The traditional Yellow Pages companies depend on the number of books distributed to charge their advertisers the maximum possible. As such, it creates an (obvious) incentive to keep distribution numbers as high as possible.
It has been quite common to talk about the real distribution number vs stated number – it is a very common scene to see stacks of unused YP books. By the dozens. Everywhere.
So I had a hearty laugh when I saw that this very complaint was on the frontpage of Reddit. While we can all agree that Reddit is far more tech-oriented than the average user, it still underlines how people have moved en-masse from the yellow pages to online. And in most cases, these tech-users (early
adopters) set the tone for the future – be it from video games to computers to the internet, these people are a harbringer of the future.
There has been other anecdotal evidence that the YP companies are not lowering their ad rates. So – with (obvious) declining readership (ie, actual users) – when will ad rates reconcile with true distribution?
The YP companies are basically playing with a poker face – the moment any of them break down and start lowering rates / revising distribution numbers, the rest will be dragged along, kicking and screaming. Alas, none of them have had the guts (yet) to accept reality.