I’ve written about paper-based telephone directories on more than one occasion, both about the declining appeal of their business model and the enormous waste their product engenders.
I was pleased, then, to read that the Yellow Pages Group would be discontinuing distribution of their residential phone directory–the ‘white pages’–in seven cities. The cities are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, the Ottawa-Gatineau area and Quebec City.
This isn’t surprising. The rise of mobile phones means that many numbers, particularly those of young people, aren’t listed in these directories. The white pages will still be available by request.
The change means that, according to The Globe and Mail, “Yellow Pages Group will now print roughly five million fewer directories a year, the equivalent 3,500 metric tonnes of paper.” The Yellow Pages Group’s website indicates that they print approximately 30 million directories. That’s what it said in February, 2009 when I wrote about it, so maybe they haven’t changed that number? In any case, going from 30 to 25 million is a good start.
Unfortunately, there’s still no end in sight for the Yellow Pages directory. Don’t forget that you can opt out of receiving it.
Will you miss the white pages?
Trying to think of the last time I used either of them. Failing.
Good news to hear. I opted out of the Yellow Pages last year after reading your post… but to no avail because they still delivered one to me! Oh well, at least we’re saying bye bye to the white.
It’s such an odd thing to watch an industry die. I remember the last time the books were delivered to my office; they sat around everyone’s foyer, no one was quite sure what to do with them. No one really wanted the giant things, but you also didn’t want to get rid of them either.
The best part was that they had doubled the number of books the delivered to each address. I could just picture the sales reps then telling clients that the distribution of the books was up from 1,000,000 to 1,800,000 books from last year.
Having said all that, I have a number of clients for whom the Yellow Pages is still their primary and most valuable mode of advertising. It’s a medium that still has its audience, apparently.
It’s fun to watch the yellow pages industry justify killing off the white pages with the same arguments people who see no need for ANY print directories use. Do people who no longer find the white pages valuable still find the yellow pages valuable?
I’m glad to hear they are being discontinued. I never use the white pages at all. I’ll sometimes pull out the yellow pages if it’s more convenient at that moment than my computer is.
I find the print yellow pages are sometimes more effective than web though. For one, the graphical ads of some businesses give me more info and a sense of who (appears to be) more established/successful. For another, yellowpages.ca gives a whole lot of results for Vancouver that are pretty useless to me when I’m searching Gibsons.
It’s surprising how long this change has taken. It’s a shame it’s not on an even wider scale.
So few people need, want or use the white pages or the yellow pages any more. Continuing to print and distribute millions of unwanted copies that end up in dumpsters more often than not, is wasteful in the extreme.
I do not think I have used them in the past 10 years or so. Need a number? Google it. However I wonder what would I do on a black out. But you still have your phone. It does get a little scary to think how much we are dependent on electricity and the internet though.
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