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Bill Gates on Yellow Page Usage

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Yellow pages have delivered a significant number of customers to small businesses over the years. As a result, ad placement in yellow page books has been a longstanding priority for many industries. Even today, some industries (like ones that involve fixing broken technology) benefit greatly from listing in the yellow pages.

That said, the tide is turning. An increasing number of young people are transporting their yellow page books directly from the porch to the recycling bin, as soon as they are delivered.

Recently, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates made the comment that "Yellow Page usage amongst people in their, say below 50, will drop to near zero over the next five years."

How much of your business comes from customers aged 50 and below? If the percentage is in any way significant (and more than likely it is) advertising in yellow page books is tantamount to throwing money directly in the trash.

The days of landline telephones and yellow page books are quickly being replaced by a new era of smart phones and search engines. The present generation of customers is using the phone to look up business numbers. That is to say, the modern equivalent of a prominent yellow page ad is maintaining a website that is optimized for high search engine placement.