This month, the final ever print editions of the UK’s Yellow Pages hit the doormats of Britain, ending 51-years of continuous publication.
The announcement of their cessation by owner Yell came back in 2017, but now with the final editions now delivered, this for me really marks the end of a 23-year battle between print and online media in the UK local search market, yell.com having been launched back in 1996 by then UK Yellow Pages owner BT.
The death of the printed Yellow Pages in the UK does not reflect in any way the health of the company which currently publishes it, they have diversified and of course still run the yell.com website, and are part of the online business marketing company Hibu.
On holding a final edition of the printed Yellow Pages in my hand last week, I took a moment to reflect on it. I vividly remembered the many conversations I have had with various business people over the years, who back in the day struggled to understand what the internet was becoming, and were brought kicking and screaming into the world of online adverting. In the defence of some of these people, I’ve been working in this industry a long time, and at least some of these conversations pre-date the founding of Facebook, although others were perhaps surprisingly much more recent.
Despite a well-worked pitch by the marketeers at Yell stating, “Yellow Pages final editions will be kept by local consumers for many years, giving great ROI” you can’t help but notice the tiny size of the final editions, in contrast to those back in the eighties and nineties which could land you in hospital, if one was mistakenly dropped on your foot. That said, the compact size of the final editions will make them nice ones to tuck away and keep, just to have one to look at again in the years to come.