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Jay Leno makes fun of Yellow Pages April 1, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Business, Humor, Random, Web, Weblog.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote this post about the new telephone books arriving — with Yellow Pages — and referenced some statistics I read when surfing an article on MSN about the same topic. I had no idea I would be visited by the editor of the Yellow Pages industry website, YP Talk — his name is Ken Clark.

I don’t know if my quotes of the MSN article bothered him or it was the number of people all over the world cutting back on their use of the phone book (including Yellow Pages), but he definitely seemed upset when he left me a comment here. Then, on his website he wrote:

“Bloggers continue to tell everyone that will listen to them that THEY NEVER USE A PRINT YELLOW PAGES, and are astonished that any Cretan would ever need one.”

I get the impression that Mr. Clark doesn’t like bloggers who share their opinions or observations. That’s too bad. It’s unlikely that they will stop sharing their thoughts any time soon. I would think that fighting the bloggers would be a losing battle. But, that’s just this bloggers opinion, which isn’t worth too much.

Phonebook on door stepSo, back to the title of this post… just a few minutes ago Jay Leno made a funny joke on the Tonight Show (NBC). He was making fun of the Yellow Pages and said, “Yellow Pages is for the three people who don’t have the Internet.” Then, he went on to say, “And, who doesn’t like picking the phonebooks up from the driveway after a week of rain?” Apparently, it’s not just my opinion that phonebooks are used less and often abandoned at the front door.

My guess is most of those phonebooks are not picked up because they are not needed nor wanted in some homes. Eventually, they are moved from the driveway to the trash can, never entering the house. Again, that’s just my guess. Of course, I’ve done that myself and just this week I watched my neighbor do that. I took the photo in this post before they threw away the phone book. It had been sitting there for more than a week.

It seems things are pretty bleak in the phone book advertising industry. Mr. Clark also wrote…

“Guess that Armageddon has finally arrived in the Yellow Pages Industry. Time to fold the tent and move on to a new industry, new jobs, a new life. Be honest, many of you believe that don’t you? If so, you best stop right here, go find a job in another industry because we really don’t need you here.

My guess is that people who sell advertising for Yellow Pages are seeing declines in the effectiveness of advertising in phone books and agree with Mr. Clark so they are quickly running to another industry where they might be able to make more money. It would seem that the only people making money are the printing companies that get paid for all of those phonebooks that are never read and sometimes are thrown away before they enter the house.

Mr. Clark, don’t take yourself too seriously. My previous post was meant to be amusing. And, I took the facts from a reputable source (well, mostly reputable), so I’m not sure why you have a problem with me… take this up with MSN if you disagree with their findings.



1. Pedro Pinheiro - April 2, 2008

The portuguese Yellow Pages company has been quite innovative and they have made (or are making, as there still are printed editions) the transition to the internet. Their website, at http://www.pai.pt, is very popular and useful. Armando Alves sums it up on his article here: http://www.asourceofinspiration.com/2008/03/31/yellow-pages-are-not-dead/
The massive waste of paper, such in unwanted phone books or in the zillion free “newspapers” that have appeared in the last few years is a very inelegant solution in this day and age.

2. Yellow pages - DrBacchus' Journal - April 2, 2008

[…] wrote more about yellow pages, and linked to this posting by Yellow Pages self-proclaimed cheerleader Ken Clark.I found […]

3. Moose - April 2, 2008

I used the yellow pages…


the 2000’s sometime….

I distinctly remember….

What was I looking up??

No, maybe it was the 1990’s…

4. Mitch G - April 2, 2008

Matsu – Great postings!

Good for you. We caught the Leno joke too, as did the entire yellow page industry. Our copy is already on our anti-YP Blog for business owners.

Those were the same types of jokes facing the photographic film industry too, before it hit the dust. Smart people understand the phone books are dinosaurs. Guess I’m extra erudite because our new blog, monitoring the demise of the traditional yellow page directories is called: YellowPage the Dinosaur – http://blog.yellowdinosaur.net/

Guess we’re expecting a call from Ken Clark at the Yellow Page Association too. Then again, as a client of one of the nation’s most prominent law firms, I eagerly await their call. Let the Games begin, and we’re not even into the summer Olympics yet.

My website lists names, dates and broken contracts with AT&T Real Yellow Pages that forced us to disband our traditional display buys for Internet and other more modern promotions, like reaching out though social marketing sites.

5. Ken Clark - April 2, 2008

Matsu & the rest of the boys:

And here I thought all of you bloggers were just one dimensional.

No doubt the Internet gives anyone with a keyboard and ten spare minutes time to voice any opinion they want. You’re certainly allowed. It’s the wonderful privilege we get to enjoy in this country. So enjoy a healthy debate. It’s what made this country the great place it is.

But I think the 50,000 or so people that work in the industry and the millions of advertisers that find the media to be a powerful advertising source for their businesses would just like to be sure the discussion is a fact based one. If you’re going to quote a source that is in error, you shouldn’t be surprised that someone will call it to your attention. How you then choose to use that information is obviously totally up to you.

