August 16

Facebook or the Phonebook?




Within days of each other this week I received the latest editions of both the Yellow Pages and Thomson Local directories.

Two things struck me: Firstly, just how small both these directories now are (you can see in the incredible shrinking yellow pages in the picture). Secondly the copies of these directories I received 12 months ago were both still in their cellophane wrappers.

Who Still Uses Yellow Pages?

These local directories used to have a virtual monopoly on discovery of local products and services. Today their business model has been annihilated by a combination of Google Local and social media. Instead of looking up a business and trying to pick one based on the ads, we can all now easily ask for recommendations from trusted friends on social media, or scan reviews on Google Local. And I find each platform works best in different scenarios:

  • Facebook is great for general recommendations, often in my locality
  • Twitter works best when I am looking for recommendations around my niche interests (software and IT products) and I don’t care whether the service is local to me
  • Google Local – I’ll go to Google if I don’t get anything useful from one of my friends on social media, or I need an answer right now and can’t wait for a response

All my directories are now in the recycling bin. I just wish I could opt out of receiving them in the future.

Do you still advertise in Yellow Pages? Have you used your copy in the last 12 months? I’d love to hear if it still has value.

About the author 

Mark Bower

Co-founder of Basingstoke startup @CubeSocial. Windows Azure developer, some-time blogger, social media geek & northerner down south. Google Profile

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  1. I now seem to use foursquare all the time in London for deciding where to eat or drink in whichever area I happen to be in. Whereas before I would normally go to somewhere common like Pret or Starbucks I can now easily discover all the really interesting and well rated independent places or small chains. Partly as a result Burritos have recently become a favourite!

  2. Interesting. I’ve never tried foursquare. Didn’t fancy the idea of checking in everywhere, but if you can use it for this scenario, it sounds like it’s worth a try.

  3. I only use the free option in YP and actually, have had three calls via it, two of whom turned into clients! But I agree, social media is far superior. Personally I use twitter and LinkedIn to connect with people and will always go there first if I need someone. I wonder how many more years YP and the like will even be printed…

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