Out with YellowBook.com

As you know every once and a while I will jump on here and include some information about business, just recently I posted a more personal look into one of my business’s in my “[intlink id=”2617″ type=”post”]Extreme Tan and Smoothies June Recap[/intlink]” article. That was really the first time we have ever exposed any type of business data for Extreme Tan and Smoothies, especially since it is a privatley owned company.

Most of my business related articles feature a business tip of some sort or maybe a look inside [intlink id=”1456″ type=”post”]one of the ways we saved money[/intlink] in one of our own business’s. Being a business owner in today’s world with the current economic times you are constantly forced to look for new ways to generate revenue as well as reduce costs in order to stay competative.

Another huge challenge for business owners is keeping a brand in the public eye while still trying to navigate the crappy economy, and doing it without spending a fortune.

There are all kinds of [intlink id=”2376″ type=”post”]different ways to advertise your business[/intlink] and keep the name out there without spending a fortune, there are also plenty of advertising area’s that seem inexpensive and for good reason, lack of results.

In a little over a years time I have written about numerous forms of advertising on my site, in addition to the many local area business’s that I review as well. Advertising is by far my favorite thing to do, I love starting ad campaigns from the ground up, and figuring the potential cost and profit of doing such ad campaigns. My palms sweat just thinking about putting a special on a Clear Channel Billboard from Mikey B, no really they do.

Anyway, before this post gets way out of hand the main reason for this article is to take a moment and review the experiences I have had with YellowBook.com and our advertising with them over the last few months.

Extreme Tan and Smoothies Yellow Book.com Ad
Extreme Tan and Smoothies Yellow Book.com Ad

When we first opened Extreme Tan and Smoothies we had a paid advertisment in the actual Yellow Book that was delivered to all of the local homes in the area, this was about five years ago and let’s just say that ad campaign was hardly worth it. A few months ago while we were in the height of our season and agressivley advertising we had a YellowBook.com representative come into the office pushing advertising in the online version of Yellow Book.com

My initial answer was of course absolutley not, especially after my first experience with them and how they have continued billing that is a major pain in the ass to get them to stop. After talking with the representative he assured me that the deal we signed would allow us to break out of it and cancel at any time, this sparked my intrest because I rarely ever sign contracts.

We decided to buy the top spot on all searches in the specific counties that we wanted the ad to appear when people plugged in a search on Yellow Book.com, I figured it would have to return some excellent results with a placement like that. Our spots continued to run through out the entire tanning season as well as the entire limousine season, we have yet to have any customer mention those ad spots for either business.

Now I will say that one of the hardest things to track when it comes to advertising is advertising placed in the Yellow Pages or any place that doesn’t offer some sort of redemption, like a coupon to make tracking easier. The spots ran for enough time that had the advertisment made that much of an impact we would have heard about it, this ad campaign was very much like the ad campaign we ran five years ago.

In addition to the poor return on investment from advertising with Yellow Book and Yellow Book.com over the years, there is also the billing practices that they follow that are honestly in my opinion, a complete joke. Just yesterday I watched Michele waste another phone call to Yellow Book to try and get an answer as to why we were still be charged for advertising, even though Michele has called to cancel the advertising on at least four previous occassions.

I wouldn’t doubt it for a second if there were a higher level representative in touch about this issue, the issue would probably have been solved a long time ago. The reality is that at some point we will just charge back the continued charges of something like $249 a month and be done with it, which honestly can’t be a great thing for Yellow Book.

Can someone explain to me how a massive company like Yellow Book thinks that not canceling billing upon request will actually be good for future oppratunties? I know one thing is for sure, Yellow Book will not be getting any future advertising dollars from any business we currently have or any future business we may go into, and you can bet there is no chance I will be referring anyone to use Yellow Book or any other phone book company for that matter.

Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this, especially if you are a small business owner and have had your own experience with Yellow Book.com or Yellow Book yellow pages. If you enjoyed this article please consider following me on Twitter or take a second to subscribe to my rss feed, it’s free!


I received a message at 4:30pm today from a representative of Yellow Book.com, I have returned the phone call and am awaiting a return call. As I have always said, in the event that someone from one of the companies I write about actually takes the time to resolve the problem, I will be more than happy to write an update along with the resolution.

Please keep in mind that ComCast resolved a complaint issue that a guest posted here on my blog, most of the other companies like ASD would rather walk away, let’s see what happens.

UPDATED 7.31.2009

Yellow Book Customer Service FAIL – a hysterical look at the cast of chracters in the comments below, most of which work directly for Yellow Book from their Regional Office in King of Prussia Penssylvania, this is a video.

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Yellow Book will run advertising even w/o your approval. Their salespeople engage in deceptive sales tactics. They will have you sign an “approval sheet” so they can show you an ad, but what you are really signing is a contract!
Then, just TRY and cancel it.
They did this to me, and I cancelled it, but did not cancel it THEIR way.
They sued me, and won!
Then, their attorneys went into my bank account, and stole my money.
Beware of Yellow Book!

