… so please stop paying for it!

There is a rumor going around right now that spurred this post. A rumor in marketing circles, that AT&T – one of the biggest phone book providers in the US – is no longer going to publish a physical phone book.

While I can’t confirm the rumor, if this IS true I have two guesses as to why…

1) The number of people actually still paying to advertise in phonebooks is no longer justifying the cost of sending them out… OR

2) Google bought AT&T, and you can’t do Adwords in print. (This wouldn’t happen…)

I know which one I would put MY money on.

These days, the only real benefit to purchasing a listing in the yellow pages is getting an online listing. Unless of course your product ONLY serves techno-phobic senior citizens, in which case the yellow pages may in fact be the only way to reach them.

But I’m sure that even they have technologically savvy children and grandchildren who can look things up online for them.

What does this mean? The yellow pages are dying a slow and painful death. The phonebook will be no longer, very soon. In fact, I just received the 2011 phonebook – and it is *half* the thickness of the 2010 book.

Why? Because no one is advertising in it anymore.

They just aren’t getting the ROI that they used to. More and more businesses are just taking the free text listing that comes with their business phone line, and leaving it at that.

If your customers want more information, they can find it online – from places like Google Local, to your online Yellow Pages listings, and even your own website.

We almost lost newspapers. We almost lost television. We’re about to lose the phonebooks. Truly, the internet has changed the way we do business – the internet has changed the world.

Just something to consider next time that Yellow Pages sales rep sends you an email.