Yellow pages advertising is expensive, especially considering its ever diminishing value, and in most markets there are multiple books, each taking some value from the others. The Blackbook is probably the best one here in Humboldt County—the YP has no white pages, and it’s hard to read, even though it’s a larger format, and the “Local Pages” is not local, and it’s out of date.

The job of the ad sales reps is to get you to spend money in every applicable category, but categories are everything in yellow pages — a full page for a plumber under “electricians” would be useless. The category could sound right, but still be useless: the Blackbook has a category for “internet—web design services,” but nobody looks for a web developer under “i”—and few people would even look for a web developer in the yellow pages. Try to think like your potential clients: would they look under this category? You should also ask, would they refer to the yellow pages rather than simply search online? Some businesses simply don’t benefit from yellow pages advertising — what benefit could a convenience store get from the yellow pages, for example.

There’s some value in all of these books for some business types, but if you are not a criminal attorney or an emergency plumber, you may not need the yellow pages.