Yellow Pages Environmental Forum

Let the market decide

Posted in Publisher Efforts by Ken C on June 27, 2008
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One of the arguments that the industry makes to the anti-print Yellow Pages crowd who get so twisted that they receive 6, 7, or more directories a year at their doorstep, is that the marketplace will ultimately decided which products survive and prosper, and which exit the business.

With the unprecedented growth in book publishing over the past few years, outside of a few very small, somewhat dubious publishers, there really haven’t been many cases we could definitively point to where that was true, until yesterday.

Reports from various sources (Kelsey Group, others) indicate that Idearc will cease production of some 28 independent directory titles which amounts to some 7.6 million copies (or about 6% of their total distribution). This will also result in about 200 people being laid-off and several offices being closed.

What brought this about? Current economic conditions certainly where a contributor but the growing volume of Yellow Pages in some markets will just not support the level of small business leads needed to provide the ROI required by advertisers. In effect, too much competition diluted what every publisher could offer to its advertisers.

As a result, the marketplace decided which products should continue and which should leave.


Print Mistakes Can Draw Signficant Attention

Posted in Print Yellow Pages by Ken C on June 25, 2008
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If you believe what some bloggers are telling you that only the elderly and the great technologically unwashed are the only ones using the print Yellow Pages, than why do some businesses get so upset if their listing is incorrectly published in the print books??

Latest example is the A-American Self Storage, a Carson Valley, California-based family-run self storage company, who is demanding an apology from phone book publishers who listed the Gardnerville location as the first listing under the Entertainment-Adult category, right before the Bunny Ranch brothel.

While errors in the printed books are rare (i.e. less than one omitted ad per 1000), they do happen. And you had better believe that not only the advertisers that pay for those ads notice it when a mistake occurs, but also the users who generated those 14 billion annual look-ups (even if bloggers think it is a bogus number).

How The “Truth” Can Be Skewed Any Which Way You Want

Posted in Editor Picks by Ken C on June 16, 2008
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In a recent YP Talk article titled Now We Are “Paper Fetishists”, I cover just how far some of these anti-Yellow Pages people will go. I even quoted this jem:

“…Recycling isn’t the answer. Rather, phone books, like gas-guzzling cars and cheap air fares, are so last year. Now that over two-thirds of the country has access to the internet, people are surely using their paper directories less and less. I reckon that phone books are on the way out — so let them fade away gradually, and provide small numbers for the elderly, the unconnected and the paper fetishists. The rest of us are done….”

But what really set off some people was this list I presented which followed. The print Yellow Pages:

  • Uses no additional energy all year long unlike the computer you are probably reading this on, which does use electricity continuously.
  • It requires no batteries or power or connectivity to make it work
  • It is made with recycled paper, is fully recyclable, and in the .3% of the landfill space it takes up, it does not pollute the landfill with the many toxins that all the electronic junk and batteries does.
  • It is not made with plastics which requires petroleum (at some $135.00 or more per barrel) like the computers, PDA’s, IPODs, fantastically equipped cell phones, switching equipment, cable shielding, and all the related hardware does
  • Is quicker in nearly every case I have seen to find the information you need
  • Is often more complete and accurate than many electronic products
  • Isn’t biased because of your age – with tattoos, sushi, and skateboards being some of the fastest growing headings, I doubt it is only being used by “the elderly”

Ok, we all acknowledge that the Internet will someday be the preferred source for information. But currently, it is far from perfect. And please don’t ask me to click away on my cell phone using some 2” screen to find what I need.

So next time you see comments like this in another post: “Of course, this doesn’t take the environmental costs of delivery, recycling transportation, recycling, or the 85% dumped-in-landfill costs into consideration.” be sure to ask them how their PC arrived — since I assume there was no environmental costs to produce, delivery, and landfill their machine.

It’s all in how you define the real “truth”.