The thing about the Yellow Pages

Tim Manners talks about local search in today’s Reveries. On a lark, I went to Google Search: magic near 10706

and to Yahoo! Yellow Pages

to look up magic stores near my house. Why? Well, there’s a magic store in my little tiny town, which is weird.

Neither site found it.

Yahoo did, on the other hand, find an escort service and put it right up top. Sigh. Google wasn’t any better.

The Yellow Pages works for a few important reasons:
1. it’s usually a monopoly. Concentration of attention makes it worth advertising in.
2. The advertisers make the book. It’s so expensive, it’s not worth running a dumb ad. Besides, they have thousands of editors, working hard to make sure no one is cheating.

I have no doubt that one day the Yellow Pages will be digital. I just don’t think it’s going to be that easy to replace all those salespeople and all those dead treest.