Let your fingers do the walking …

When I was growing up, this was the advertising slogan of the “Yellow pages”. This was (is) the business telephone directory put out by the local telephone company throughout the US (I have no idea how localized the term Yellow Pages is, so I explain, just in case).
Recently I had an immediate need for a horse riding helmet for one of our daughters. The need was immediate because she was leaving for camp the next day.
This is not the kind of thing I normally purchase and I’ve only lived in this area for a few years, so I had no idea where to go. Without giving it a lot of thought, I fired up Google Local and found a great specialty shop close to our house. I had no idea it was there because it was on the back side of a small shopping center that I didn’t know had a back side.
While we were there, I had a nice chat with the owner and mentioned I’d found the store via Google and his web site. He mentioned that he gets a lot of new customers that way. He’s recently decided to cancel all his “Yellow Pages” advertising. He said he views it as a waste of money. His web site is a lot less expensive and works much better. His comment about “Yellow Pages” was something like “No one uses it anymore”.
This got me thinking. I have a current copy. The telephone company delivers it every year. I can’t remember the last time I actually used it instead of going online.
This seems like another small industry that is just going to go away. I hadn’t thought of this one before.


5 Responses to “Let your fingers do the walking …”

  1. 1 Roger June 30, 2009 at 23:34

    What is even worse is that you cannot stop the yellow pages from being delivered. I have to pick it up off my driveway and then dump it straight in the recycling bin. The reason they won’t let you stop is that they sell to the business owners with the story of how many people receive it and so have to keep that number as high as possible, no matter how few of those people do more than just throw it away.
    Incidentally you are several years behind others noticing just how unused they are 🙂 Do a Google search for ‘yellow pages dead’ and note the resulting blog posts and dates. Then search for ‘stop delivery yellow pages’ to see people complaining about really not wanting them and difficulties of getting them to stop.

  2. 2 Chris N June 30, 2009 at 23:46

    We use our Yellow Pages to press flowers. Haven’t looked up a number by hand in YEARS.

  3. 3 Vek July 1, 2009 at 01:50

    Perhaps this will finally be the end of companies with names like “AAAAAAAA plumbing”

  4. 4 rNm July 1, 2009 at 05:54

    I used to work for their South African arm and the level of ubiquity with the “Yellow Pages” brand is actually beyond enormous on a world wide scale.
    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_pages
    Needless to say if you can conceptualise the technology required to do what they’re doing it was an interesting place to work from a technology/IT perspective.
    They were/are one of the few regions in the world where the printed book is still well positioned as a directional advertising medium. I do also see it as a dying form of advertising none the less and that’s why even the phonebook companies themselves are moving their information onto the internet, remember their business is largely from businesses paying for the exposure and just as they can distribute phone books for free, they can also host and share the information online for free.
    Anyway, I’m a lurker that has subscribed to Planet Ubuntu via Liferea feed reader by default on Ubuntu. It’s interesting and I’ve not bothered to ever change it.
    I have never posted before.
    Keep well.

  5. 5 Little Girl July 19, 2009 at 01:50

    I receive a Yellow Book and a Verizon phone book every year. I keep one in the house and one in the car. If your internet goes down, you’ll be glad you kept the book. And the one in the car is handy for calling across town if you find out that the place you went to doesn’t have what you want after all.

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