Yearly Beats From the Phone Book Company

Today was my yearly beating from the Yellow Pages company. This happens every year. One of the many indignities of running a small business is dealing with people who have you by the short-and-curlies. You can’t not advertise in the Yellow Pages and the Yellow Pages people know it.

It’s mostly a waste of my time, but since I’m a nice person at heart, so I don’t get on the salesman’s case (much). He’s just a regular joe working for the Man like everyone else. I patiently let him tell me about whatever new advertising products they have then politely decline to buy any of them. I even let him down easy about increasing the size of our ad.

“A number of other companies in the area have gone with the half page.”

While I’m not rich yet, I’m not hurting for business. Besides, the big ads look kind of garrish. I don’t really pay that close attention to it, but I’m pretty sure that prices have increased slightly this year. They increase slightly every year.

“Not to downplay the usefulness of your publication,” I tell him, “but being listed in it modestly like I do represents over two thirds of my $380 a month telephone bill. We’re a small town computer service shop. Do the math. And I also have to advertise in the phonebook from the local newspaper too.”

As always, I ask about their website. It shows up quite frequently on seaches these days. The URL for my firm is listed in there, yes I know, but how much does it cost to actually turn it into a link? Ah, I see. Still thirty dollars a month. They are in the business to make money, I’m told, it’s as simple as that.

You know that a pair of anchor tags is 15 characters worth of extra data, excluding the URL. A machine is generating that code. The page has to be served anyway. I doubt the extra bytes are going to blow the hosting budget.

Fuckers. That’s like two bucks a character. If some sucker was willing to pay me two dollars a letter I’d be blogging full-time rather than listen to some dude tell me that it’s okay to pay $360 a year for something that Google, Yahoo, MSN and all the rest give me for free.

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