How Long Has the Yellow Pages Been in Business?


Quick Answer

The Yellow Pages has been in existence well over a century. Ruben H. Donnelly produced the first Yellow Pages in 1868, the same year he founded the R.H. Donnelly Company. Initially publishing directories for Chicago, the company eventually moved to New York and published directories for all companies in the Bell System until it diversified. After bankruptcy in 2009, R.H. Donnelly returned as Dex One Corporation, which merged with SuperMedia in 2013 and operates as Dex Media as of 2015.

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Full Answer

The Yellow Pages offers directories with businesses listed by category rather than alphabetically. This arrangement allows the user to search for insurance and find an alphabetical listing of agents in the directory. The directory also sells advertisements, so the company listing can be up to a full-page advertisement.

With the breakup of the Bell System in 1982 came a wider variety of companies offering similar directories. Since the rise of the Internet, up to 70 percent of consumers rarely or never consult paper directories when searching for businesses. Environmental groups claim the publication is a waste of resources, producing over 3,600 tons of paper waste in San Francisco alone. However, the Environmental Protection Agency states that directories account for only 0.3 percent of paper product waste, far behind newspapers and magazines.

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