Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Quote in the Boston Globe Story About Phone Books

It looks like the Boston Globe story about the distribution of local Phone Books is running today. This morning, I read the article online, but I'm assuming it's also in the print version.

Not a bad article. Thanks to staff writer Tania deLuzuriaga for bringing this issue to a larger audience. (Although she name-dropped me, it would have been nice to have received a link to Platinum Elite as well...but that's OK)

The fact that this $17 billion industry is actually growing amazes me. But the real truth behind the well-spun numbers almost feels like what happened to Bear Stearns this week - a business that spiraled upward until the bottom fell out when people realized there was no true value behind the growth.

I challenge the majority of yellow page directory advertisers to track the source of their leads.

Tracking leads can be more accurate than ever these days. I do it myself at work. Divide their advertising expenses with directories by the amount of leads they receive, and they will be shocked by their acquisition costs.

And I challenge directories to change their distribution systems, and see how many citizens "opt in" to receiving their books if given the choice - watch their circulation numbers evaporate.

Any unwanted stuff - even free things - is wasteful. Especially today, when resources are scarcer, prices are higher, and time is more valuable.

The distribution of information is entirely different today than when newspapers and phone directories first began. People are searching for info online.

And apparently, they aren't searching for it on the websites of phone directories either.

Alexa.com measures Internet traffic, and ranks websites based on their popularity.

For example, the ten most popular sites in the U.S., according to Alexa this morning, are:

1. Google
2. Yahoo!
3. MySpace
4. YouTube
5. Facebook
6. Windows Live
7. eBay
8. Wikipedia
9. MSN
10. Craigslist.org

Boston.com, an excellent website, is # 1,592, with over 25,000 inbound links.

Yellowbook.com, whose parent company assaulted me and my neighbors with their directories, is #12,638, with just 566 inbound links

People aren't even turning to them for online searches. Looks like the search engines are killing them.

So, Yellow Book, thanks for bringing this issue to the forefront - if not for good, simply for a moment.


Anonymous said...

You don't know what you're talking about. Yellow Pages directories get billions of look ups every year. You think the internet is the answer to everything ? The internet is not nearly as easy to use for local shopping as a phone book. Get out from behind your monitor and get some exercise. I'm tired of geeks and dweebs like you thinking you have all the answers.

Jason said...

Hey Anonymous - thanks for the comment.

The Internet is simple to use. I encourage you to spend some time with it. It's a cool, revolutionary new tool!

Plus, I didn't realize that looking up entries in a phone book constituted exercise. Excellent!

If you let me know your address, I would be happy to deliver some Yellow Books to you, and you can search for as many local listings as you wish.

Dustin said...

My local telephone company delivered four telephone books to my residential address on the same day. Luckily, recycle centers here have a special drop-off center just for telephone books.

People do still use Yellowpages, etc...but everyone, including Yellowpages, is aware of the shift from print to online info gathering...which would explain yellowpages.com.

I mean, with a few clicks of a mouse, you can place a bet and schedule a visit from a high-class hooker...you gotta love the Internet.