When people first come online, they seem to bring some of their offline behaviors with them. For example, if they want to look up a business, they might turn to the online yellow pages for information.
However, as the above chart shows, behaviors change over time. People seem to be figuring out that they don’t need to turn to the yellow pages to find what they’re looking for. Instead, they can save a step by typing their query directly into search engines rather than doing a 2-step of first finding a relevant online directory, then searching.
The same thing seems to apply more generally to phone books:
Why go to an online phone book when you can search for people on Google and find out way more about a person than a online phone book provides?
Check the bottom line on both graphs. This shows how buzz worthy that specific term has been over time. Sadly for the phone book industry, in both cases biggest buzz in the past five years has been a story about print phone books that explains there are two phone books printed every year for every American.