“The Original Search Engine” Just Hit my (Real) Mailbox

I am so used to getting advertising pieces that are disguised as something more valuable that I almost immediately discarded one that was different — in an old-fashioned kind of way. Century Link just produced a telephone directory (remember those?) that it bills as “the original search engine” and, respectively, “the Real Yellow Pages” and “The Real White Pages”.

The latter get short shrift, with just 20% of the 80 numbered pages in this blast-from-the-past. That section is preceded by six pages of “phone service pages” — mostly stuff everybody already knows, but they had to pad the book out a bit, right?

Sadly, the very limited, very selective ad range in the yellow pages is of little practical use — when the alternative, via a simple web search, offers a far broader range of better-produced ads and references.

Poorly Written Ads

Some (if not many) of the ads in this yellow page offering appear to have been written by high-schoolers. Example: A half-page ad for a “home services” company bears the headline “COOL AD, HUH? EXACTLY!” The subhead reads, “Call Southern Trust Home Services to Stay Cool”.

Then there’s the law firm whose headline, on its two full-page ads screams “BANKRUPTCY — (It’s the only thing we do)”.

This company just goes bankrupt?? How do they stay in business??

Hardly surprisingly, the book is peppered with ads touting the benefits of “The Real Yellow Pages”. One says, somewhat doubtfully, “Did you know? US consumers referenced The Real Yellow Pages 3.7 billion times last year when they were looking for a local business.”

Since the year 2000, the percentage of American households with in-house internet access has more than doubled — from 41.5% to 86.6%. The US Census Bureau has reported that, as of 2020, there were 128.45 million households in the country. That means some 17.21 million households lacked in-home internet access going into this year.

That small share of the overall population much have been kept pretty busy accessing The Real Yellow Pages 3.7 billion times!

50+ years a writer, 80+ unique bylines. Two blogs have reached 60+ countries.