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Difference Between Yellow Pages and White Pages

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The main difference between Yellow Pages and White Pages is the entries listed on each page respectively. Yellow Pages listings are phone numbers, addresses, and names of businesses in a certain area. White Pages, on the other hand, are names, job titles, addresses, and zip codes of residents in a city or region.

What are Yellow Pages?

yellow pages
Auckland Yellow Pages, 2004

Yellow Pages is a telephone book or directory of businesses that are listed alphabetically according to categories and specialization. Yellow Pages, also known as Golden Pages, are paid listings. A business should pay an annual fee in order to be included in a YP listing. Yellow Pages are usually delivered to a household or an individual subscriber every year. YP listing is a traditional way of advertising a business. A firm should pay extra fees if it wishes to make their YP listing more impactful. For example, putting the business information entry on a dedicated space and making the font larger and bolder.

What are White Pages?

white pages
White Pages of Melbourne, 2010/11

White Pages is a telephone book or directory of residents that are listed in alphabetical order in a certain area or city. White Pages are free listings. Anyone with telephone services is registered under the name of the phone service account. However, if a telephone service subscriber or user wishes to remove their information on the listing, he or she can ask the phone book company to be on the “red list”. This list is dedicated to the people that opt to be excluded from the White Pages listings in exchange for a small fee. White Pages are also known as “Residential Listings”.

Differences between Yellow Pages and White Pages

Yellow Pages and White Pages are both listings that contain telephone numbers. In other words, they are both in a Telephone Directory book or a Phone Book. Though there are similarities when it comes to their appearance, there are notable differences when it comes to their purpose and content.


Yellow Pages can provide business leads, available businesses and services in an area, and their contact information if a person or a firm plans to make an appointment or inquiry. It also can serve as a form of advertisement to promote a business in a certain area.

White Pages, in contrast, can provide information from the residents residing in a certain area or city. White Pages can provide opportunities for businesses to freely market their goods or services by calling them. Also, if a person or a firm wishes to contact someone for a personal or business matter, they can most likely find the contact information of that person in a White Paper directory.

The approach in Organization of Listings

In Yellow Pages, the information or entries being listed are organized by their business categories and the names are listed in those subcategories alphabetically. For example, Restaurant Businesses are categorized by the dishes they are serving or the type of restaurant they are running. From then, the names of the restaurants that fall under a certain category will be listed alphabetically together with the addresses and telephone numbers.

White Pages contain the information of residents residing in an area. The entries are in alphabetical order: Surname, First Name, Middle Name or Initial (If applicable). The information of each entry should contain the names, telephone numbers, zip codes, or job titles of the telephone service subscriber residing in an area.


Yellow Pages are paid listings. Businesses or Services that are listed here should pay an annual fee to keep the information included and published. If one wishes to make their entry more striking and eye-catching, extra fees would be issued to make the font larger, bolder, and put it in a dedicated space where it can get easily noticed.

White Pages are free of charge. Anyone that is subscribed to a telephone service is automatically included on the WP listing. However, if a subscriber wishes to exclude his or her information in a phone directory, the subscriber can contact and ask the phone book company to be on the red list for a cost.

Information or Account Holders

The information that can be found on Yellow Pages is from service providers (such as Dentists, Plumbers, Mechanics), businesses, and even Law firms. White Pages, on the other hand, provides the information of the residents that are subscribed to a telephone service in a given area.

Comparison Chart: Yellow Pages Vs White Pages

ElementsYellow PagesWhite Pages
Type of ListingBusinessResidential
CostPaid (Annually)Free
Listing InformationBusiness Type, Name, Address, Contact NumberName, Address, Telephone Number, Zip Code, Job Title
Additional CostEntries in the book are made more appealing by making the fonts larger and bolderExclusion from the listing. Red List
Samples of EntriesDentists, Plumbers, AttorneysTelephone Service Subscriber, Residents

Frequently Asked Questions

When did Yellow Pages start?

The 1st ever Yellow Pages directory was created in 1886 by Reuben H. Donnelley. He was working on a regular telephone directory when suddenly he ran out of white paper. To continue the production, he used Yellow Paper instead.

Early phone directories could be traced back as early as 1878. Back then, The New Haven Telephone Company in Connecticut made one white card with 50 names of the subscribers that are divided into 4 groups: Professional, Residential, Essential Services, and Miscellaneous.

Who Invented the Logo for Yellow Pages?

Henry Alexander created the Logo for Yellow Pages. The logo is called “Walking Fingers”. It was made in 1962. In the US, the logo can be used freely by anyone. However, in countries like the UK, Canada, and Australia, the logo was registered in the 1970s.

Are there Online Phone Directories?

There are online phone directories. In fact, as early as 2011, the term Yellow Pages was in the 50 most searched keywords on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and others. Internet Yellow Pages, or also known as IYP has 2 types: Consumer-oriented and Business oriented.


Physical Phone directories became an integral part of human society. In the old days, when the Internet was not yet available or commonly used, phone books such as Yellow Pages and White Pages were the best bets when you wanted to get in touch with a business or a person. Whether it is a personal or business matter, to inquire or to avail services, Yellow Pages and White Pages were very helpful to find what and who people are looking for in terms of transactions.

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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