YELLOW PAGES AND THEIR YELLOW BELLIED LIES
When I shared the story I am about to tell with a friend his response was “Yellow Pages? More like a bunch of yellow bellied frauds!”
In April of 2019 a Yellow Pages sales rep contacted me. This individual proceeded to dive into a well rehearsed script about the “wonderful” merits of the paid Yellow Pages advertising service and how it could help my roofing company based in Hamilton, Ontario. First of all, shame on me for even entertaining the call let alone the idea of giving them my business. I knew that Yellow Pages was a relic of a by gone era and had little relevance in the modern marketing world.
Against my better judgment (I suppose I was in a charitable mood that day) I allowed the sales rep to make his pitch. He regaled me with wonderful numbers from “case studies” which I am now convinced were entirely made up. He told me how similar clients see multiple hundreds of calls a year and thousands of interactions.
Fast forward a year and for $2,100 Canadian, Yellow Pages has generated a “whopping” 112 interactions and 30 calls. A nauseating $70/call. But wait…there’s more!
Peak Roofing is a mature roofing company with a marketing budget. As such, we are more than happy to spend money on effective advertising that works. The annual price of $2100 to advertise on Yellow Pages seemed affordable at the time. I reasoned that it could be worth being exposed to a different demographic than Google alone may provide. However…an affordable price for a terrible product is still a bad deal!!!!
Perhaps the real dagger though is the fact that not only do they charge an outrageous amount for atrocious results but they ALSO lock you into a 12 month contract. You are not allowed to kick them to the curb until the 12 months is over. Gee, I wonder why they have to force people into 12 month terms without showing them that the product works first.
As mentioned, in an entire year of service Yellow Pages managed to manufacture a paltry 112 interactions and 30 calls. Based on search traffic in my area via Google this could easily be accomplished in a week for less than half the cost by using Adwords. I brought up the abysmal level of traffic that Yellow Pages generated. The customer service rep had the audacity to tell me that the REAL problem was that actually I wasn’t spending ENOUGH money with them. According to him the solution to the fact that they were overcharging for a terrible product was to spend more money with them so that I could “gain more exposure on their platform”. Yellow Pages is completely disconnected from the needs of their customers not to mention common sense.
THE CUSTOMER SERVICE
The icing on the cake is the absolutely brutal and downright hostile customer service you will receive as soon as Yellow Pages gets your bank info. There is no direct line for Yellow Pages clients to contact them. You have to call their general line like the plebeian you are to them and go through 5 different automated menus before you get the pleasure of talking to an actual person.
I am not unreasonable and did not necessarily want to make a knee jerk reaction to the poor performance early on. However, it became abundantly clear that poor performance is just the status quo at Yellow Pages. I phoned to cancel.
When I finally got through to a real person I was told that he had to transfer me to “customer service” who would handle the cancellation. While waiting on hold for 15 minutes just to cancel I had plenty of time to understand where this was going. They were going to bring on yet another salesman to explain how the results really weren’t that bad and how I would be foolish to cancel. When someone finally answered the phone after 15 minutes on hold, the conversation went something like this:
Yellow Pages Rep: “How may I help you?”
Me: “What do you mean how may you help me, you put me on hold for 15 minutes after I said to cancel my service!”
YPR: “Why do you want to cancel?”
Me: “Because your product is overpriced, doesn’t work and your customer service is terrible!”
YPR: **proceeds to adversarially debate me for 15 minutes about how the results are as good as Google Adwords which I know to be false because I personally run my Adwords campaigns**
Me: I have to say I didn’t expect to have to be launched into a full fledged argument with you over cancelling my service. How hard is it to just cancel like I asked?
YPR: Fine, I guess I can put the request through to cancel your service.
Me: Great, thanks!
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
It isn’t just me who has had a bad experience either. Seemingly everywhere you look on the internet people are posting about terrible experiences they have had with Yellow Pages.
One testimonial from a Yellow Pages dental clinic client claimed that they had been charged $4,000/month for “SEO services” for 6 months. Yellow Pages had never even logged into the website a single time to perform those services!
It’s not just Yellow Pages clients who think Yellow Pages is a horribly run company either. Even their own employees think the company is terrible. According to one employe via a site called Glassdoor where employees can leave reviews regarding the companies they work for:
“As a former employee and top performer, this company is the absolute worst. We were fed tons of misinformation and put through sweatshop-like conditions. I can’t wait until the class action lawsuits come from not just the businesses who were ripped off, but by the employees who were screwed over. Anyone know another company with a 400%+ turnover rate in a single year?? The former VP of Sales (since disgraced and fired) claimed they would be bigger than Google in a few years. Completely laughable.”
Yellow Pages also has a long standing history of political corruption. They fought ardently against limiting distribution of the phonebook directories for a long time to preserve their own self-interest. This despite the fact it cost municipalities millions every year and most ended up in the garbage because doing so would hurt their ad revenue. Only 70% even got opened in 2015, much less so now.
Stay as far away from Yellow Pages paid service as you possibly can. Sure, use their platform to post a free listing. Why not? But beware that Yellow Pages uses these free listings as an excuse to contact you and solicit you to join their paid advertising service. I beg you not to make the same mistake I did and allow these crooks to steal money from you. It is a terrible product that is backed by even worse customer service if that was even possible.
I hope this blog will serve as a warning to anyone who was considering using them. Stay as far away as you possibly can and not allow Yellow Pages to steal your hard earned money!
Leave a comment below to share your personal story about the type of service you received through Yellow Pages!