A few times a year, I find a copy or two of Yellow Pages directories sitting on my doorstep. Never mind that I haven't used one in several years, they just keep on coming, from multiple publishers. Personally, it's far easier -- and better -- to just search online for whatever I'm looking for. There's the easy access to maps, or the ability to go to a site like Yelp
and get other people's feedback and opinions on various businesses. While I imagine there's still a fair amount of people that use their Yellow Pages books, it's hardly surprising to read that several of the different publishers are close to going out of business
. Shares in two of the bigger companies, Idearc and R.H. Donnelley, have dropped 99 percent in the last year, reflecting their deteriorating business and the lack of faith investors have in their ability to survive. In some way, this is pretty interesting: the publishers for so long had valuable businesses with more extensive relationships with local business owners than anybody. But perhaps they took that for granted, assuming that those relationships would carry them through the rise of the internet. But their web sites have generally been miserable, especially when compared to the business directories created by internet companies. While some of the publishers are trying to beef up their online efforts, it's unlikely they'll be able to make up for their shriveling print revenues, meaning the Yellow Pages will soon be little more than memory.