Fingers Do The Walking To Directories Online

Yellow pages publishers watching revenue head for the Internet

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The yellow pages businesses enjoyed decades of dominance as the caretakers of local information for millions of consumers.

All things come to an end. That’s the great lesson of life, and a bittersweet one as well. Tomorrow, very simply, won’t be put off forever.

Classified Intelligence (CI) said in its latest client report that the shift to the Internet for information represents, perhaps, an end to the era of big printed books filled with everyone from auto mechanics to zydeco sellers. People have opted for the desktop and the mobile device; the advertisers who make yellow pages directories profitable have not missed this.

CI senior analyst Joe Michaud said the yellow pages model of once-a-year buys to keep pace with competitors left it vulnerable to innovators who could nimbly serve customers in a more favorable way. Michaud likened the situation to newspapers, watching helplessly as readers departed while online classifieds sites pulled in the ads people would have once paid the paper to run.

The choice became clear for competitors, in Michaud’s opinion. A little innovation, a little cost efficiency, some willingness to give up massive print revenue margins, and a drive to reach businesses whose operations are well-suited for mobile and online consumers to find, formed a model for delivering information and earning ad revenue with an Internet presence.

Several vendors like Planet Discover (owned by Gannett), Travidia, and Local.com’s Premiere Guide all want to cater to local media sites to deliver ads for those markets. They are giving people what they want when they visit a local TV or newspaper website, ads with local relevance.

It’s difficult to think that someday, those thick directories won’t be slamming onto porches and welcome mats on an annual basis. End of an era, but if my mobile phone can deliver the same information as a big book that doesn’t leave the house, it won’t be missed. Things change all the time.

Fingers Do The Walking To Directories Online
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  • http://www.netnettech.com Steve D.

    We listed for a number of years in the yellow pages and online listings.  They were dead.  My analytics showed very little referral from yellowpages.com.  It is a joke for the prices they charge.

    I have moved on to the online to the local listings and have very good results.  The computer repair field is tough in the St. Louis market, but listings have helped quite a bit.

  • Guest

    I have finally ridded myself of the grossly over rated and costly yellow page ad and good riddance.

    At one time the yellow pages were a good source of information for customers and good for the small business that needed to advertise their goods. However the yellow page folks lost my business because of their greed.

    Not being content with one book filled with millions of dollars worth of ads, the phone companies decided to break a region down with dozens of overlapping books to factor in multiples of ads from the same business who is trying to cover a complete area.

    Now let’s factor in the Yellow conglomerate that has developed several seemingly different and competing yellow page books and add this to the mess and now it has become insane to try and advertise in this industry.

    Let us pray that these predators can not influence congress somehow and render the free internet their next feeding grounds.

  • http://www.marketing-junkie.com Stacy Karacostas

    I’m so glad to see this being talked about online!

    As a small business marketing consultant, I’ve seen the results from print listings spiraling downward for quite a few years. Unless one of my clients serves folks in the 65+ age range I don’t recommend paying the high prices to have a YP ad, though it does seem to have more value online vs. in print.  

    Of course nowadays, for most small businesses there are still better places to spend your online marketing dollars and time than the YP ads.

    Personally, I’m glad to see it die so we can save a few trees too. In the meantime, here’s a short list of the things me and my clients are using our YP books for these days:

    1) Raise your computer monitor

    2) Handy plant stand

    3) Kids booster seat

    4) Arts & crafts projects (you can make a cool Christmas tree, or press fall leaves)

    5) As a heavy weight for pressing or flattening items

    6) Door jam

    Thanks for the great article!



  • Guest

    they still work and even better when combined with Internet Yellowpages. Where do you think Yahoo and google get their local information from?? (Mostly the same companies that provide listings for the yellowpages). Check Msn yellowpages, they use yellowpages.com, so does Yahoo. Still relevant. difference now is you have more options which include yahoo, google including your local phone book and IYP. 

  • randy

    I used to use Yellow Pages exclusively for advertising my construction business in Charleston SC.  Now, most of my clients find me through the internet.  I switched to a relatively new site last year, palmettobizbuzz.com, and have seen a great increase in new clients.  I think that most people will be switching to this soon, but I hope my new clients don’t drop once other switch.


  • Guest

    I wouldn’t try and lump those vendors as a group against Yellow Pages. Planet Discover can’t point to one successful local venture and Travidia manages display advertising. The Gannett search is so slow it would make you pick up the yellow pages and flip through it as you wait.

    We may finally see a good solution when Yahoo can get AMP into local markets and combine it with a federated search with good business information.

    Doesn’t Local.com have a relationship with several YP.coms? I could be wrong.

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