International Yellow Pages

I heard a great story on NPR a couple weeks ago about a woman who was born in Afghanistan but raised in Australia. She visited Kabul earlier this year and discovered that there was no phone book or at least no yellow pages. (That kind of blows my mind–the population is more than 2 million!) She decided to do something about that and apparently is now publishing the first Kabul yellow pages, with more than 100,000 phone numbers listed (almost all cell phone numbers) from businesses and merchants.

I think every community and every developing nation needs a yellow pages phone directory. (Although I think there are too many in my neighborhood–I don’t know what to do with them all.)

I know people who have done very well with yellow pages and directory publishing. It’s a highly profitable business model (one cached article in Google says it’s close to 50%) and a great catalyst for economic growth. I wonder how many other highly populated world cities don’t have a yellow pages directory. I also wonder if any company has ever been formed to act on this opportunity.

Maybe I’ll hire a researcher to determine how many of the world’s largest cities (population over 500,000 for example) do and how many do not have a yellow pages directory.

If someone has already done this, please let me know.

One Comment

  1. Neville

    This is an old story, in that the same thing happened across Eastern Europe after 1989. There is also often an opportunity for English Yellow pages (English speakers coming in have lots of purchasing power and like to know which merchants are receptive to English speakers).

    Also a plus is that the start-up costs are low, and successful directories always get bought out by larger media/publishing companies within 2-5 years.

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