Early History of Yellow Pages
Phone directories appeared in yellow for the first time in 1883. Know one knows for sure, but according to telephone lore, the printer ran out of white paper and substituted yellow instead of waiting for the next shipment of white paper. Many believed that reading print on a yellow background was easier on the eyes and the substitution became permanent. Yellow Pages were quickly accepted and soon after became the trademark of telephone companies and their services.
Ruben H. Donnelley
RH Donnelley provided the first Yellow Pages in 1886 after forming the Chicago Directory Company in an agreement with the Chicago Telephone Company. The Chicago Directory Company eventually monopolized the phone directory market after publishing directories for Bell telephone networks in Ohio, New York, and Wisconson. RH Donnelley died in 1925.
In 1961, Dun & Bradstreet Corp merged with R.H. Donnelley with R.H. Donnelley becoming a wholly owned subsidiary. Following its merger with D&B, the company began a series of partnerships with several telephone companies to publish directories. Around this time, competition started with other phone companies to provide directories.
Deregulation of the Telephone Industry
Deregulation of the telephone industry in the 1980s didn’t just affect phone service; it affected the Yellow Pages as well. The dominant market position RH Donnelly had cultivated for over 100 years was rapidly challenged by an influx of new directory publishers. Telephone directories are profitable, which spurred the growth of more than 2,300 different phone directories published by 250 publishers. Per the Yellow Pages Association, the directory industry has a net worth of $31 billion annually. The three largest Yellow Pages publishers are RH Donnelly, Yellow Book, and TransWestern Publishing.
What I did with my New Yellow Pages this Week
I wrote this article because the new copy of Yellow Pages showed up on my door step this week. I just stepped over them for 2 days. Yesterday, while taking out the trash, I picked them up and put them in the garbage. I’m not trying to be harsh, its just the truth and I have done this for years now. I’m guessing this is the case for many of you as well. This isn’t my daughter but the image illustrates my point.
What Small Businesses did with their Yellow Pages
Millions of small business owners will have the Yellow Pages show up to their business this year. I’m guessing that the only time that the Yellow Pages will be used is when the owner walks into his/her office, sits down at their desk, opens the pages to their business section to look at their ad. Why, because they spent hundreds to thousands dollars, again this year. Why, because they are accustomed to doing so for years. Why, because it is scary to change even though they might not be sure if the cost justified itself last year.
What the Yellow Page Ad Looks Like
“Your Balls Saved my Life” That’s a customer review! I wonder if they used micro formats to place that review on their website…
Laid by the Best
Head Shots, Rush Jobs, WE DO IT ALL
3 OK, great…lets see, I’ll go with Fluoridated at home for kids, and lets get premium for the office.
My Yellow Page ads did really well this year!
Can you write me a prescription for Xanax instead?
I do appreciate safety with my Erections
Free Quality…Yes Please!
Don’t Forget the White Pages
Advertisers… GET NOTICED
…3.2 times per week
Dear Yellow Pages,
Today’s “Yellow Pages”
Online versions of phone directories first appeared during the 1990s. Yellowpages.com launched in 2004. Today there are local search engines (Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local), secondary search engines and review sites (like superpages.com, yelp.com), dozens of online directories, local directories & blogs (Best of the Web, and Yahoo Regional Directory) , hyperlocal blogs, industry focused directories and blogs, as well as data aggregators (Localeze, Acxiom, Infogroup).
The Yellow Pages Association (YPA) reported that in 2007, approximately half of internet searches utilized online yellow page services.
In 2006 Google introduced Google Maps or local search results. Google Maps used a new algorithm that included calculations for searches that where local in nature or intent. Over the years the local algorithm and organic algorithm have continued to evolve. Google maps became Google Places and now approx 20% of all searches have local intent.
Why Local Search is so Important
Every month there are 14 billion online searches. 20% of those searches are for products and services with queries that have a local intent according to Comscore. That’s over 2 billion unique local searches each month.
9 out of 10 people use search engines to find local businesses to shop for products and services and 97% of those people will click on the 1st page of the search results.
Why switch from Traditional Marketing to Local Search Marketing?
Search marketing places your business in front of a demographic that is looking to buy a specific product or service. Searchers can be a very hot lead that is ready to buy, a demographic actively looking for your product or service.
Traditional Marketing (yellow pages, newspaper, radio, direct mailers etc.) on the other hand is like throwing mud against the wall and hoping it sticks, its like casting a wide net in hopes of finding an interested demographic, an impulse buyer, or someone shopping for a bargain.