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June 15th, 2001

Yellow Pages: Dial M for Molasses

The physical Yellow Pages will likely not be with us in the same capacity five years from now. They’re bulky, waste a lot of paper, and fall out of date quickly. However, in order for the paper versions of the big directories to go the way of the dinosaur, one thing will have to happen first…

Their online presence will have to not suck.

I use my former roomate as an example. For longer than a year after he moved out of our townhouse, he was still listed in all the online directories as living at that location. Now, he’s moved again, and several months after the fact, his information is still not updated from his previous residence. As far as I’m concerned, an online directory is pointless if it’s not updated more frequently than the print directory. Incidentally, this is using Verizon’s own Superpages.com.

For an even worse experience, try the horrendous interface of Yell.com, maintained by the people that put out one of the Yellow Pages’ few competitors. Good luck finding any information here. It’s not even clear that it’s a strictly business search.

And while I loved AnyWho’s reverse lookup function, now that it’s owned by ATamp;T, it serves no greater purpose than either of the two above sites.

Someday, online phone directories will be up-to-date, with no more than week’s lag time. Until then, it’ll be a combintation of online reference, bulky books, and the ever-present 411. -ram

Posted in Miscellaneous

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