Internet: The New Yellow Pages

Things were very different not too long ago


Remember when a yellow page directory was the only way to find local resources from restaurants to movie theatres, plumbers to airline phone numbers? Even in the 90s, before Google or Yahoo, there were printed directories. I used to work in a bookstore (actual printed books) and one of the most popular books was the Rough Guide to the Internet, which explained how the Internet worked and included a directory of top sites.

It's all online

Times have definitely changed. The Pew Internet report “Where people get information about restaurants and other local businesses” finds that the majority of people find this information online. This is especially true for the young, educated and tech-enabled.

We still rely heavily on word-of-mouth, but with social media it is so much easier to share opinions. Posting photos of a delicious meal or having a status extolling (or excoriating) a local contractor will spread your opinions much more broadly than simple chats with friends one on one. You can even go to Twitter or Facebook to specifically ask for opinions, which is much more efficient than asking your friends in person or on the phone.

We have Yelp to find restaurant reviews, local search on Bing, Angie’s List for trusted contractors and even just a basic search in Google to inform us. As we grow more accustomed to these online review sites, we also become more demanding. We want more local restaurant reviews in our own neighborhoods, more recommendations on good hardware stores and no longer want to wade through innumerable reviews of local auto repair shops when we are looking for a reliable mechanic.

Another good source

Your Patch site can be the source of reliable reviews from truly local sources. If you have a go-to pizza place or salon, share it with others. The more you share, and the more your neighbors share, the more useful the directories become. And businesses can also add their information so that it is easier for new customers to find them, which is yet another way that things have improved from the days of having to wait until the new phone books arrive.

Ben Glass February 15, 2012 at 06:24 PM
You are right, it is the new Yellow Pages but most business owners don't "get" how complex really good marketing on the Internet can be...its not just "put up a website and then cash check!" Now, as you point out there are so many resources on the Internet that it is difficult to know what do to first. Do I update my Facebook page, tend to my Yelp site or go make a video for YouTube? Thanks for the article.
Sally Spangler April 19, 2012 at 05:27 PM
There is in Lorton, The Parcel Plus. The man who runs the shop, doesn't advertise, I don't believe. He not only wraps and sends packages by the professional package carriers, Fedex and UPS, but will mail them in the snail mail fashion, if you so desire. A pleasant man who also copies photos on CD but other things as well. Mr. Arvin's shop is between two small restaurants and just up from the Lorton Post Office. Web Site: www.parcelpost.com 703 339-5389. The website can tell you what I can't - the actual address! The PARCEL POST is on the upper part of the building. Keep a local business iin business!


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