The Yellow Pages are Shrinking….Literally

OK, I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of the yellow pages as a primary means of advertising for law firms. Don’t get me wrong-they have brought value for several decades, and really, the yellow pages were one of the first outlets for “attorney advertising”.

 

My blog today isn’t about bashing the yellow page directories, but about my shock when the most recent copy of my local yellow pages (Yellow Book for Boca Raton Florida) arrived at my door. It is probably two-thirds the size of the Yellow Book from last year. I made a few calls and heard similar stories from clients and contacts across the state and across the country. While I am happy that the yellow pages are smaller – and they are now more “eco-friendly” – this trend clearly substantiates the fact that phone directory usage is in a sharp decline.

As Jay Leno said in a recent Tonight Show Monologue -“The yellow pages is for the three people who don’t have the Internet.” While Leno’s quote is a gross exaggeration, the fact is that more and more advertisers are leaving the yellow pages because they don’t see the return to substantiate the investment. Reports from independent agencies have placed yellow page decline at 30% over the past four years.

With this said, directory sales people are as aggressive as ever, packaging the yellow pages listing with listings in online directories, pay-per-click campaign management and other services to entice clients into renewing. Many of these additional services are overpriced, are commodities or are of dubious value. When it comes to your yellow page expenditure, the wise choice may be to reduce it substantially, in a similar fashion to how the books themselves are shrinking.