Yellow Pages-Paper or Internet?

I have collected a ton of articles on my computer about the print and Internet Yellow Pages to try to figure out where things are going.  Depending on what you read, you can get different pictures.  The main question surrounding the print Yellow Pages has been and is, when will it finally die?

“Print yellow page directories face the most uncertain future of all media. We’re estimating that the yellow pages industry will lose $39% of its in annual revenue over the next five years, amounting to a loss of $5 billion in annual revenue by 2013.” SAY GOODBYE TO YELLOW PAGES – (July ’08) from Borrell Associates.

“I have always contended that the decline in print classified revenue is a direct function of extreme product inadequacies of print versus online. Online produces a dramatically more effective consumer experience than print for home, car and job searching. “ yellow: used and bruised

“So, when will print yellow pages ultimately go the way of the dinosaur? It’s unclear since some analysts have predicted a 3% overall decline per year for printed YP income, while others have stated the rate could be accelerating…What is clear is that increasing access to alternative sources of information in the way of internet local search, 411 services, and search-enabled mobile phones are definitely eroding usage of print YPs by some degree.” Top 25 Things Vanishing from America: The Yellow Pages

I agree that the use of the print Yellow Pages is declining, I know that I am using it less and less but it is not dead yet. When my clients have asked for my opinion, I tell them that they need to focus on the Internet aspect of things. Some do but many still spend the money on the print Yellow Pages. Why? Because it is safe and has worked in the past.

Now I can’t blame them, but the day will come when they will need to embrace the Internet Yellow Pages.  The sooner your business used the Internet yellow pages, the better.

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  1. Hi Larry,

    Although, for the most part, I would agree with your assessment and the advice you are giving your clients I also think that there are a few locations and services where the printed books still outshine IYP’s. Obviously this will be seen as an odd opinion for the representative of Bizwiki to have 🙂 but there are still service/location combinations that benefit more from printed telephone directories simply because their customers use them more than they use the internet.

    Granted, the landscape will continue to change in favour of online yellow pages and so I would agree that businesses should at least start making the move towards IYP. A good place to start is with the free to list sites like Yelp, Google Local and of course our own Bizwiki (currently only UK). Starting with the free to list directories eases the transition and allows small businesses that are very locally focused to get an idea of whether or not it’s worth going further without having to outlay much more than some time to register.

  2. I encourage you to read beyond the headlines on the Borrell’s piece, as they had a lot of positive comments about the Yellow Pages industry,, particularly in the area of search. Print and online, it’s really not an either or situation. Small businesses need to reach buyers, not browsers. But the formula for success differs from business to business. Some advertisers are savvy users of the Internet, some don’t want to manage a site. It’s the individual touch that will make the difference and the Yellow Pages sales force can offer that.

  3. Teresha:
    I agree with you on the point that the print YP outshines the IYP-I have seen that.

    Nice point about where smb could start via the free sites.

  4. Thanks for stopping by Stephanie.
    I am working on part two of this post and have seen the positive comments 🙂
    I also agree with you that it is not an either or situation..reaching buyers is the key.

  5. I think the paper back yellow pages still have some value simply because people are still adapting to the internet. Additionally, IYP aren’t thorough and still gappy is some ways but in the next 2-5 yrs I think video yellow pages will be done! The internet just has way too much potention.