The latest print YP argument (is a doozy)

8 Mar
2008

While I am usually ready to yap away on any topic, I tend to shy away from the “Are the Yellow Pages Relevant / Irrelevant?” Greg’s latest post on the topic brought out some heat in the comments.

Then I came across the wonderful argument for the Yellow Pages:

o your surprise you have a flooded basement. Are you going to stop and take the time to turn on your computer, wait for it to load, wait for the internet connection to actually work with you, connect and then search? No most people are going to pick up their Verizon Yellow pages flip to the type of business they need and call. That is what it is all about.

Of course there is another one down the page, and I’ve seen this argument a few other times.

Other than the inherent fear-mongering (oh noes it takes 20 minutes to load up your web browser, at which point your house will have fallen down), the entire argument is rather extreme and simplistic. What she has outlined is a worst case situation. I don’t ever remember my house being flooded. The other comment below argues what happens if the electricity goes out. The last time I remember the electricity going out was the massive East Coast Grid failure back in 2003 (at which point calling an electrician would have been useless).

As someone who has moderated a ton of reviews by business owners, the comments themselves reek of someone from inside the YP area making that comment. What boggles my mind is … is that the best there is? That one should keep the YP around for extremely rare cases? I should have some giant book take up space because maybe, just maybe, I might lose the electricity? Or because it is so complicated to turn on your computer and ‘connect’ to the internets? That is the argument? Are you kidding me? And I haven’t even mentioned the iPhone yet – in both cases I have local search bookmarked, it would take me roughly 15 seconds to navigate to a page to do a search, flood or no flood, electricity or no electricity.

Everything has strengths and weaknesses. All this bluster does no one any good.

7 Responses to The latest print YP argument (is a doozy)

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Andre

March 8th, 2008 at 7:42 pm

I need mine to make a monitor stand so the monitor is level to my eye.
Everyone has use for useless thick books

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Brian

March 9th, 2008 at 5:58 pm

It just so happens that I am in the business of selling Yellow Pages. I must admit the internet is here to stay but the book is far from done. I have many customers that track there calls/customers religiously and they are all making a nice return on their money. Take my chiropractor for instance, they got 24 new patients out of the phone book last year. They invested a few thousand dollars on the ad, we figured the ROI is about 4 to 1. If you knew that you could go to the bank and open a CD that pays 4 to 1 you’d probably do it. It still pays.

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Eric

March 10th, 2008 at 9:33 am

Brian, you are taking exactly the right approach to this argument. No doubt that usage is migrating, but the data consistently reports a very strong absolute ROI story from the printed book.

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darrinclement

March 10th, 2008 at 10:18 am

Are people still using printed encyclopedias?

I think Brian above is approaching this in exactly the right way – prove the value to your customer. But I still don’t see anything stopping the trend that reduces the reliance on printed yellow pages in favor of more and more digital. Will that ratio be 0% to 100% in 5 years? 10 yrs? I don’t know but that seems the trend to me.

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Gib Olander

March 10th, 2008 at 10:19 am

Now this is great timing…

http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news;_ylt=A0oGkwEYUdVHvH0Ab31XNyoA?ei=UTF-8&p=power%20outage&fr2=tab-web&fr=slv8-tyc7

I guess those power outages do happen.. :) As always keep up the blogging, it’s been a little light lately.

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Ahmed

March 10th, 2008 at 10:56 am

I said multiple times in the post – I am not arguing YP’s effectiveness or any of that sort. Just that the arguments so far seem to be based around extremes (might I even suggest embracing the idea that older people are using them still while working on the younger via online).

@Gib – oh you hahah! :) Sokay, my iPhone would have saved the day :) Been up to our throats with stuff, have another post ready I’ll post today.

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Dave

March 10th, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I’ll admit that worst case scenarios are good arguments for paper YPs. But let’s look at a worst case scenario in the other direction- you can’t find a paper version (for example, you threw them all out in your home or you’re on the road and you can’t find a pay phone, let alone a pay phone that still has a paper YP attached to it). True it’s about as extreme as the other cases, but still possible.

So I’d agree that paper YPs are not dead- I think they will always have a place for some people. Just like some people wouldn’t be caught dead using paper versions. :)

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