The name and concept of "yellow pages" came about in 1883, when a printer in Cheyenne, Wyoming, US working on a regular telephone directory, ran out of white paper and used yellow paper instead. In 1886, Reuben H. Donnelley created the first official Yellow Pages directory.
Today, the expression yellow pages is used globally in both English-speaking and non-English speaking countries. In the United States, it refers to the category, while in some other countries it is a registered name and therefore a proper noun. The term Yellow Pages is not a registered name within the United States and is freely used by many companies. Telephone directories using the Internet domain name "yellowpages.cc" (where cc is the ccTLD) exist in 75 countries.They are edited by many different phone companies and directory publishers, mostly independently.
A particular yellow pages is a print directory which provides an alphabetical listing of businesses within a specific geographical area (e.g. the Tampa Bay area, which are segregated under headings for similar types of businesses, such as plumbers). Traditionally these directories have been published by the local phone company, but there are numerous independent directory publishers. Some yellow pages publishers focus on a particular demographic (e.g. Christian yellow pages or business pages).
Yellow pages directories are usually published annually and distributed for free to all residences and businesses within a given coverage area. The majority of listings are plain and in small black text. The yellow-pages publishers profit by selling advertising space or listings under each heading. Advertising may be sold by a direct sales force or by approved agencies (CMR's). Available advertising space varies among publishers and ranges from bold names up to four color twin page ads ("double trucks").
Online business directories are branded as IYP or Internet yellow pages. On a broader scale, they can be classified as vertical directories. There are consumer oriented and business oriented varieties. Providers of IYP offer online advertising.
According to several reports the search term "yellow pages" was in the top 5 highest revenue generator of all search terms in Google's AdWords program in 2010. Experian/Hitwise reported in January 2011 that the search term "yellow pages" was one of the top 50 search terms across all search engines and all search terms(millions of search terms). This made "yellow pages" one of the most searched for things on the Internet in 2011.
The Yellow Pages Association said in February 2011 that 75 percent of adults in the United States still used print yellow pages and that for every $1 in investment, businesses returned $15.
IYP offers listings differently from standard search engines. Where search engines return results based on relevance to the true search term, IYP returns results based on a geographic area.
IYP is classified as a local search directory which provides content with the added ability to refine the search to find the needed service. The search engine prioritizes local businesses in its results rather than the results being dominated by regional or national companies. All services offer paid advertising options which typically offer preferred placement on search results pages.
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