The yellow pages are delivered this week – but are people still using them?
The 2021 edition of the Wellington Yellow Pages features listings of 18,000 local businesses and features Grant Plumbing’s Jim Cryan on the cover.
Around 176,000 copies of the Yellow Pages will arrive across Wellington this week, causing annual growls now about its environmental impact.
The Wellington Publishing accounts for 0.08 percent of all paper use in New Zealand, and nationally, the book accounts for 1.2 percent of total paper use each year.
Each year, its release raises questions about the need for a paper directory when the information is available free online, but 18,000 businesses still advertise on its pages in the Wellington area alone.
Yellow NZ distributes 2 million books nationwide containing listings of 154,000 businesses, as part of an agreement with the government to ensure fair access to emergency and essential information.
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Yellow’s customer experience manager June Hartel said the book was more user-friendly when finding a local business.
âNot everyone has superfast broadband in New Zealand, or is able to find the kind of hyper-local information they need when searching online.
âAdd to that the 34% of small businesses nationwide that don’t have an online presence, and the book plays a big role in building connections. “
According to Nielsen data, more than 70,000 searches are done in Wellington using yellow books each month. Seventy-seven percent of them translate into an action taken: a phone call, email, website, or store visit.
About 12 percent of Wellington’s households chose not to receive the book.
Print manager Robert Jane said the opt-out model was part of the deal with the government. âIf you are someone in the community who has digital access issues, or if you are elderly or disabled, a membership system can present a barrier to access. “
âFor households or businesses that would prefer not to receive a book, we have worked to make unsubscribing as quick and easy as possible, through our website or a QR code on the cover of the book. “
The books are made from forest by-products and are completely recyclable, specially designed to be made into products such as packing boxes, egg and fruit trays, and newsprint. Plastic wrap is recyclable at flexible plastic collection points.
Sustainability Trust chief executive Georgie Ferrari said she was surprised to find her own business was still advertised in the yellow pages – it didn’t align with her business goals.
She said the book should run on an opt-in rather than an opt-out model, and questioned whether the data on the number of searches was valid if it wasn’t known how many of them were being done by regular users.
âIt doesn’t send a very good message if someone’s business model is to just print thousands of them and deliver them whether people want them or not. “
Although it is completely recyclable, “we know that less than 10 percent of all plastics that can be recycled is recycled,” said Ferrari. âJust don’t create waste in the first place. “
Follow a Dominion Post newspaper as it passes through the Oji Recycling Plant in Seaview, Wellington, then to the Auckland Paper Mill.
On the cover of Wellington’s latest issue is Jim Cryan, owner of Grant Plumbing, which has advertised in the Yellow Pages for 25 years.
Cryan said the combination of digital marketing support and advertising was “crucial to the success of the business.”
Yellow offers print and digital marketing solutions for all businesses, starting with a free call with a marketing expert and a free print and online list.
In Auckland, Auckland Plumbers Group manager Andrew Durrans has monitored the profitability of yellow page advertising using a unique 0800 number in the ad for the past five years.
Cost-per-call data showed that it was 20% cheaper to advertise in the yellow pages than in Google Ads, but the total number of calls was dropping year by year.