Bizwiki Blog

Do the Yellow Pages Face Extinction?

In a recent the Wall Street Journal blog post, Kelly Spors wrote an article titled ‘Yellow Pages Face Extinction’, which says ‘Publishers of the local directories often dropped on doorsteps are bleeding money, my colleague Emily Steel writes today. These directories rely on small businesses in particular for advertising, but many businesses are reining in their marketing budgets in the bad economy and buying fewer yellow pages ads – not to mention just the steady migration over time to online advertising.’

The article continues, ‘Some businesses also feel their money is better spent online by focusing on search-engine optimization or getting a local search ad listing through a company like Google rather than sticking with online ads offered by the traditional print directory publishers. If yellow pages directories were indeed to go extinct it would be a big jolt for the many small businesses that use them as the primary way to generate leads to their business.’

This may be an unexpected point of view for someone writing for Bizwiki, a site totally committed to moving local business information online and away from the paper books, but I’d have to say traditional Yellow Page books are not going to be extinct any time soon.

It is certainly true that many companies are finding advertising online is a lot cheaper and easier to target than adverts in the phone books, and that it provides quantifiable trackable results. However, much though I may hate to admit it, there are sections of the public that still rely on the print editions and remain more comfortable looking things up in a printed book, particularly when it comes to older demographic groups, and the local books are likely to retain these as an audience.

It’s not that long since internet pundits were predicting the end of the newspaper, yet despite similar pressure from online news sites (including their own online editions) printed newspapers look like they are here to stay.

Simply put, Yellow Pages, Thomson Directories and similar print publications are facing a lot of erosion of market share they could previously have taken for granted, and no doubt this translates into pressure on their bottom lines and a thinning of their margins and profitability. However, as Mark Twain might have said, reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated.

Decline is not demise.

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2 Comments so far

  1. Janice King on April 20th, 2009

    Theres new directories coming out of the woodwork everyday however this one just keeps on going. Great Blog.

  2. Megnom on December 7th, 2009

    It is about time the waste of these directories was recognised.#
    Lost count of the number of times these can be seen in empty premises.
    Last one delivered to home replaced the previous one that still had plastic cover on.
    God knows what their carbon footprint must show

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