co Are Phone Books Obsolete? |

You don’t have to go back far in time to when anyone looking for a service in the U.S. picked up the phone book and dialed a phone number. Twenty years ago it was an every day occurrence. Even ten years ago most of us were still using phone books. Five years ago? We may not have picked up the phone book every time, but we still used it. Now? I wonder how many people even consult a phone book.

It may not even matter any more. The Yellow Pages industry is creating its own opt out service.

The argument is that online yellow pages saves trees. That’s good for the environment. So if you’d prefer to search online rather than using the print yellow pages, well, then opt out of receiving the print phone books. Makes sense, right? Except that by offering the opt out in the first place, the phone book industry could be channeling all of its business online. How long will it be before the phone book is completely obsolete?

I have to admit, this is a smart move on the industry’s part. They know many of us aren’t using the phone book. They know how many of recycle the phone book. If they can get a definitive answer on how many of us opt out of receiving it altogether, that will change the dynamic of the yellow pages industry completely. The economics will change. The whole world will change. Good or bad, that’s the way it is. And, of course, advertising will change. It already has.