Google Local and Yellow Pages

June 2, 2009

Updated: June 2, 2009, 5 pm Eastern

We still get two or three giant books with bright yellow covers. I remember thinking about the phrase “Let your fingers do the walking” each time I lug one of these 1,000 page publications to the recycle bin.

I read this morning Erick Schonfeld’s “Google Local Lures Small Businesses with Their Own Web Dashboard” here. Google upgraded its Local Business Center’s offerings. You can read about this publishing play in my Google: The Digital Gutenberg and participate in the service without a fee.

My thoughts:

  • Google insists that it is not a publishing company. I accept that statement, but I note that the entries in the Local Business Center are, in my opinion, the new “yellow pages”
  • Google pushes the job of populating its directory to owners like me. If you poke around zip code 40241, you may be able to locate the “world headquarters”, impressive operation that. The result is that the editorial content is not much more than an incremental cost to Google, which is not always the case for a traditional directory publisher.
  • The content in the Local service performs some useful services quite apart from making it easy to locate a pizza delivery company in Prospect, Kentucky. Think knowledge base and frequent updates.

The traditional directory folks may want to figure out how to ride the Google wave before it swamps their row boat filled with paper.

Stephen Arnold, June 2, 2009


4 Responses to “Google Local and Yellow Pages”

  1. James on June 2nd, 2009 8:00 am

    Stephen needs to be more accurate on his reporting. RR Donnelly did not file bankruptcy R H Donnelly did.

  2. Mary Bowling on June 2nd, 2009 11:12 am

    The Yellow Pages exists and has always existed to sell advertising to businesses. They understand advertising and they understand the needs of small businesses, but they have never understood search. IMO, until they “get” search, they are doomed to flounder.

  3. Stephen E. Arnold on June 2nd, 2009 3:01 pm


    Good catch.

    Stephen Arnold, June 2, 2009

  4. David Jenyns on March 21st, 2011 4:50 pm

    What do really people think about Yellow pages these days? That’s what we also want to figure out, so we went outside the streets of Melbourne and asked men on the street (randomly) and here’s what we got:

    Q1. How often do you use the print version of the Yellow Pages?

    * 7.69% use it regularly
    * 23.08% once a month
    * 15.38% once a year
    * 53.85% never use it

    Q2. How do you search for products and services you’re looking for?

    * 92.86% use
    * 7.14% use Yellow Pages

    Respondent Quote: “I reckon the yellow pages is obsolete, why would you spend money on the yellow pages when they’ll just as easily find you on Google.”

    That brings us to have an idea that indeed YP is a thing of the past. 🙂


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