Do Qwest Dex Yellow Pages Have a 1-Month Shelf Life?

In June, I was spammed with a Qwest Dex yellow pages I had previously unsubscribed from. In July, I was spammed with a Yellowbook I had previously unsubscribed from.

Old news, I know.

But here’s something to think about: Does Qwest Dex’s yellow pages have a 1-year or 1-month shelf life? Clearly, when any yellow pages spammer drops a printed directory on my front steps, they’ve wasted local business’ ad dollars. But what happens at households who actually do use print yellow pages directories in 2009?

Is there brand loyalty in this business? I know there is among employees, but what about consumers?

I imagine that there are many yellow pages using households who swap out their current yellow pages directory with whichever one shows up next on their doorstep. Why? So they always have the most current directory.

Assuming that happens, Qwest’s directories may only have a 1-month shelf life among a portion of people who continue to use print directories in 2009. That’s something for yellow pages advertisers to ponder.

So now we’re between the 2nd and 3rd yellow pages print spam deliveries, which means we still have time to find out how long Yellowbook’s shelf life will be before the Verizon Superpages from Idearc Media litters our doorsteps. Will Yellowbook’s shelf life be just a month as well? If so, perhaps Superpages has an advantage by batting clean-up, thus earning 10-months of shelf life before being replaced by the 2010 Qwest Dex directories.

The BIG Exception

It’s worth noting that there is one big exception to the shelf life rule:

The one place where yellow pages are used all 12 months of the year is at . . . yellow pages sales offices.

If you advertise in any of the three printed books delivered in this market, you can expect to be pestered by sales calls and visits from the other two directory publishers. Round and round they go, using each others books to waste your time soliciting more print advertising spending from you. Print advertising that may only have a shelf life of one month (if the books make it into local homes).

14 thoughts on “Do Qwest Dex Yellow Pages Have a 1-Month Shelf Life?”

  1. Your assessment is weak. People and businesses typically do not toss out yellow pages directories because they get another one. I have customers that get calls from directories that are several years old.

    Do you throw out a dictionary or other reference book? Directories are a reference that still get used by a large group of folks. There’s still no better source of LOCAL businesses and info. is coming close.

  2. Dan, I’m sure there are people who continue to rely on older directories. Among those who do, how do you see their workflow happening? Am I to believe that they worked their way through the three directories they received this year, the three they received last year, the three from the year before that, then in the 10th yellow pages directory they happened to check, from 4 years ago, they finally found a business worth calling?

    Or, are these people who have decided to trash the 9 directories they’ve received over the past 3 years because there was no point in switching to a newer version?

    Either way, I’m trying to understand how a “several years old” directory qualifies as a “no better sources for LOCAL businesses and info.” For example, I just got back from lunch at a restaurant that opened last week. You won’t find that in a 3, 2, or 1 year old directory. In fact, you won’t find it in this year’s directories either. The restaurant will have to survive nearly a full year without print yellow pages advertising.

  3. @Dan

    Why not honor “opt out” lists for people that save their old copies of the phonebook?

  4. Ed –

    I believe you’ve hit on something. The fact the yellow pages are viewed by many as a low-interest category and the general thinking is – for those who are fans of the directories – “I’ll keep the most updated book.”

    This is part of our reasoning/strategy for our SuperGuarantee program. We will only back our clients from our book (or online, direct mail) so consumers will keep our book for the year and recycle/opt-out of the others. Your readers can learn more on

    Thanks Ed,
    Andrew Shane
    Idearc Media, legacy is as official publisher of Verizon print directories

  5. I have done yellowpage advertising for years and continue to base my business’s success on it. I have incorporated internet as well, but for what I do, I won’t let the print go until it lets me go. I meticulously track results and have yet to be let down by my print results. Are they as good as they used to be 10 years ago? No – but they are still making people call me. Don’t believe all the hype. We are headed for another silicon valley-type bust with all the internet sales people wandering around right now. Choose wisely when making decisions about where to put your advertising dollars.

  6. @Amy, that’s one impressive testimonial. It makes me wonder what line of business you happen to be in. Your comment kind of slid a bit from testimonial to sales status, which also raises a few red flags.

    And, based on the IP address associated with your comment, it looks like you were sitting in a Yellowbook office at the time you posted it.

    Putting all that together, your comment’s authenticity seems tainted to say the least.

  7. @Ed

    Give Amy some credit. Perhaps she is a small buisness that asked if she could use a computer at the local yellowbook office after she dropped of a payment for her latest advertisement?

    Based on her concerns about the “sillicon valley bust” that is likely to “bring down the internet” I think it is far more likely that one of the conspiracy theory constituents of Rep. Collin Peterson.

  8. Ed, We are all familiar with the dot-com bust. I don’t think there is a “yellow pages” bust. It seems that it is easier to pick up the local directory to find a plumber, dentist, attorney than to sift thru google, yahoo search results. The results in the yellow pages are more complete and are easily accessible.

