Last week as I was reviewing, reading, blogging about the Yellow Pages, the question struck me. What defines a  web site to be a Yellow Pages site? Now I had read this post IYP Reach in the US (according to Google)which lists a good number of IYP sites but is there some characterisitc they all have?

Is it the logo or some variation on the “fingers doing the walking”?
Using a lot of yellow on the site?
Does the word Yellow need to be in the name some how?

Well, I decided I would ask a few friends and this is what they said:

Andrew Shotland: it’s sort of a you know one when you see one thing.  Certainly if you use the “Yellow” thing like Twellow does that’s a good sign.

Dick Larkin: Two things:  1. Total listings of all businesses in a market. Generally licensed from Infousa, Acxiom, Amacai, ibegin and 2. Some additional value to certain advertisers.

Tim Coleman: Good question Larry, it made me think.  I think what separates yellow pages from other directories is the information at the listing level.  The listing or ad in YP will always contain an address and telephone number, even if the address is sometimes limited… like Atlanta area.  An indication of location will be provided.

David Mihm: I’m not sure the distinction between a website or directory vs. a bonafide “Yellow Pages” site is all that relevant anymore.  The offline and online worlds are blurring together, and the YellowPages no longer owns the monopoly on the best data set.  But I guess I would probably define a Yellow Pages site as one that relies primarily on data from InfoUSA or Acxiom to populate its index, whereas a non-YP site would have a different primary data source (like Localeze, etc.).

The Yellow Pages have been so far behind the curve online that it is almost laughable for such a major, major industry.  They’re trying hard to catch up but Google is now the start page for just about everyone, and there are other Local business portals like Yelp and Citysearch that have built a far superior online brand than the YP’s even if people go beyond big G.

Thanks guys.  What do you think?