Hey Chris, thanks for commenting. It’s nice to hear the perspective of someone who isn’t married into YB or currently working there (see most comments below). Better yet, it’s even better to see a small business owner with YB experience discuss it vs a bunch of uninformed clowns.

You said 98% of the population doesn’t use the phone book anymore…..
Why would business’s last year alone spend over 10 billion alone? Not saying yellowpages are the future of marketing, just get your facts straight extreme toilet. Maybe you could invest in a search engine marketing campaign that this respective company does currently for over 42,000 people. Your opinions are silly!!

Juice? That’s cute, and you’re going to throw stones at me? That’s funny.

As for the $10 billion that businesses are dumb enough to spend on YellowBook that’s their choice, if you think for one second that it proves usage or a need for the product you’re even more lost than I thought. Millions of people also bought the “New Coke” when it came out, but, much like with every shitty product or out dated product word got out and even the most stubborn of Coke fans couldn’t save it.

Move on, it’s an old post and if you’re looking to hang around the stone age, than I suggest finding another blog. One that’s still buying all the newspapers they can.

1) I would like to let everyone know that this is HIS blog so yeah I will have to say that he has the right to say whatever he wants. 2) My company has used yb.com, but FIRST I would like to address that I did do my research and have been studying SEO, HTML5, and everything else you can imagine when it comes to websites and search engines in general…I would like to say that it doesn’t happen overnight, even if you have a really great looking website, it does not mean that it will be on the top page or even the top five of a search engine (ex: Google). Someone that knows how to do SEO, to me, is amazing. It takes a LOT of work, a lot of coding, I can’t even begin to explain to you how much work I have done on my own website and when I decided (due to the fact that I did not have a lot of time) yb did the SEO for my website, we were able to get it to the top 10 in matter of weeks…I honestly was expecting it to take months. Also, I did my research as to location location location…it is SO important as to where you market, and yes, I have saved up for marketing and advertising so I believe it was a combination of the SEO/website and my location for marketing and advertising really helped my business. 3) I think it’s best if we all give POSITIVE criticism instead when it comes to talking about companies/businesses because it really does hurt the employees/the little guys..and most likely won’t hurt the top guys (management, etc.), however, by giving positive criticism, I think it really benefits because management DOES read these things and eventually will realize the mistakes that they are making, and maybe..realize that it isn’t the little guys’ fault but rather, theirs. Lastly…we all get hyped up and emotional when someone bashes someone…instead, we need to really think before we speak/write something down because it does reflect each and everyone of us..and I mean..this is HIS blog and he can say whatever he wants, it will reflect him, and not you. Have a great week everyone

Just to clarify, my previous comment didn’t really say anything about yellowpages being a contagious and relevant form of marketing in today’s connected world. All I was saying is that there are billions of dollars being spent on it. And to call business owners “dumb” for doing this is simply irresponsible and as I stated before a “silly” comment. I understand and most smart business owners know that there is a fierce transisition on how buyers are connected to sellers. While Internet hosts hundreds of marketing strategies that a business can implement print phone books still work in most markets. Does it work like it did ten years ago, obviously not. Most yellowpage companies have adjusted their prices accordingly. And remember every market is different. What method consumers use to find a business is based on how connected that particular market is. To sum up I recommend to advertise in print and online. How much you spend on each should be based on your particular market. Use a company that is transparent with your results. There are companies that can count and even record your phone calls to show without a doubt that you either have an roi or not. And as for yellowbook.com there is a website that shows it receives over 50 million unique monthly visitors. Who doesn’t want a piece of that!

There ya go Juice. Thank you for sharing your insight, I appreciate it as I’m sure others will too.

Right now I am trying to get a yellowbook360.com bundle or whatever the frick it is. I don’t plan on starting until jan of 13 but the books are getting printed in a few months. So far the service I have received has been horrible. I mean if you want to really slam yellow book I could throw up a site with all the email correspondence and repeated failing attempts at this incompetent girl to handle my account and draw up contracts. I’m suppose to pay $650 for a year for the bundle. I’m going to pay it all at once. Anyway we talked for hours before she wrote up a contract and emailed it to me. She botched almost every detail and aspect of my specifications according to add placement. When she sent the first contract with some made up number not even remotely close to the tollfree number I asked for and she said was confirmed. Anyway she sent me 5 more contracts or so and promised me 2 numbers… fucked them both up. Even just made up numbers…. I blew up on her today and now I am supposedly dealing directly with her manager and he is handleing my case. I’m telling you though this girl needs fired, thats how rediculous it was. Just let me know if you want to see some really stupid yellowbook action.


IMHO, the more stuff you can post about Yellow Book the better Lucas.
If it keeps one person from wasting their money, it will be worth it.

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