Internet yellow pages are the digital equivalent of traditional printed yellow pages that can be found in phonebooks or as a separate telephone directory. Yellow pages, by definition is a form of directory, where “business products and services are listed alphabetically by field along with classified advertising” (WordNet).
There are a few differences between advertising in traditional yellow pages and Internet yellow pages. First, updating an advertisement on Internet yellow pages is fast, whereas adverts on traditional yellow pages can only be updated when a new phonebook is printed. Second, the worldwide revenue from printed yellow pages amount to around 80 percent of the total revenue for the yellow pages industry, which is estimated at 29.5 billion US dollars for 2006. Meanwhile, the revenue from Internet yellow pages is less than 20 percent of the total revenue for the yellow pages industry. (Kelsey Group 2002.) With advertising sales being the main source of revenue for the yellow pages industry, it is safe to declare, based on the numbers above, that the printed yellow pages are more saturated with advertisements than their online equivalent. This makes adverts on Internet yellow pages stand out better. Third, IYPs have started implementing a pay per click model on their listings, which means that instead of paying a lump sum for the advert, advertisers will only pay a certain bid amount when their listing is clicked. Verizon Superpages was the first IYP to launch a pay per click program on March 1, 2004 (Mara 2004).
Yellow pages continue to be the number one choice of advertising for small and medium-sized businesses and the revenues are estimated to grow to US$36 billion by 2008. Below is a graph that illustrates the dominance of the yellow pages industry in SME advertising (Sterling 2004).
% of Current Advertising Methods
Used by Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
Source: Kelsey Group/ConStat, Inc. 2003