Yellow Pages Association Letter to Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting letter to the editor about yellow page advertising from the President of the Yellow Pages Association, Neg Norton (Sat Nov 22, 2008).

The letter show "they still don't get it."

With rare exception, the lawyers in our mastermind and coaching groups are reporting cutting back on yellow page spending due to diminishing returns.

Mr. Norton makes an astonishing statement that "Yellow Pages are universally used." Huh? By who. Except for looking up the phone number of a restaurant (not searching to find a restaurant) I can't think of a single instance where my family has used the yellow pages in years.

Mr. Norton then goes on to make a pretty common mistake when he says "no other advertising medium generates new and qualified sales leads as effectively as the yellow pages."

Here's the mistake: its not the medium, its the message. All media can be made to work but its a mistake to think that, with most businesses, one medium is better than another, everything else being equal.

For lawyers, most consumers are looking on the internet (but not, as Mr. Norton asserts, by going to They are going to Google.

Ben Glass
Great Legal Marketing
Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.
I have just discovered the I "automatically renewed" by not responding to a letter YP says it mailed to me in July 09. To cancel, I would have had to send them a "certified letter". I never got a letter from them. I wonder why their letter to me was not sent "certified". Then I would have known such a letter was ever mailed. For 15 years they would call; set an appointment to meet; we'd meet and discuss any changes; I would initial the changes; they would mail me the agreement; I would sign date, and mail it back. Later I would get a thank you letter for renewing. But not this year. No call, no meeting, no letter and no thank you letter. They kept this covered up. I still have not been told for the new unsigned contact costs. I asked for a copy to be FAXed to my office. Nothing has been sent. The call center guy said that "due to the economy down turn they had to change some of their previous sales practices." Openness was apparently not included. No representative has ever notified me of the inclusion of an "automatic renewal" in any contract I have signed with them. I am not paying them a dime in 2010 and am looking for a class action by someone somewhere.
by James Murphy October 17, 2009 at 03:40 PM
I just recently did a Restaurant Yellow Pages Usage & Trends Survey with over 200 restaurant owners and found that "a whopping 60% have decreased their YP spending over the past two years, downgrading their listing from a display ad to a bold listing, or from a bold listing to free listing." Your can read more of the survey at .
by Joel Cohen November 23, 2008 at 07:14 AM
Ben, Great article in the WSJ-- I hadn't see the YPA response. DEX (RH Donnelly) has been banging my clients on automatic renewals-- and they're renewing at double the rate in some instances, plus tacking on additional items. Sounds like a desperate, "burn bridges" tactic to drive temporary revenues. You can see our client blog at to read more. great site, by the way! Dennis
by Dennis Yu November 22, 2008 at 11:04 PM
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