  9. @Greg McCracken, before we can argue about the yellow pages vs online business models, I think we need to find common ground on the history of both. As I reflect back on the bust, what I see is a bust in irrationally exuberant investments in a large number of companies that didn’t survive. However, plenty did manage to build sustainable businesses along the way. A few that come to mind include Google, Craigslist, and Yelp, who each provide consumers access to businesses and businesses to consumers at lower costs. At the same time, yellow pages companies have seen gradually declining revenues. No, not a bust, but a slow and steady shift of revenue away from their core products to new competitors or their own dot.coms.

    For people who’ve spent their entire lives using print yellow pages directories, it may in fact remain easier for them to rely on the technology they’re familiar with to locate local business information. Suggesting that it’s complete seems inaccurate considering that they’re up to more than a year out of date by the time the next one from a given publisher arrives while the web often relies on more up to date directories from the YP industry. For example, I marked two local restaurants as closed on Urbanspoon this weekend yet they’re both going to be in the print versions for another year.

    When people sit in front of a computer at work or home, the computer is clearly more accessible than print.

  10. Ed
    You are right all the way around. I have advertised with Dex in the yellow pages for the last four years. All four years they screwed something up in our ad. They still bilked us into paying for an ad that had mistakes. Our call ins have dropped steadily from the book ad and have climbed steadily from our internet efforts. By optimizing our website to Google Ads, that is the way to go. Needless to say however, out of fear I again signed up for an ad with Dex for 2009-10. You know what happened? They printed the ad for the OLD company that we took over – and did not print OUR companies ad! Long story involved but trust me – the ad was ENTIRELY different than what we supplied to them to print. Different company name, contractor license, the whole ball of wax. They have offered me a fifty percent discount – for an ad that is NOT mine. What do you all think about that?
    By the way – our call ins todate this year are 90% referral or internet source vs. 10% yellow pages. Of the yellow pages I do get, we sell only 25% of those calls and have to compete based on price alone against every other company they called out of the book. In regard to our internet efforts (going through transition right now due to the change in the company owner/name issue) we sell 85% of those calls as folks have been referred and/or was able to search for security recommended or by particular keyword that is important to them – and they have time to learn about our company BEFORE even calling us. I don’t see anywhere in the yellow pages that someone can read positive referrals about us in order to decide on who to call and who not to call.

    One Guys Opinion

  11. Wow…. although I don’t really understand the 1 month comment, I love the defense from YP when someone speaks negatively about the “print yellow pages.” If you are so innocent, why did you allow accounting and stock fraud? You also cannot defend the industries practice of saturation distribution. They need to move towards an OPT IN subscription based model.

    How about offering an incentive to request a copy of the book? Partner with advertisers and pay for services rendered. Earn points for using the book. Think of the innovation of DirectBuy showrooms for saving consumers pricing with subscription or member benefits.

    Nope.. the yellow pages and Andy Shane are holding on for dear life. Meanwhile I am shocked at what is going on at the company. No real innovation. The wrong crony leadership. It was a better company when they had the duopoly in printing phone books.

    Mike Stewart
    -former Idearc Media Consultant for 9 years and 3 months-

  12. When I receive the Verizon and Yellow Book directories I always throw them away (recycle) and keep the Dex directories. They are much more complete.

  13. @Richard, I think that will vary based on market share in various markets around the country.

    I have to ask: If you don’t use them, why haven’t you unsubscribed from the Verizon and Yellow Book directories?

  14. , As a delivery and verifier employer, (private contractor) for the three mentioned phone books, with the exemption of the dex phone book , I have found out that distribution companies ,who are hired by the publishers of said books ,operate with distribution maps or lists that are not updated and have not been for 10 years example; addresses that do not exist duo to geographical changes , such as new construction,or additions , busnisses that no longer exits or change of address that have not been up dated .also operate with total disregard for local ordenances or laws that prohibit the distribution of advertising material . by doing so , makes the public unfriendly to the saturation distribution of said books ,distribution companies ,insist that delivery personal trespass on private property to deliver door to door the phone book , also deliver to residents that have requested not to be delivered ,other wise the said delivery person would then not get payment for said delivery ,instruction to deliver this materiel should be as the public wishes ,at no time should instruction to deliver, place the delivery person in compromising situations in order to collect payment , in most cases a person delivering this books do not get payed in accordance with state laws for hours worked , if delivery person discloses correct amount of hours worked distribution company will not offer person any more work and will not pay for persons disclosed total .Books are payed in private contractor statues in order to avoid paying the workers commp .or state or federal taxes .
    While the executives of said companies drive new cars and live in very expensive homes ,the carriers often sleep in their cars or vans to deliver this books ,and in our present economic situation nation wide ,the distribution companies have found a small percent of people who will summit them selves to the practices of this companies in order to make a living .Another topic of the business is the amount of phone books not delivered and end up at recycle centers do to dishonest delivery carriers and unable to deliver because of public perception therefore enhancing waste .Imagine all of the wasted paper .should anyone need or desire more facts feel free to email me at rjaime6@hotmail.comm.

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