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This week two things happened that made me think about the Yellow Pages.

How userful are the printed Yellow Pages?

The first was walking my daughter to school and seeing Yellow Pages sitting on letter boxes and in drive ways in the drizzle. It is questionable how useful a printed Yellow Pages is now, but once it has been soaked there is little doubt as to how useless it is. Why they deliver in the rain and don’t protect it in some way is beyond me.

I can not remember the last time we checked the printed Yellow Pages. They now have the reduced local version, but the horse has bolted. So that’s strike one for the Yellow Pages.

Historical Yellow Pages online advertising

I remember talking to the Yellow Pages reps over the last couple of years as they tried to convince me to sign up for their various online packages. These packages were thousands of dollars, but gave me the chance to have my details there, some photos, and effectively a mini little web site. My thoughts on the matter were here.

The only problem was – who cares?

Google dominated the search engine market. People weren’t using the Yellow Pages any more. So paying for a listing in the Yellow Pages online was, to me, a waste of money that was better spent on my own web sites and SEO efforts.

The “new” Yellow Pages

But this all appears to have changed again. I was contacted by a Yellow Pages rep letting me know that my online information was not up to date. I could now enter my web site, items that I sold, hours of business etc etc etc. In fact, the Yellow Pages wanted to know the ins and outs of what I do.

I think this has come about for a number of reasons:

1. They finally realised that they need to offer people more than just a phone number if they want people to click on them. So if you can have all the key information like hours of business and brands then it is worth going there.

2. Why pay for adding this information to your yellow pages listing when no-one uses it, and it can all be on your web site?

3. They need to prove to Google that they are actually useful

Yellow Pages, Google and Social Feedback

It is on the last point that I think Yellow Pages are now becoming interesting again. With the ability for people to leave reviews on companies, Yellow Pages is one of the few places where you can actually tell if a company is a “company” and not just a web site front. They also provide a method for the public to leave a rating.

So is Yellow Pages now in the unique position of telling Google who is a legitimate company and what their reputation is like?

That information must be worth a fortune.

So it is no wonder that Yellow Pages is now actively trying to get us all to update our information. They want to be seen as the experts on company information again.

And it’s not so that you or I will think they are still worthwhile, but to ensure that Google thinks they are relevant.