories received some $425M in revenue in a 5 year period, when the true figure was about $50M – of which some $21M was spent in postage alone – thus making United Directories one of the best Postal Service customers in Jacksonville.

Our real message here is that truly innocent and decent men and women were arrested, and, as grateful as we are the government has corrected that error, it is important that the damage done to them and their business be mitigated, as much as possible, by the honest reporting of the media, informing the public that these charges have been promptly dismissed, and the company will continue operating and providing its valuable and honest services.

We’ve put this painful chapter behind us and continued to operate lawfully and with the interests of our customers in mind. Read more about charges being dropped against Yellow Pages United and the false scam accusations.

Announcing BizYellow.com!

April 28, 2010

We are very excited to announce the arrival of BizYellow, the future of online Yellow Pages advertising!

The history of the Yellow Pages industry is a long and interesting one. After many years of working solely with printed directories, most Yellow Page companies took their books online as the internet grew in popularity. These directory-style websites offered customers a convenient way to quickly find what they were looking for, but people could only search from within the website itself. These days, 74% of consumers use major search engines (like Google) to find local businesses. This major change in consumer search preference inspired us to create BizYellow, a brand new product that will keep our customers on the forefront of online advertising for their business.

BizYellow will allow our Yellow Pages United customers to have a customizable webpage that can easily be found on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, AOL and Bing. Businesses will be able to create coupons, upload photos, track site visitors, describe their business and even include links to their email address and personal website. These webpages are also fully optimized by marketing professionals to be search-engine friendly, which means potential customers will have no trouble finding our businesses when using their favorite search engine.

Best of all, there is no additional charge for this incredible service. BizYellow is included with every Yellow Pages United account and is available exclusively to our customers.

Claim your listing today and start putting the power of BizYellow to work for your business!

For more details, please visit www.BizYellow.com

Thanks,

Yellow Pages United

Welcome!

March 23, 2010

Yellow Pages United is getting ready to launch a whole bunch of great new features that will help our customers generate more business. Stay tuned to see what we have in store for you.


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