Whatever happened to the yellow pages? / by kevin murray

Those that are of the youngest generation, probably have never heard of the yellow pages, and those of the oldest generation, may conceivably even still use the yellow pages, whereas those of middle age, are well familiar with the yellow pages, but haven't used such in years, and even may still have a copy of the yellow pages somewhere around their home.


First, the yellow pages, for the uninitiated, is a written physical phone directory, concentrating on businesses, and broken down into various categories, so that for those, that wanted to find an electrician or a plumber or a house cleaner, the yellow pages, would have listings for not only all those types of businesses, but some of those businesses, would actually have taken out advertisements within the yellow pages to help make their particular business stand out.  This directory was back in the day, provided free of charge to all homes and periodically updated every year, with the calendar year, prominently displayed on the front of the directory, to encourage its customers to put away the old directory, and start using the most current one.


It may be a surprise to some people, that the yellow pages, has not gone completely out of business, although its business model has changed, in which the physical directory has been essentially replaced with an online directory, available through the website yp.com.  How widely used this website is, and how valuable this website is as compared to sites such as angieslist.com, or homeadvisor.com, or simply typing in what a given person is looking for into the Google search engine is uncertain, but the yellow pages exists online with its own website.


The yellow pages could not have ever existed as a going concern without the advertising revenue that it received from those businesses that took out ads within the yellow pages, or posted within the yellow pages, of which, those monies previously earmarked for advertising are now typically spent on sites such as groupon.com, or utilized via community websites in neighborhoods of interest, or spent on Google AdWords, or even billboards, or Facebook, as well as any other means that businesses feel will be effective in getting their name known to those that they are selling their services to.


The previous advantage of one-stop shopping which the yellow pages offered, has been replaced with the need to utilize the internet in a way in which those businesses are able to effectively reach their customer base so as to have the opportunity to do business with those prospective customers, of which, new tricks of the trade are necessary, as compared to the old tricks previously used on the yellow pages in which many a business, put in front of their name, for example, aaaplumber, so as to be the first in the alphabetical list of plumbers that a given person would see when looking for a plumber, in the recognition, that being at the top of any list, is almost always an advantage.


It must be said, that the format of the yellow pages, actually translates well online, but the issue that the yellow pages has online is obviously becoming that go-to choice of patrons that would utilize their directory, as well as having businesses deciding to sign up and pay to be on the online yellow pages, for without enough eyeballs and businesses doing so, then today's yellow pages, for all intents and purposes, is irrelevant.