Is it now time to knell the death of the yellow pages?

Back in July, I wrote a piece about the yellow pages for a series on things that are disappearing in America. That article brought a fair amount of criticism from industry insiders who said the business was thriving, and that if you include usage of online yellow pages, the business was actually growing. There were some business owners who said the yellow pages were vital to them. And there were plenty of us who said we have no use for the book (or the online yellow pages, for that matter).

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal supports my theory that the yellow pages business is dying a slow and painful death. When it became clear that the Internet was capturing some of their former users, the publishers of the directories started creating online yellow pages. That helped some, but apparently not enough.

One analyst says that spending on advertising in the print and online versions of the yellow pages will fall over 6% next year. That's twice as much as the expected decline in television advertising. The spending in the printed directories is expected to fall 39% over the next four years. Ouch.