Are the Yellow Pages going the way of the Dinosaur ?

by Jeff Wiener on November 12, 2009

yellow-pages-garbage1I had an interesting conversation with my 11 year old son the other day. Let me recount some of the conversation …

Dad, why are there so many Yellow Page books outside of this office building ?

My response: They are here waiting for the people that work in that building to pick them up on their way into the building.

My son: You mean people still use those books ?

My response: It seems that they do. Have you ever used a Yellow Pages book ?

My son: Yes. For crafts !

I must admit, I stopped using the Yellow Pages some time ago. But to my 11 year old son, the Yellow Pages book seems about as ancient as the rotary dial phone. I guess the old Yellow Pages slogan – “Let your fingers do the walking” applies to the keyboard more then the book itself !

How does an old, tree wasting, time consuming inefficient concept hope to make it’s way into the next generations’ minds and fingers ? They obviously need to adapt to the times.

I recently read a Globe and Mail article about the Yellow Pages – I quote:

Several years ago, not long after Mr. Tellier took up the post as CEO at the directories publisher, the company launched a project to streamline the categories in the print book. Not surprisingly, advertising under “carbon paper” had evaporated. So, nearly half a century after Xerox started selling its first photocopiers, Yellow Pages finally deleted the heading for carbon paper from the computer system that organizes some 400,000 different advertisers selling thousands of different products and services. New categories were added – sushi restaurants, for example, and tattoo parlours.

Is this the way that the Yellow Pages adapts with the times ?

Perhaps in 20 years we will be re-writing the above paragraph as follows:
… Nor surprisingly, nearly 20 years after Mr Tellier added sushi restaurants and tattoo parlous to the Yellow Pages they decided the book was no longer needed and have moved all revenue to their on-line publication.

Here’s a perfect example of an entire industry in decline, and soon oblivion, made obsolete by technology. If you read the balance of the article it seems that we also have a CEO in denial of his industry’s decline. That alone could spell disaster for the Yellow Pages Group. Here’s hoping that Mr Tellier comes to this realization – soon !

Written by: Jeff Wiener. Follow by: RSS, Twitter,, or Friendfeed

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