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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Yellow pages only gets to a few November 28, 2006 9:11 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Book / Magazine, Of Interest, Publishing
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When I ran my Internet Service Provider business, I spent $12,000 a year on a full page yellow page ad. That ad generated more calls than any other advertising. In the end, all my business came word of mouth.

I learned something yesterday. As I drove out of the neighborhood, many of the houses had their new Yellow Pages directory. But not us. It did not take long to realize that the phone company is mad at us. See, after having the same phone number for 15 years, we decided to cut the umbilical cord and go mobile completely. It was scary because we were so accostumed to having that phone line which would ring throughout the house. We actually had two lines and could conference the calls together. We lost use of our fax machine in the process. Yesterday I would have liked to have received a fax but it was not necessary.

What did we lose in going completely mobile?

  1. We don’t get a phone book anymore.
  2. We are not in 411 directory assistance so it is more difficult to track us down.
  3. Solicitations and bill collection calls dropped significantly (at times Sears would call every 3 days because they are Satan’s spawn).
  4. We don’t pay $80 per month for a desk ornament.
  5. The younger children are having different phone experiences/lessons that the older children did. (But our phone lessons/manners/habits are significantly different that of our children…and think about our parents…I remember a party line but could you imagine your children using a party line?!) Oh, and the younger children do understand phones. Even the 17mth old uses the cell phone proficiently.
  6. It is slightly more difficult to track down a single person and sometimes takes calling multiple numbers to reach someone at the house.
  7. No more long distance bills!

Now, the publisher of the Yellow Pages and the phone company are not one in the same. They are in cahoots but the publisher of the Yellow Pages makes their money from ads and distribution. I think we are getting ready to witness a paradigm shift in the way phone books are distributed. First and foremost, we don’t use it because we either look online or send google a text message from our phone (Text "Borders, Knoxville, TN" to 46645 and watch the phone number and address pop up in seconds). Secondly, the publisher is going to realize that their distributions are dimensioning as the phone company gives them fewer and fewer land line addresses. Their ad selling point is "we deliver x number of books and your ad will be seen by those people." My bet is that before long we will see stacks of Yellow Pages books at the grocery store entrances being distributed for free to anyone that wants one.

I think another service cell phone companies need to offer (and maybe they do) is one number that rings multiple cell phones. That way we could give away a "family number" and when one cell answers all others stop ringing.

I before E except after C unless of course you are spelling proficiently.

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1. jonathan hickman - November 28, 2006

I gave up my land line in the last year (joyfully). It is funny no longer being listed. I consider it an added benefit.

And you’re right. We need a function where they call one number and it rings for all phones when someone’s just trying to reach one of us.

Of course then we’d have to all use one phone company instead of three….

2. Latte Man - November 28, 2006

We currently get two phone books. One from Verizon (“SuperPages”) and one from a company called YellowBook. You are aright about Verizon’s book being tied to the number of phone numbers in a house. However, YellowBook just delivers based on location. Eventually SuperPages will have to match YellowBook, or they will start (actually continue is more like it) to lose business to them. Already YellowBook is more than 3 times the size it was 5 years ago.

Yes, there are plenty of people (myself included) that now use online resources for directory assistance, but there are still plenty of Luddites that love having that book in their hands.