Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages
The Australian Yellow Pages logo used by Telstra; as in most countries it includes the famous "Walking Fingers" icon.
Auckland 2004 Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages refers to a telephone directory of businesses, organized by category, rather than alphabetically by business name and in which advertising is sold. As the name suggests, such directories were originally printed on yellow paper, as opposed to white pages for non-commercial listings. The traditional term Yellow Pages is now also applied to online directories of businesses.

The name and concept of "Yellow Pages" came about in 1883, when a printer in Cheyenne, Wyoming working on a regular telephone directory ran out of white paper and used yellow paper instead.[1] In 1886 Reuben H. Donnelley created the first official yellow pages directory, inventing an industry.[2][3]

Today, the expression Yellow Pages is used globally, in both English-speaking and non-English speaking countries. In the United States, it refers to the category, while in some other countries it is a registered name and therefore a proper noun. The term Yellow Pages is not a registered name within the United States and is freely used by many companies. Telephone directories using the official internet address "Yellow Pages.xx" exist in 75 different countries.[4] They are edited by many different Phone Companies and Directory Publishers, mostly independent from each other.

In Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, and Romania, the "Yellow Pages" are known as the Golden Pages.

In Japan, the "Yellow Pages" are known as Town Page.

In Sri Lanka, the "Yellow Pages" are known as the Rainbow Pages, or the silver page.


In general

A particular Yellow Pages (YP) is a print directory which provides an alphabetical listing of businesses within a specific geographical area (e.g., Greater Chicago), which are segregated under headings for similar types of businesses (e.g., Plumbers). Traditionally these directories have been published by the local phone company, but due to the highly profitable nature of the business there are numerous independent directory publishers. Some YP publishers focus on a particular demographic (e.g., Christian Yellow Pages or Business Pages).

Yellow Pages directories are usually published annually, and distributed for free to all residences and businesses within a given coverage area. The majority of listings are plain and in small black text, usually in the Bell Gothic or Bell Centennial typefaces. The YP publishers generate profit by selling advertising space or listings under each heading. Advertising may be sold by a direct sales force or by approved agencies (CMR's). Available advertising space varies among publishers and ranges from bold names up to four color twin page ads ("double trucks"). Advertising rates typically increase every year regardless of distribution or usage fluctuations.

In the United States, the predominant yellow pages are DEX One's DEX, the AT&T Real Yellow Pages, Yellowbook, and the Verizon Superpages.

Yellowbook Logo used in the United States. Note the resemblance to the "Walking Fingers" logo.

Business listings used for publication are obtained by several methods. Local phone companies that publish YP directories rely on their own customer lists and include business listings that are provided by phone service providers (ILEC's). Business owners that utilize phone services other than the local phone company (typically a Bell Company) should make certain that their information has been sent to the publisher for printing in upcoming directories.

Advertising in YP directories requires payment in full prior to printing or may be billed monthly over the life of the contract, which is usually 12 months. Typically, a sales representative will assist the customer in creating their ad design and provides a Proof Copy for review and approval. Advertisers should be aware that many contracts have automatic renewal clauses and require action on the part of the advertiser to end future billing.

Yellow Pages print usage is reported to be declining with both advertisers and shoppers increasingly turning to Internet search engines and online directories. According to a study by Knowledge Networks/SRI, in 2007, print Yellow Pages were referenced 13.4 billion times, while Internet Yellow Pages references increased to 3.8 billion, up from 2006’s 3.3 billion online searches.[5] As a result most YP publishers have attempted to create online versions of their print directories. These online versions are referred to as IYP or Internet Yellow Pages. Independent ad agencies or Internet marketing consultants can assist business owners in determining sound opportunities for YP advertising and provide objective information on usage, possession and preferences.

Archived Yellow Pages and Telephone Directories are important tools in local historical research, trademark litigation[6] , and genealogy.

Current Canadian Yellow Pages logo.

The "Walking Fingers" logo was created by Henry Alexander[citation needed], a well known New England artist. Upon graduation from the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Mr. Alexander began a successful freelance career as an illustrator and commercial designer. He formed a long association with the New England Telephone Company lasting thirty-one years. In 1962 he designed the "Walking Fingers" logo and within a year it became the national trademark for the "Yellow Pages".

AT&T, the creator and owner of the most famous three-fingered version of the "Walking Fingers" logo, never applied for a trademark on the logo. While they eventually received a trademark on a different version of the logo, the version with the three fingers was not considered by AT&T to be proprietary and they in fact allowed any telephone directory to use it. [7]

Bell Systems later applied for a trademark on the logo but had their trademark denied on the grounds that it "had become a generic indicator of the yellow pages without regard to any particular source."[7] Shortly thereafter, Bell began using a trademarkable logo with a lightbulb instead of the walking fingers, but returned to the walking fingers two years later. [8]

In some countries, the familiar "walking fingers" logo is not protected as a trademark and may be used by anyone. This logo is used in varying forms by almost every YP publisher; however, there are companies that use it to imitate mainstream publishers. In Belgium, the Republic of Ireland, Israel and the Netherlands the directory, although using the Yellow Pages logo, is called "Golden Pages".[9][10]

Internet Yellow Pages

Online Yellow Pages are known as IYP or Internet Yellow Pages. On a broader scale they are known as vertical directories. There are consumer oriented and business oriented varieties. All providers of IYP offer online advertising.

