Is anyone using phone books anymore, for you know…looking up phone numbers? Anyone?
I live in an apartment building. Every time the phone companies deliver their books, they dump them in the foyer where they sit for weeks until the building manager finally puts them all in the recycling bin.
At least our books make it inside, out of the Seattle rain. I’ve seen piles of them in front of other countless apartment complexes in my neighborhood, deteriorating outside front doors until they are almost unrecognizable, like a Jack-o-lantern in December.
Even the grocery store has a supply, usually Yellowbook, gathering dust near the checkout. I have never seen anyone take one. In fact, when it comes to phone books, I’ve heard more people complain about them then tout their usefulness.
Maybe they appeal to a certain segment of the population; perhaps those who are resistant to using technology. When I did a Google search for “phone book advertising seattle,” I found a quote from Bill Gates from May 2007 about the future of printed Yellow Pages listings: “These things always take time, but Yellow Page usage among people, say, below 50, will drop to zero – near zero – over the next five years.”
In the comments section, an anonymous person who admittedly works for a yellow page publisher retorts: “The last time you wanted a pizza or a needed a plumber in a hurry, did you actually turn to the internet or did you grab a phone book? Did you specifically know where you wanted the pizza from or what type of plumber you were looking for? Then why go to the internet when you can look it up much quicker in a phone book. 67% of those who look for products and services online, end up buying locally. They refer back to the yellow pages.”
I don’t know about you, but this is how I find pizza in a hurry if I don’t already have a place in mind. I get on the internet and search for “best pizza in Seattle”, which usually brings up Yelp. Then I look for the place closest to me with the best results. If I end up liking the pizza well enough, I’ll program their phone number in my cell for fast delivery next time around.
The reason I bring this up is that as a marketer, I am approached to advertise in about half a dozen different phone directories, each one claiming it has the most readership. But, I don’t actually know anyone using the phone book in 2009.
Do you use the phone book? If so, which one and what do you use it for?
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