San Fran SMB’s Fight to Keep Yellow Pages

There was a day where the Yellow Pages phone directory had a coveted spot in every home and phone booth. These days, however, a huge number of phone directories go straight from the doorstep to the trashcan.

The Product Stewardship Institute estimates that phone books create 660,000 tons of waste per year and because they’re printed on low-grade paper, recycling isn’t easy. That’s why San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has proposed a bill to stop the unsolicited drop off of these books. He’s suggesting that instead of an opt-out program, Yellow Pages delivery would be an opt-in program and that’s a big difference.

Advertisers and Agencies Differ on Digital Spending

Digital advertising is an important part of any company’s business, but according to a new report from Econsultancy and SAS, agencies and their clients have very different views on how that money should be spent.

Looking at this chart from eMarketer, we can see that 75% of agencies thought their clients should spend more money on mobile marketing but only 62% of advertisers agreed.

On the flip side, advertisers wanted to increase their spending on search, display and email marketing. Not only did their agencies not agree, but they went so far as to say that display dollars should be kept the same or decreased.

The biggest gap is in the area of the company website. 61% of advertisers think they need to spend more while only 39% of agencies agreed.

LinkedIn Launches Industry News Aggregator

There’s too much information out there and not enough time in the day, so why not let your industry peers help you sort through the clutter!

That’s the pitch for LinkedIn’s new social news aggregator LinkedIn Today.  Set up newspaper style, the program delivers “top” stories for the industries LinkedIn has associated with your professional profile. The stories are a mix of items shared by your network, your peers and “professionals” (ie, everyone else) and mostly they appear to be gleaned from Twitter.

At a glance, there appears to be a lot of options and levels of information that you can narrow down yourself with a variety of check boxes. However, a lot of what you’ll find here is just more noise and clutter. For example, some stories have a small blue banner with a number. Click this and you’ll see a list of people who shared this link on Twitter. You could use this list to find new people to follow on Twitter, so that’s helpful.

Coming Soon: Groupon Buttons on the Cash Register

Using your Groupon coupon for 50% off today? No problem, sir. I’ll just hit this button on the cash register and the machine will do the math for me.

Oh yes, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Groupon is in talks with the major cash register manufacturers to have Groupon buttons added to all their machines.

The article goes on to say that Groupon is testing a number of avenues that “will let merchants account more efficiently for Groupon transactions and returns.”

Returns? Didn’t know you could do that? I’d like to return this tan, please. It’s a bit too orange for my liking. . .

Groupon is big, but is it that big that they need their own button? Says Bloomberg,

Advertising Comes to Skype

Put this one in the “surprised it hasn’t happened before now column,” Skype will start showing ads on their desktop application beginning this week.

Skype says that the 650 x 170 pixel ads will run only on the profile home page but given that they added an enormous, useless box to the top of their chat screens, it’s likely that this will soon be ad space, too.

Despite the amount of real estate the ads will take up, they really aren’t that intrusive as long as they remain graphical. But Skype says they’ll be happy to run video ads and that can get annoying seeing as the whole purpose of the app is to communicate (listen) to others. If customers have to wait for the car commercial to end before they can dial, that’s going to be a problem.

Foursquare 3.0 Has Something “Special” for Merchants

Foursquare has just announced an upgrade that puts the power of perks into the merchant’s hands. With Foursquare 3.0, merchants will be able to run a variety of specials at the same time, each designed to capitalize on a different kind of customer. Best of all, Foursquare has already done the ground work, so it’s pretty much follow the steps, click the buttons and go.

With the new system, you’ll have a choice of five new customer options and two loyalty programs for existing customers. Under the new heading you have Flash Specials. These are rewards that go out for a very short period of time to the first people who check-in at a specified location. Combine this option with a Facebook fan page blast and you’ve got a very powerful tool for bringing in business on a slow day.

Facebook Releases Real-Time Analytics For Social Plugins

Facebook has announced the release of a new set of real-time metrics for folks using their social media plugins on their website. The new version of Facebook Insights provides in-depth performance data on “like” buttons including impressions, referrals and demographics.

Last week, Facebook made a move to push all third-party sites to use the “like” button instead of the “share” button and it looks like it was all leading to this new update.

The new version of Insights shows you how many people saw your “like” button on your website, how many clicked and and conversely, how many people went from your Facebook page to your website. They also provide the same data for the “comment box” option.