IYP offers listings differently than standard search engines. Where search engines return results based on relevancy to the true search term, IYP returns results based on a geographic area.[11]

Studies by independent companies such as Nielson and comScore have shown that Internet Yellow Pages have a very slim percentage of total Internet searches. The majority, over 85% of all Internet searches, occur on the major search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing. These search engines also provide yellow page business listings as a part of their search results.

Advertising on IYP is typically available with numerous a la carte choices. These choices become small "individual sales presentations" which makes it easier for sales reps to sell large advertising packages.

The new version of IYP is classified as a local search directory which provides content with the added ability to refine the search to find the needed service. The new search engine now prioritizes local businesses in its results rather than the results being dominated by regional or national companies. All services offer paid advertising options which typically offer preferred placement on search results pages.

Environmental Concern

In recent years, the Yellow Pages industry has faced scrutiny from environmentalist groups who claim printed Yellow Pages are a wasteful resource, citing statistics that nearly 70% of all Americans rarely or never use printed phone directories[12]. The Product Stewardship Institute claims local governments spend $54 million a year to dispose of unwanted phone books and $9 million to recycle them[13] . Phone books use low grade glues and are therefore difficult to recycle, and they often clog recycling machinery.

San Francisco became the first city in the US to ban yellow page distribution in 2011[14] , but is being sued in federal court by the Local Search Association on freedom of speech grounds[15]. According to the Sierra club, 1.6 million phone books were distributed annually in San Francisco, producing 3600 tons of waste, $1 million in disposal costs, and 6180 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions[16] .

In Seattle, an opt-out program reduced circulation by 100,000 copies in 17,000 households.

See also

External Links


  1. ^ "R for recovery plan? Yell plots digital future". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  2. ^ "Yellow Pages - History of the Yellow Pages". 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  3. ^ "M E D I A * M A T T E R S * odds & ends". Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  4. ^ "International List of all official Yellowpages". 
  5. ^ New Research Shows Overall Yellow Pages Usage Growing -- 17.2 Billion Searches in 2007[dead link]
  6. ^ Brookman, Adam (2005 Supplement). Trademark Law: protection, enforcement, and licensing. Aspen Law and Business. pp. 10-34. 
  7. ^ a b "Bellsouth v. Datanational". Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  8. ^ "Bell System Memorial- Bell Logo History". Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  9. ^ "D Website". Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Local Search and Internet Yellow Pages – A Whole New vocabulary for Small Business Sales | Green Chair Marketing Group". Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  12. ^ "Website Lets You Opt-Out Of Yellow Pages Delivery". The Huffington Post. 
  13. ^ "Phone Book Project". Product Stewardship Institute. 
  14. ^ "San Francisco effectively bans the Yellow Pages". 
  15. ^ "Phone Book Industry Takes S.F.'s Yellow Pages Ban to Federal Court". 
  16. ^ "Sierra Club's position statement on yellow pages". 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Yellow pages — Yel low pag es, n. pl. a telephone book or part of a book in which the telephone numbers and often advertisements of business enterprises are listed in numerous sections, organized by the category of the business, the categories themselves being… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Yellow Pages — n also yellow pages AmE trademark (the) Yellow Pages a book that contains the telephone numbers of businesses and organizations in an area, arranged according to the type of service or goods they provide →↑White Pages …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Yellow Pages — ˌYellow ˈPages noun trademark a book that contains the telephone numbers of businesses and organizations in an area, arranged according to the type of business they do compare White Pages …   Financial and business terms

  • Yellow Pages® — noun A telephone directory, printed on yellow paper, which classifies participating subscribers alphabetically according to trades, professions, services, etc ● yellow …   Useful english dictionary

  • Yellow Pages — ► PLURAL NOUN (trademark in the UK) ▪ a telephone directory printed on yellow paper and listing businesses and other organizations according to the goods or services they offer …   English terms dictionary

  • Yellow Pages — ☆ Yellow Pages n. [also y p ] the section or volume of a telephone directory, usually printed on yellow paper, containing classified listings of subscribers according to business, profession, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Yellow Pages — TRADEMARK a large book containing the telephone numbers and addresses of businesses and organizations in a particular area …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • yellow pages — noun a telephone directory or section of a directory (usually printed on yellow paper) where business products and services are listed alphabetically by field along with classified advertising • Hypernyms: ↑phonebook, ↑phone book, ↑telephone book …   Useful english dictionary

  • Yellow Pages — I Yellow Pages   [Abk. YP, dt. Gelbe Seiten], Internet: im Telekommunikationsbereich eine Sammlung von Geschäftsadressen, die oft nach Fachgebieten, Orten und Namen gegliedert ist. Auch im Internet werden solche Adressensammlungen als Yellow… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Yellow Pages — Groupe Pages Jaunes Logo de Groupe Pages Jaunes Création 1908 …   Wikipédia en Français

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