Dr Baccass Journal: the research you don’t want to believe is from two reputable research organizations that do research for several media, not just Yellow Pages. So what would be their motive to misrepresent the results??

And Mitch G — I’m sorry you are having issues with AT&T, but please understand YP Talk has no affiliation with the Yellow Pages Association, it is a totally separate business and not even a member of the association.

Peace be with you.

6. Matsu - April 3, 2008

Mr. Clark, I am sorry that you think that being offensive is a good way to fight to keep a shrinking industry from shrinking any further. It might surprise you that virtually nobody reads this blog, so when I wrote my first post asking the question whether or not the printed phone books will be going away in the future you didn’t have to respond. But, you did. The result is my readership has tripled.

Now you followed that comment up with an even better one (i.e. more offensive). By referring to bloggers as “boys” and “one dimensional” you show what you think of people (men and women) who freely express their opinions through blogging.

You might be interested to know that I am not against phone books any more than I’m against printed copies of the dictionary. I’m sure that in the future we will still have printed phonebooks. Though, I sincerely hope I won’t get six copies of the phonebook delivered to my house every year. That would be an awful waste of resources.

I said it before, but I feel I must say it again, you take yourself way too seriously. And, you take my posts too seriously. I think you would probably be more effective if you employed more humor in your website or the comments that you post on blogs that mention the decline of phone books or phone advertising or Yellow Pages. But, then again, that’s just my opinion.

Finally, as strange as it seems, the desperation in your writing (both your comments here and your posts on YPtalk.com) and the obvious outcome of your battle with the decline of your industry reminds me of Don Quixote of La Mancha — tilting at windmills. I wish you luck!

7. Matsu - April 4, 2008

Hey, I’m not the only one that’s written about phone books recently.
Check out this blog post:

That person was also “visited” by Ken Clark.

8. Felicia - April 4, 2008

Mr. Matsu, boy, I think you and your geeky friends are being a little too rough on Mr. Clark….you are totally looking down your high tech noses at the Yellow Pages…a book holding a position of great importance in the home and commanding a special place …somewhat like the family Bible….

I want you to know that I would still use the Yellow Pages routinely were it not for the fact that I usually cannot get to the book because it is being used for a pedestal where my cat perches daily on the buffet in the kitchen so that he has a good view of the birds on the feeder in the back yard. I know that is a long, run-on sentence, but you get the general idea.

Mr. Matsu, boy, how about being a little more considerate when poking fun at the Yellow Pages and Mr. Clark. After all, some day your favorite lap top computer may be a nice plant stand for a little old lady…like me.

9. Matsu - April 4, 2008

Falicia — thank you for your comment. You are right! I had not given sufficient thought to the many (many) useful things you can do with a phone book (Yellow Pages or White).

A pet perch certainly would be a valuable (and inexpensive) way to take advantage of that heavy book. I understand that a famous pianist once traveled with his own phonebook to sit on during a concert tour (he must have been short).

You have given me much to think about. Thank you for expanding my horizons.

10. Bill - April 4, 2008

Since this whole topic started with some Jay Leno humor directed towards the yellow pages (full disclosure alert…I am in the yellow pages industry…), I thought that you all may find it interesting that Jay Leno has been featured on the cover of the Glendale/Burbank Yellow Book for the past two years. If I were Jay, I’d be understandably miffed if my face was the one sitting in the wet, rainy driveway.

11. kc - April 10, 2008

Consumers can now “opt out” of receiving telephone books at http://www.YellowPagesGoesGreen.org. This organization will contact the publishers and inform them to stop delivering books. This is a free service for consumers. http://www.YellowPagesGoesGreen.org is working with state and local governments on ordinances concerning the delivery of unsolicited telephone books. http://www.YellowPagesGoesGreen.org is not against the telephone books but against the delivery of 4 to 5 pounds of paper on people’s door step 5 to 6 times per year and being told it is our responsible to recycle something we did not ask for. If we need a book we will call. Otherwise I “opt out” from receiving it. Here are phone numbers of the publishers if you would like to call them instead: The directory publishers listed make it possible for you to stop receiving their books, but they don’t make it easy. None of the menu options includes “opting-out”. Follow the roadmap and you should get to a customer service representative who can help you.

— ATT/ Yellow Pages: 1-800-479-2977
— Verizon: 800-555-4833, press 4, then 5, then 2
— DEX: 1-877-243-8339, press 2
— Yellow Book: 1-800-929-3556, press 2

12. LuvLife - April 16, 2008

I use the yellow pages???!! Great blog. I love deep thinkers. As a note, check out this blog: http://blogrdie.wordpress.com (not my blog)! Thought that you or readers may like to read it???? What is the WORLD is this blog all about? End of the World type stuff (Armageddon), WAR, Politics, Religion, Time Travel?! Or someone is driking too much!! (LOL) Again good content!

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