Print Yellow Pages industry insiders love to justify the need for heavy, alphabetically sorted, printed directories of limited local business information based on one plumbing problem: who to call when your basement is filling with water.
Here are a few examples:
YP Printvangelist Ken Clark cites a quote from Canada’s CanPages CEO that Clark says “sets the record straight”:
“The Internet is not the be all and end all of local searches,” proclaims Olivier Vincent, president and CEO of Burnaby-based Canpages Inc.,…….When the basement is full of water, he points out, you’re not going to boot up the computer; you probably won’t even find Joe the plumber online.
Bill Gates probably has 2 plumbers on staff at his mansion. The good news for our industry is that there are very Bill Gates and all 20 years olds will become 30 and 40 and 50. All the sudden, life is not about reading reviews on the latest restaurants but more mundane things like: getting rid of that family of raccoons in the attic, fixing that sink hole in the driveway, why is there 2 inches of water in my basement… The better news is that 20 year olds are great at finding out the best sources of information and telling each other about it. All the sudden, they will remember their parents mentioning something about “yellowpages” or “yellowbook” or something yellow, and they will go to Google and type in “yellowpages”.
On Broadband Evolved, where Idearc Media’s Andrew Shane cheerleaded the post containing this snippet:
Advertising in the Yellow Pages: Should SMBs Fish or Cut Bait? | Broadband Evolved
Indeed, there is still significant value in yellow pages advertising, especially for certain types of businesses, like plumbing contractors, where consumer needs tend to be immediate and highly local. Recall what you were thinking the last time you had water in your basement? “I need a local plumber right %$#&! now!”
And a guy named Doug who commented on a previous post here (there are more examples from YP peeps in the comments on this blog if you can’t get enough of this stuff):
If you want to write another article, why not call 100 people at random and ask them “if your pipe burst right now, who will you call and how will you get the number?”.
As I looked into this, I found what I believe is the origination of this recycled antiquated justification for keeping a yellow pages directory around the house. It appears to come from a 2004 book called Media Selling by Charles Warner and Joseph Buchman. Here is the original quote courtesy of Google Books:
So the print yellow pages industry is relying on a YP red meat line from a five year old book to justify why people are stupid to not use print yellow pages in 2009.
I recorded my own take on this on Sunday:
Perhaps I’m wrong? Maybe yellow pages really are the best answer to flooded basement problems. Personally, I’ve had water in my basement and easily solved the problem in my own post-print-YP world, but I may be an outlier. Here are a couple examples of people who’ve written about their flooded basement scenarios:
This person turned to the print Yellow Pages for help:
We called everyone in the Yellow Pages under “flood” and got pretty much the same answer from each. “Hello? Yes, our basement is flooded.”
“Yeeeah. No kidding.” (Apparently we were not alone.)
And another person who’s wife turned to the Yellow Pages to address an emergency basement flooding issue:
So now the real fun begins. What do we do first? My wife grabbed the phone book and began flipping through the Yellow Pages to find a plumber. After about three calls ending in voicemail, she finally was able to talk to a live person. After telling him about our problem as quickly as she could, he said “it’s an appliance issue, I can’t help you.” Lovely.
My unsolicited advice to the yellow pages industry: Consider updating your scenarios on why yellow pages are valuable less than every five years.