ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The History and Evolution of Yellow Pages

Updated on June 14, 2016
Yellow Pages Logo Used by Many Companies
Yellow Pages Logo Used by Many Companies | Source

The History and Evolution of Yellow Pages

Growing up, every six months or so, a Dallas phone book with what seemed like a million yellow pages would show up on my family’s front doorstep, and get transferred to the shelf next to the phone. There it would stay, generally opened to some page or another, with some pages dog-eared for each different household need, until the next installment would arrive, conveniently, six months later. Until I was much older, I didn’t even think about where they came from, or even the extreme wealth of information contained in those pages, but yellow pages directories are a part of our culture that evolved from technology, and now is having to evolve with technology.

Useless?
Useless? | Source

The Creation of Yellow Page

Like most cultural beginnings, yellow pages directories were created by random circumstances. A printer in Cheyenne, Wyoming, happened to run out of white paper when creating a directory for the area in 1883. This caused the printer to use yellow paper instead, and the trend of yellow-paged business directories was born.

Three years later, in 1886, the first official yellow pages directory was made by Reuben H. Donnelly. Creating his marketing company, he was contracted with the Chicago Telephone Company to make an index of business names and telephone numbers for the customers of the telephone company. This service, allowing phone customers to have a wealth of communication and business information at their fingertips was a huge success (Donnelly’s company is still in business, now known as DexOne today).

The company, expanded rapidly throughout the United States, rival companies such as Yellowbook popped up, and the idea even spread to over 75 countries. Countries such as Belgium, Slovakia, Japan, Ireland, and even Peru and Argentina use their own versions of yellow pages! This global phenomenon was the perfect solution in the print age, for a compilation of business information all in one place.

The Internet and Print Media

From the late 80s to early 2000s, the internet slowly gained traction and usage. As the internet became more useful and user-friendly, the information users could find on the internet became limitless! However, this eventually proved to be the downfall for printed yellow pages. Though databases could be easily used to compile databases, the physical yellow pages were soon becoming obsolete. When business information became available to consumers as quickly as an internet search, printed directories were just no longer a viable option.

One of the concerns of yellow pages directories, as with many other forms of print media, is the vast quantity of paper resources being used. While many households used their phone books, others completely disregarded them and that posed a point of contention for many environmentalists against yellow pages companies.

Combining the rise of the Internet with environmental concerns, the yellow pages industry was looking at grave declines in advertising revenue and usage of yellow pages, and the industry feared that they were becoming quickly obsolete.

However, in the mid-2000s, print media yellow pages gave way to the future of information: online yellow pages! Just as yellow pages hit new profit lows, they adapted to the changing technological climate and many companies moved their services online. Now, many local online business directories can be found easily from any home computer.

YP Usage

Where do you go to find phone numbers?

See results

Yellow Pages Apps

As technology continues to advance and develop, so must informative resources. Local Business directories now have to be available not only online, but in an app to conveniently be available from any mobile device. As the world continues to be on the go, the information that we have used for decades has become lighter, mobile, and more efficient.

As part of an industry and cultural phenomenon that has lasted for decades, the yellow pages lives on, just in a streamlined, less bulky form. With a few taps of the finger, we can now enjoy the same Yellow Pages, just without all the bulky paper and with so much more information!

The following data on cell phone usage trends paints a better picture of the ever increasing mobile world, and the dependence on having information always at the tip of your fingers.

Total Number of Cell Phone Users

Year
Global Users
US Users
2014
6.9 Billion
316 Million
2012
6.3 Billion
305 Million
2010
5.3 Billion
285 Million
2008
4.0 Billion
261 Million
2006
2.7 Billion
230 Million
2004
1.8 Billion
185 Million

Take advantage of online directories that guarantee valuable results like the example below.

And if you're wondering how you can use those old paper phone books that keep getting delivered to your door step, yet never get used. Head on over to this informative hub for some creative ideas.

Find Ratings for Local Businesses

Online Business Directory Listings w/ Map
Online Business Directory Listings w/ Map | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)