This past weekend was momentous. It was a fantastic father's day weekend with lakeside and pool side activities all weekend and we received the newest Yellowbook delivered right to our doorstep.
On our way out of the driveway I noticed a yellow bag on our front doorstep. I should have been conditioned to know immediately what it was but we don't have phone service with our local phone company so I was curious why we received one - maybe it was some cool father's day present my wife ordered. Nope, it was definiitely phone books. And then I sighed. My new yellow pages went straight to the recycle bin and I shed a quick tear for the tree that died to print the book.
Didn't they get my memo? I haven't used the phone book in years. And I'm guessing many others are ditching it as well. In my 20 minutes in the coffee shop this morning, I couldn't find any relevant data for phone book usage this year or even last. One report (from 2008) says that over 95% of homes have a Yellow pages directory and that 77% of US adults say they reference the yellow pages monthly. If by "adult" they mean individuals aged 65 and over then I might believe the numbers.
But I understand. Yellow pages directories sell ad spaced based on distribution, not usage. The actual measurement of usage is some fancy concept left to custom phone numbers and that Internet thingy. Actual usage of the directory is no doubt dwindling, so I guess my question is when will distribution start dropping as well?
In 2001, I paid $144 each month for a small 1inch by 2 inch ad in our local directory. I had to sign a year commitment and in that entire year I received one single phone call that originated from the phone book. And that guy was looking for an Internet service provider - not a web developer. Lesson learned.